Is it a game? Or is it real life?
Btooom! is honest to god twisted. I’ve said it before, it doesn’t cut corners when creating it’s world or characters. Kira Kousuke is a young boy that was abused by his father. When he runs away from home he kills three women and proceeds to rape their dead bodies. I am glad that the show avoided showing these scenes, as it would have been too excessive even for this series.
Kira was brought to the island with his father and defense attorney. The relationship between the three is interesting to say the least. Where his father is a brutal tyrant with a Darwinian atitude towards life, the lawyer is an understanding figure in young Kira’s life, often trying to show him right from wrong.
All of this turned upside down when Kira finally reaches his breaking point. As his father beats him, the boy finally takes a BIM and implodes his father. His lawyer runs away in fear and Kira finally escapes the shadow of his abusive parent. It’s an uneasy moment that Btooom! has used to great effect in this series so far. On one hand, Kira’s liberation is a joyous moment. On the other hand, it’s a horrifying event where a son just killed his father.
There are so many ways these scenes could have been compromised by a series that was a little less gutsy. The one argument I can see against this style of storytelling is that it’s trying too hard to be gruesome. I don’t believe this is the case. Considering the confidence behind the writing and the psychological angles that accent this show, it creates and engrossing and grim atmosphere.
I really wasn’t a fan of the moment where Ryouta becomes disassociated from reality in his fight with Kira. He begins to believe that he is actually just playing a game of Btooom! and his opponent is as well. He begins to deny his senses and surroundings to help cope with the fact he is being forced to kill someone. After the deed is done, and Kira has been annihilated by a bomb, Ryouta realizes what he has done and breaks down. He is redeemed by the fact that he didn’t actually kill Kira, but considering his intentions it doesn’t fundamentally change my opinion of this device. Honestly if something like this is going to be included into the series, then they should go all the way with it. Otherwise it just seems like a convenient excuse from the main character to betray his ideals behind the facade of a self defense mechanism.
I don’t know if this series really has a direction to go into. For now it’s just small encounters with different characters that make up the world. While that’s all well and good for now, I’m hoping the narrative picks up soon considering the run of this series. There is still the mystery of why they are on the island in the first place, but considering the circumstances I don’t think this a question that will be answered anytime soon.