In a Winter season that left much to be desired, the saving graces were the 2-cour shows from the Fall season, and among those, Psycho-Pass is one of the two that stood out for me.
In a Winter season that left much to be desired, the saving graces were the 2-cour shows from the Fall season, and among those, Psycho-Pass is one of the two that stood out for me.
This anime is one of the happiest, cutest and sweetest animes I’ve watched! And I love it.
The Pet Girl of Sakurasou
Seriously, what is there to say about Sakurasou that hasn’t already been said? It’s your typical rom-com, and everyone should know exactly what that genre entitles.
Code Geass: Akito the Exiled
There was a ridiculous amount of anticipation from fans of the original series. Sadly, it didn’t have much to offer for fans outside of it.
Jormungand: Perfect Order
As I wrote in my review in this same blog, I enjoyed the first half (first season of Jormungand) quite a bit. It was entertaining, crazy, quirky and clever. It had most elements I love in a show, yet it was unfortunately lacking something…
A clear plot line which is followed throughout the show. The lack of that was my little complain about the first-season, yet Perfect Order got completely rid of that flaw, proving to be quite the great watch.
But on to the main subject. Jormungand: Perfect Order (from now on referred to as PO in this review) picked up where the first season left off and proceeded to continue with the arc divided stories do an excellent job in developing quite the big cast neatly introduced beforehand. The main difference this time lies in how the aforementioned “arc divided stories” are all but divided. With each arc, we get some more insight on the inter-organization relationships and the schemes and operations going on, and quickly see the situation escalate to quite dangerous heights, leading to quite the unconventional ending. Along with that, we also get some more insight on… Koko. The charismatic yet enigmatic anti-heroine or anti-villain (or however you’d prefer to categorize her) grabbed my attention an interest during the first season, but only now, bit by bit, did I come to understand her character.
Since most of the happenings are centered around her, her development grows along with the plot in quite the satisfying way, with the later “booom” in development matching the final revelations in the plot. However, that’s not to say the other characters are forgotten. Because they definitely aren’t, not in the slightest bit. Everyone in Koko’s team gets their fair share of development. Especially Johan, of course, as the story is, after all supposed to be told mainly through his point of view. It was interesting seeing him find out little by little the true nature of the world that had done so much wrongs to him, yet the world that he still loved. Although I’ve only talked about Koko and Johan so far, the supporting characters are also quite well explored themselves. We’re shown the background story for everyone and each member of the team as one moment in the limelight where the pasts we’re revealed impact their present choices.
The characters aside, there’s one other very important strength in this series. Its execution. More than the ideas from which the plot is built, the best part about it has to be how it’s built and exposed to us, the viewers. Jormungand never, ever spoon-feeds you with the meat of the story. The details are there, but they’re not made all that obvious. Or rather, the way the dialogues are dealt with does not make them seem obvious. In other words, you could say that Jormungand never takes the viewers as dumb people and presents itself accordingly. On the other hand, managing to follow the plot means you’re in for a treat. What first seemed like unrelated events were later understood as foreshadowing, the kind of good foreshadowing that’s not entirely unnoticed nor too obvious. The kind of foreshadowing you can undoubtedly affirm that was there after the fact. To sum it up, the good kind of foreshadowing, which makes up for a very interesting and satisfying watching experience.
As a little side note, I feel that Jormunagnd portrays a world very similar to ours (a.k.a. the real world) with a spice of pessimism and sarcasm, even ending with the notion that war is a concept ingrained in human nature and it will surface, no matter what. The characters’ worldviews are conveyed through the dialogues during the whole series in quite the thought-provoking way. Jormungand’s script is quite the well-crafted one, and for that, it certainly deserves to be praised.
In other thing I can’t help but mention is the OST. Both the opening and ending themes are great songs, with me loving the OP to bits. And the background music… well, it needs a mention because of how unusual it is. By unusual I mean a OST that contains mostly electro-rock tunes isn’t exactly common in anime. And it also isn’t exactly my favorite type of BGM. But it works wonders with this show’s atmosphere, while also being surprisingly good to listen to as simple stand-alone instrumental music. That makes it yet another point in this series’ favor.
And with all technicalities put of the way, I can certainly say that Jormungand is also… fun. Yes, because enjoyment does matter in anime. A lot. White Fox may not be the biggest studio, and one can certainly see how Jormungand didn’t have the biggest budget, yet the action scenes, while short, are intense and engaging. Something I never felt like taking my eyes off from. Besides that, the character dynamics can be both brilliantly interesting and a whole lot of fun to watch. The fact that we have plenty of characters with quite the crazy antics who still manage not to feel alien to the viewers does help a lot on that.
