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Manga / Btooom!

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On the surface, Ryouta Sakamoto, aged 22, looks like the very definition of NEET: unemployed, lazy, unremarkable, and still lives with his mother. In the online gaming world, however, he is famed as one of the best players of "Btooom!", a highly popular game where players throw bombs at enemies and harvest their chips.

...Until the day he wakes up in a tropical island, with no clue as to how he got there. While wandering around, he finds a man and asks him for help — only for said man to throw him a bomb. Ryouta saves himself by using his gaming skills, even as he realizes that he was just thrown into a real-life version of his favorite game.

Together with Himiko, a high-school girl, and Kiyoshi Taira, a real estate agent, Ryouta would have no choice but to try to stay alive — by hook or crook.

Btooom! is a manga by "Joker" Junya Inoue (of Cave fame), which was serialized in the seinen magazine Comic Bunch from 2009 to 2018 and compiled into 26 volumes. The manga is licensed in English for North America by Yen Press. It also has an anime adaptation directed by Yousuke Kuroda as part of the Fall 2012 lineup.

Btooom! Online, a mobile game adaptation of the manga, was developed by Asobimo and released in 2017.

Crunchyroll is streaming the anime. US and Canada viewers may watch it here.

This work contains examples of:

  • Above the Influence: Ryouta, even though Himiko sort of allows him to in episode 12, ultimately does this. Partly because of he didn't want to be like his former friend in high school Oda, and partly because Himiko isn't still entirely comfortable around men due to her earlier rape attempts.
  • Abusive Parents:
  • Asshole Victim: Kousuke's father and a few of the Btooom! players.
  • Attempted Rape: Himiko saved herself from two.
  • Ax-Crazy
    • Kousuke, through and through for a young boy.
    • Natsume, the lawyer, develops that look on his face as well in Episode 7. He starts spouting off a self-defense law so as to avoid being charged for murder and to justify him killing people.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Himiko during the opening credits.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Taira does this to avoid being eaten alive by the komodo dragons, and partly to not slow down Ryouta any longer after he realizes the latter was still trying to help despite attacking them moments earlier.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: In Episode 8, Masahito Date lets Shiki take all the blame for a mess he made in a hospital. However, both he and Shiki later get stuck on the island to play the game, and at first he seems willing to work together. But after they acquire six chips, he attempts to kill her to obtain her chip. While he didn't kill her outright, the bomb did dislodge her chip (along with her left hand), which apparently was technically acceptable, as he managed to get off the island. When he appears in Episode 9, he is able to trick Ryota and the group for the most part, but his attempt at killing Himiko has let her catch on to him.
  • Bitter Sweet Ending: The manga ultimately has two different endings, a "Light" and a "Dark" version, each one being radically different as a result of different decisions made in their respective final volumes. Both fall under this trope however, just to different extents.
    • The "Light" version of the ending leans more on the sweet and has an air of The Adventure Continues. Ryota, Himiko, Oda, Kira, Uesagi, and Kaguya all survive the game, albeit not without injury, Oda in particular losing his foot. The six of them are taken overseas by Perrier where they get to start new lives, with Ryota reuniting with his parents and reconciling with both them and Oda, Oda's mom is brought over too, Ryota and Himiko are all set to be married, and Perrier is ready to continue the fight even with the game gone. Schwartiz however has the island destroyed as a show of force to those who disobey the shadow government and washes his hands of Btooom before selling it to Nortimer, who takes Ida with it, which could be a Fate Worse than Death for him if the rumors that Nortimer forces his male workers to get involuntary sex changes and keeps them as sex slaves is in any way true. The survivors can likely never return to Japan again either due to it being under the control of the shadow government, and the players tricked into being drone pilots like Xaviera are taken in as P.O.W.s.
    • The "Dark" version of the ending leans more on the bitter but has a larger sense of finality. Ryota ultimately dies putting a stop to Oda, Perrier's forces fail to put an immediate stop to the game, Kaguya dies in Uesagi's arms, Himiko is forced to go into hiding, and Takahonoshi is still at large with the intent of restarting the game. Himiko manages to kill Schwartiz however, causing the shadow government to fall into chaos, she along with Kira and Uesagi all survive the game, and join Perrier alongside Ida and Hisonobu to fully expose the crimes of the shadow government, and work towards creating a peaceful world just like Ryota wished for, Himiko swearing to do it not just for Ryota, but for everyone who died because of the game. And while their revolution may never be publicly credited to them, they are praised as heroes on the internet, in particular the urban legend known only as "Himiko".
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • For example, the DXBOX 720. The volume covers intentionally look like the covers for video games as well, complete with a CERO rating of "Z" for 18+ (the equivalent of ESRB's "M").
    • One of the characters wears a sweater for Sex and the Town
