Recaps for Btooom!

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Btooom! Episode #12 Anime Review

Having been attacked by a homing-type BIM, Sakamoto begins to think that Taira’s turned on them – his BIMs are homing-type, after all. Between his injuries and delusions he’s been having about his son and wife, Taira’s not exactly in great shape – but his desire to get home, and the realisation that if he kills Sakamoto and Himiko he’ll have enough chips to get home, has just pushed him over the edge… You do have to feel for Taira, really. He lacks the skills or ruthlessness to make any sort of impact in the game, his unerring knack of picking up a new injury seemingly every. Single. Week. in the game has left him completely reliant on the good graces of others for his survival – and so his fear of being abandoned runs rampant whenever Sakamoto and the others leave him in total terror when they have to go and do other things. Under those circumstances, his descent into delusion and paranoia isn’t at all far-fetched – and so he turns on the people he’s been relying on. READ MORE...

Btooom! Episode #11 Anime Review

With Sakamoto out of the way, Himiko’s an easy target for Date – he can almost feel their crystals in his hands. But Date’s unaware that Shiki’s still alive and in the complex, and after what he did to her during the last round of the game, she has her own plans for the doctor… When we left the gang last week, Sakamoto had just been blown up by Date’s suitcase bomb, leaving Himiko at Date’s mercy. We get underway this week a little bit of flashback to show how we came to this point – and more importantly, how Himiko knew to try and warn him. That came courtesy of Shiki who, after seeing the man who betrayed her and nearly killed her, quickly filled Himiko in on just what they’d let into their little team. READ MORE...

Btooom! Episode #10 Anime Review

Sakamoto has three chips; Oda has four – to those watching from the game’s control room, the possibility of a winning player is tantalisingly close -and when Sakamoto falls for Oda’s trap, it looks like it’s all over. Emphasis on looks like, as Sakamoto had a trick of his own up his sleeve. Their battle comes to an end, though, when Oda seems to finally recognise Sakamoto… Sakamoto and Oda, you see, knew each other in high school – a time when they were good friends, despite Sakamoto’s feelings of inadequacy around Oda’s Mr Perfect routine. Feelings that came to a head when Oda slept with the girl Sakamoto was in love with. That was essentially the last time they’d seen each other – and now they’ve been reunited, Sakamoto can’t help but wonder if his old friend will be friend or foe, given the past between them. I’d though that Sakamoto and Himiko being ‘reunited’ on the island was stretching the bounds of coincidence, but Oda’s identity stretches it even further – without there even being a real reason for the show to go there. So far, at least. A curious plot ‘twist’, I’ll grant, but one that doesn’t work anywhere near as well as it should have. READ MORE...

Btooom! Episode #09 Anime Review

Date-sensei thought he’d gotten home free – the former colleague of Shiki, who we met last week, he backstabbed and betrayed himself to 7 chips in the previous round of the game, and was airlifted off the island. For reasons yet to be revealed, though, he’s back for another round, and he’s not happy. Although it’s not a stretch of the imagination to say the he thoroughly deserved his fate. His plan for now seems to be to worm his way into the favours of Sakamoto and his group, starting by patching up the ever-injured Taira (he is a doctor, after all) – but his eyes are quickly on the number of chips he could retrieve by knocking his new "friends" off. As for supply drops, with supplies in short supply for all the players, the arrival of three cases on the island is sure to bring them all running – as Sakamoto finds out when he finds that he’s far from the only person to be after the case he’s targeting for his team. READ MORE...

Btooom! Episode #07 Anime Review

In the online version of BTOOOM!, Sakamoto and a player named Himiko had hit it off well enough that they’d gotten "married" – in a purely in-game sense, at least. But Himiko had never wanted to meet him in real life, afraid that she wouldn’t like the real Sakamoto as much as she did his online persona. Could the Himiko on the island be Himiko from the game? Meanwhile, Miyamoto, the mercenary, has found Sakamoto and his team, and isn’t about to take prisoners… Now we’re talking. I’m all for character-building, but if we’re honest, BTOOOM! is the sort of premise where you really expect action – which is something this episode delivers in spades, along with a gruesome death or two. Miyamoto, being a paid killer by trade, isn’t reluctant to kill – instead, he positively revels in the idea of it, promising to kill both Himiko and Sakamoto in ways that are exquisitely slow and painful. Just the sort of person who makes you root for the ‘good’ guys, if we’re being honest – and Sakamoto goes out of his way this time around to prove his ‘good’ credentials. READ MORE...