When all this is taken into account, Jormungand was one of the best series I’ve watched this last year. It was clever, it was funny, it was consistent, it had great dialogue, a pretty good conclusion, and an amazing female lead in Koko Hekmatyar. It’s a brilliant series unfortunately overlooked by many. I’m not aware of the reasons for not watching it, but if you didn’t, let me assure you that you missed quite the good show. It’s something I believe that deserves to be more appreciated, and at least be given a chance, because while it does have a lot more to offer, if nothing else, Jormungand is definitely entertaining.
Recently, 2-3 minute episodes have become a really unfortunate trend, and everyone wants to do them with their comedy manga or anime nowdays. Poyopoyo may be one of these, but unlike every other one, it’s consistent in providing entertainment and laughs over the 52 episodes that it ran for.
It’s basically the story of a girl who has a very fat cat, and who loves this fat cat very much. As pet owners will know, when you love your animal, especially a cat, it starts to dominate your life without you even realising it. You start buying more food just for the pet, or you start sleeping awkwardly so that the cat can have your bed. The writer of Poyopoyo clearly understands what it really means to have a cat, as the situations which he comes up with are scarily realistic, and the reason why it’s funny? Because it’s one of those moments where if you saw yourself, you’d laugh at yourself. Whilst this does mean that a large percentage of the humour will be lost on people who don’t own a pet, specifically a cat, you can still enjoy the comedy thanks to everything else that this show does right.
See, you don’t actually meet the characters for very long, what with the episodes being really short and so forth. However, a large amount of slice-of-life is crammed into this, and a huge amount of realistic human characters are born as a result of this. The hard-working father, the brother, even the doctor are all characters who’ve been realistically thought of and realistically designed, in a similar vein to the jokes which the series runs with. Therefore, even if one or two of the jokes fall flat on their face and you just don’t understand why it’s so funny, it’s still funny, thanks to the characters behind it and the presentation.
That’s really it in regards to this series, you know. It’s a realistic, slice-of-life comedy for cat owners to notice themselves within and laugh at themselves. I own a persian cat, so I really got some of the inside jokes which were made and that may be why I found it funnier than most other things, but the way that everything has one aim is really…well, really powerful. The animation, the track in the background, the voice acting…it all wants to deliver that one punchline every episode, and you know what? It will deliver every episode. Whilst it may not have you in fits on the floor, a show that can make you chuckle to yourself 52 times is amazing in my book. It’s an example of what comedy can be when it’s done right, and shows should learn a lesson from this show. If every show could deliver a laugh an episode, well…the world would be a better place.
In a nutshell, Sword Art Online is everything that is wrong with modern anime. It has an interesting premise, and the possibility to have turned into an epic with everything that it promised to possibly do right. However, whilst it does deliver on a large amount of these in the early parts of the show, it turns into something that’s actually so bad it’s funny in the later parts, especially in the second arc.
Partly to blame for this is the leading cast. Kirito takes the male role, and…well, he’s really plain and uninteresting. He doesn’t do anything of interest or anything special, he just fills the role as main character and nothing but that. Along the way, very early in the first arc, a character named Asuna takes the role of leading female. She was a strong character, and a very likeable one at that, but she gets degraded into nothing more than a trophy wife for Kirito to collect and hold onto as the show progresses, and gets replaced with Kirito’s cousin/sister character, who, quite simply, doesn’t belong in the show.
To me, that’s where the huge problems come in. Asuna got replaced by a really poor excuse for a character and, oddly enough, as she changed her personality to adapt more to the male characters, the show became worse and worse. I’m not even going to talk about the sister/cousin character, as that would just make me angry and launch into paragraphs of rage about what went so badly over the show and why it sucks so much…and that is what I’m trying so hard to avoid.
The writing quality is also all over the place, with some serious moments managing to be serious moments, and some serious moments turn into nothing but comedic dashes of the imagination and end up becoming laughable. This balance isn’t something which anyone should be pleased about, turning the show into a Code-Geass styled train wreck.
Ultimately, that’s the only way I can describe this show: a trainwreck. It goes through really strong highs and then lows so pathetically bad that they make you giggle to yourself. It’s, well, because of this that it’s so hard to enjoy the show. What’s even worse is that this would be a completely different story if they’d decided to leave things incomplete and stop at 1-cour (13 episodes).
Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai – Tenri-hen
Being a huge fan of the manga, and having nearly no hope of a continuation for the Kami Nomi anime due to the poor sales of the first two seasons, I must say the announcement of both this OVA and, quite some time later, a third season, came as a pleasant surprise.
My doubting started when I related the content of the OVA with the existence of a third season. Is it ok to animate a major arc in a OVA? Is it fine to skip two arcs to do it? To put a arc so full of plot development in a media not everyone will pay attention to sounds somewhat questionable. So, did my opinion change after watching it? It certainly did.
Tenri-hen, literally Tenri’s arc, contains the introduction to some important characters from Heaven and Hell – Diana and Nora, respectively. The simple mentioning of Heaven happens for the first time here, actually, which is what makes this such a pivotal point in the plot.
All starts as quite the regular day for Keima as he’s ecstatic with summer vacation, for he now has all the time to play games to his satisfaction. Games are waiting but he first must fulfill the unfortunate social duty of greeting a childhood friend he didn’t even remember and happened to be visiting. And this is where we meet Tenri, a girl so shy she pops to avoid focusing her attention on social interaction. Keima claims not knowing her, and only wants to get out of there as soon as possible, with the obvious intent of going to buy games, as that’s the only interest in that guy’s life. Strangely enough, Elsie’s sensor goes off, but only for a few seconds, stopping right away as if the runaway spirit had gotten out of range. Keima discards that as a fluke, refuses to look into it, giving a lengthy and humorous explanation as to why Tenri cannot be considered a true childhood friend and tells Elsie not to report it to hell.
Later, as Keima is shopping for games, replenishing the stock for his ideal Summer playing games, which he was looking forward so much, he meets Tenri once again, except this time around, she strangely pushes him towards the road, putting him in danger of being run over. He obviously tries asking her about her motive for such a radom and hostile action, but the girl runs away as quickly as she appeared. As curious as such event was, Keima still head to the game store, where he once more meets with Tenri and Elsie’s sensor goes off for a moment yet again, shortly after which Tenri jumps of the first floor only to be seen getting out of the store as if nothing happened. In the meantime, another demon, named Nora (a horned demon, by the way), has claimed the assignment for Tenri’s supposed runaway spirit.
Quickly enough it is revealed there’s another personality inside Tenri. She’s called Diana, appears in mirrors and can apparently take control of Tenri’s body for short periods of time. (Also, Diana is a cool character. Just saying.)
As Nora pursues Tenri to close the gap in her heart, we get to see that not all new demons are as heavenly (as in, good-natured) as Elsie, pretty much as Haqua’s appearance shown not all demons are as dumb as Keima’s cute buddy. The contrast is actually quite big, as Nora uses all means necessary, with disregard to any other consequences, as long as that leads to the capture of the runaway spirit. Granting the host’s greatest desire, nulling that which opened the gap in their heart without considering the root emotional predisposition – that’s her way of working. The fact that she has the ability to read minds actually makes this quite the convenient route to follow, though.
Analyzing Tenri, Nora hastily decides that she must hate Keima, therefore she should just get rid of him. As such, she ends up abducting him and taking him to a boat, entrusting her buddy the task of leaving an invitation for Keima’s “public execution” to Elsie and Tenri. I was slightly disappointed that they cut the joke about Ryou’s name here, but I guess it wouldn’t be understandable for western viewers such as myself anyway, since the manga required a translator note to get the joke across. Though they’re most likely not concerned abot western viewers in the first place so it’s still mildly disappointing. To be honest, the jokes were probably the worst adapted part in the OVA – for instance, not only this was missing but so was the loading screen that appeared before Yokkun when Nora was trying to get into Keima’s mind, even though the rest of the joke was relatively well handled. I would have been pretty freaked out too with Keima’s crazyness if I were in Nora’s place.
And that’s when Nora gets fixed on killing Keima no matter what (even if it means poor Elsie will die as well), and also when Diana decides that Keima is good enough to protect her and Tenri. And thus they start running from Nora, with Keima understanding she won’t give in unless she gets the runaway spirit out from Tenri and thus telling Elsie if she couldn’t use a runaway spirit she had previously captured to deceive Nora. Unfortunately, all of those had already been sent to Hell, so Elsie flies away, trying to go ask Haqua for one. In the meantime, Keima is stuck running from Nora with Tenri. And that’s when Tenri leads him to a cave in the school theater, which brings him recollections of a day, 10 years ago, in which he and Tenri were in that same one cave. Diana later reveals Keima that she isn’t a ranaway spirit, but a goddess from Heaven, the one who sealed away the demons from old hell and how it was on that day, 10 years ago, that the runaway spirits, referred to by the goddesses as weiss, were unsealed, bringing the goddesses back to the world as well. Apparently, when Keima and Tenri were in the cave, an earthquake happened along with the breakout, a a boulder knocked Keima unconscious. With the impossibility of running away with Keima, Tenri asks for help, and that’s the moment Diana enters in her body, taking control of it at that moment and getting Keima and Tenri out of the cave.
