What They Say:
The weapons available in this game, which has sold over three million copies worldwide, do not include guns – only bombs called BIMs. The player locates enemies on a radar and strategically launches one of eight types of BIMs to blow the enemy away. That’s all one needs to do to win. Sakamoto Ryota still has no job at age 22, and leads a rather dull life. But in the online game, BTOOOM!, he’s stronger and more highly respected than anyone else. However, the game he’s playing now is no longer virtual, but real. He’s been sent to a deserted island with only a BIM supply and no clue why he’s being coerced into fighting and killing. The players are now stuck in a real life version of BTOOOM!, not even knowing the reason why. The hunger to survive, the loss of morality, the madness that corrodes their minds, the intensely growing desires… it all blends together, only to be crushed to dust as the curtain rises on this explosive killing game.
As first meetings go, Ryouta’s and Himiko’s would count as one of the more awkward ones. As soon as she gathers her senses, though, Himiko packs her gear and leaves – but not before Ryouta notices just how well-stocked with food she is, and decides to try and follow her. His pursuit is interrupted by a chance encounter with another player, though, leading Ryouta to wonder just how many ‘players’ there are…
About 18, if my attempt to count parachutes was accurate – all delivered to the island by military aircraft, a trip that Ryouta doesn’t remember thanks to a brief encounter with a tazer when he tried to be a hero. It never pays, that. On the plane, the players were given the rules: each player has a crystal embedded in their left hand, which as well as being their radar also serves for scoring: it can’t be removed while you’re alive, but on death it’ll neatly fall out. Collect 8 of them, including your own, and you’ll earn a ticket home – and there’s the incentive for the players, a motley crue of men, women and children, to start the killing. Such a simple yet wonderfully effective incentive.
Himiko fans will be disappointed that she only gets a very brief non-speaking appearance at the beginning of the episode. Instead, Ryouta spends the episode in the company of Taira, a rather fat & ungainly (but smart) estate agent who reckons that teaming up is the way to go – even if that means they collectively have to kill more people to earn their freedom. Taira is really Mr Plot Exposition, as he remembers the flight to the island and is able to relay it all to Ryouta, who in turn is able to begin piecing together who was responsible. Bombs, action, and gore? Definitely toned down from previous episodes, but still present just so that you remember the show’s interest in such things (and if the next-episode preview is accurate, normal service will be resumed next week on that front).
After the first two episodes and their relatively high content of things unpleasant, this outing was refreshingly normal – between essential backstory, and having some tactics on show, there’s a decent amount happening, although Ryouta’s still not coming across as having the smarts that a world-top-ten player should have. As for Taira, he doesn’t initially come across as the sort of person who’ll outlive a redshirt, but proves to at least have a dose of common sense about him. And while we’re still not being told much about the why of the game, we at least know a lot more now about the how.
You can’t accuse BTOOOM! of having too much depth, but I’ll admit I find it and enjoyable guilty pleasure. This episode does a decent job of filling out the background, with the promise of more bomb-filled action to come. Works for me…
Content Grade: B+
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
17” Apple MacBook Pro 2.4GHz, OS X 10.8.2.