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.|