April 27, 2013

Have you ever loved a game so much that you would really love to play it in real life? As in, you yourself would like to participate as a player and play the game in the real world setting instead of just being confined to the TV screen and your imagination. Good news. The BTOOOM game may seem like a popular internet team game but to the unsuspecting some, you have a chance to participate this survival game for real and blow up your enemies with your own hands. Only one catch: This game is real and this means if you die, you really die! No second chance, the typical 3 lives or unlimited continues at the luxury of your disposal. No resurrection spells either. Think twice if you want to play it for real because survival of the fittest is crucial. Heck, it’s not like anybody can audition or send in a video tape to say why they love to participate. Somehow random people are ‘abducted’ and made to play this sick game whereby only the strongest, toughest and smartest will survive and will be sent home. So we’ve got a group of strangers from all walks of life stranded on an uninhabited island each with their own limited set of arsenal. You know things are going to get bloody and gory when your life is at stake. For real. So are you game?

Episode 1
Ryouta Sakamoto is playing the popular online game called BTOOOM as he easily chalks up his enemies and rises through the worldwide rankings. As narrated, it is a game whereby teams kill each other only using different types of bombs. He admits he is unemployed but in this virtual world, he is very much respected and the best in Japan. His aim is of course to be number one. Suddenly the next thing he knows, he finds himself in the tropical jungle. His parachute is stuck on the tree. His head hurts. He can’t remember what happened that got him into this predicament. No, it’s not a dream either. He goes through his stuffs and notices a green crystal embedded on his left hand. He needs to find out where he is but gets spooked with the jungle’s little creepy crawlies. Finally he hits the shore. The blue sky and sea. Slowly he regains bits of his memories. He was in an argument with his mom because she had sent his resume to a grocery store against his will. He did not want to work there and asserts there’s a place he wants to work. As he leaves, a couple of MIB agents approach him. That’s all he remembers. Sakamoto goes through the unfamiliar pouch in his hand and notices strange cubes. He activates one of them, not knowing what it is. A timer counts down and before it reaches zero, he throws it away and it explodes!!! Woah! Almost died there. He thought he saw someone coming from afar and waves for help. However he throws a bomb at him! Sakamoto makes a run after knowing this Blondie is trying to kill him for real. He realizes how similar this reality is to BTOOOM but to his dismay Blondie always finds him. Too bad he’s such a bad aim that his bombs don’t hit Sakamoto. He always gets flung away by the impact. I wonder how many more times he can take this. Sakamoto tries to fight back with his bombs but isn’t sure how to use them. Just when he thought he cornered Blondie, he starts asking questions about everything. But Blondie isn’t so kind to tell him and will kill him. Sakamoto thought of surrendering but that was just stupid. Luckily he didn’t die from that blast. He realizes hiding is useless because the crystal pinpoints one’s location just like the game.

He is hiding in the bushes lamenting his predicament while Blondie is going to flush him out. I guess Sakamoto is pretty slow because now he realizes his bombs work on a timer while Blondie explodes on impact. Just like in the game. Took him some time, huh? Sakamoto continues to lament all the glory he got was just virtual. Now it’s real. Just as Blondie is about to throw his bomb, Sakamoto dives off the cliff and swims as deep as he could. Blondie thought he could just wait till he surfaces but he didn’t realize Sakamoto just planted his timer bomb right where he is standing. Then… BOOOOOM!!! See all his scattered body parts sink into the ocean. Gruesome. This is what you do for survival. He takes Blondie’s bombs as his own. Flashback reveals Sakamoto wanted to work for a game company that created BTOOM, Tyrannos Japan. However there was no vacancy. One night while holing up in his room playing BTOOOM, his mom wanted to talk to him about getting a job at Uncle Kazu’s udon shop. Sakamoto blew his top and asserted the dream job he wanted to get. That was 2 years ago and he is still unemployed. She wants him to stop dreaming about working for the game company so that’s when Sakamoto got mad and threw the controller, almost hitting mom. Gosh… Back in reality, it is daybreak. Sakamoto is at the river. Hungry. Probably he vomited out all he has eaten after last night’s gruesome kill. Then he sees a sexy blonde bombshell, Himiko washing herself in the river ahead. He is surprised to see her. She is surprised to see him.

Episode 2
Himiko also plays BTOOOM and met Sakamoto when he offered her to join his team for a game when one of his mates logged out. Because of that, her ranking rose a lot after 3 games (by 20,000?!). Himiko remembers hanging out with her best friend Miho. She thought this is punishment for that terrible incident. As Himiko lies around on the beach, a group of men wake her up. Based on their appearance, let’s call them Macho Teacher, Fatty and Pirate Ruffian. Teacher assures they won’t hurt her and to join them to stay together as a group. Pirate didn’t like Teacher’s upright ways because it makes him look like a hypocrite. Pirate takes Himiko hostage to see if Teacher got the guts to stay true to his words. Himiko frees herself with her taser. Fatty suggests picking a leader and leave their bombs with the trustworthy one. He suggests Himiko and so does Teacher. I guess it’s not right to shove those heavy pouches of bombs to a girl but hey, she seems like the one who will least double cross them. A plane drops the much needed food and other supplies. But Teacher lectures them about eating too much and should divide it fairly. Pirate shuts him up by slitting his throat! His crystal falls off. That night, Fatty takes Himiko and run for fear they will be next on Pirate’s kill list. Fatty can’t run so he needs to rest. However he senses Pirate coming after them. Now he can run. He tells Himiko about the crystal on their hand which works as a radar. That’s how he is able to sense Pirate but this means Pirate can track them. Then they come to a rope bridge. Himiko has no problem crossing but I’m sure Fatty is worried that his weight will make him fall like a rock. He’s got no time to think since Pirate has caught up. However he doesn’t know what Fatty is talking about using the radar thingy. In his fear, Fatty throws his bomb and runs across the bridge. Miraculously the bridge didn’t collapse! I guess he ran so fast that he was weightless like the wind! Haha! Pirate makes a run for it realizing Fatty’s bomb starts decaying all the life forms around with its gas.