  • Body Horror: Miyamoto in Episode 7, after Himiko manages to set off a gas bomb he was carrying on a bandoleer. Its not a pretty sight, and it still wasn't enough to get away from him.
  • Booby Trap: Since the game is based on using various kinds of explosives and ordnance, this tactic is used very frequently.
  • Breather Episode: Episode 8 gives Ryota and Himiko a slight breather, and aside from a major scene in the beginning and a Flash Back, nothing much happens.
  • Broken Bird: Himiko — saw her friends raped, betrayed by them in retaliation, narrowly escaped two attempted rapes... probably the best thing that happened to her so far is meeting Ryouta who happens to play her avatar's "husband".
  • Butt-Monkey: Poor Kiyoshi Taira is on his way to become one.
    • He twisted his right ankle. Then a Komodo dragon, whose bite is highly infectious, bit him and he spent a few days having a fever. Then he had his fingers sliced off by a knife. All in about 10 chapters.
    • And then he goes insane from his fever and his homesickness, and tries to kill his companions, only to finally commit suicide instead of mistakenly giving himself over to Sakamoto and Himiko.
  • Captain Ersatz: The game developer that briefs the players on the nature of the real life Btooom looks suspiciously like Takahashi Meijin
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Several characters are highly suspicious of each other, largely out of paranoia for this trope should they trust someone too much. Some characters prove they can be loyal, such as Ryouta, while others revel in this trope, such as Masahito.
  • Cliffhanger: The anime had to end with one because it had caught up to the manga's 50 chapters. Even now that the manga is over, the low DVD/Blu-Ray sales would have killed any interest in Madhouse coming back to deliver a second season.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: When captured by Miyamoto and Natsume in Episode 7, Himiko begs them to kill her quickly, promising not to resist, in exchange for them not raping her. Miyamoto says he has no plans to take away her purity, but rather wants to be entertained. He then tells her about torturing people For the Evulz, such as slowly stripping someone's skin off and seeing how long they survive for.
  • Cool Shades: One of the players, Nobutaka combines these with a tattoo, fuzzy facial hair, and cavalier attitude for maximum coolness.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The backers of the real-life Btooom!'.
  • Creepy Child: Kira Kousuke, a 14-year-old boy who killed then raped three women. And then, during the game, he just keeps on finding new ways to be creepy.
  • Date My Avatar: Ryota and Himiko's Btooom! avatars are married..., then they fight alongside each other in a real-life version of the game.
  • Deadly Game: Every person on the island has a gem on their left hand, and the only way to get off the island is to grab seven of them from other people, by killing them. Naturally this causes law-abiding people to be hesitant, while those with lower morals find it easier to use the bombs given to them.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Himiko vs. Hidemi Kinoshita
  • Despair Event Horizon: Ryouta's constant leaving Taira eventually causes the latter to lose his sanity and attempt to kill him and Himiko.
  • Disney Death: Ryota suffers one in episode 7, after getting knocked off a building and falling down the cliffs. All of the characters there believe he's dead, but he was saved by landing on a sturdy tree branch before hitting the rocks below.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Much like Hell Girl, you have to wonder how many people actually deserved to be "selected" for this game.
  • Does Not Like Men:
    • Himiko, before Ryota saved her a few times; then she opened up to him a little
    • Shiki Murasaki isn't all that fond of men, either. She tells Himiko about it in episode 8, when she was twice betrayed by the same man.
  • Do with Him as You Will: Date, wounded fairly badly by his own bomb, is at the mercy of Ryouta, and then Shiki says she'll spare him the blood on their hands by killing him. Date then apologizes to her, and despite having a very good reason to kill him, she ultimately chooses to save his life instead.
  • Driven to Suicide: Ryota's mother slits her wrists after nominating her son for the game, though her husband finds her and calls an ambulance.
  • Dude, She's Like in a Coma Though tempted, Ryota did not do anything to the unconscious Himiko.
  • Dying as Yourself: After attacking Ryota and Himiko in episode twelve due to a fit of insanity, Taira comes to his senses and kills himself with his last BIM rather than be eaten by approaching komodo dragons.
  • Dysfunctional Family: A few. Ryota's family is among those, due to his laziness and obsession with online gaming.
  • Evolving Credits: Once Himiko starts opening up to Sakamoto their hands meet in the OP.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Taira in episode 12, when he goes a bit insane due to Ryouta's constant leaving him to search for other characters or supplies.
  • Fanservice Cover: Basically every volume cover containing Himiko.
  • Fat Bastard:
    • The guy in episode 2 who tried to rape Himiko.
    • Also the guy who explains the rule to the forcibly kidnapped "BTOOOM!" players in a cheerful voice.
    • Kira's father.
  • Fingore: Kiyoshi Taira get his fingers cut off by Miyamoto.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Longer Schwartz, the leader of the Schwartz Foundation, who intends world domination through the application of the concept of Panem et circenses; in this, the game functions as a real-life test laboratory for him.
  • G.I.R.L.: Ryota's friend jokingly assumes this in episode 2 when he talks to Himiko in the game.
