Btooom! (TV) – Episode 12 (FINAL)
Another anime that was brought to an end this week, besides Chuunibyou, was Btooom! As far as I’ve heard, they managed to force quite a bit of content into those 12 episodes. Nevertheless, for the most part it did not feel rushed.
First, about episode 12. The biggest part of the final episode was concentrated on Taira, or his betrayal in particular. As expected from last week’s episode, the homing-type BIM really was Taira’s and he sent it towards Ryouta and Himiko after going crazy. All the time when the man was left alone surely didn’t work in his favor – he felt lonely and abandoned, and always thought he would be left alone. Thus, when he started hallucinating, he came to a conclusion: kill or be killed.
During this episode, my opinion of him changed. I used to think he was just a weak man in his 40’s, and hated violence. Despite all that, he pulled off more than any enemy managed to do during the whole series. He injured Ryouta’s leg, and almost killed both of the min characters. In the end, their cooperation, love and instincts came out on top, though, and Taira fled in terror. Just as he heard Ryoutas apoligy about leaving him alone so many times, and as he gave up on killing his partners, his time came. Surrounded by a bunch of lizards, he blew up his last BIM and thus commited suicide.
Taira’s death affected mainly Ryouta, but also Himiko, a lot. Both were left crying and apologizing to the man. However, it led to the strenghtening of their bonds, when Himiko suggested Ryouta to kill her and take the final chip. As expected, he refused, and the couple really fell in love. Ryouta realized that Himiko really was the one he was married to in-game, and they kissed. They were almost ready to have sex, but Oda’s image in Ryouta’s head convinced the latter to stop – he did not want to be like his old best friend, who acted on the spur of the moment. The love was postponed by the two until they got out of their current situation – when they finally escaped the island.
The final bit of Sakamoto’s past was also shown – the reason he became the way he was. In his childhood, his father used to always work, and never spent time with the family or his son. For that, Ryouta’s mother remarried, which in turn enraged the boy. He hated his father for how he was never there, and he hated his mother for her decision to leave her husband without even thinking about her son’s opinion. A sad, but unfortunately typical story of a family.
At the end of the episode, the main antagonist (the one with the cap) is shown in front of a helicopter, giving orders to fix a technical situation on the island. It is left uncertain what had happened, but it seems serious. The clients weren’t allowed to know about it. One of the men who flew to the island said: “Ryouta, I’m sorry. This is all that I can do.” I wonder what he meant by that, and who he was? Thinking about it a bit, I think he looks slightly like Ryouta’s father, but that’s probably wrong. Also, the final scene gave a strong hint towards another season.
Ending: I was rather disappointed. If the past 11 episodes had about the same tempo, then the final episode really felt rushed. They could have put more into the part with Taira’s betrayal, and they could have still added more development of the relationship between Himiko and Ryouta. I’m not even talking about the fact that the story did not end at that – that’s a positive thing in my opinion, but still, as I said, this episode could have easily been split into two.
Visuals: Nothing special. This cetrainly wasn’t one of the best anime series this season in regards to visual quality. The animation was okay, but characters were often drawn out below average quality. On the other hand, there were quite a few sceneries to slightly cover the lacking in other things.
Sound: To say shortly, it was good. At times it felt as if some of the voice actors didn’t fit the roles, but mostly that wasn’t the case. One example would be Himiko’s voice – at first it was strange hearing her talk the way she did, but I got used to it. Also, this was another anime with Sawashiro Miyuki in it. What a surprise… considering she had a role in almost every anime of the season. Ryouta’s voice actor did a very good job, considering it was his first role (?).
Story: Great. The setting of a survival game in real life, that imitates an online game is quite interesting. It’s different from Sword Art Online, which is set in a virtual world, and therefore I wouldn’t call it a repetition of the same idea. Most of the stuff that was shown fit the plot very well, and most inconsistencies can be answered or explained in some way. The romance part was good, but the anime could easily have done without it.
Overall: No, this wasn’t the best anime of the season. Although I enjoyed it for the most part, and it managed to pull off quite many amazing moments, it still never gave me a deep impression. It felt just like many other shounen series, but with a bit of spice added to it. That aside, I’ll be looking forward to the 2nd season, if it will ever come, and perhaps the authors will make this into something even better. If there won’t be another season – then they would be making a huge mistake, since this story still has a lot of unused potential.
UPDATE 27.12.2012: Bizarre prediction for a conclusion: all characters in the anime are actually beta testers of an upcoming VRMMO. This would make a lot of sense! The technology seems just too conveniently high-tech: radars, different BIMs that can only be used by their owner/his or her killer, implanted chips. The transfer to the virtual world affected characters’ consciousness and memory. Most importantly, Ryouta wanted to work for the company – he repeatedly asked for a job. Maybe they finally gave him an offer to test out the new game? Also, all the tracking devices used by the developers would be much easier to explain if this was the case. Plus all the programming done by the workers… Farfetched theory, but who knows?