Btooom! Episode #06 Anime Review

Sakamoto & Taira’s campsite has been over-run by komodo dragons – a bit of a problem, as it leaves them without access to their BIMs – and the ones Sakamoto took from Kira aren’t activating for some reason. In their efforts to get away from the creatures, Taira is injured – again – and the dragons seem determined to track them down. While they trek through the jungle, Taira begins talking about why he thinks he got nominated for the game… I’ll admit up front, I was hoping this episode would focus mainly on Taira’s backstory – after all, he’s settled as one of the core ‘gang of three’, and so far is the only one to not get his fair share of the spotlight. But while once again his history is touched upon, it’s matters of a more immediate concern that take the limelight here. If this was an ADV release, it’d be called "Trust and Betrayal"… READ MORE...

Btooom! Episode #05 Anime Review

While Taira and Sakamoto are eating lunch – a rare moment of peace and quiet for them – a half-naked corpse floats by them. Fearing that another player may be nearby, Sakamoto decides they need to move, quickly – but Taira’s leg still hasn’t fully healed, which limits their options. Deciding to scout the area instead, Sakamoto soon chances upon a gruesome scene – and Himiko, who’s in no mood to be friendly… I’d been hoping we’d get Taira’s backstory this week, but no – that’s been saved for another time. Instead, we get a little bit of relationship-building between Sakamoto and Himiko, and Sakamoto’s reaction to learning that he’s in the game because someone had nominated him to be there – and that his own mother was the only person likely to have done that. READ MORE...

Btooom! Episode #04 Anime Review

Kira Kousuke, age 14: a kid with a troubled past, who, after running away from his abusing father, began to indulge in murder and rape (in that order). A combination of his age and a hotshot defence lawyer meant that Kousuke managed to avoid jail time – enough of a miscarriage of justice to prompt some to nominate him for the game, along with his father and lawyer. Which presents Kousuke with an opportunity for messy revenge on his abuser… While you could probably pin some of the blame for how Kousuke’s turned out on his father, it’s clear pretty much from his first appearance that there’s more to it than that – the kid has simply discovered the joys of killing, and unlike everyone else we’ve met so far he greets the realization that he’s in a real-life game of BTOOOM! with positive joy. Unfortunately for him, one of the first people he picks a fight with is Sakamoto – one of the best players in the world. Although there is the complication that Sakamoto isn’t quite down with this killing business yet. READ MORE...

Btooom! Episode #03 Anime Review

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. READ MORE...

Btooom! Episode #02 Anime Review

Being one of the best teams in the world, Ryouta’s team naturally had quite a fan following. Himiko was particularly taken by Ryouta after he once invited her to play on his team as sub for one of his regulars – trying to hit on her, of course, but a friendly gesture she didn’t forget. In the real world, meanwhile, her life was going to pot – leading to her arrival in the ‘real’ game. The first people she met there seemed friendly enough at first, but talk of co-operation soon turns sour… So, I mentioned last week that, if the anime followed the manga fairly closely (I haven’t read it, but I’ve seen a few relevant manga panels that clued me in to what was going), this episode could get rather grim, and that I hoped they’d tone it down a bit for the anime. With that thought in the back of my mind, I sat down to watch this week’s episode – and spent most of the time watching a fairly harmless piece of backstory. Himiko is, so far as we know, the game’s only female player – put her on an island with a bunch of men, and where the rules of normal civilization are clearly going to break down, and you know it’s just going to be a matter of time before something bad happens. Interspersed with this is the backstory of how Himiko came to be on the island in the first place – an urban legend about what will happen if you reply to a letter that asks "is there anyone around that you’d like to be rid of?", and a tale of friendship that goes horribly wrong. READ MORE...