|A solid entry in the suspense genre of anime.||2 out of 2 users found this review helpful.|
Btooom is a survival/ suspense style anime focused on male lead Ryota struggling to survive on an island where he and others are forced into a survival game based off an online video game that he is one of the top global players on. The series mixes focus between exploring how Ryota and several others wind up on the island and the players finding themselves trying to survive against one another using their wits and the various bombs they have in their possession to kill off one another. In its focus on the main leads and some of the other players, Btooom does very well in focusing on the issues faced by them as the series explores the circumstances and personal flaws that led each character on the island and how the survival game affects their psyche, with Ryota, Himiko and Taira's stories getting the best development among the bunch. The dynamics of the survival game are also engaging to see as each of the bombs fulfill specific functions that are reliable depending on the player's present scenario and each player exploits the battle environment, manipulation, their personal experiences and some luck with the real life/ online game to take advantage of any opportunity they can get to cripple or kill off their foe(s), making for genuinely suspenseful moments when Himiko and Ryota deal with rival players. The series also delves into the moral ramifications of the game as Ryota and some other characters deal with the circumstances of their life-and-death game in differing ways with mentalities varying between every person for themselves, breaking down from the lack of contact with trustworthy folk and trying to hold onto whatever morality possible.
Praises aside though, Btooom does have its fair share of issues that keep me from wanting to rate it higher. Some characters on the island don't get much in the way of depth and background, existing either to serve as obstacles in Ryota and Himiko's struggle for survival or to relish in some form of depravity, with one over-the-top case being a 14-year old murderer/ necrophiliac. Also, the means in which the survival game gets pulled off does stretch believability quite a bit with the means the video game company behind the Btooom video game pull off and get away with their acts. The series is also left open-ended as Ryota and Himiko are still on the island and several elements to the series that are hinted to are left unresolved.
Visually, Btooom's presentation is a bit on the plain side. Scenery shots of the island and city landscapes coming from flashbacks are nicely drawn with vivid, restrained color and plenty of detail. There is a good amount of diversity in the designs employed for characters to give the series a realistic feel, though they lack the heavy level of detail given to scenery. The animation to the series is okay, though mostly highlighted with any explosions and collateral damage that result from bombs going off and lacking the fluid and smooth frame rate that TV anime like Psycho-Pass and Fate/Zero had from 2012.
While having its fair share of issues, Btooom is still a solid entry in the suspense anime genre in its focus on Ryota and Himiko's survival in a real-life version of the online game that they were a regular part of with its original premise and focus on the mental toll that the game pushes on some of the major characters.