What They Say
What happens when you cross the ultimate line!? Men and women, young and old, have been forced onto an island in the middle of nowhere and into a murderous game using small bombs called BIMs. Now accustomed to the gameplay of real-life “BTOOOM!”, expert player Ryouta Sakamoto coolly and calmly disposes of opponents and giant lizards alike as he protects his allies and their rations. But in the lawless microcosm of the island, is it really such a smart idea to play by the rules? When a mysterious player confronts Ryouta with not a handful of bombs but the cruel blade of a knife, will he be able to think outside the video game box long enough to find a way to survive?!!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Unlike the previous volume, BTOOOM! volume #04 gives the reader a moment to breathe before kicking up the action. Opening with Ryouta considering what might have led him to the isolated island the live-action BTOOOM! game takes place on, we get a firsthand account of how our protagonist became the quick-tempered, anti-social teenager he is. It’s nice to see that Ryouta is at least aware of his faults, and that he may be facing the reality of his situation.
After a quick, slightly disturbing dream sequence, we’re back to current events. It seems that Ryouta, Taira, and the buxom, as of yet unnamed, teenage girl are getting a moment to breathe as well—and, although Ryouta tries to be friendly, tensions are rising between the younger members of the shaky alliance. Just as things seem to come to a head, it’s time to fight again.
While I was looking for the return of Kousuke Kira, who is featured in a beautiful full color insert just inside the cover, he never appears. Instead, Natsume, his lawyer, who seems to have gone off of the deep end, has partnered up with a new adversary. The duo give Ryouta more than a few new bruises, and run off with the only female yet to be seen on the island.
About the most graphic part of this volume comes with the melty goodness that is the defeat of the volume’s episodic antagonist. There is a bit of a surreal scene that features Tyrannos Japan and a board of mysteriously intimidating business men who have some part in the “project”, but other than giving us some scope on who is involved in the nefarious plotting of the “game designers” at Tyrannos, there’s not a lot of plot development there.
One of my favorite elements of the fourth volume is the connection, or lack thereof, between Ryouta
and the girl, who we come to know as Himiko. In the online version of BTOOOM!, Ryouta had married and, quite possibly, fallen in love with a player character by the same name, and it is his belief that his Himiko has been kidnapped that allows him to successfully rescue her from the dastardly duo that kidnapped her.
BTOOOM! volume #04 is a little slower paced than the previous volumes. While it is nice to catch out breath, there were a few things I would have liked to see. The pacing slows down a little, and I feel as though Kira should have returned if they were going to teaser him in the art. All in all, though, I look forward to the next volume, and hope the pace picks back up now that we have a little more insight into our protagonist and his erstwhile companions.
Content Grade: A-
Art Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: Mature
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: November 19th, 2013