Fatty drags Himiko along as he tells her they need to kill to survive. She won’t do that and this reminded him of an unpleasant him. Because he is annoyingly bugging her, she punches him. She uses her taser to knock him out. As she is hiding, she remembers how she brought Miho and her other friends to the apartment of Miho’s crush, Yoshioka. He brought over his band members too and her friends were ecstatic to meet them in person. Himiko heads to the store first after letting them in. When she returns, she is horrified to see her friends drugged and gang raped and Miho in the midst of being done in. The guys view Himiko as the main course but she fights her way out. She was the only one who escaped. This incident received lots of publicity, Yoshioka and his band members got arrested and all her friends moved away after that. Miho’s last words were that she hated her and hoped she disappear for good. So maybe this was her punishment. Fatty finds Himiko thanks to the radar and pins her down getting ready to rape her. She rather die than get raped so she sets off her bomb timer. Fatty got scared and runs away. Himiko realized she is going to die alone and throws the bomb Fatty’s way. BOOOOOM!!! A good fat guy is a dead fat guy. Her first kill. That’s when she felt proud she protected herself and declares all men on this island are her enemies. That’s why when she saw Sakamoto, she got alerted to see another scum.

Episode 3
Sakamoto realizes Himiko has got lots of supplies with her and tried to go after her but she was too fast and disappeared into the jungle. Instead, Sakamoto meets an elderly guy, Kiyoshi Taira who is taking a dump. Thank goodness he didn’t soil his pants. Too bad he stepped on his own poo when Sakamoto ‘frightened’ him. Taira offers to explain what happened. He was taken away by MIBs and the next thing he knew he was in a cargo plane filled with around 30 other people from all walks of life. Men and women, young and old. A funny guy, Takanohashi appeared on the screen to explain the workings of the game they’ll be playing. They’ll be dropped on an uninhabited island somewhere in the Pacific and have to fight each other using bombs called BIMs. They are given 8 bombs each in the beginning and no manual comes with it. The crystal on their left hand is a chip that doesn’t come off easy unless surgery is done. It works as a radar to recognize one another easily. When your heart stops, so does the chip. To leave the island, they need 8 of these chips and this means one needs to kill 7 others. Because everyone was afraid of the stun gun the guards were pointing at them, only Sakamoto stood up to voice his protest about differentiating reality and game (is he the one to say?). The guards pin him down and fire the stun gun right at his head at maximum voltage! It’s amazing he didn’t die. Then everyone is shoved off the plane. Don’t worry, the parachutes open by themselves. Unconscious Sakamoto is also tossed off. So now that the mystery of his memory loss and his predicament is answered, the question is why Tyrannos is pulling this off. Sakamoto can’t go through that terrible feeling of killing people another 6 times.

Taira offers to work together but Sakamoto is wary because this means the number of murders will double. That’s 14 kills. But Taira says he won’t participate in this game and will find some other way out. Sakamoto wanted to call him naive but he can’t blame him since he too would’ve been in his shoes if he hadn’t met people who were trying to kill him. He agrees to join him but on 1 condition he shows his bombs and how many he has left. However Taira won’t because since these are their trump cards, knowing them would just make them more nervous. He thinks they’ll respect each other more if they don’t see what the other has. Sakamoto knows he is a clever guy and some old geezer. He agrees to join him without any conditions. They hear the sound of a plane coming and Taira notices it happened yesterday too about the same time. Sakamoto goes to a higher ground to see it dropping several suitcases over the island. He realizes they are food supplies. He reasons that the people behind this want them to play and they would be too hungry looking for food instead of killing each other. A woman beats Sakamoto to the nearest supply when suddenly a bomb goes off killing her! A shady Tattoo guy takes her chip, supplies and bombs. Sakamoto is devastated it could’ve been him. He realizes with everyone seeing the supplies, it’s a race to get there first but the shady guy was smart to plant a bomb. Sakamoto sees another location of another supply but wants to give up on it since he worries it might be a trap. But Taira says food is still food and can’t fight on an empty stomach. If they don’t get it, they won’t survive too. Sakamoto lightens up as they race to get it. When they arrive, they are shocked to see a boy covered in blood, just fresh from his kill.

Episode 4
Kousuke Kira is a troubled kid from a troubled home with a very abusive father to begin with. Started with pick-pocketing, larceny, killing women and raping them (yes, in that order). Because he is a minor and his lawyer Souichi Natsume, the law couldn’t do much. On the island, Natsume is shocked to see Kousuke killing frogs for fun. A hundred of them. He tries to reason with him about killing for fun and food but gives up. Then the supplies parachute down and Natsume feels Kousuke should speak up to his father instead of keeping quiet. Kousuke’s dad forces his son to use his implosion bomb to blow a huge hole in a tree to get the supplies. Then he takes them all for his own and tells off Natsume about survival of the strongest and that the law of the jungle applies. Because Kousuke called him a scum, daddy starts abusing him by squeezing his balls! Kousuke remembers how he was playing BTOOOM and achieved the achievement of playing the game for 40 straight hours (holy sh*t!) when daddy starts abusing him for skipping school and making him look bad. Kousuke couldn’t take it anymore and plants the bomb on his father! BOOM! It’s one nasty corpse so much so Natsume pukes. Kousuke revels in his actions and thinks Natsume will protect him like before. But the lawyer feels disgusted with Kousuke and calls him a monster worse than his father and runs off. That’s when Sakamoto and Taira come into this kid. Knowing he is dangerous, the duo make a run for it while Kousuke tries to take his father’s supplies and bombs. Taira trips and breaks his foot. He wants Sakamoto to run for his own safety. He can’t leave this old guy and wants him to stay put (just like in the game, the radar detects when only movements) and he will be the bait to draw Kousuke away.

