By Jeff Neuenschwander / October 15th, 2012
SPOILERS BELOW. Also, the source can get graphic.
It seems like there have been a number of copycats to The Hunger Games in the past few years. And why not? Whenever there is something that worked, there are going to be imitators. Just look at the mascot craze in video games after Sonic burst onto the scene. After watching the pilot episode, it seems that BTOOOM! is one of those imitators. It’s not a bad thing; just a noticeable aspect.
In this universe, BTOOOM! is a war-type video game. Unlike pretty much most war games, there are no guns. Your weapons consist of 8 different types of bombs. You use these bombs to destroy your enemies and win the game. Simple enough.
Ryota Sakamoto is the #10 player in the world. In game, he’s respected and married. Out of the game, he’s a 22 year old who has no job and lives with his mom (what are the odds). His mom tries to get him a job at various stores and restaurants but he refuses, saying he knows what job he wants. Near the end, it shows a flashback of him interviewing at Tyrannos, the company behind the BTOOOM! game.
Anyway, Sakamoto wakes up one day and finds himself in the middle of a jungle, hanging from a parachute caught in a tree. He gets down and finds a crystal has been inserted onto his hand, similar to that of the characters in BTOOOM! He also finds a mysterious pouch that has time bombs in them. Yes, he’s been inserted into a real life version of BTOOOM! but don’t tell Sakamoto that yet. He’s a little slow on the uptake. Well, either that or in denial for most of the episode.
I wouldn’t blame him for being in denial either. If I woke up in the middle of a jungle with nothing but what I bought at a grocery store, bombs in a pouch, and some weird crystal on my hand, I’d be freaking out, too. I’d probably spend most of my time trying to dig that damn thing out of my hand.
Anyway, after realizing that he has bombs in his possession, Sakamoto sees someone walking towards him. The guy tosses a bomb that explodes on impact (known as Crackers). Sakamoto runs away and tosses a few bombs at him, though still not realizing what they are or how to use them. He even tries to surrender to this bleach blonde guy with crazy eyes (facepalm), which of course fails. Again, slow or in denial.
He’ll eventually come to the realization that he’s in a real world version of BTOOOM! and even figures out the bombs just in time. He takes out the crazy guy and watches as bits of his body sink into the ocean. Not the most graphic thing I’ve seen but still something to note.
A few things to note as the series moves on. First off, from what I’ve been reading, this may get graphic during the course of the show. From what I’ve seen in the pilot, if you’re able to handle Hellsing Ultimate or, perhaps worse in nature, School Days, you should be okay.
Second, the art looks great and, so far, there have been no noticeable drops in quality. I’d imagine there’s probably about 20 more episodes to go so we’ll see how well it holds up.
Third, you’d have to imagine that he’s going to team up with his in-game wife. As a matter of fact, at the very end he encounters a girl who is also a part of this. I don’t want to jump to conclusions but I think it may be her.
Fourth, so far only three people have appeared on the island. However, in the teaser for the next episode, it looks as if at least one of Sakamoto’s teammates from the video game might be there as well. We’ll know for sure soon enough.
Fifth, I’m pretty sure this has nothing to do with the series but I think one of the creators/artists/directors is a fan of tennis. I say this because of the names that appear on the rankings during the theme song sequence (as well as respective countries right next to them). Let’s see, you have Agassi from the USA (no doubt having to do with Andre Agassi), Tsonga from France (Jo-Wilfried Tsonga), Kuerten from Brazil (Gustavo Kuerten), and Roddick from the USA (Andy Roddick). It makes me wonder who’s on top. Sampras? Federer? Borg? McEnroe? Okay, maybe not McEnroe, but still, this has to be more than just a coincidence.
Finally, and please don’t tell me one way or the other if you’ve read the manga, I think his mom is going to play an important role in all of this. A number of flashbacks/dreams that happened in the episode revolved around his relationship with his mom. They’re definitely building up to something later.
BTOOOM! is adapted by Madhouse and licensed in North America by Sentai Filmworks. You can watch every episode when it premieres courtesy of Crunchyroll.