Title: Btooom! vol 5
Publisher: Yen Press
Author: Junya Inoue
I will take this opportunity to state that, as you read this, I have yet to watch the Btooom! anime and having read this far I have no intention to either. I may watch after the book series is finished but as the anime has not only stalled and is therefore currently playing catch up to the books, I’d rather read and speaking personally I get so much more out of a book.
I am going to break from my normal way of doing things. If you have read books 1 to 4, then by now you will know the characters. My aim is not to give away too much, but I wanted to review the characters in a little more depth, especially as the first half of book 5 is filling a particular characters background to the story.
Ryouta Sakamoto is a well thought-out lead character. There are some great moments of innocence, especially in the way he views things, early on in the story and his reactions do feel real. One makes me like him as a lead character is that he does seem to have some very human weaknesses and that is something often missed out with other lead characters.
Kiyoshi Taira is also a well thought character. He has many sides to him, some good and some that make you not quite trust him, but he his likeable and jolly. As with Ryouta, Taira comes across as very human and has enough personality to make a reader that he too holds up his end of the story. Sure it’s Ryouta’s story we follow, but no story is strong without a good, believable support cast.
This brings me nicely onto Himiko. Himiko is a most interesting character, initially she is seen as a fanservice element, but the further into the story you go, the more interesting she becomes. As a character her transition is very cleverly handled. It’s just a shame then that to my eyes she is drawn a bit improbably and bizarrely it’s when she is dressed that I think she is drawn worst. Oddly when she isn’t dressed does her body seem a bit more normal, but maybe that’s just me.
Speaking of drawing I do have to praise the artwork in this anime. The scenery is realist and so are all the details within the story’s world. The reader has to also be aware that some scenes are very graphically displayed; this is not a book that shies away from its violence. Violence is a key word when talking about Btoom! This is a story that centres on a death game and has a mature rating so graphic violence as seen in these books has to be expected. To not expect it is foolish. Also I have read criticism of the bombs used in Btoom! and this seems a bit harsh. Yes each type used has its own limitations and some would seem on paper to not seem that power in terms of explosive force, but this brings the skill of user into play. The weapon is only as effective as the person using it and I like that.
Sure Btoom! isn’t perfect, but they are only small niggles and overall it is a great read and all I can say is keep up the good work.