Kousuke and Sakamoto experiment the use of their radar as they get closer to each other. Since they are both experienced BTOOOM players, they end up with the same strategy. They realize each other as a skilled BTOOOM player. Sakamoto makes a run while Kousuke is hot on his tail. Sakamoto sets a bomb threat but doesn’t kill Kousuke. Sakamoto would’ve been dead by his implosion bomb had he not think quickly and throw away his bag that the bomb was stuck to. Kousuke then starts analyzing and insulting him as a BTOOOM player and a shut-in who is a loser in real life. The impact from Kousuke’s bomb causes Sakamoto to knock his head on the rock and experience some concussion. He starts feeling in a daze and thinks he is playing a game. But this means his senses are also as sharp as in the game since he is Japan’s top player. Now like a different person, he makes his moves and tricks Kousuke with his traps and deception. The kid is stunned when his radar cannot detect Sakamoto’s location. Then he realized. Just like in the game, one can use the radar to cancel out the radar detection of another if it is activated at the same time. Because Sakamoto knows Kousuke’s pattern, he is able to cancel out his scanning all the time with accuracy. Kousuke starts to panic when he can’t tell Sakamoto’s presence. Sakamoto throws the final bomb at him to end it all. Somehow Kousuke is still breathing. When Sakamoto realizes this isn’t a game and reality, he becomes afraid that he was trying to kill someone again. Kousuke is tied to a tree and been given a lousy little snack as food while Sakamoto takes the rest of his supplies and bombs and leaves. When Kousuke learns his name and who he is, he gets excited to play this game even more.

Episode 5
Sakamoto and Taira take a break having lunch. Taira is so grateful for Sakamoto that he actually starts crying. No one has been this grateful to him before so he thinks back why he was brought to this island. Flashback indicates his mother almost committed suicide by slitting her wrists. His stepfather found her and mommy felt sorry for what she did even if it was to her own son. She knew he got laid off and even her son didn’t treat him well. Taira and Sakamoto are stunned to see a body floating down the waterfall. It’s the corpse of Fatty. Feeling the need to get out of here because the killer might just be over the waterfall, Taira’s leg is still injured. Sakamoto will then climb up to scout. He uses his radar and picks up Himiko’s presence. She starts throwing a bomb into the forest that starts decaying everything. Sakamoto makes a run for it and runs into Himiko. He realizes it’s a trap to flush him out. She is ready to throw another bomb at him as he tries to persuade her to put it down and inform her about his goal to get off the island without killing anyone. Though she disarms the bomb, the moment he takes a step closer, she activates it and throws it at him, thinking his goal was to let her guard down and then rape her. Thankfully her aim was lousy so Sakamoto still lives. Himiko draws her taser when he gets too close. He manages to avoid all her swings and in the end though he trips, his reflexes kicks her hand and Himiko knocks out herself with her own taser. Sakamoto disarms her and even have the thought to take a peek at her panties! I guess he can’t help resist the temptation. Naughty, naughty… He sure did have a good look but quickly backs down when her body moves unconsciously. What was he thinking? He realized that Fatty was trying to rape her (the reason his body had no pants on) and perhaps why she was so defensive when came into contact with him.

Himiko wakes up in Sakamoto’s arms. He is carrying her to a safe place and assures he won’t hurt her. However she still isn’t convinced and activates a hidden timer bomb. She is prepared to die rather than being raped and killed. Sakamoto easily disarms it (she is still weak from the stun) and realizes she was serious in killing herself. Himiko is given food as they suggest cooperating to get out of this island. But Himiko has her doubts. Even if they get off this island, who would be waiting for them? She lets them know that people who knew them well sent them to this island. Taira can’t believe it because he has a good relationship with his family. On second thought, he realizes he had a big argument with his customer recently. How did Himiko know of this? She and her friends knew about this rumour to send someone they hate away. After that group rape, Miho told her everyone picked her name as the most hated person to disappear. Sakamoto realizes his mother might be the one who sent him. Taira still believes in going back alive to work things out. Suddenly they hear rustling in the bushes. The radar picks up nothing. Then out they come… Giant komodo dragons!!! They are carnivorous, right?

Episode 6
Sakamoto wants Taira to bring Himiko away while he goes retrieve the bombs. But several komodo dragons are persistent in eating the old guy. How long can he kick them away? Sakamoto tries to use Kousuke’s bomb but it doesn’t explode. He thinks it is because he didn’t kill him, the bombs are not considered his. As he searches for his own bombs, a komodo dragon bites Taira’s leg. Sakamoto throws his bomb to scare them all away before it bites Taira’s leg off. Making their way upstream, Taira seems pessimistic because he has always been saying he’s just an old guy and no one will be blamed if he gets left behind. He adds when Sakamoto went off to fight, he had this thought he might never return and may have abandoned him. He was scared. Revealing he was kind to his family, but at work he’s a monster. Thus he may have stepped on lots of toes. Because the komodo dragons are following them, an attack split them up. Sakamoto tries to call and scan for Taira but doesn’t sense anything. Then he realizes Taira may have run away with the bombs and supplies he is carrying and left him with unconscious Himiko. He comes face to face with a komodo dragon but a homing bomb comes flying straight at it to scare it off. Taira comes back and Sakamoto regrets he doubted him. Seems when they were frantically using the radar to scan each other, it cancelled each other out. They find an abandoned base but it isn’t easy for the trio to climb up. I don’t want to say Himiko is heavy but rather the ladder is rusty and everyone is tired. Better hurry because the komodo dragons are closing in. Taira will distract them and wants Sakamoto to get Himiko up the base. Sakamoto knows his homing bombs sense the heat of its target but its impact isn’t powerful. He tries to wake Himiko out but she’s out cold. Evil thoughts cross his mind that if he abandons her, he can survive. Taira is shocked to see Sakamoto climbing up the ladder alone. Is he going to abandon them? Sakamoto starts throwing the decaying bomb at the forest. Some lizards were killed, the rest retreated. But how can Sakamoto activated her bombs if she’s not dead? He used her hand to activate it. Because of the direction of the wind and the base hidden between the rocks, they can be assured they’ll be safe from the bomb’s toxins.

Inside the base, they see old blood stains on the wall and think this game was played before. Taira’s leg injury worsens and he develops a fever. Next morning, Himiko still has a reservation on Sakamoto because his face indicates he might have done something to her while she was out. Sakamoto needs Himiko’s help to pin Taira down while he disinfects his leg but Himiko is still scared of touching men. She had to hold back her fear and do so when Sakamoto tells her Taira’s leg got into this shape while trying to save her. Meanwhile the guys back at Tyrannos are watching Sakamoto and notes the allies he is making and to continue watching and gathering more data. Because Himiko still distrusts men and has not agreed to work with them, Sakamoto wants her to answer his questions. The bombs and the supplies she got, did she kill others? He needs to know what she’s thinking or else they may be betrayed at any time. Himiko is close to breaking down and denies she’s a murderer because she did so in self defence. Suddenly a radar scan is detected. Unfortunately Himiko knows she has been detected and volunteers to leave before the killing starts. However Sakamoto will act as a decoy and draw them off. Sakamoto is in the jungle using his radar and tries to maintain a distance. A swift attack takes him by surprise as he narrowly escapes from being sliced by Pirate’s knife.

