I’m rather amused that the name BTOOOM! somehow got passed the marketing department for the creation of this big budget team deathmatch FPB (First Person Bomber). It’s like making a medieval archery game and calling it THWANG! Or a first person shooter and calling it BOOM HEADSHOT! Or a game about skydiving and calling it AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!!
BTOOOOOOOOM is about this manchild who is really good at this FPB. He is then transported to one of the many abandoned islands Japan has to use as convenient dumping grounds for discarded plots, where he is forced to partake in a deathmatch that is exactly like the one in the game he plays. Except people die for real!!!
What the show is actually about is frustrated mothers of manchild reaching breaking point with their offspring not getting a job so they get the government to send them to an island to take part in a Battle Royale. It’s a little bit more than just “omg this is just like a game so cool”, so it’s already a step ahead of Sword Art Online. It’s interesting to compare how Battle Royale treats this subject compared to BTOOOOOOOOOOOM, and compared to The Hunger Games as well for good measure.
Battle Royale comes as part of the government not understanding why youths these days are so out of control, so in a desperate attempt to cull them and treat them respect, they send them to an island to kill each other. In The Hunger Games (for reference, I’ve only seen the movie), the government believes that sending the youths from these colonies will prevent them from rising up. Give them this one glimmer of hope to reach their citadel as a ‘reward’ while simultaneously placing the blame on them for the position in the first place. Both are about beating the collective fighting spirit of these youths by forcing them against each other.
BTOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM is a bit different in that the intent of the game is not to force these NEETs against each other to prevent them from teaming up. But it’s still about forcing them to learn. You have to be of some use to society. If you won’t do this, instead we’ll put you to our own use. Our own use just so happens to be play-testing what real life people would react to in the scenario of their game so they can improve their game, but hey, in the crazy world of KAPLOWIE! that makes perfect sense.
So props for it having a bit more depth to it than these sorts of terrible pulpy shows usually has. At the moment though, I’m rather less thrilled by the pulp part. I get why the main character had to be useless at throwing bombs. It’s to show that his expertise in this game were going to be useless to him in the real world. Although he then proceeded to use some clever tactics her learned from the game to beat his opponent, so maybe being a NEET wasn’t so useless after all. So the whole scene was not only kinda boring, but also rendered pointless anyway. Also, he’s a 22 year old bachelor. Where do you think he gained that ‘strong throwing arm’ from, eh?
Speaking of inappropriate attitudes to sex, the gender politics in EXPLOSHUN aren’t quite top of the class. When they showed the silhouettes of the characters in the opening, it was interesting how the men all had various body shapes but all the girls were slim and attractive. It’s clearly because the best female BTOOOOOBS players were only able to reach the top by distracting male gamers with their pheromones because everyone knows girls aren’t actually good at games. Or is it because girl gamers are ugly and the only reason they play games is in order to get close to men so they can have sex? I’ve forgotten which bizarre men’s rights narrative I was supposed to be mocking.