Home > Check-in Station > Check-in Station: BTOOOM! eps1-5 (Island of the Jackasses)

Check-in Station: BTOOOM! eps1-5 (Island of the Jackasses)


In an age where it seems everyone is hypersensitive and has an opinion on everything regardless of experience or knowledge, I was a little skeptical about picking up BTOOOM!  For one, I’ve seen/read enough Battle Royale and anything that its spawned to no longer be entertained or excited by the mere concept of people killing each other for sport and spectator entertainment.  Plus, I don’t really care to see/hear anyone’s new interpretation of how video games turn people into psychos, killing machines, outcasts or jackasses.  It’s old hat to me.  Sort of like when a show does a “Gladiator” episode.  You should know what I’m talking about.  The hero(s) are transported to an alien world/planet where they’re apparently enslaved and must fight their way not only towards survival, but towards making that world a better place.  Superman’s done it in just about everything he’s been in.  Hulk is famous for it.  The Justice League cartoon milked that idea to death.  It’s come up in a few anime, but the actual names slip my mind.  I wouldn’t be surprised if My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has an episode in the works!  Anyway, this blog post is not about that trend, but the one of having people kill each other for sport.  It’s a tune that’s been played to death.  But I suppose if something was enjoyed once, it can be enjoyed again with enough time to get over your initial exhaustion over it.  I’m thinking that that may be the case with BTOOOM!  Ugh… I am getting tired of typing that silly name though.

BTOOOM! seems to be about payback and human nature.  The main protagonist, Sakamoto is your classic college age loser.  He’s boss at the titular game, which seems to be a cross between Halo multiplayer and Bomberman.  But he’s also a terrible burden to his family.  His dad seems to be away all the time, probably an overworked salary man (we actually see the guy later in the story, but not initially).  His mother is the one who has to deal with him.  He could be in school, or working, but no he’s gaming all day everyday.  And when his mom has the nerve to ASK him to do something around the house, or get a job, he flips his sh*t on her!  It’s like he’s an abusive, deadbeat husband instead of a son.  It’s pretty damn sad to see.  Other characters apparently have similar stories, which seems to be the only thing that universally ties together all the “participants” in the story.  If you’re an a-hole, then you get sent here by someone you know.  Pretty f*cked up really.  And it initially makes it hard for you to show any sympathy towards these characters.  But that all changes once you get to meet some of the more extreme personalities in the show.

The show starts basically with Sakamoto thrown on a small hot island in the middle of the ocean, with f*ck-all for knowledge.  Things quickly pick as bombs are thrown, new people are met, and you get to see psychos in their fully homicidal glory.  Seriously, some of these guys are literally drooling with anticipation of blowing someone the f*ck up!  And for most of the show, it’s a matter of forming alliances and breaking them for basic needs or reasons, or just because you’re a jackass.  A murderous jackass.  Though I will admit that the bombplay is pretty damn fun to watch at times.  My favorite being in episode four where Sakamoto and a companion of his run into some psycho kid who has just been waiting to go on a killing spree.  The two are actually both seasoned BTOOOM! players (aaargh, I hate typing that name!), with the only main differences being that Sakamoto is a better player, but the kid doesn’t give a damn who he kills.  The show’s potential and Sakamoto’s blossom at the same time as we get almost shounen battle manga levels of fun in the fight.  It seems that as long as Sakamoto can detach himself from the real world, then he can do what needs to be done without hesitation.  He’s a beast.  But normally he’s just above average and scared as hell.  You know, normal.

Overall, I’d say that this show is showing to be just above average so far, and reasonably fun.  The animation is nice, the music is decent.  There are almost NO characters that annoy the hell out of me, which is rare for any anime.  Even my favorites tend to have a half dozen I’d like to throw in a fire.  The only annoyance I consistently seem to have involves the main female character of the show, Himiko.  No surprise.

It’s not that she’s a weak character or a bad character, though I will say she’s plagued in the beginning of the show by some sorry ones.  It’s just that I’m a little annoyed that through four of the first five episodes of this series, just about every scene she’s been in has revolved around rape or attempted rape.  I know it drives home how her character is f*cked up, but I certainly hope they move on soon.  Because besides her effed up back story  which involves a very stupid best friend and more rape, it’s just been her trying not to get raped, killing those trying to rape her, or trying to kill herself to avoid rape.  I know there’s a decent character under there somewhere.  Alright, I don’t know that, but I hope.

All in all, I’d say that BTOOOM! (UGH!) is worth a continued watch.  Though I hope it does up its game over the next few issues.  I’ll be looking to see exactly what kind of message this show is sending.  The quality of the action it displays.  And if this show can come up with a clever ending that turns out uplifting and happy, or twisted and sad.  The best stories nowadays aren’t the original ones, but old ones with a twist.

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