Episode 7
Guess what? In the world of BTOOOM, you can also get married! Albeit virtually. Sakamoto got hitched to Himiko and though he wanted to meet her face to face, she rather not because she wanted to keep dreaming like this. In reality, Sakamoto tries to reason with Masashi Miyamoto (the Pirate now has a name) not to fight but he isn’t convinced with this punk. A stray timer bomb blows up close to him as Sakamoto realizes he is working with Natsume. Sakamoto uses the taser to stun Natsume but its power has weakened. Part of Miyamoto’s plan is to let him get away because from their conversation, he knows he has friends. When Sakamoto gets back to the base, he assures them he wasn’t followed since he took the long way and didn’t sense the use of the radar. But he has to eat his words since Miyamoto makes his entry. As a mercenary, tracking in the jungle is his forte. Miyamoto wants to claim his supplies Himiko took and has a hunch she killed Akechi (Fatty). However she insists she has his chip but Miyamoto doesn’t believe her. Sakamoto threatens to use the taser but Miyamoto is not fazed. He tells them off the sane ones are playing this game and that he too wants to get off this island. Sakamoto is confident there is a blind spot somewhere because he once worked with Tyrannos as a debugger and a game this size must have balancing issues somewhere. Not convinced. Taira tries to do a sneak attack but his fingers were cut off instead! Miyamoto kicks Sakamoto off the ledge. Thankfully the tree branches broke his fall. Or else it could’ve been him broken in pieces down the rocks. When he climbs back up, he only sees Taira only. Himiko, the bombs and supplies have been taken. Except for her handphone. He takes a look at it and realizes she may be the Himiko he is virtually married to. He wants to go save her but Taira pleads not to leave him alone anymore. No luck. He’s determined to go.

Himiko is tied to the bed and prepared to die but in exchange wants her body left pure. Miyamoto isn’t going to let her die so easily because he is going to torture her by lynching her skin. Then they realize a radar and Miyamoto can tell it is Sakamoto. Miyamoto orders Natsume to ambush Sakamoto but has a hunch that things didn’t go as plan. He almost killed Natsume when he passed by where Miyamoto was waiting. Natsume threw his bomb but Sakamoto ‘disappeared’. Sakamoto narrowly evades a military style trap and from what he observed, even if the bomb doesn’t belong to you but if you successfully disarm it, the bomb becomes yours. He frees Himiko and tells her about the game and the person he is married too. However she says Himiko isn’t really her real name and doesn’t play that game often. Maybe he just got the wrong person. After all, with 3 million copies sold, what are the chances of a player with the same player? As they flee, Miyamoto orders Natsume to ambush once more. The lawyer is going crazy because he wants to kill in the name of self defence. That’s not punishable by law. I guess he was so obsessed with this and chasing him down that he didn’t see Sakamoto throwing back a bomb. Now he’s a dead lawyer. Unfortunately Miyamoto has taken Himiko hostage and challenges him to a fist fight, throwing down his knife. Sakamoto goes for the knife first and it’s a trap since Miyamoto swiftly beats him up. Himiko jumps on him and plants a decaying bomb on him. I guess becoming Usain Bolt really helps. But no use if you’re trap in a dead end! Sakamoto climbs up through a hole in the ceiling and pulls Himiko up. Suddenly Miyamoto grabs her leg. His entire faced and body is f*cking messed up! He is sure one tough cookie! Sakamoto tosses a timer bomb and pulls up Himiko while Miyamoto picks it up thinking of making it his if he disarms it. However he realizes this is Natsume’s bomb (he was ordered to set the bombs at shorter countdown intervals to not screw up) and the bomb explodes in his face. I guess that’s the end of him. Back at Tyrannos, Takanohashi the host shows his audience how this third round’s game balance has improved because Miyamoto was favoured to win and yet Sakamoto won.

Episode 8
After the gang rape incident, Himiko has been ostracized by her classmates. She skipped school and played BTOOOM in her room. Sakamoto was understanding and it made her happy. Elsewhere on the island, Kakimoto vows to protect Hidemi Kinoshita but the latter betrays him and pushes him into the abyss where a group of komodo dragons feast on him. Well, he did say he would protect her so does that include dying for her? She drops a bomb to kill everything. Takanohashi shows people’s dark side of betraying each other to his CEO. He even has the images turned into 3D models for those who can’t stand the gore. The CEO is looking forward to the finishing touches before announcing the project and leaves it up to Takanohashi. Sakamoto and Himiko rest in another abandoned hut since it’s too dark to head back to Taira. Himiko doesn’t want to sleep alone but doesn’t mean they can sleep together! Do you understand what she meant? So a simple border separates them as Himiko asks why he was so reckless to save her even he had not met her in person. He explains he becomes a calmer person with sharper thinking when backed to a corner. His other motivation was because he thought she was the Himiko he virtually married to. Because he is true to himself on the internet and ironically casted away everything in real life just for life in the virtual world. Himiko finds it hard to hide her tears. She was ready to give up then when he came into her life to save her like a hero. Best of all, he turned out to be the Sakamoto she knew. So it was her who really ‘married’ him. Himiko wakes up dead in the night screaming, thinking she saw someone starring at her! Sakamoto uses his radar to detect but doesn’t find anybody. Thinking the enemy could be hiding close by, he wants to conduct a search now. He sees a light across the far end of the opposite building and heads there himself. So giving Himiko a torchlight to search on her own is enough? He enters a room to see a camp. It’s like someone’s been living here for a long time. Just when he thinks it is a trap to lure him in, a woman attacks him from behind. He is able to dodge her sickle and kicks her out cold. He notices her left hand is missing and thus no chip means she couldn’t be detected by the radar. He returns to Himiko and brings her to the room.

