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.

Suggestions:
Blade
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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  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 10:00 AM)
    There was no hype machine back then. The internet was still in its infancy. So when a show became this popular there was certainly some merit to it. The organic/machine hybrid mecha was relatively new, and the scene construction and cinematography was for the most part immaculate. There’s a reason why the mecha genre is divided to “pre-Eva” and “post-Eva”.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:53 AM)
    It also didn’t hurt that the character, costume and mecha designs were slick and attractive, done by the under-appreciated Yoshiyuki Sadamoto.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:31 AM)
    It came up with clever scenarios to common mecha tropes, and answered the questions that would arise from them:
    -Why do we use mechas with melee weapons against alien invaders instead of conventional weapons? AT fields on Angels.
    -Why use kids to pilot them? The Gehrin Project.
    -What happens when you put kids in sever combat situations? Extreme PTSD.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:27 AM)
    These types of deconstruction shows that are run-of-the-mill now didn’t really exist back then. Eva did afterall became the tropemaker for Gainax endings. To see the creator’s psyche twist in front of our eyes was incredible. The show went from a regular monster of the week mecha series to a deranged psycho-thriller by the end of it.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:23 AM)
    Eva was fresh and quite unique for its time. Not that everything they did was original, but they certainly put their own twist on it. I also enjoyed the “fuck-you” ending of the tv series. Anno always defended it as intentional, but we all know it was really a budgetary constrain. well, at least we got the amazing End of Evangelion movie to supplement it.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:21 AM)
    @K-of: yup Eva geek here, guilty as charged. In my defense, I watched it week-to-week when it aired back in 96, and the landscape of anime was a lot different back then.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:19 AM)
    @Kaiser: sorry I was gone for a bit.
    I saw all the other shorts, and have saved the new ones and will get to them soon as well. Thx, I usually always enjoy your recommendations- we share a similar taste in a lot of stuff.
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 04:57 AM)
    Space patrol Luluco > kokoro connect > Kiznaiver.
  • mamamoo
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 04:26 AM)
    kokoro connect > kiznaiver
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 12:09 AM)
    Man, and it was already doomed to fail.
    Well 8-bit is adapting it so I am sure it will be crap no matter what happens.

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