Btooom! – 11

With Ryouta apparently killed from the BIM Date put in the case, Date goes after Himiko, who is paralyzed with grief. Murasaki Shiki appears and stabs Date in the back witha scythe, but not deep enough. He disperses her with a BIM and corners Himiko again, but Ryouta appears, having found shelter before the BIM went off. With only his remote BIMs scattered around, Date is unarmed and flees, but Ryouta’s moved one of his hidden BIMs, and Date almost blows himself up. Murasaki returns to finish him, but can’t, and decides to patch him up instead.

If there’s no dead body, there’s no death. It was an absolute certainty that Ryouta wasn’t killed last week, so it was just a matter of when he’d show his slightly-scuffed face in this episode. Turns out, that’s the time when the Cracker BIMS Date tries to use on Himiko won’t work. Himiko is ecstatic he’s not dead, and Ryouta takes the near-death experience as a splash of cold water. No more trusting sketchy people who pop up out of nowhere. We thought he’d forgotten that vow immediately when he chases after Ryouta,  but he was the one to think a step ahead of Date and defeat him.

Speaking of those kinds of people, Murasaki really comes through for our lovebirds this week, keeping Date from killing them and even offering to kill him when he’s down for the count. But all it takes from Date is an “I’m sorry” and some guilty eyes to stop her from plunging the scythe into his throat. Like Ryouta, she just can’t kill someone, even someone as despicable and slimy and horrible as Date. Not when he’s lying there helpless. So add Shiki to the list of players who are decent enough at their core to renounce killing. Though we still have no clue how they’re going to hijack a helicopter.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Btooom! – 09

Ryouta and Himiko return to Taira to find he’s been fixed up by Date, who agrees to side with them but plans to kill them all when the time comes. A plane makes a food drop, and players race to it. Ryouta hopes to scare the others off with his intent, but one player, Oda, matches him step for step. Meanwhile Himiko is attacked by Kinoshita, Oda’s ally. Himeko gets trapped in her hold but manages to escape, and Date throws a bomb to break up the fight. After jumping from a cliff into the sea, Ryouta watches Oda take out another player with a booby trap. Ryouta falls for another trap, but manages to survive.

Everyone has their own way of playing the game. Date smiles and pretends to be everyone’s friend, but then uses them before destroying them. Himiko knows he’s not to be trusted, and for once she’s not being overly cautious. Oda seems to utilize direct confrontation and attacks, but everyone he’s killed so far has fallen for his booby traps. Kinoshita pretends to be vulnerable and womanly, but is a skilled, vicious fighter who’s sided with Oda, perhaps the strongest player still alive – and when she can’t safely use BIMs against Himiko, she relies not just on martial arts, but devastating verbal attacks. Lil’ Kira is standing back and waiting for the adults to kill each other.

But while everyone else is busy trying to kill them, the core of Ryouta, Himiko and Taira remain committed to escape by spilling a minimum of blood. Their adversaries aren’t making it easy, however. The “crimes” that got them voted on the island aren’t as severe as other players’, what with Ryouta’s mom simply snapping, Himiko’s friend blaming her for not getting raped, and Taira just being a jackass at work. As for Date? The son of a bitch is on the island for the second time; he’s clearly scum. Kira can’t help what he is, but he can’t function in society. Oda and Kinoshita are the main threat to Ryouta & Co, but learning about them will have to wait until at least next week.


Rating: 6 (Good)

 

Btooom! – 07

Sakamoto runs into Miyamoto and Natsume, narrowly escaping with his life (and without his BIMs), only to lead them back to where he, Himiko and Taira are hiding out. Miyamoto chops Taira’s fingers off, tosses Sakamoto off a ledge, and takes Himiko away, but Sakamoto lands in a tree and goes after him, believing Himiko is actually his vitual wife from Btooom. Sakamoto is able to take out Natsume, but Miyamoto grabs Himiko, who later activates a gas bomb hanging from Miyamoto’s shirt. Sakamoto finishes him off with a timer BIM, and he and Himiko are safe for the time being.

Even if Miyamoto Masashi wasn’t the best ex-mercenary, Sakamoto proved his valor, making up for leading Miyamoto to their hideout by rescuing Himiko and taking him and his crazy lawyer ally out. While Sakamoto insisted before he wouldn’t play the game, in this case, it was kill or be killed, in a rousing episode packed with violence, including chopped-off digits (poor Taira!), threats of flaying (poor Himiko!) and gross, melty faces (served him right). It was also packed with mistakes by Miyamoto, who decided it’d be a good idea to hang bombs from his shirt for anyone to trigger.

He also took his sweet ol’ time killing Himiko and Sakamoto, giving them ample opportunities to foil him, which of course they did. We suppose that’s overconfidence and a low opinion of his enemy. And then there’s the prospect we’d thought all along of Himiko being “the” Himiko Sakamoto “married” in Btooom. She denies it, but then why does she look and sound just like her? Like SAO, there’s not enough differentiation between real life characters and their online personas for us to suspend belief they’d recognize each other. Regardless, here’s hoping Himiko is finally coming around to trusting Sakamoto, who by now has saved her life many times (and she his).