  • Hair Color Dissonance: It's either this, or Junya is not the one coloring the covers and promotional material. Ryota has a total clear shade for his hair color in the actual manga, and yet in the color portions his hair is black; needless to say, the colors don't match, there's no way Ryota's paste hair can translated into black for full color portions. It could be white, green, blue or any other clear color that becomes null in Black and White, but not black.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Happens quite a few times.
    • When Himiko attacks Ryouta, he manages to get her to hit herself with her own stun gun.
    • This also happens to Masashi Miyamoto and Masahito Date.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Many characters applied their skill and knowledge in the online game Btooom! when playing its real-life version.
  • Interface Spoiler: The manga appears to wrap itself up once an opportunity to escape the island presents itself after Ryota is taught how to manually disable the BIMs to prevent them from being used against Tyrannos staff...until you realize that only 20 (roughly half) of the Island Survivors have been revealed so far. This nifty tidbit, is always introduced at the beginning of each manga volume.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Shiki Murasaki She's not even 40 yet, but losing an arm and spending 6 months living alone on the island sure did a number on her.
  • It's All About Me:
    • Ryouta at first, until he begins to realize that this trope was hurting many other people in his life, such as his mother when she remarried, and he attacked his stepfather without opening up at all to him.
    • Played straight with Date Masahito.
  • Killed Off for Real: People who are killed on the island are really dead, something that takes Ryota and the non-insane characters a while to comprehend and accept.
  • Left for Dead: Shiki Murasaki, who was betrayed by Date Masahito once they got six chips. The homing bomb he used wasn't enough to kill her outright, but it did cause her chip to come off, and he figured she wouldn't survive the massive bleeding from her left arm anyway.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Ryota doesn't have too many practical skills outside of games, which hurts him a bit when he runs into opponents who are better trained, such as Miyamoto. However, because he's extremely familiar with the rules of the Btooom game, when he utilizes those skills, he's just as deadly as the person he's fighting.
  • Like Reality, Unless Noted: The series is largely realistic, but a few of the BIMs are beyond modern technology. The Homing BIM is quite advanced, though probably still a decade or two away from becoming real. The BIM that produces flames in an "X" pattern is also something unlikely in real life, though theoretically it could be possible, but the Implosion BIM and the Shield BIM stray right into science fiction territory. The radar chips implanted in each player's hand are also way beyond today's technology. In the manga, the Tyrannos Corporation uses them to gain their accurate video and audio feeds of what's happening on the island.
  • The Load: Himiko at first, then Taira after he gets bitten by a komodo dragon. The latter ultimately kills himself to prevent this trope from slowing Ryouta down due to his injuries.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Kosuke kills his father Yoshihisa by planting and activating an Implosion BIM on him, which blows up a big chunk of his body.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Longer Schwartz turns out to be Himiko's father in the dark version of the ending of the manga.
  • Lyrical Cold Open: Opening theme, "No pain, No game."
  • Mad Bomber: Everyone. No, seriously.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Masahito Date, who used Shiki Murasaki to save his own hide, twice.
  • Meaningful Name: Named After Someone Famous: Many of the characters are named after famous figures in Japanese history and literature. For example there's Oda, Date, Murasaki Shiki, Miyamoto Masashi (see below), Taira (who is directly compared to "the old tanuki"), and Himiko.
  • MegaCorp: Tyrannos, the company that developed Btooom! They have their own private island, kidnap dozens of people around Japan and send them over, recruit a team of Private Military Contractors to keep them in line on the plane ride, and arrange for daily supply airdrops over the course of each game. Not to mention some of the BIMs and the IC Chips are very advanced technology: the implosion and shield BIMs are things we are not even close to being able to develop in real life.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: So morally ambiguous that he was sent to the island twice.
  • Mr. Exposition: Taira fills in for this during episode 3, telling Ryota what happened on the plane ride to the island. He tells Ryota about how he was the most adamant against the game, causing the guards on the plane to taser him right in the head, which explains the blood on his head as well as his short term memory loss back in episode 1.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Himiko, most of her panel time consists of some action (usually bad for her) that will force a suggestive pose on the girl; while grovelling in pain or fainting, Himiko will have her bosoms, legs or bottom in great view for the reader. Then Junya stepped into the next level, by making an Artbook with a bikini-clad Himiko doing all sorts of poses for a fictional photo shot. She even got a bomb bounced off her chest. And look at some of the merch...
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Ryota has this reaction at the end of episode 4, after throwing a bomb at Kira and seeing the aftermath of it.
    • Also his mom tries to slit her wrists because she sent him to the BTOOOM game.
