OP Sequence

OP: 「No Pain, No game」 by ナノ (nano)


BTOOOM!’s first episode sure was a blast! Puns aside, the premise of this show was very entertaining, attractive, and promising. I’m hooked!

Games become reality. Everything is a matter of life and death – all for the sake of someone else’s entertainment or some sort of political punishment. I think most of us are familiar with this concept as it has become a very popular one in modern media. The titles that I relate this concept to are Battle Royale, Gantz, Mirai Nikki, Sword Art Online, and also The Hunger Games, although the latter is not part of Japanese media. And now, I’m adding a new one to that list – BTOOOM!

BTOOOM! centers on the life of Sakamoto Ryouta (Hongou Kanata), a 22-year-old NEET who is obsessed with the DXBOX 720 (parody of Xbox 360) online TPS game “BTOOOM!”. Ignoring his mother’s attempts at helping him find a job for the sake of his future, he spends his days playing the game in hope of landing a job he has been told to wait for at Tyrannos Japan, the company that produced the game itself.

One day, an amnesic Ryouta finds himself hanging from a parachute on a tree on an unknown island. With him, he has a bag filled with cubes, and on his hand some kind of device has been implanted. Curiosity makes Ryouta test one of the cubes but his intuition tells him something is wrong as a timer shows up on the cube, so he throws the thing away and realizes that these cubes are bombs as the one he throws away explodes.

Soon he finds himself under attack by someone who also has a bag filled with bombs and then he realizes that he has been thrown into a real version of BTOOOM! Like the game itself, players are equipped with sonar target trackers (the chip on their hands) and a bunch of BIMs (bombs). Ryouta realizes that it’s a “kill or be killed” situation and tries to escape his pursuer. During the chase he learns that he has the timer type BIM that explodes when the timer hits zero while his pursuer has the cracker type that explodes on impact.

Lucky for Ryouta, he is very familiar with the game as he is ranked #10 on the global leaderboards, so he uses his wits to place one his bombs below his pursuer before cliff-diving into the ocean. Watching his target’s dead body makes him realize what kind of horror he has entered. Ryouta leaves the place and soon, he finds himself in a calm area which is occupied by a beautiful blonde girl with crystal blue eyes.

I am a huge fan of the BTOOOM! manga, and as it seems now, I might be able to say the same about the anime in the future. I think the introduction episode was done very well. The presentation was very simple, but less is more. The aesthetical appearance of the show is very appealing to me and the black contrasting shadows bring out the harshness of this series, so applauds for Madhouse!

There isn’t much to say about the characters because hardly any of them were introduced. We only have Ryouta so far. When I heard that Hongou Kanata would be voicing him, I was quite surprised. I’ve seen Hongou in various movies and dramas, and I didn’t think his soft voice would suit Ryouta but I was proved wrong today. Hongou did a great job voicing Ryouta considering that this is his first time acting as a seiyuu. Despite having a soft voice, he made Ryouta appear as he should – pathetic and impudent. However, Hongou isn’t new to this concept. He has starred in various shows that involve killing people off such as the live-action adaptations of Gantz and Mirai Nikki.

It’s easy to feel empathy for Ryouta who has been thrown into a nightmare but at the same time, as he is now, he isn’t a very likable person. There is nothing wrong with being a NEET or playing games (and finding comfort in the virtual reality, such as a virtual wife) all day, but disrespecting someone for trying to help or being ungrateful to people who only want what’s best for you (and probably paid for everything you have) are not things to be encouraged. Ryouta doesn’t deserve being in that game, no one does, but in a way, this game might help him open up his eyes and see how precious his life is. And hopefully, if he manages to stay alive till the end, he will appreciate what he had, but brutality should never be the way to teach people lessons because that will just leave scars and fear. A socially unacceptable person can’t be fixed by cruelty; that would just cause mental damage.

But this explosive game of hide and seek isn’t about changing people. The game seemed to happen very randomly so I don’t think it has a political reason behind it. As far as I can tell, its purpose is to serve as entertainment for whoever that created this madness. While it is cruel, it’s undeniably interesting as a setting for anime. I think the first episode of BTOOOM! was great and I really look forward to the second one where we’ll find out a bit more about the blonde girl near the end who seems to be Ryouta’s wife from the virtual game (according to the opening sequence). From what I’ve seen in the preview, her story does not look bright, so more cruelty ahoy!