But then, their conversation is interrupted by Nora, who’s still trying to kill Keima. While running, Diana says she holds a weak runaway spirit with her – as such, Keima devises a plan which implies Elsie buffing up the small and weak runaway spirit and staging a capture with Tenri. While the later doesn’t play along dat first due to not understanding the situation, Nora’s claim about her hating Keima gets a felt confession out of her, as she was in love since that day where she thought he was so strong and calm inside that cave. The the staging is perfectly executed and they manage to fool Nor, Tenri fainting of joy in the process (xD).
And thus ends this two episode OVA, with Keima wanting to know more about the goddesses and Tenri moving to the house next to him. Not diagonally across, thus fulfilling yet one more requirement for being considered a childhood friend in an ironical way. Unfortunately, this requirement wasn’t pointed out in the anime, which is actually one of the two major flaws I see in this adaptation and defeats the point of pointing out so clearly how hae moved next door, the other one being the lack of the scene at school, to where they first runaway to before entering the cave, with Diana shielding Keima from Nora’s shield. I just thought that panel was damn cool, so I have to say I missed it being animated here.
However, apart from those little flaws pointed out along the episode description, it close to being a perfect adaptation, just as the two seasons before it were. Just the fact that they managed to fit 9 chapters into 2 episodes without it feeling rushed or making too many cuts is a great feat.
So… Did this work? As you might have understood by reading the above paragraphs, this was an OVA with more plot development than the two seasons before it had together. Putting it into a OVA was, as I pointed out in the beginning of this post, a dangerous move. That said, the ED of the 2nd episode put most of my worries to rest. Seeing as the girls from the arcs before Tenri’s appeared, that means they won’t simply skip those (actually, I was dumb in even thinking of such a possibility – if you’re a manga reader you’ll know why), and will probably be showing Tenri’s in the TV series as well. As such, this OVA ends up being more of a publicity maneuver without the aforementioned disadvantages attached. With its quality and showcasing of plot, it might even work well for that purpose. Not to mention how finally having one of my favorite arcs animated made for quite a pleasant watch.
Now I’ll just have to quietly wait for season III, with the hope the ED images weren’t just for show and they actually reach that point in the story with this season. We’re probably not seeing the Mai-High Festival arc just yet but… it’s getting close!
Dusk’s Score: 9 Meeps out of 10 (Great)
Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun
Having never been a fan of the shoujo genre, I’ve only picked up this anime due to recommendation from Alex after the first episode. At the time I decided to watch it, I never thought I would enjoy it as much as I did.
Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun (being referred to solely as Tonari from this point on) focuses on the relationship between Mizutani Shizuku and Yoshida Haru, the two vastly different protagonists of this romance. Shizuku is the very definition of a bookworm: she’s obsessed with her marks and with studying in itself, so obsessed that her whole life spins around that one activity. Haru, on the other hand, appears to be a complete delinquent, having never attended high school before meeting Shizuku and getting himself into fights all the time. But it’s perhaps due to said difference that they balance each other so well. In fact, one could almost say they’re a perfect complement to each other. And it is through such contrast in their personalities and priorities that they slowly start to take a different approach towards life and relationships, which is specially true in Shizuku’s case.
As an anime which is supposed to present the development of a romantic relationship, I feel Tonari had a lot more to offer than plenty of other series of the same style. There are a few reasons for such an impression, starting by the lighthearted comedy so ever present that prevents the show from falling into the melodramatic soap opera category (I’m looking at you Sukitte) and finishing in the approach given to the characters, their interactions and relationships. Throughout the entire series, I’ve always felt Tonari is not as focused on romance as it is on human relationships and how we need them. Be it friendship or romance, the focus is always on the human closeness issue. It’s brought up in different ways with different types of issues, but it’s probably the main running theme in the series, and that’s something I enjoy and identify with.