When the woman wakes up, she starts going into hysteria there is a man in the room. Himiko has Sakamoto leave and will handle her. Introducing herself as Shiki Murasaki, she warns Himiko not to trust men but since Sakamoto has saved her life numerous times, she feels she needs to work with him. Shiki recalls how she was sent here 6 months ago. Working as a nurse in an understaffed hospital, one day there was a serious medical accident and the doctor she respected, Masahito Date was held responsible. Because she respected him so much, she altered the medical charts to clear his name. However it backfired and Shiki was blamed instead. By the doctor himself. She became public enemy number one and was so engulfed in hatred that she received a letter to make someone disappear. At the same time, someone must have a grudge against her to write her name and had her end up on this island. Date was also on this island and promised to work together to get off this island. But when they killed the sixth person, Date betrayed her. He uses his homing bomb on her but it was too weak to kill her. However it was enough because it blown away her left hand and he conveniently took her chip and got off the island via helicopter. Shiki warns them once they’ve killed the sixth person, their relationship will be tested. Himiko tells Sakamoto what she has been told and he thinks if they can use the bombs to hijack the pilot. But Himiko couldn’t tell him about what would happen when they get the sixth chip. Next morning, Shiki sees them off as they make their way back to Taira. Speaking of him, he is being treated no other by Date who is cursing his luck he has been sent back to this island again.

Episode 9
Date acts all goody-goody so he can use Taira later. But Sakamoto and Himiko return and are suspicious. Date tries to get on their good books and it is made easier for him when unsuspecting Taira vouches for the doctor since he saved his life. He also shows Sakamoto his bombs upon his request. They are remote control types and he has never used them once. Sakamoto apologizes for doubting him and Date is thankful he hasn’t come into contact with anyone for the last 3 days, that’s why he hadn’t had any chance to use the bombs. Sakamoto wants him to help them in getting off the island and the moment he mentions he already has 3 chips (I’m guessing they’re from Miyamoto, Natsume and Teacher), Date is all too eager to agree. With the plane dropping supplies again, Sakamoto, Himiko and Date race to go get it. Suddenly it’s like a radar detecting spree. Everybody is trying to sense who is after it. There are a total of 6 other players. Two of which are continuing straight for it, another two retreating while the balance are just watching. Sakamoto rushes ahead and realizes he is running side by side with Nobutaka Oda (Tattoo). Once out of the jungle, they both face off and threw a bomb each. Date manages to grab the supplies but the button won’t set it free from the parachute. The wind is picking up. Oda throws a decaying bomb so Sakamoto tells him to forget about it and run. Date puts his remote control bomb on the trunk to free it from the parachute and lets Sakamoto grab it. Oda continues to chase Sakamoto persistently. Suddenly flame bombs trap him. It is thrown by Arrogant who is teaming up with Kousuke. Oda dives through the flames, kicks Sakamoto in the face, takes the supplies, runs back out and dives down the cliff into the sea. Crazy! Sakamoto had to do the same because another flame bomb is coming his way. Kousuke points out a shore nearby where they might be resurfacing so Arrogant thinks he knows everything and heads there. But Kousuke won’t be following him. If you know what he is getting at.

Meanwhile Himiko comes into Kinoshita who whacks the blonde unconscious and drops a timer bomb to dispose of her. Luckily for Himiko, she panicked and threw away the bomb. If only she had thrown in the right direction. Kinoshita isn’t fazed with Himiko’s taser and runs her down. This works up Himiko and she charges at her. However Kinoshita is able to overpower her with her grappling move and tries to strangle her to death. I didn’t know Himiko is that sturdy. She starts thinking she wanted to die all along so why is she putting up this fight to survive? For Sakamoto? She manages to throw Kinoshita off and zaps her with the taser. Pissed Kinoshita tries to kill her by smashing her head on the ground but an incoming bomb breaks them apart. Date seems disappointed that none of them died so he pretends he is glad Himiko is alright. However she suspects he is still a dangerous man because he tried to kill them both and is saying how he tried to save her. The only person she can trust is Sakamoto. That guy is hiding behind the rocks near the shore and sees Arrogant appearing. He spots the supplies and thinks somehow hid it here. As he happily takes it, Oda sets off the bomb trap to kill him. After Oda takes everything, Sakamoto comes out of his hiding to tell him to drop everything, put his hands behind his head and slowly walk away. But Sakamoto’s guts tell him something is wrong. Why is Oda doing it all so calmly and obediently? Could it be another trap? Oda shows his hands and they’re clean. This confuses Sakamoto even more so he feels he needs to act quickly and grab everything. The remote control is in Oda’s mouth as he presses the button once Sakamoto gets close. Oda thinks he has won but to his shock, Sakamoto is still alive. That’s Sakamoto the experienced BTOOOM player for you.

Episode 10
The Tyrannos people are watching the match between Sakamoto and Oda. They seem shocked Sakamoto had lost but wait! He’s still alive and Oda may have fallen into his trap. Sakamoto didn’t actually approach the supplies but far away. Because Oda had limited vision and no depth perception from his angle, it seemed like Sakamoto was approaching it. Sakamoto strikes back but Oda didn’t move. Oda uses the flame bomb in Arrogant’s hand and throws it at him but it’s like Sakamoto knew what he was going to do and dives into the sea. Oda picks up the supplies and leaves. Sakamoto is surprised that Oda knows his name. Kousuke revels at their match and has stolen Sakamoto’s pouch of bombs (which was his to begin with). He looks forward to fighting another day. Sakamoto is tired. He lost everything. Himiko comes rushing, glad he is alive. So much so she hugs him. I guess he didn’t lose everything. Back at their base, Sakamoto thinks back and gets a feeling he knows who Oda is. There’s such a person back at school who excelled in everything. Studies, sports, popular with the guys and girls. He was the kind of guy whom Sakamoto yearned to be. Ironically, Oda and Sakamoto stroke up friendship and the latter began to open his heart. Even telling him the girl he had a crush on, Aiko. Because Sakamoto didn’t have the guts to ask her out, Oda tells him off about losing his chance if he stays defensive and that the first one moves, wins. One day, Aiko becomes inconsolable in class and it has something to do with Oda. He confronted him and learnt that he slept with her after she confessed she liked him. Sakamoto felt betrayed and humiliated and kept punching him. It took him several guys to quell his anger. In the end, both got suspended though Oda quit school and the last he heard of him was that he opened a host club. Date laments he is hanging around these useless people and he has to share his precious food with them. Sakamoto feeds Taira as Date checks his pulse and diagnoses the lizard’s venom is keeping his wounds from healing. Himiko pulls Sakamoto away to talk to him while Date ‘volunteers’ to feed him. Date feels the need to cut ties with this bunch since this old geezer is probably half dead so it’s useless to feed him more food. Himiko thinks Shiki has some medical supplies but didn’t like Sakamoto’s idea of bringing Date over to see her instead of having Shiki to come bring it to them.