Random thoughts:

  • The first seconds of the opening sequence make Ryouta seem very bow-legged.
  • I really liked the opening sequence. Nano’s voice is incredible!
  • Cool guys don’t look at explosions!
  • If you have time, please take a look at BTOOOM!’s manga covers. They’re very unique and interesting.
  • Ryouta’s design slightly reminds me a bit of Yagami Light from DEATH NOTE.
  • That gamepad is probably more lethal than any of the BIMs in Ryouta’s possession…
  • IRL waifu?
  • Full-length shots: 1, 2, 7, 9, 12, 22, 23, 24, 36

Note 1: The first two episodes of BTOOOM! pre-aired; that’s why there have been discussions about them on various sites (I was asked why my post wasn’t up yet).

Note 2: The BTOOOM! manga has been licensed by Yen Press – the first English volume will be released in February.


ED Sequence

ED: 「アオゾラ」 (Aozora) by May’n



  1. YES! I was suprised no one seemed very interested with this series. Ive read until vol. 5 and I’ll stop there. This is one of those series better in animation. So are we likely to have someone blog this? (Im secretly hoping the same for Tempest :-P)

  2. They did it better than I expect, the fight scene looks nice and the characters aren’t too different from the manga version. Anyway, is this show 1-cour or 2-cour? Show Spoiler ▼

  3. Stereoman, thanks for the coverage, and I will be following the series and posts to the end 🙂

    I watched the pre-air and caught up on all the manga up-to-date. I have to say, this is a great series, and I am certainly hooked by the story and the intertwined relationship between participants. Sakamoto might not be the most likeable character, but he sure will grow a lot in the course of the game, and the mysterious girl in the end of the episode, is by herself, enough for me to watch this (not to give too much spoilers here)…

    the episode itself is solid and interesting, and I may just add that the reason the other dude seems terrible at throwing bombs at Sakamoto is because he tripped on drugs (from manga) plus it is at night… not because Sakamoto is on “god mode” (I do admit, it wouldn’t surprising that Sakamoto be killed first since he has no memory of what is going on… but that would make the story very awkward…)

    ps. Sakamoto does look like Light, but blond girl reminds me so much of Niku from Haganai (but this blond is so much better than that Niku!)

  4. I like the idea of Battle Royale + Bomberman + Boobs so pretty much hooked on that.

    But one thing annoyed me in this episode, Ryouta’s annoyingly stupid inner monologue. Especially when he was trying to figure out how his bombs worked. I mean he initially noticed the timer on the 1st bomb and instictively threw it before it exploded. You think he would have figured it out by then. However he fumbles around with it like an idiot while being chased and we have to hear him slowly connect the dots… BOMB + TIMER = EXPLODES AT 0 JUST LIKE IN THE VIDEOGAME!

    I know inner monologue is commonly used for exposition in anime but the way it’s used here made me notice how bad it is. Ryouta’s thought process made him sound like he was mentally retarded. Maybe that’s why he’s a NEET. Maybe its intentionally showing us that he’s not the brightest bulb. Other shows and characters that gave me the same feeling is Ganta from Deadman Wonderland and Yuki from Mirai Nikki. Funny that they all seem to be in similar situation. I wish anime would do away with dense main characters. It’s not fun listening to them think.

    Besides that one minor gripe, animation and story looks good so I’ll keep watching because of that. If it continues to have bad inner monologues which seems to be a cliche in anime, I will just have to endure it.

    Chillax Mang
    1. Well… Giving the reason that his memory is fuzzy, I can’t blame him (the reason might be shown in episode 3). The blood from his head should give you a little hint at why his thought process is kinda slow… Though his instinct is sure top class xD

    2. It seems painfully obvious to the audience as they sit there and watch it all calm and logical, but if you put yourself in his shoes, it’s a touch of realism. He was shocked and knocked unconscious and woke up on an unfamiliar surrounding with tiny technological contraptions in a fanny pack. Overwhelmed by having tiny bombs and psycho chasing you with bomb, I don’t think most people would connect the dot so fast, your mind just don’t work priorities that way.

      It’s something that could have been done better visually, along with making it more believable. I get the moon is a nice visual, but it should be a condition that’s pretty dark with just the moon light, and that’s why the cannon fodder’s aim was incredibly horrible. Couple with the information that contact style bomb are the least powerful in term of firepower to make it believable.