Another point of great enjoyment comes from the satisfaction felt when watching intelligent characters take the screen. We haven’t got a bunch of unimaginably dense characters who can’t understand the meaning of ridiculously obvious reactions. From Shizuku and Haru to the supporting cast, everyone is a perceptive individual who can pick up on the most subtle details and is aware of the need to understand such details in order to protect their little world. From start to end, Shizuku struggles with the control she’s always had over her life and how it seems to be slipping away from her grasp as she takes on a broader view of the world and starts to understand what it is to have friends. That control is something she wants to protect, yet without paying the price she had paid up until then, as she also wants to be with Haru and her new friends. Haru is a guy who can appear to be the most clueless person in the world, yet through his amazing honesty and bluntness often come insightful remarks, as unexpecteldly as one could imagine.
But the best thing is that the main characters aren’t the only ones with depth. The supporting cast is amazing in its own right, from the lonely Natsume who’d do everything to keep her friends close, to the kind-hearted Sasayan who mainly speaks out whenever he feels like helping someone (and when he does, you’d better be paying attention – the guy is way more perceptive of others than he looks), to the arrogant Yamaken, who’s one of my favorite characters in Tonari, partly due to the sheer strangeness of his lifestyle, partly to his helpful remarks despite him always trying to appear harsh and partly due to… his awful sense of direction, which reminds me of myself. Walking confidently towards somewhere while having no idea where he’s going. (Yeah, I do that a lot^^) Yet despite everyone’s different personalities, they’re trying to grasp control of their lives in quite a realistic way.
One other thing I’ll have to mention is that, curiosuly, Tonari does have one of my most hated “things” in romantic series: love triangles. However, they’re handled so well and realistically, without the cliche villainous third party trying to get between the main pair, that I hardly even noticed such dynamics, let alone be bothered by it. Actually, the characters who were introduced as liking the protagonists were portrayed in as neutral a light as everyone else, and actually added a lot to the series’ enjoyment rather than detracting from it. Because they weren’t simply made to get in between Haru and Shizuku. They were true round characters who had their thought process and got their own independent development.
However, despite everything good that Tonari has to offer, which is undoubtedly a lot, it did have some less enjoyable quirks that kept me from rating it even higher. One of them, and perhaps the most relevant, is the repetitive pattern of Shizuku and Haru’s relationship which seems to travel quite the bumpy road from start to end. They seem to take turns at confessing and changing their mind as when the other one finally accepts them. Such is an annoying pattern most shoujo follow in order to keep having middle climaxes without ending the story. Which sucks. In Tonari’s defense, though, the repetitive actions are well backed up by different motives and different events behind the characters’ indecision. They’re also quite well portrayed in terms of inner thoughts, once again, specially in Shizuku’s case, as would be expected, since we see most of the happenings through her perspective. Speaking of Shizuku, I find her to be an excellent character. Her change upon falling in love with Haru is gradual and believable, and she keeps her individuality as a character. That’s something that Tonari deserves endless praise for, as one of my main reasons for disliking this genre is the loss of individuality of the female lead.
The other less desirable quirk Tonari could never run from is its incompleteness. Being that not even the source material is completed yet and how this is apparently far from adapting all that is published so far, such as thing was to be expected. As such, Haru and Shizuku’s relationship doesn’t get a proper closure, neither does Natsume’s subplot. A lot of Haru’s past is also yet to be disclosed, and the root for his aggressiveness, that doesn’t seem to steam solely from social ineptitude, is still unknown to the viewers. However, I feel like the series managed to pass its points across quite well: the importance of having people to support you and people with whom you can share your good moments and turn to on your bad moments; the way it’s impossible to be on a relationship with someone, be it love or friendship, without eventually hurting your peers but even so, even through all the mistakes, it’ll be worth it. Those two points were reflected countless times in these 12 episodes, and I felt were conveyed in quite an effective way. The finally episode itself seems like a metaphor for the later point. I first thought of it as a bizarre episode, something quite strange to air as a finale, but after reflecting on it for a bit, I understood it was about Haru’s journey to share the sight of the firefly with Shizuku. To share something beautiful with someone you love. Even making lots of mistakes in the mean time, it ends up being worth, for the journey and the company both make what you want to share even more beautiful. Or so I understood it.
As it’s apparent by the above paragraphs, these two small issues just mentioned don’t detract all that much from the enjoyment of the series as a whole, nor from getting what it was all about, nor from laughing at its funny moments (and there are plenty). Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun was a series I really enjoyed following, a series with well-developed characters (in fact, I believe it packed quite a lot of character development for a mere 12 episodes), an amazing art style with a colorful and eye-catching color palette, and a show that would always put a smile on my face regardless of my mood before watching it. It is definitely something worth watching, both for fans of the shoujo genre and for everyone else.