    • Taira has one of these moments after he realizes Ryouta was still on his side and wanted to escape together, despite having attacked and injured him moments earlier.
  • My Greatest Failure: Ryouta begins to realize how selfish he was to other people after Taira goes insane and attempts to kill them, and then kills himself when he regains his sanity. He sees that Taira was just a normal person pushed to extreme circumstances, and his failure to stay with him ultimately caused his friend to attack them, then kill himself.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Himiko has the exact same head as Casper and Piper and wears a t-shirt with Kiki the bat-devil. Her game avatar has the head of Sakura.
    • One of the evil businessmen is Colonel Longhena.
    • One of Himiko's former school friends Miho looks a lot like Follett including the glasses.
    • Hidemi Kinoshita looks a lot like Rosa except much taller.
  • NEET: Ryota was this before being sent to the real-life Btooom!.
  • Nietzsche Wannabe: Kousuke
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Kousuke tries to invoke this for Ryota, since they are both veteran Btooom! players.
  • Please, Don't Leave Me: Taira begs Ryota not to leave him when the latter goes off to look for a kidnapped Himiko in episode 7. Ryota didn't like it, but he had little choice. If nothing else, to look for some first aid to help Taira.
  • Plot Coupon: Each player's goal is to collect 7 chips from other players to get off the island. Which makes working with other people more difficult, since you still need eight chips per person to escape, so two people working together would need 14 chips total to escape. Ryota thinks about this during episode 3 when deciding whether working with Taira was going to be worth it.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Himiko's name and backstory are revealed in the second episode of the anime adaptation. In the manga, this happened much later, after Masashi was eliminated, and thus she was a much more mysterious character for most of the plot. This was probably done in the anime to keep the interest of viewers who were wondering who the cute blonde in all the ads was.
  • Rape as Drama: Himiko's reason for being sent to the island. She and some friends met with an upperclassman. Turns out they were a bunch of rapists. Himiko barely escapes them. Unfortunately, the same couldn't be said for her friends. Even though she called the police and got the rapists arrested, they blamed her for running away and nominated her for the game.
  • Rescue Romance: Although it takes a while to happen, Himiko begins to fall into this trope after Ryota rescues her time and again, even though he's risking his life in the process.
  • Sensor Character: Every player is one, thanks to a "Chip" - a sensor/ transmitter/ radar combo being built into their hand. Not everyone can use it properly though.
  • Sinister Surveillance: The Tyrannos Corporation uses the Chips in everyone's hands to monitor everything going on on the island.
  • Taking You with Me:
    • Himiko tries this by activating one of her bombs before getting raped by the big fat guy in episode 2, but he runs away instead. When she realizes she'd only be killing herself, she throws the bomb away, which conveniently lands in front of the guy and blows him up.
    • Miyamoto attempts to do this as well in episode 7, after suffering from a gas bomb attack. Fortunately Ryota grabbed a bomb off Natsume, whom he just killed moments earlier, and dropped that down to distract Miyamoto long enough for him to let go of Himiko.
  • Technical Pacifist: Ryota doesn't want to kill anyone unless they give him absolutely no other choice.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: After returning from the island, Date tells his colleague that it seems stupid to save people after having participated in the Game (and having become very rich in the process), and that he wants to quit the medical profession. In response, his colleague angrily lets him know what he (and the other doctors) really think about Date:
    Date's colleague: Is that it? You came back to show off your new wealth? We work day and night to save people... and now you make fun of us?
    Date: No... I'm not...
    Date's colleague: I could never stand you before. With a prestigious father in the medical community, how many fucking bribes have you taken!? This world is unfair enough, and you decide to just quit!? What a joke!! Don't look down on doctors!! <Belches> I don't ever... want to see your face again.
  • Their First Time: Subverted in episode twelve. After Taira dies and Himiko confirms to Ryota that she is indeed the girl he fell in love with online, they kiss and start foreplay. However, Ryota realizes that Himiko, while willing, is terrified because of her PTSD from Attempted Rape, so he stops and just cuddles with her.
  • They Died Because of You: Ryouta applies this trope to himself when he realizes Taira's death was largely because he seemingly ignored other people's thoughts and feelings, as well as doing whatever he wanted to do. As a result, his friend started going insane due to his injuries, which ultimately led him to attack both Ryouta and Himiko when he starts to hallucinate about his family and meeting them again.
  • Throw Down the Bomblet: BIMs. Besides the garden variety Cracker & Remote BIMs, there are quite a variety of Trick Bombs:
  • Tranquil Fury: Ryota seems surprisingly calm most times when he's forced to actively fight against someone. He even comments on this himself.
  • Tyke-Bomb: Kousuke.
  • Written Sound Effect/Title Drop: "Btooom!" is also the sound that explosions make.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: This trope is used with alarming regularity by some of the Btooom players.

Alternative Title(s): Btooom