Taira is left alone once more as the trio trek their way to Shiki’s place. Himiko tries to tell Sakamoto that Date is a dangerous guy and almost killed her. However Sakamoto talks about trust-you-trust-me that is needed to survive this island. In short, he completely trusts the doctor. Himiko is fed up and won’t say more to this clueless guy. Upon reaching the place, Himiko and Sakamoto have to be careful with their words to avoid Date getting suspicious since it’s obvious how would Himiko know the medicine is here when she doesn’t know where it is. Get it? Can she get off scot free about being lost? They decide to search at different places and Himiko obviously went to where Shiki is. Date walks through the hall remembering the bloodshed he was in the last time. He spots some medicine in the shelf but it’s all useless since it’s past its expiry date. It doesn’t matter since he’s going to make poison. When Sakamoto rejoins with him, Date mentions he overheard his talk with Himiko and wonders if he doubts him. Talking about that trust-you-trust-me thingy, he has Sakamoto carry his bag filled with the ‘important stuffs’. At that point, Sakamoto’s guts tell him Date couldn’t be trusted. He sees Himiko rushing towards him. She yells at him to throw away the bag because a bomb is placed in it. Date detonates it to blow it up.

Episode 11
Date gloats about how he is going to win and prepares to kill Himiko. But he hears a familiar voice approaching from behind. Shiki sticks the sickle in his back and takes Himiko and run. Ten minutes ago, Himiko asked Shiki for the serum as she points out the room where Date was in. Upon seeing his face, it brought back those painful memories again. She tells Himiko he is the bastard that betrayed her. Realizing the type of bomb he has, she knows the bag Sakamoto carried has a bomb because Date used this trick before. So Himiko rushed to Sakamoto but the explosion ripped the room apart. Shiki and Himiko can’t run around inside the building for she knows Date has laced it with his remote bombs. Shiki can fight back using Himiko bombs (since she’s the one who activated it) but falls into one of Date’s trap as the roof caves in. Himiko laments just when she wants to live, she is going to die. She is sad reality disappointed her and ran away to the virtual world. Only Sakamoto cheered her up. If she knew this was going to happen, she should’ve told him she was the real Himiko. Date gives her one last chance to join him but she refuses since she knows he’ll betray her. He tosses his bomb (belonging to Sakamoto) but guess what? It didn’t explode and bounces off her boobs! WTF?! Hey! It didn’t explode means… Yup, here comes Sakamoto out from the smoke. How the hell did he survive? When Himiko told him to throw away the bag, he did so and dived throw a tiny trapdoor before Date set it off. Sakamoto sizes up the bombs that they have now and since Date planted his all around, it means he is unarmed. Date runs away while Sakamoto gives chase. But this is a ploy to lead him to one of his traps. He gets where he wants Sakamoto to stand but when he detonates it, he is blown away. Sakamoto reveals while he was chasing Himiko, he found a bomb trap and moved it to where it is now.

Date is deeply injured and Sakamoto knows the only way left is to kill him. He’s done being naive. Shiki is still alive (you don’t think a fall like that would’ve killed this tough cookie, no?) and doesn’t want him to dirty his hands. She is going to slit this dishonest doctor who looks down on people and tosses them away after they outlived their usefulness. I’m not sure if Date is looking at her with real pitiful eyes and not crying crocodile tears. Because it causes Shiki’s heart to waver despite she knows she can’t forgive him. In the end, she couldn’t kill him and treats him instead. Sakamoto doesn’t understand how adults think but Himiko points out he is the same. Sakamoto says he never grew up because he is a NEET. He then wants to take a detour on their way back and recheck the bodies of those they killed for their chips before anyone does. Akechi, Kousuke’s dad, Blondie and theirs will only add up to 6. Sakamoto noticed Blondie had 2 sets of bombs so he must have had 2 chips with him. They would have enough for one to summon a way out and hijack the helicopter. However they all the bodies had no chip on them. It would be possible for others who passed by to take them but all of them? Sakamoto fears that the only person who knew about these chips is… Taira. Could he be? When they return to base, a homing bomb targets them. And who do we know can only control these babies?

Episode 12
Taira is going crazy. He is scared for being left alone in the dark and also feels guilty for keeping it from them that he took the chips from Akechi and Kousuke’s dad. He wakes up thinking hearing his son’s voice, Yuzuhiko. He starts hallucinating that his son wants him back badly but he doesn’t have enough chips. Till another hallucination of his in the form of his wife Akiko tells him to properly count the chips he have. One from himself, two in his possession, Sakamoto has three and if he kills Sakamoto and Himiko, he’ll have eight! Yeah. Enough to get off this damn island. Taira sends a homing bomb one after another targeting Sakamoto. Though he manages to hit it away with a rod, he got too close to one and it got his right leg. Fearing that Taira is betraying them, Sakamoto uses his radar but doesn’t detect anything as Taira is not moving. He realizes that it is his fault for making Taira anxious and remembers how his real dad was too busy with work and never spent time with him. His mom divorced him and married a new man but he never accepted him and became violent instead. It’s like he is doing to Taira what he didn’t want done on him. Himiko protects Sakamoto from another homing bomb. The way she protected him made Sakamoto realize that she is the Himiko in BTOOOM because of the similar predicament. Taira sends another one but Sakamoto feels suspicious. Why is he wasting his precious bombs like this? Then it hit him that he is targeting Himiko. Disregarding his injured leg, he jumps to grab it before it explodes within Himiko’s range. Taira is now scared and makes a run, thinking they’re going to kill him now. He only has one bomb left. Sakamoto tries to go after him (yes, with that injured leg) and wants a chance to apologize. Taira falls down the slope and just when Sakamoto’s words reach his heart, he is surrounded by komodo dragons. He accepts this punishment for what he did. He was just desperate to go home and apologizes to his family. He can’t take the pain anymore. He sets his last bomb on himself.