      1. I think you’re justifying it a bit too much. His monologues revealed that what happen didn’t do anything too severe to his mental process, so if he still knows how to open a bottle beverage, he should probably know bombs have switches. He’s been playing a game about bombs for a good part of his life, and he even related the real life ones to being identical to those virtual ones he has become accustomed to all too well. And with the obvious addition of common sense. Bombs have switches. How can they not?

    3. completely agree with you about the timer thing. the whole time i was watching that scene, i was like “where’s the logic on this?!”. plus at the end there, why was that girl surprised to see him? doesn’t her “sonar” work? he was like what, no more than 20 feet from her or something? shouldn’t that have activated it?

      i wonder if it is a good idea to have two people reviewing new shows. you know, someone who has read the manga and someone who doesn’t?

  5. The beginning with Ryouta discovering he somehow got abducted and parachuted in a jungle in the middle of nowhere kind of reminds me of Predators (the decent sequel starring Adrian Brody, not the butchered Alien vs Predators rubbish). And then there’s the good use of flashbacks at properly timed intervals, much like JJ Abrams’ “Lost”, also involving people mysteriously marooned on a tropical island.

    Madhouse’s adaptation of the entertaining manga premise is in safe hands as in charge of the Script Coordination (i.e. main scriptwriter) is Kuroda Yousuke of Onegai Teacher fame, who has just come out fresh from directing the excellent spiritual sequel to the Onegai Teacher series Ano Natsu de Matteru earlier this year.

    Kinny Riddle
  6. The premise of bombs being the only weapon is pretty interesting. I think I’ll follow this series, though the main character is grating on my nerves at the moment.


    “There is nothing wrong with being a NEET”

    I’m not sure you understand what a NEET is. There is a whooooooooooooole lot wrong with being one.

      1. While I’m not too bothered by his general childishness and lashing out at those close to him (he is a NEET, and will likely grow out of that in this game), I’m more worried by his general slowness. The whole “the timer on this bomb is a countdown” thing was an epic face palm moment.

  7. watching this so this case of combine survivor + battle royale + mirai nikki + explosion bombs = btooom!

    give this focus on ryuta is top gamer on it give his mom concern of future yea really someone call therapy for them?

    one day on a island now survive now have fight bomb to make it all go tick tick boom to survive hey at least see blonde doobi female.

    oh well might as see how far it goes?

  8. I will say though, this episode was pretty fast-paced. I just checked and we are already halfway thru the first volume. Its hard to say its going to last 20+ eps. We’re gonna catch up real soon if they dont slow down. Either we get a 2nd season sometime later, or we will get an original ending.

    1. yeah, i mean the first episode kinda covered the first three chapters of the manga, if this is slated to be 1-cour, does that mean 3 x 12 episodes = 36 chapters? if that’s the case then i goes this one will stop at
      Show Spoiler ▼

  9. The show is awesome no doubt. However, the amount of time it took him to figure out that it was a bomb on a timer (which was self-evident the first time he threw it) made me face palm…

    1. it’s actually pretty normal if you think about it (think about it)
      living peaceful live for 22 years with nothing happening, then suddenly shit is blowing up, you’re isolated on an island, confusion and shock take over, you wouldn’t probably be able to tie your shoes from first try at that point.

      1. Yeah I guess you could look at it from that standpoint. However, by that point he was able to process enough information as it is (i.e. he had the approaching man throw a BIM at him and was thrown back against the tree) so he should have realized that when the countdown counts to zero he will die instead of whatever he thought (maybe he thought a maid-in-love will pop out? I don’t know).

        Also, it took him a while AGAIN to realize its on a timer when he threw it in the water…

        Now if he was supposed to realize that when he first opened his eye with his parachute perched on top I’d understand it and give it the benefit of the doubt… however, he wasn’t attacked immediately.

  10. I thought it was a great episode, but also think that it potentially alienated a lot of viewers who’ve never read the manga (although I haven’t either). Ryouta was really nerve-grating pretty much the entire time, which I understand, but it was almost a little bit too much. Some epic character development needs to happen or else I’ll be kind of disappointed. Or I might just watch it because Madhouse is awesome.

  11. That was an excellent episode. We are just on a roll here with the opening of both Zetsuen and Btooom! being so incredibly epic. This series falls right into Madhouse’s comfort zone, being psychologically intense and packed with actions, which means it has a lot of potential to be good considering the amount of experience Madhouse has with this kind of theme. The animation and general directing are also handled with finesse. Yup, Btooom! is definitely moving up on my watch list.