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Btooom! – 05

Sakamoto and Taira enjoy their first meal in a while, and Taira praises Sakamoto as a hero. The corpse of fat man who tried to rape Himiko falls down a waterfall, and when Sakamoto scouts, he sees Himiko at the top of a cliff. She drops a gas bomb, which draws him out to a clearing where she’s ready with four players’ worth of BIMs. He manages to talk her down, but when he steps forward, she throws a BIM at him, but has bad aim.

In their struggle and she ends up shocking herself unconscious with her stun gun. After fighting off temptation, Sakamoto takes her to the stream with Taira, where she tells them how they ended up on the island. Taira insists they still try to get off the island to work things out back home. They’re then surrounded by a pack of giant monitor lizards.

We knew Sakamoto would have his work cut out for him if he ever crossed paths with Himiko, which he was sure to do as the two of them are together in the OP. We weren’t wrong, as he relies on her bad aim and clumsiness with a stun gun. When she wakes up in his arms, she’s still ready to take herself out along with him. Her dealings with men thus far have her convinced that no matter how nice Sakamoto seems, he will end up raping and killing her. Sakamoto even has a moment of weakness when he realizes he could take her panties without consequence, justifying her suspicion.

Thankfully, he deduces why the fat man was pantsless and stops himself. She only ceases her resistance because the stun gun made her numb, but Taira and Sakamoto assure her they’re not her enemy, and just want to go home. Himiko doesn’t,  believing there’s nothing left for her back home. Sakamoto, meanwhile realizes it was probably his mother who voted him away for running down her husband when he was hiding being laid off. Sakamoto was a haughty little shit, and whether his plight is just or not, had he been a nicer son, he wouldn’t be on this island.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Btooom! – 04

Kira Kousuke, who murdered then raped three women, is deposited on the island with his lawyer Soichi and his father. When his father goes into an abusive range, Kousuke snaps and plants an implosion bomb on him, killing him. Soichi runs off, but Sakamoto and Taira bump into Kousuke, still standing over the corpse. They run too, but Taira sprains his ankle. Sakamoto draws him away and learns that Kousuke is an experienced Btooom! player, but not as good as him. When a bomb blast makes him concuss his head against a rock, Sakamoto forgets he’s in the real world, and nearly kills Kousuke before snapping out of it. Instead he ties him up and leaves him a candy bar, taking his bombs and supplies.

We consider ourselves lucky and blessed that we had good parents who not only taught us about right and wrong, but were also loving and caring, and didn’t use us as mini punching bags. Kira Kousuke wasn’t so lucky: his dad is human garbage. Well, was. While it isn’t solely his dad’s fault his son ended up a homicidal psychopath – genetics and neuroscience also played important roles – Pop certainly didn’t help matters with his parenting style of “when in doubt, crush your kid’s junk”. Some people back home were clearly so disgusted with him, his rotten son, and the snivelling lawyer, they voted to send the lot of them to the island to kill each other. This drives home the point that everyone on the island were extremely loathed by some of all of their peers.

Voting for someone to die is a lot different from pulling the trigger, especially if you assume the voting is just a game.  Himiko’s crime was abandoning her friends to a gang of rapists – which isn’t technically a crime, but definitely earned her loathing; while Kousuke did terrible awful things, but did them because he is quite literally a psychopath. Who knows why Taira was chosen, but the reasons are as diverse as the people, so for all we know one of his coworkers didn’t like how he finished the coffee without making more. Maybe that video game company got sick of Sakamoto’s applications and had him shipped off. Lastly, we’re curious about Sakamoto’s “trance” in which he acted like everything was a game, much like Kousuke. Was this incident unique to his head injury? Will it happen again, causing him to kill?


Rating: 6 (Good)

Car Cameo: In the cold open we see Japan’s favorite squad car, the Toyota Crown GRS180.

Btooom! – 03

Himiko runs from Sakamoto, who thinks he’s found her with his radar. However, the one he tracks is an older man named Taira Kiyoshi, who recalls what happened on the plane that sent them there; Sakamoto was tased in the head and lost the memory. They tentatively agree to team up and try to avoid playing the game if possible, but they have to find food. A plane parachutes briefcases probably filled with provisions, but someone beats them to it, only to get blown up by a bomb planted by another player. They run to another parachute, but a young boy is there to meet them, covered in blood and standing over a dead body.

A couple dozen innocent people are kidnapped, put on a plane, given chips that can only be removed if they die, told they’re being dumped on a remote island, and told they can only leave that island if they have eight of those chips, including their own. That means killing seven other people. And everyone will be fighting over limited supplies of food and water- the airdrops of which will inevitably draw them together. This is Battle Royale or the Hunger Games, only with some adults in the mix. The plane trip Taira recounts is thoroughly unpleasant and chilling in the same way.

How could people be so callous about the lives of their fellow men? While some of the players are tougher and less moral than others and look forward to the bloodbath, most are probably like Taira and Sakamoto: they really don’t want to kill anyone. Sakamoto actually did kill one person, and he hated it. Mass murder just isn’t in him. But hunger, thirst, and desperation will eventually give way. Deprive humans of comfort and necessities, and they turn nasty, just as sure as any “lesser” creature. It’s kill or be killed. Forcing people in such a situation is tyranny. But we won’t get our hopes up that those responsible will ever be punished for it.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)