Unfinished Business: BTOOOM!

himiko's incredibly bouncy boob
Highschool of the Dead would’ve been proud.

Over the years, I’ve left a lot of shows unfinished for one reason or another. Well, the desire to go back and tidy up some unfinished business has been nagging at me for quite some time now. I’ve finally decided I’ll make this a weekly thing. Granted, there are some shows I barely even started, so I won’t bother to finish them; I’m not going to watch 90% of a series in one night. But for shows like BTOOOM!, I was literally three episodes away from finishing the damn thing. Since BTOOOM! is easy enough to watch — ’cause hey, it’s a pretty dumb anime — why not start off this weekly feature with it? And I think that if I’ve blogged at least… oh, half of a show, it merits going back and writing a final post on it. It’ll take some time for me to go through all the unfinished series of posts to figure out which shows to finish, but I’ll get a post up on a meatier show next week. I know there certain shows people keep asking me to finish writing about… But anyway, enough about the logistics. Let’s talk BTOOOM!

For those who don’t remember what the anime is about, BTOOOM! is about a game with the same name. The game exists in two places, actually. First, it’s a player vs. player video game where you battle your opponents with BIMs, which are more or less bombs. There are all sort of BIMs. Remote BIMs, timed BIMs, so on and so forth. It’s not really important to identify them all. When I first watched the anime, I expressed the disbelief that any competitive game could rely on nothing but bombs, but oh well. It’s just anime. Anyway, the other version of BTOOOM! is basically BTOOOM! come to life. Yeah, you actually die, and throughout the course of the anime, many people do. Nominated individuals are sent to some tropical island somewhere in the Pacific, supplied with nothing but BIMs and a chip on the back of one of their hands. They must compete against each other and collect defeated players’ chips. Find eight and you can get off the island! Oh yeah, this is apparently a reality TV show that everyone is watching. The scenario is completely outlandish, but hey, I never said this was a good anime.

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As you can probably guess, BTOOOM!‘s main character Ryota Sakamoto is a NEET who was really good at the video game with the same name. Long story short, he was a loser who punched his stepdad, didn’t listen to his mom, and honestly thought he could get a job as a video game developer… even though he did nothing but play video games. So of course, his own mother nominated him for real life BTOOOM!, and we watch the event through his eyes. The show’s other main character is Himiko, a girl Ryota had met in the same video game. What a coincidence! Not only that, they had gotten married in the video game! Wow! Naturally, she has big boobs, and even more naturally, she is the source of probably 95% of the show’s fanservice. You wouldn’t think a life-or-death game out in the tropics would bother with fanservice, but that’s where you’re wrong! Himiko almost got raped at one point! Technically, she almost got raped twice…

So what are the character arcs? Well, Ryota was a loser who looked down on everyone. And oh yeah, even though he’s a great BTOOOM! player or something, he’s kind of passive in real life. As for Himiko, she was sent to the island because she managed to get away from a bunch of gang rapists, but her former friends didn’t. Yes, her former friends nominated her for the game. They’re a bunch of swell people, aren’t they? So anyway, Ryota’s a selfish manchild and Himiko can’t trust men. Do they grow throughout the course of the anime? Actually, yes. I don’t think the anime is very good. But that’s the thing. I don’t think the ending is all that bad. It’s one of those endings that aren’t really an ending… if you’re a plot-driven kind of person. I don’t really want to recap the entire story of the series, so at this point, people who are new to BTOOOM! are on their own. For those who still remember details about the show, read on.

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Like I’ve said, you get an ending that, from a certain point of view, isn’t really an ending at all. Nothing is accomplished, and nothing is resolved other than that, of course, the NEET gets the bosomy girl with blonde hair. In my opinion, what’s even stranger is that there are almost no moments of catharsis in the last three episodes. When I last left off, Ryota was going up against his former best friend Nobutaka. Naturally, the battle kind of comes to a draw so right there and then, the anime already reminds me how dissatisfying it is to watch. I’d say, however, Nobutaka got the upper hand since he came away from the counter with slightly singed food. Right then and there, you have a battle that has no resolution. We then see a flashback in which Ryota recounts his former high school days with his former best friend. Apparently, he got NTR’d by the guy. Basically, Ryota liked a girl, but he was too shy to act on it. When said girl confessed to Nobutaka, Nobutaka slept with her even though he had a girlfriend of his own. That’s cold, brother. But like everything else in the story, this plot thread isn’t resolved whatsoever.