Dusk’s Score: 8 Meeps out of 10 (Very Good)
Alex’s Score: 8 Meeps out of 10 (Very Good)
Btooom!’s premise is one we’ve been getting quite accustomed to, as a survival game setting has been quite the trend for the last few seasons. To be honest, it’s always a premise that attracts me: seeing the characters struggle with the notion that they have to “kill or be killed”, which often conflicts with their morals, is quite the thought-provoking thing in itself, as it never fails to make me wonder what I’d do and how I would react in a similar situation. One other point in this setting’s favor is obvious by the name itself: a survival game implies there will be people dying, which often brings along some cool action scenes and some gore. I don’t know if that’s a plus in everyone’s books, but it certainly is an entertaining feature for me. However, most stories with this kind of setting are unsurprisingly similar. While some few authors can come up with more branching, a survival game usually has quite the strict rulebook to follow. This is definitely Btooom!’s case, as it did little to set itself apart in terms of originality. Of course that’s nothing to hold against it. The big question is: if it didn’t manage to tell a different story than all its predecessors of the same genre, what are its selling points and how good were they?
Due to the aforementioned lack of real distinguishable traits in the plot, most of the value from this type of series lies in the characters. In first place, as I said before, their moral struggles are the reason I’m attracted to this setting. As such, the character development will be the key aspect to determine how much I enjoy such a show, or, generalizing this notion, how much a show with a known setting is worth watching. In a survival game setting, the characters make the series, and unfortunately to the show, I don’t think Btooom! managed to succeed in this field.
Sakamoto Ryouta, the protagonist of the series, is a 22-year-old NEET, addicted to a video game which the series is title after. One day, he wakes up in an island, not knowing what he’s doing there. Moreover, a guy trying to kill him with bombs soon appears. Along with an unknown number of other people, Sakamoto and Himiko – a 15-year-old girl who’s scared of man due to a traumatic experience – are trapped in an island, playing a game with their lives on the line, in a scenario that presents killing 7 other people as the requirement to get out alive.
Despite there being many more people in the island, only these two main characters seem to get any sort of real development. Such fact is both a weakness and a strength. It’s quite disappointing when considering the best possible approach to a survival game relies on exploring the different characters, and their personal issues. However, Btooom! doesn’t have the kind of writing quality nor does it have the time to satisfactorily explore its full cast. By instead focusing on the main pair and showing no more than the different takes at the game and short and concise flashbacks for the others, the series gains more than it would lose by trying something it definitely can’t do.
That said, Btooom! is quite an entertaining show. The actions scenes are interesting, specially considering that fighting using bombs isn’t a common sight in anime and the plans the characters conceived to outwit one another had their own merit, since the mechanics of the game are at least somewhat new. Besides that, the color pallet is pretty and the OP song is fabulous, so this is something I never once considered dropping, if solely due to the sheer entertainment value.
All in all, this is a series about how an anti-social guy who loathed (and was aggressive towards) his family, ended up understanding his behavior steamed from simple miscommunication. Well, it’s not really about that, but that’s probably the most interesting point to me. There was a stark contrast between the naive and kind-hearted Sakamoto we saw most of the time and the one shown in the flashbacks. His gradual realization of the fact that his parents weren’t the only ones acting wrong and his apparent change were the best character development Btooom! had to offer, and I wouldn’t trade it for any kind of attempt at developing side characters.
There were also things that annoyed me to death in Btooom!, that’s for sure. Most of those can be included in a single category – character reactions – the worst being when two certain characters run from other after having struck his back with an sickle. While he was on the floor, wouldn’t it be quite simple to solve the situation by killing him or incapacitating him? Like knocking him unconscious with the handle, for example. Stupid reactions for the sake of more drama are something I simply can’t stand. It is also not a complete adaptation, thus carrying the shortcomings that usually come along with that. I think the plot had the potential to become a bit more interesting with more being revealed about the company who mounted the game scenario and Sakamoto’s plan to hijack an helicopter. Ending this with a cliffhanger and being ambiguous about a sequel is a smart move financially, but quite an annoying one for the viewers.
However, and despite the bad points it did have, I liked watching Btooom!. As a survival game, it did is job at making me wonder to myself how I would act in the situations presented each time, and as an action show it was entertaining enough. It isn’t terribly original, nor does it have any strong enough points to make it above average, but it’s still quite the decent watch when you don’t want to tire your brain too much.