Video games, video games, they seem to be precise presence in recent anime and for some back in the day, too. However, they have been some anime of this type to either shine in some way or completely lose your interest and your patience among the way. In the year 2012, one particular anime revolving around videogames was one of the most popular series of the year and even spawning a—
Wait, hold up.
I already reviewed this particular anime and most of you already know my opinion of that show.
OK, this one show that aired in the Fall 2012 season covering over 12 episodes.
Anyway, here’s BTOOM!!!
Ryōta Sakamoto is an unemployed 22-year-old young man who lives with his mother Yukie. He is one of the world’s top players of the combat video game called Btooom!. One day, he awakes in what appears to be a tropical island, though he does not remember how or why he has been transported there. While wandering around, Ryōta sees someone and calls out for help. The stranger responds by throwing a bomb at him. Ryōta soon realizes that his life is in danger and that he has somehow been trapped in a real-life version of his favorite game.
In regards of the premise and story, the concept is actually one of the better executed storylines in a videogame anime where the tension and suspense are more utilized as instead of a visual reality of an videogame, it’s more of the actual reality where lives are definitely at stake as when you get killed, it’s not all graphics and visual fare of a death but a gruesome way to die (just not in a ridiculous over-the-top way to die or a cheap ploy to make it more edgy). The series also reflects in some areas from sci-fi to horror to psychological where you go into most of the characters in flashback and wondering how bad their past must’ve been to be in this game and question if some of these characters deserve to be in here or not. One big problem I find with the series’ run is that the way it ends, it felt more open-ended where you think a second season is going to happen but unfortunately the series was a bomb in Japan and a chance of that happening is zilch, which is quite a shame.
Ryota Sakamoto is our show’s protagonist and in the beginning, he was a typical jerky NEET who’s not very sociable, sometimes rude to his mother and stepfather and his life revolves around that game. However, he does manage to get development later on in the series when he faces many adversaries in the game but where I feel like he was going to die, he wasn’t but it was never to the extent of him being annoyingly over-powered, just him being lucky. Himiko is our female protagonist and the way they brought her in the story is actually plausible if not being overly extreme about it and no, the extreme part is not her hating men and making them her prey, (that I understand based on her flashbacks and man, that was brutal) It’s how when she’s faced that and the way they depicted it as it goes overblown with it where it feels like they’re doing it to shock the audience rather than entice them. Taira may be the one character that makes you feel sympathetic in the show as he is the most human of the characters and you actually have time to know him and actually feel for him if something were to happen to him.
The guys at Madhouse are the ones animating this show and to be honest, there is nothing unique about the artwork and animation but it is the standard appealing look to most action anime. It’s awfully bright and colorful although I can do without some of the tinted green filter on some of the scenes and the fan service for Himiko didn’t felt necessary especially when she’s in danger. You can also expect a little blood here and there with the character deaths but not an excessive amount.
Opening theme for the show, “no pain no game’ by Nano is definitely the action-packed starter of the show and yes, you can hear the Engrish from here to your mom’s place. The ending “Aozora” (アオゾラ) by May’n is more softer in tone but in some way, more fitting once you get near the end of an episode. The score itself is actually forgettable like you wouldn’t even know if there was one in the first place.
The Sentai Filmworks dub is particularly iffy during the start but it does remain consistent throughout in regards of both ADR writing and direction. Tyler Galindo’s performance as Ryota is an example of him sounding a little off at first but you’ll get used to his voice. Britney Karbowski’s performance as Himiko is actually a little better in my ears than what most folks make out of her acting. I do also notice that most of the voices in here are completely both unrecognizable and often newer voices (i.e. Meg McDonald, Chelsea McCrudy, Jovan Jackson, Crash Buist), which has been an ongoing trend as of recent in the anime VA world and that’s actually very impressive of them, among other dub studios.
FINAL VERDICT: In short, BTOOM!! *explosions* is one of the few anime centered on videogames that actually fulfills its premise and explore the world of it rather than make it solely for one character and being overdramatic. Granted, this isn’t the best nor it is the worst as you really don’t get enough of this world in just 12 episodes. Characters are overall mixed with some having progression although it does get overly immoderate. The show is worth checking out but it’s a stream before you buy.
Has BTOOM! Got the firepower to
OK, please stop that.
PLANET TYRO RATING: low OKAY
(STOP THAT!!!) is available on DVD & Blu-ray from Sentai Filmworks. Streaming options are available on Crunchyroll, Hulu, and The Anime Network.
And this has been MAK2.0 aka The Blue Hybrid, bringing all the—don’t even think about doing it.
OK. Bringing all the …..
I hate this job sometimes.
BTOOM! – animated by Madhouse / distributed by SENTAI FILMWORKS