By Jeff Neuenschwander / January 7th, 2013
WARNING: Due to the graphic nature of BTOOOM!, discretion is advised.
Apologies for not talking about this episode earlier, but so much happened in the last episode of BTOOOM! that I needed some time to let it all soak in. I’m finally ready to talk about it.
First things first, if you had Taira attacking Sakamoto and Himiko in your BTOOOM! betting pool, it’s time to collect. Taira did, in fact, send a Homing bomb after Sakamoto. However, it had nothing to do with him executing some sort of Survivor game tactic. He just went insane.
A bit boring on the surface but they did an excellent job explaining it. They had Taira hallucinate that his wife, Akiko, and son, Yuzuhiko, were encouraging him to fight Sakamoto and Himiko, giving him the seven chips he would need to get home (side-note: Taira did not have the chips from the blonde man in episode 1 [START]).
Something is interesting from this particular scene, assuming that this is how Yuzuhiko and Akiko act like this in real life. I think Taira may have a bit of a strained relationship with his son – possibly from doing so much at work. As for Akiko, I think she might’ve pushed him to act the way he did at work.
Then again, I could be looking way too close into this.
So, after the new opening (what?) that basically summarizes what happened the past 11 episodes, we go back to where we were last episode with Sakamoto and Himiko walking through a bit of fog back to the base. Yes, it was just fog. No poison bomb was detonated within the past couple of days in this area.
Continuing, Sakamoto sees the first Homing bomb coming after him. He jumps off the ladder and tries to evade it. However, he slips over some pipes and falls down. He grabs one of the pipes and swings it at the bomb. The bomb flies away from him and harmlessly falls to the ground, broken.
In case you’re wondering why there was no explosion, let me enlighten you. By design, Homing bombs track their target and don’t explode until they are within range of said target. This is why Sakamoto was able to knock the bomb away without it going off.
And if you’re wondering why Date’s homing bomb in his previous game went off when Shiki blocked it with her bomb bag, let me explain. Shiki had the bomb bag in her hand, not the strap or any other part of it. So, even with the bag in the way, she was still within range of the bomb, allowing it to explode and take her left hand.
Anyways, back to the fight. Sakamoto successfully swatted away the first bomb, keeping away from him. Taira sent in another bomb; again, aimed at Sakamoto. Sakamoto took aim and swatted that one down as well. But it didn’t fall harmlessly like the last one. The bomb was within range and detonated as Sakamoto tried to jump away. Sakamoto is still alive but now has an injured leg. I know I railed on this series for not having consistency when it comes to explosions and such but I’m willing to accept this. Sakamoto was close by to the bomb and Homing types are notorious for having a small blast radius. So this is more acceptable than surviving a Cracker bomb to the face.
Taira wasn’t done with him yet. He sent another bomb in, aimed at taking Sakamoto out permanently. Unable to move him, Himiko decides to take the Homing bomb head on, knowing that it won’t explode near her. She grabs out of mid-air and deactivates it, claiming the bomb for herself and, more importantly, saving Sakamoto.
Taira sent in another Homing bomb; and Himiko was prepared to stop it again. But something seemed off about it to Sakamoto. He was right to think that too. Even someone as blast happy as the kid Kira would know that he was at a disadvantage aiming at Sakamoto again with someone covering him.
The bomb wasn’t aimed at Sakamoto; it was targeting Himiko. Sakamoto knew this and got to his feet in time to stop the bomb, catching it in mid-air and deactivating it. The bomb is now his and, more importantly, he saved Himiko.
Taira begins to panic, even more so. The people he’s been targeting successfully stopped 3 out of 4 of his attacks. And to make it worse for him, he’s only got 1 bomb left. He runs away, only to end up falling down a hill and hurting his hip.
Taira sees Sakamoto and tries to target him. But he stops as Sakamoto tries to apologize to him. During his time on the ground, Sakamoto realized that he inadvertently caused Taira to go insane and attack him when he kept leaving him (Virtual Bride, The Strongest Player, High Level). And he comes to the conclusion that he was like this because of how his father would almost always put work first over family. This caused the relationship between him and his father to become strained and led to his parents divorcing.
I disagree with this a bit. Sakamoto cared for Taira. Each and every time he left he did so to get supplies for Taira. Now, the first time may have also been to save Himiko from Miyamoto and Natsume but the supplies were also taken as well. The second time was purely for supplies. The third time was for medicine so that he could recover.
Where I will fault Sakamoto is that he never quite thought things through. He never explained why he had three chips on him. He took everyone except Taira to get supplies in The Strongest Player – given how that turned out, he probably should’ve had Himiko keep him company. And he never told him the plan to get off the island. This is what I believe led to Taira’s insanity.
So, with the apology out in the open, Taira begins to tear up, wanting to apologize to Sakamoto. But he’s stopped as Komodo Dragons appear once more, surrounding Taira. He panics but then suddenly goes calm. “This is Karma, isn’t it?” he says to himself. Knowing that he has no way out, he decides to blow himself up with his last bomb. He makes peace with the fact he won’t be going home and even apologizes (sort of) for attacking Sakamoto. He aims the bomb at himself and activates it. The explosion happened instantly.
It’s sad to see Taira go like this. If you’ve read my previous articles on this, you would know that I expected him to be playing a game similar to that you would see on Survivor, riding the coat-tails of better players before turning on them at the end. But it wasn’t gamesmanship that got to him. It was his own insanity that drove him to this fate. He was loyal right up until the end (aside from the loss of insanity) and went out honorably.
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