A hero with partial amnesia… that’s original!
The gruesome scenes in this show are unrelenting. This week we see a woman blown up and a child covered in blood after murdering someone. The island of Btooom! is a harsh and unforgiving place and this series wants you to know it. It’s easy to buy into this uncompromising world that’s trying to sell the harrowing mental conditions of the tropical island.
It doesn’t take the idea of murdering people lightly putting heavy portance on its psychological ramifications. Life is the most important thing to a human, but one often takes it for granted. When it becomes something that you can lose quite easily and take quite easily, a number of ethical questions come to light that become a burden to the psyche. Is it alright to kill someone to preserve yourself? Is surviving worth it if here is no actual living being done? Is saving others possible when it won’t save yourself?
These will take some time to answer as Sakamoto tries to come to terms with his situation. He represents the average man. His actions depict what the audience would do if they were caught in such a situation. We’re not like Himiko, who thinks this is a punishment for abandoning her friends as they were raped. For now his response is the typical, trying to survive without getting blood on his hands. This series’ true philosophy will become clear once his back is to the wall, and pile of dead bodies stands between him and survival.
Honestly, it’s refreshing to see a series be so stubborn in executing it’s vision. Even Sakamoto’s relationship with an obese middle aged man is tinged with distrust. It might be difficult to watch, but this is a series with something to say and it will scream it. It might alienate some viewers who can’t handle this show’s morbid curiosity, but for seinen audience it’s targeted at, it fires on all cylinders.
I do have a complaint though. The entire premise of the series feels overdone. I’ve mentioned Battle Royale in previous posts, and more recently the Hunger Games. These series pose similar questions, and to a certain extent handle them excellently. Btooom! resides in the shadows of those stories and has to do something unique with its narrative to really stand out. The mystery of why they’re on the island seems isn’t as compelling as the more psychological and philosophical aspects of the show. Only time will tell I suppose.
Btooom! is a lot deeper than it looks on the surface. The blood and guts could give the people the wrong idea. Viewers will need to put aside the gore to appreciate this series going forward. The problem is if there is such a focus on it, will they be able to?