Sakamoto is upset Taira is dead and regrets he never got a chance to apologize. Back at the base, the duo are doing some soul searching. He doesn’t believe Taira was like Date trying to betray them from the start. He was just a normal person who got scared and suspicious after he got hurt. He blames himself for ‘killing’ him. Himiko shows him the chips she took from Taira. She is willing to give these and hers so he can leave the island. What is she saying? She wants him to kill her. After all, she has nobody she can go back to. Everybody she knows hates her. She is ready to give her life to him because he changed her despite having nowhere to go even if it was just a virtual world. Of course he won’t sacrifice her just to go home. He is not that desperate. Instead, he wants them both to get off the island and lets her know he knows she is the Himiko he married in BTOOOM. I never expect this to happen but anyway it did. They kiss. If you’re wondering if Himiko has gotten over her fear of men, let me assure you she hasn’t. She’s just putting it up for Sakamoto’s sake trying not to be afraid and lets him do what he wants. Sakamoto realizes this as he sees visions of Oda insulting him about holding back. Sakamoto makes peace with himself that he should have cared better for his friends and family. Otherwise he wouldn’t have ended up on this island nor would Taira have to die. He vows never to be like Oda and wants him out of his heart forever. With the ghost of his past vanquish, he wants to leave this island with her so that they can officially start dating. She hugs him. Meanwhile Takanohashi sends Tsuneaki Iida (the guy who rejected Sakamoto when he tried to interview for a job at Tyrannos) to the island because some mechanical trouble on the island. He is anxious not to let the clients know about this and wants this bug fix within 24 hours. Seems this is all part of Iida’s plan to do his best to help Sakamoto. The final scenes show Date still being treated by Shiki, Oda travelling together with Kinoshita, Kousuke hanging around in a new group, Sakamoto and Himiko leaning on each other with a calm smile on their faces as dawn approaches.

Bomb Voyage!
Woah! Fantastic! This is what I have to say about this series if I have to summarize it in a word. Surprisingly this is one of the very few animes that had me glued to the screen so much so I lost track of time. Each time an episode ends, I crave for more and can’t wait to catch the next one. The action, drama and the deception are all very interesting so it is no wonder that I am ‘hooked’ on the series (thankfully not the game). But there is one major downfall and complaint otherwise that would have made this series perfect: THE FREAKING LOUSY ENDING!!! WHAT THE F*CK! I don’t think it even feels like an ending. Feels like some sort of pause point so that if the producers ever want to, they can consider continuing from this point. To end it like this really annoys me because everything was so exciting from start till finish and they have the guts to end it like that? What a downer. Really. I was disappointed. Maybe having a dozen episodes were too short, though the manga which this series is based on is still ongoing. So do I want to continue the game as stated in the final scene? Yes! Please continue! Don’t end it like this! Guess I couldn’t have my wish come true. Call me a sadist if you want but I guess you’ll understand why it is easier to watch other people staking their lives while you sit in the comfort of your own chair watching them risking it all. Yeah, remember what the Romans usually did for past time in the Coliseum?

The flow of the story may be slow and doesn’t move along much since it’s just about a bunch of people trying to kill each other and get off the island. So when a few characters pop up and as the episodes dwindle, it got me thinking how Sakamoto is going to deal with the likes of Oda, Kousuke and possibly even Date again. Not many episodes left. How is he going to outwit them? How are they going to die? Call me a sadist again but as soon as the killing starts, I figured that the only ones who were going to live were Sakamoto and Himiko (because they’re the handsome and pretty hero and heroine, duh). Everybody else would just die. Or maybe some sort of glitch or loophole would allow them to get off the island? So if you’re a camp of a particular person, you won’t get mad that he/she will die. There’s so much potential and yet this kind of ending… Really… What a letdown.

As Sakamoto is the main focus of the series, we can see him a totally changed person. Ironically, when he first landed on the island, he looked like a pretty nice guy and if not for his flashback, I wouldn’t really have guessed that he is such a violent guy. Not that he is abusive and beats up his mom but the way he throws his tantrums, it’s hurting his mom’s heart and as good as physically harming her. Suddenly all of a sudden he is on the island, this arrogant and selfish personality of his is nowhere in sight. Like as though it was a different him. Perhaps. Because his life in the virtual and reality world are completely different. That’s why I sometimes find it odd that he could tell off about differentiating reality and virtual. Maybe it’s because he has lived through it so he is able to tell you what is good and what’s not. Look at it this way. The best person who can tell you to not smoke is a smoker himself because he had went through that crap and knows how damaging it is. Being the best Japanese BTOOOM player also helps him in his survival but sometimes I can’t help think he is just a lucky devil that he can’t die (I don’t want to think it’s because he is the hero). Each time Sakamoto is close to being blown to bits, he somehow escapes it without losing his life. The most some injuries here and there but nothing serious that makes him a dead man walking. So is lady luck shining on him? Better hope it will continue to shine. This life and death experience also makes Sakamoto reflect and realize his own shortcomings and there is more value in caring about others than achieving virtual glory. If he wasn’t whisked away, he would’ve still been the same cold hearted bastard locked away in his room and his virtual world.

Himiko is also another character that has changed much throughout the series. Hated by her friends and with nowhere to go, it is understandable that even though she did not get raped, her firsthand witness of her friends and a near incident is enough to cause trauma for her. You can’t blame her for not trusting men so easily. Who knows when the next one will turn on her when she lets her guard down. Just like Sakamoto, I find it funny that when she is about to die, she ironically survives. Also another case of luck if you ask me. She wants to die when all is lost, but either changes her mind or something else gets in the way. Then when she starts valuing her life, death comes knocking closer but thanks to Sakamoto on some occasions, she still lives for another day. In the end for her to trust Sakamoto that much and to place her entire faith in him, you can see it seemed like a Herculean effort by Sakamoto but it’s good, right? Even if all the other men in the world are scumbags, at least Sakamoto isn’t. So she can’t really say all men are dirt. There is something about Himiko that has been bugging me since I saw her… She looked pretty familiar… Aha! She looks like a mature version of Kirino from Ore No Imouto Konna Ni Kawaii Wake Ga Nai! Blonde hair, blue eyes, cute looks, catty personality (when it comes to distrusting men) but not the boobs. I think there’s going to be jokes aplenty about how her boobs are good enough to deflect bombs. Or maybe it’s the bra she’s wearing… On another note, at certain angles, I thought Sakamoto looked like Light from Death Note too! I must be so into the anime that I’m seeing things.