  12. I just started reading the manga a few months ago and now here’s the anime! It was awesome seeing it in full color and animation. Maybe it’s because there’s an actual voice for Ryouta now, but I seriously felt irked by his whining during the whole episode. It reminded me of Ganta in Deadman Wonderland at first. But that’s really just a personal dislike for whiny, idealistic youths that can’t come to grips with going on around them. The episode itself was excellent and was completely true to the manga. I hope they continue to be true to the manga, which really shouldn’t be too hard! I’m incredibly excited to see the introduction of the girl. With this pacing, we might get pretty far into the manga, but the ending will be interesting since the manga is not even remotely done yet.

  13. It’s not that he’s not able to think, it’s that he was in a state of panic, I mean his inner monologues consist of a bunch of no way, why is this happening, can I talk this trough, should I kill him, am I going to die? lot of scatter thoughts rather than the functional one. An athlete practice their craft their entire lives and they could still mess up on it in critical moment because of pressure. Chris Webber called a time out that his team didnt have even though he should have an idea of how many time outs they have. He has no idea that his bomb is different from the other guy’s to start with, and the only explosion he saw was after he threw his bomb instinctively, at that time he has no clue what the numbers means.

  14. Definitely looks like a fun action show. Don’t really know if it will be much more than that, however.

    But screw it, it doesn’t need to be more than that. I already had plenty of fun with this show just the way it is 😀

  15. I don’t think this Btooom is super original, since there are similar anime/manga already, e.g. Deadman Wonderland and Mirai Nikki, it almost feels like in this anime that everyone is Minene who also uses bombs and explosives. I guess this is one of those anime that are hampered/limited by the TV censorship; the manga has a lot of gore. I guess I will watch the 2nd episode and hope to see more backstory of the “bombermen” in this dead-or-alive game.

  16. Well….Ryouta really annoyed me in his debut…. I guess tht a achievement. But still, even with throwing game controller to his mom he doesn’t justify to let him in a death game… Though I’m sure in the end he will at least be less of a jerk.

    Ohhh… I sense a HotD censor coming soon!!! And looks like Blondie will be the victim of it….
    Btw how does she not notice Ryouta….
    Am I the only one who noticed tht the Mum and the guy from the video game company have some really **** up face?? And is the mother infected with a virus??

    Great OP. And I like Nano vocal. But I can’t say the same for the ED. Its ruins the mood a little lol (^.^;)

    1. Show Spoiler ▼

      unless AT-X does it, the censor might be even worse than HOTD… the pre-air was pretty bad, but only for a few seconds.

  17. I love when manga I read get anime adaptations.As long as they’re good and stay true to the original source.I can’t watch Fairy Tail because of the stupid stuff they included like Magic Circles.

  18. I like survival game in general and this one looks good so far. Though I have a hard time to sympathize with the main protagonist. If I was his mother, he would be in street likes 1 and a half years ago already. I know he is not gonna die, and probably becomes mature and like able over the course of the anime. But I dont mind at all if he bite the dust at the moment. And judging from the ending dialogue, it seems everyone in this survival game has committed some mistake in the past which leads them here.

  19. while I like “When in doubt, lob another grenade!” theme, I am worried about possible theme of people being sent away to the island for variety of “sins” (the protagonist being “unproductive” gamer… and as it seems from the preview, his girl counterpart for something involving betrayal of friends…) I would not mind such theme in a truly supernatural show like Jigoku shojo or Shigofumi – but here it seems out of place/artificial (does it make OOPA?)

  20. The people I talked to about Btooom! online didn’t seem very pleased with the first episode, but I surely was. People complained the character design of Ryota was too ‘Light Yagamish’ (although Madhouse did animate Death Note) but the fact of the matter is that Ryota looks just like he does in the manga (although I thought he was blonde, but the covers of the manga say otherwise.) And that the first episode made Ryota seem pathetic and idiotic (they asked why he couldn’t figure out how to use the bombs the second/third time while battling that dude)

    I love the idea of “Battle Royale meets bombs”. The series makes you feel conflicted, as if “they somewhat deserve to be here, but at the same time they don’t”, it gives you that ‘Death Note’ feel to it where either side could be the villain. I say give this series a few more episodes and it will prove to be everything it is promised to.

    And the guy who voice Ryota did an exceptional job, and from what I saw of the PV for the next episode Himiko sounds just as expected. She looks flawlessly beautiful, too.


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