Posted by psgels on 24 December 2012 with categories: Anime Reviews

So, Btooom. A suspense series that tries to see what you’d get if you turned Bomberman into a real game. With real bombs. Or at least, that was the intention of the original creator.

The show got the suspense part right, but with the action scenes, you do need to turn off your brains, because the bombs in this series seem to favor the lead character: blasts that kill others are ones that only manage to scratch him, he manages to dive away from situations that were seemingly impossible to avoid, and all that is coming from a hikkikomori who never exercises and never leaves his room.

So yeah, the side characters for this series are much more interesting, but here is where this series surprised me, because these guys are actually really good. Like the main character, they too have been thrust into a game in which they’re forced to survive using real bombs, but unlike him they lack the magical main character powers, and really have to fight for their lives there. The way the creators do this is actually quite interesting, and I especially want to tip my hat for Taira, who really stole the show for me as this burdened old guy who you hardly ever see in such an important role as he is here.

They also are something else: varied. There are kids, adults, muscled army officers and weak accountants among them. This has an interesting effect for the action: every battle in this show is different and fought in a different way. It’s not immediately apparent and I only realize this as I’m writing up this review, but they really help to keep this series fresh and new through its 12-episode airtime. The show ends with a lot of things unresolved (hoping for a second season there…), but it does end at a logical point in the story and makes for a short but sweet and intense ride.

Having said that though, the thing remains that some things in this show are very contrived. A lot of them have to do with the lead couple. I won’t reveal the big twist around them, but it’s a really bad one that you could have seen from miles away. The two play of each other nicely, but you do get the feeling that the lead female is just there so that the lead male can have a girlfriend.

There are a few exceptions to that, though. One thing that this show loves to explore is the darker side of human nature, and when it starts playing with that it goes into some pretty interesting directions. All of this isn’t enough to make it stand among the better series of the season, but for what it did it did well.

Storytelling: 8.5/10 – Varied battles using bombs that are all different from each other and make for good suspense.
Characters: 8/10 – Great side-characters, contrived main characters.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Stylish look, solid music, nice animation, though nothing special.
Setting: 8/10 – A potentially very interesting setting, but the show doesn’t really use this much in favor of the characters.

High School of the Dead
Shikabane Hime

5 Responses

  1. Zero says:

    12-hour airtime? Am I missing something here?

  2. dango says:

    I like the series it was good watch and the characters were fun enough, a fun series to watch. Madhouse didn’t mess up the premise.

  3. KaZuHiRo says:

    Good luck to having a second season – this is a Madhouse series and we’re still waiting for HSOTD second season! Argh.

  4. Janfred says:

    waiting for second season, cause the ending is really cliched for me @_@

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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Oct 7. 2015 02:43 PM)
    ….Dear God…I have no words in which to describe hidan no aria AA, no words. The original I could take the piss out of. But this is a new low standard set for the light novel medium.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 09:02 PM)
    One-Punch Man’s pilot was almost adapted flawlessly. It straight up uses the manga panels as it’s main storyboard, but added just enough new touches to improve the action instead of ruining it. Now let’s see how they animate the mosquitos and all the lasers for the next episode.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 08:57 PM)
    And that’s why Madhouse is one of the few respectable studios left. I thought that they will be seriously diminished after Masao Maruyama took some of its key members and funded MAPPA, but One-Punch Man showed that they are still one of the best in the business.
  • k-off
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 08:51 PM)
    @Kaiser The anime industry isn’t advanced enough in CG to make it look good, is all it is.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 05:51 PM)
    @K-off: Your not wrong, it certainly looks poor but some of the old gonzo animated stuff was far more woeful looking. Stellvia, which was done by xebec was another example of old anime cgi which was quite ugly to look at. Just as I prefer traditional effects in film I also prefer traditional animation techniques to cg.
  • k-off
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 05:42 PM)
    Lately, the use of badly integrated cgi have been making my eyes sore,from the obviously cgi background characters in Asterisk to the overly fluid mech movements in Aldnoah. I still remember the shitty cgi piano hands in Kimi no Uso.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 12:04 AM)
    On the note of good balance between humor and drama- I think BoJack Horseman is an example of a show that executed that almost perfectly in both seasons. You are laughing one minute and amused by the hijinks and silliness and the next minute you are actually moved and shocked by the honest introspection. Too be honest BoJack is more a tragic character then a goofy one, and his struggles are deeper and more existential than they have any business being in a show with anthropomorphic animals.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 11:56 PM)
    The changes in the setting actually made me more excited for season 3 then what I felt the past few weeks, since now the plot needs to move forward from the cliffhanger and hopefully this translates to more cohesion and refocusing on what mad the show great in the first place. I’m pretty sure S3 will also be a blend of episodic and arch story elements tho. Overall a few ups and downs but still a great show.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 11:52 PM)
    The finale also had some of the most overall arch story elements featured in the season. Earth joining the Galactic Federation is a big deal story-wise from now on. Also the use of a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” (not the Nine Inch Nails one clearly) was a nice fitting yet surprising touch. The throwback to Mr. PB after the credits was a good idea, but felt flat in it’s actual execution.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 11:49 PM)
    I thought R&M had a pretty good finale. The episode achieved what was missing from most of season 2, and that was a balance of randomness and meaningful bits. What made Rick Potion #9 and the previous season’s finale and general tone great was a sense of humor that was combined with more sincere drama and character developments; a sort of sweet melancholy.

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