Everyone in this show has such awesome best friends. You almost wonder why people even bother forming friendships. Maybe that’s why the real life BTOOOM! game even exists; everyone just treats each other like shit. Back in the present timeline, Ryota and Himiko are betrayed by Masahito Date, a guy who had already played this game before, but somehow finds himself on the island once more. He must be a real scumbag to be nominated twice. So after a brief fight, Masahito is down for the count. Shiki, the lady that Masahito had betrayed the first time he was on the island, finally has the chance to get her revenge. After all these years, the woman finally had her chance to put the asshole out of his misery. He’s a a shitty doctor, a murderer, he’s betrayed a countless number of people, and he’s shown no remorse until he was helpless. So what happens next? Shiki decides to care for the guy and help him recover. Goddamn.

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Finally, as if one betrayal wasn’t enough, Kiyoshi turns on our heroes too! You can somewhat understand his motives, though. Sick, hungry, and injured, the guy felt Ryota had abandoned him. And oh yeah, he wanted to get back home to his kids. Ryota realizes this too, so even though Kiyoshi is trying to kill him, Ryota tries to talk some sense into the guy. In the end, Kyoshi commits suicide as a bunch of lizards surrounds him. No catharsis again. What’s even left? Indeed, what is even left. At this point, there is literally just half an episode left in the series. All of a sudden, Ryota realizes that Himiko, i.e. the Himiko he had met in the video game BTOOOM!, had been by his side the whole time! She offers to give him the chips in her possession, including her own chip. Yeah, that means she’d die. But no, he’s all, “We’ll leave this island together!” How sweet! So she offers up her… body? But even then, in typical anime fashion, the two lovers — if you can even call them lovers — don’t screw like rabbits.

And just like that, the series is over. Ryota and Himiko are still stuck on the island. There are no hints whatsoever that the game will end anytime soon. There are no hints whatsoever as to how the heroes would even escape. That’s your non-ending ending for you. But ehhhhh, it could’ve been worse. At least the story wrapped up the character arcs. That’s all I can give BTOOOM!, but I can see why we won’t see the rest of the story. Even though Himiko offered Ryota a chance to escape, he didn’t. In fact, he was almost too trusting, almost letting himself get killed by Masahito. But still, he stopped being a selfish, bitter nerd; he even tried his best to save Kiyoshi’s life. So yeah, kudos to him. And Himiko… well, Himiko learns to trust a man, I guess. It’s kind of shitty, since she never really proved herself to be very useful. And when she thought Ryota had died, she pretty much stopped fighting. But for what it’s worth, her character arc — as flimsy as it was — did come to completion.

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But that’s why the ending doesn’t bother me too much; the character arcs are done and over with. Had the story continued, what would there be left for us to see? Just a bunch of pointless random battles, and eventually, the good guys will escape. You can even imagine how everything would unfold for yourself. There’ll be lots of explosions, lots of fake-outs where you think a main character had died but they really didn’t, and in the end, the good guys will collect the chips and escape. As for the characters and their development, their stories are over. Ryota has already learned his lesson, Himiko’s sort of learned her “lesson,” and that’s that. So really, there’s no drama left. Granted, the ending does sort of make you think, “That’s it?” But it’s all about perspective, really. If you think the story is really about the real life game of BTOOOM!, then you’re going to come away dissatisfied. But if you see it as a story about the NEET character and his personal growth, then it’s done. That doesn’t mean I think the anime is good. Nah, it still sucks, but in my mind, it at least the ending doesn’t bother me very much.


20 Replies to “Unfinished Business: BTOOOM!”

  1. This is a nice new segment. Will you be going back to revisit Psycho-pass? I know you stopped blogging the series half way through. However, I feels like the second half of the series is were it really shines. Plus it would be timely with a new season coming.

