By Jeff Neuenschwander / October 19th, 2012
WARNING: Due to the graphic nature of BTOOOM!, discretion is advised.
Just curious, how many of you have watched the high school anime School Days? It’s basically a series where a guy cheats on a girl with several other girls in his class. The girl he dates gets raped, the girl he cheats with says that she’s pregnant, and everyone ends up worse for wear. Eventually, the two main characters make up and continue their relationship…
…until the last few minutes of the series. The girl that the main character had an affair with kills the guy. The girlfriend then confronts the girl, killing her and proving that she wasn’t pregnant by cutting open her uterus. The final scene shows the girlfriend floating on a raft with her boyfriend’s head saying that they’ll be together forever.
As screwed up as that is (and it rightfully deserves a place in the WTF Hall of Fame), BTOOOM! is starting to pull away from it in screwed-up-ness.
As I guessed at the end of my assessment of episode 1 (START), we meet Ryota Sakamoto’s in-game wife, Himiko. She’s in high school, a BTOOOM! player, and a foreigner to Japan. As with the last episode, it is told primarily from the island with flashbacks to what happened before the character wound up there.
Let’s start with the past first. One day, Himiko and her friends (Arisa, Yuki, and Miho) read through a letter asking if they knew someone they wanted to go away. Answering with the name of someone would grant them 100,000 Yen. Obviously, someone chose Himiko. So how did it happen?
Well, it dealt with meeting with a band called Judgment Flash. The four met with the band to hang out at their apartment. Himiko came in late after getting some snacks and found that her friends had been raped by the band. She struggled but eventually escaped, leaving behind her friends – one of whom, Miho, was getting raped at the time and saw her leave.
The band would be imprisoned but the damage was done. Himiko’s friends moved away. And from all appearances, they nominated her to go to the island. Or at least Miho did, since she appeared near the end after the scene with the band.
On the island, three men approach Himiko: a teacher, a fat guy, and a guy with a bandana. The three had formed an alliance and approached Himiko, possibly to protect her.
Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for the alliance to unravel. The bandana guy was a bit of a psycho (either that or a very intense realist) and ended up stabbing the teacher in the neck during an argument about supplies. The teacher obviously died, dropping his crystal.
It seems like a rather over-the-top act. The teacher was just trying to get them to conserve food in case no more supplies would be dropped. Then again, who knows how those guys came together or what it was like when they met. Also, in an extremely high stress environment like this, the stress of it probably got to the bandana guy.
Moving on. Fearing for his life, the fat guy wakes up Himiko in the night and the two take all the bombs and the supplies. They get pursued by the bandana guy but eventually make it across a bridge, with help from a sort of poison bomb the fat guy threw.
By the way, in case you’re wondering what the crystals in the hand are, they show it off during that stretch. It’s a sort of radar. You do some sort of motion (the ones that Himiko and the fat guy did where different) and it shows you who is around. There is apparently some other feature that gets explained later but it gets tossed aside for something else.
Anyways, Himiko becomes suspicious of the fat guy and punches him. He tries to fight her but ends up getting tazed, allowing Himiko to escape.
The fat guy finds her, using the radar, and begins to rape her. Before he can go through with it, Himiko pulls out one of her timer bombs. The fat guy tries to run but gets caught in the blast after she threw the bomb at him. The fat guy ends up in the water after falling off a cliff, presumably dead. I say presumably because he wasn’t in as many pieces as the crazy blonde guy from episode 1.
This is by far the most screwed-up thing that I’ve ever watched. Granted, I’ve never seen A Clockwork Orange but BTOOOM! will do for screwed-up-ness.
And did I mention that this is a mature-rated show?
I’ve debated for a while leading up to this post about how I would approach this subject. I’ve thought about not even touching the subject. But this has to be talked about as it will undoubtedly play a role in Himiko’s development. I thought about comparing it to other instances in TV where it happened. However, after writing it out, it just felt like overkill. I may come back to it later, but for the sake of my sanity, let’s keep this short and to the point for now.
Four girls walked into an apartment with four guys. One ran out nearly unscathed. The others felt ashamed, betrayed, and enraged. For that, they elected Himiko to partake in the real life version of BTOOOM!
Jump to the island. Himiko is in the process of getting raped by the fat guy. She wanted someone to help but was all alone. At that moment, she understood what Miho felt when she saw Himiko run away: helpless. It’s not as if the incident at the apartment didn’t affect her. After all, she’s carrying a Taser. But it more or less solidified a hatred for men, which changes the meaning of the first real life meeting between Sakamoto and Himiko. Instead of looking unaware and afraid, she was incensed and disgusted.
So, now that we know who she is and how she got there, what can we take away for future episodes?
For starters, it’s going to be difficult for Himiko to trust Sakamoto. It will probably lead to them trusting one another at some point but it will take a lot of time.
Second, we will see the bandana guy again (remember, he retreated from a poison bomb). And he’ll probably sneak up on someone when he reappears since his bombs were taken from him.
Third, we’re going to see people from a lot of walks of life on this island, not just young gamers with nothing else in their life. And who knows what their story will be. From what I gathered, the fat guy raped a girl and someone that knew received the same letter as Himiko’s friends and selected him to be sent away.
Fourth, from the teaser of the next episode, we’re going to see some of what happens between getting picked up and ending up on the island.
Fifth, going back to episode 1, we can see some parallels between Himiko’s friends and Sakamoto’s mother. And it is possible that she got the same letter that Miho did, although nothing has been confirmed. We’ll see soon enough.
BTOOOM! is developed by Madhouse, published by Showgate, and licensed in North America by Sentai Filmworks. New episodes air every Thursday night and is simulcast on Crunchyroll.