Despite the series has only handful of other characters, they still bring some pretty interesting drama and colour to the story. For Taira’s case, it felt pitiful the way he had to go. As soon as he got injured, I felt his screen time getting lesser and lesser to a point which I sometimes feel his character may be neglected. We could’ve spotted the hints of his breakdown in character all along. If only Sakamoto had paid more attention, this tragedy could have been averted. Or can it? Even a nice normal guy like this can turn to the dark side when cornered. Kousuke’s abusive past makes him a crazy kid you don’t want to mess with. In a way you don’t blame him for killing his father. If he really turns out to be a psychopath in the future, you know who to blame. Oda is perhaps the coolest, cunning and yet most mysterious character and it’s a shame that he didn’t get lots of screen time too. Same case with Kinoshita. How did she hook up with Oda? Is she someone she knew like Oda does for Sakamoto? It would’ve been great to see all the main characters fight and outwit each other. Sakamoto, Oda, Kousuke and perhaps even Date in the fray. There may be more but I guess that’s about it for this season. As for the people back at Tyrannos, it is yet to be seen why they are planning such a sick game. Is this what the future wants for entertainment? So the last scene also threw us off a little because it hints that Iida (despite looking like a hypnotized zombie) must know Sakamoto to a degree to in a way put some bug to help him escape or whatsoever. What is the bug? What is his goal? What is the overall picture anyway? And with Shiki as an undetected ‘veteran’ in the game, will she be pivotal in the current game or become a thorn in Tyrannos ambitious plans? So many questions and no answers.

The action is quite exciting despite the only weapons are their limited bombs. But if you are to solely depend on that, you’ll find you will run out of them in no time because you’ve got to use your brains and the environment to outwit the enemy. Partly why the action is exciting is because you never know what is going to happen to the characters. There is an air of uncertainty when the characters face off. Sure, you may still guess Sakamoto will come out tops but even if he is a professional BTOOOM player, he isn’t perfect so there are times when he makes near fatal mistakes. Because of the density and enclosure of the tropical jungle, it gives that ‘claustrophobia’ feel with trees, plants and rocks everywhere. It’s like you’re ‘trapped’ if you can’t navigate around them. Even in open spaces like the beach or cliffs, the players feel ‘open’ and you may get this feeling of a third party may just intercept and bomb them away. With gruesome deaths to some, be warned that there are some blood and gore but not to a point where amateurs would even start vomiting. Unless you are really that weak.

For the voice acting department, Kanata Hongou makes his debut as Sakamoto (he played Jouichirou Nishi in the live action Gantz film as well as Ryouma in the live action Prince of Tennis). Sometimes I can’t help feel that Sakamoto’s voice lacks that assertiveness and makes him sound like a sissy. But don’t forget. He’s a NEET who spent time facing the idiot box playing the game. Miyuki Sawashiro (Shinkurou in Kurenai) is once more casted in a young boy’s role, this time as Kousuke. Her voice makes the crazy kid very convincing. I couldn’t recognize Yuuichi Nakamura as the calm and mysterious Oda because of my stereotype he best voices characters that blows their top or has sarcasm like Minamoto in Zettai Karen Children or Houtarou in Hyouka. Other casts include Suzuko Mimori as Himiko (Sherlock in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes), Toru Ookawa as Taira (Roy Mustang in Fullmetal Alchemist), Ken Narita as Date (Sesshoumaru in Inu Yasha), Rika Fukami as Shiki (Sailor Venus in Sailormoon), Youko Hikasa as Kinoshita (Mio in K-ON!), Takaya Kuroda as Miyamoto (Leon in Yumekui Merry), Issei Futamata as Natsume (Godai in Maison Ikkoku) and Yasuhiro Mamiya as Akechi (Fecor in Shakugan No Shana Final). The opening theme is cheekily named No Pain, No Game by Nano. The rock outfit of this piece makes it suitable for the adrenaline survival rush that one expects to see in this series. The final episode has another opening rock outfit, Exist also by Nano. The ending theme by May’n is Aozora and is a slow ballad. I guess after all that killing, we need something slow and calming to sooth ourselves.

One of the main lessons you can learn from watching this series is the true dark side of human nature. In situations where it is life and death, one’s true colour is revealed. You can judge a person by their character then and what they are. A hero, a coward, a selfish one or a despicable cruel bastard. It’s hard to find a true hero or angel in such situation so sometimes it is hard to believe that Sakamoto has genuine hopes to help others and not want to kill. So the question is, if you have been deceived once, will you be able to trust again despite the next one truly wants to help? All those years taken to build up trust all wasted away within seconds. Humans are truly complicated creatures. That’s why it’s important to trust your gut instincts and learn how to manage humans. Maybe that’s why such a game is suitable. Besides, everyone sent to this island is at least very much hated by another person. But would that make the sender the same as well? Well, I’m sure they would be happy if their most hated person disappears and die on some unknown island but will they truly be happy? I guess nobody wants to see a reality show that teaches us about forgiveness, eh? There are no ratings for that. Now you understand why the Romans build the Coliseum for? Other in-game lessons you can learn is about managing limited resources and adapting to your surroundings which are vital to your survival. It could be the thin line that prolongs your life or quickens your death.

I guess with games these days are getting more realistic than ever thanks to technology, perhaps for the ultimate experience, one will get to be part of the game and have your senses experience everything for real. Will this be a new form of reality TV? The idea of nominating the one you hate most to a death duel seems debatable. Everybody has somebody they hate, right? At this rate, I suppose everyone in the world would’ve been nominated instead. Well, you don’t need to give them bombs and put them on an island. This big world is already a deadly stage itself whether we’re doing it by the book or by crook. It’s pretty much the same survival of the strongest anywhere you go in this world. Maybe I better start taking a break from my marathon of watching animes and start paying attention to those around me before somebody I know nominates me to be sent to a fight-to-the-death for survival on some island. Perhaps I should start playing Counter Strike for practice…

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