  2. I remember how mad I was at Taira-san’s death. He was the best character of the show. The NEET kid was kind of generic.

  3. You didn’t finish this?
    I still remember all those amusing episodic blogs.
    This is an anime which is full of plot holes, such as where did they install all the camera which are able to watch all details
    But, at least it was amusing.

  4. I wonder why this gamer-pandering show failed so hard when other equally terrible shows (No game no life, SAO) find some sort of success. It’s obviously not about the quality of the show because they are all different kinds of terrible.

    1. Both SAO and NGNL are based on light novels, so you already have the audience in place. Btooom! was based on some niche manga.

    2. No Game No Life personifies every otaku preference and behavior as a pair of infallible, super intelligent, non-ugly siblings onto which viewers could project both themselves and their pedophilic/incestuous urges. It double-panders, basically.

      BTOOOM does this a bit, but at the end of the day, playing too many video games and being an asshole is the reason why the main character landed on the island in the first place.

  5. Man, if only we can tell you what happens in the manga…

    Plus, I will still wonder why Himiko had to have an awkward orgasm after a bomb got bounced off her boobs…. Or had to be the source of fanservice if she is meant to be misandric…

    1. Man, if only we can tell you what happens in the manga…

      That’s the point of the post. It doesn’t really matter what happens later.

      Or had to be the source of fanservice if she is meant to be misandric…

      Oh come on, you know why. People fantasize about conquering the tsunderekko all the time.

    1. Anime breasts seem to be fundamentally different beasts compared to real boobs. Physics have no place in anime around the breast area.
      Apparently no sagging due to gravity unless it’s for gag purposes.

      Also impossible clothing all around!

  6. well, the manga as the source material haven’t finished it yet….
    that’s why the ending feel “forced”

    Everyone knows this.

  7. Should I feel bad for the MC for being NTR’d when he won out in the end by shacking up with a busty blonde? Nope.

    That’s one thing I really hate about BTOOOM! (other than the REALLY stupid name) is the apparent rape-fetish. Everybody knows that rape is fucked up, but if an author really needed a rape scene or lead-up to rape scene, he or she better have a real good fucking reason to have one. The ones in this show almost seem like they’ve just been added for the cheap shock value. “Let’s add a rape scene so we can be edgy.” Sure, they have some plot significance, but does it really have to be graphically rape-y? I can clearly say, no. There are several other different ways for Himiko to be drafted into the game. The fact that a gang-rape just so happened to make it on top of the writer’s list tells me there’s seriously wrong with them.
    Why do I think fetishization is involved? Well because of the full on NTR that’s committed. Again, cheap shock value poorly executed in an adolescent attempt to be edgy. I think the writer’s brain had been twisted beyond repair by reading too many rape and NTR dojins.
    One example that BTOOOM!’s writer could have followed for a “NTR”-like effect is the forced kiss scene between Dio Brando and Erina in Part I of JoJo’s Bizzare Adventure. The viewer sees the heroine becoming “violated” and losing her “innocence” and that in turn threatens the relationship between Erina and Jonathan Joestar. It’s the same exact effect, except BTOOOM!’s writer for no apparent reason just cranked up the raunch without realizing that it just cheapens the effect. The scene literally could’ve played out with Oda making out with Aiko with Ryota accidentally stumbling onto the scene. And then whatever follows after.

    I’m gonna admit I’ve sampled some NTR dojins myself and I don’t really see the appeal. There must be something seriously wrong with NTR-lovers’ heads if they enjoy stuff like that. So really, anything abusively sexual that’s in this show just comes off as the writer’s sexual frustration and desperation.

    1. I’m gonna admit I’ve sampled some NTR dojins myself and I don’t really see the appeal.

      It’s just about power and degradation. Why do guys like finishing on a girl’s face? I’m not saying you’re a misogynist if you’re into this sort of thing, but let’s not beat around the bush. The appeal is in making your partner dirty. But hey, between consenting partners, who cares, right? NTR simply takes the concept to the extreme. Often times, guys won’t take no for an answer unless he finds out the girl is already taken. In NTR scenarios, it doesn’t even matter if she’s taken or not.

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