Weekly Digest: 11/4/12 – Btooom!, Zetsuen no Tempest

[HorribleSubs]_BTOOOM!_-_05_[720p].mkv_snapshot_10.38_[2012.11.04_11.27.54] [HorribleSubs]_BTOOOM!_-_05_[720p].mkv_snapshot_15.18_[2012.11.04_11.32.34] [HorribleSubs]_Zetsuen_no_Tempest_-_05_[720p].mkv_snapshot_11.48_[2012.11.04_12.40.09] [HorribleSubs]_Zetsuen_no_Tempest_-_05_[720p].mkv_snapshot_21.51_[2012.11.04_12.55.52]

When it comes to these two shows it’s, Yin, meet Yang.

Btooom! – 05

[HorribleSubs]_BTOOOM!_-_05_[720p].mkv_snapshot_02.58_[2012.11.04_11.20.13] [HorribleSubs]_BTOOOM!_-_05_[720p].mkv_snapshot_03.08_[2012.11.04_11.20.24] [HorribleSubs]_BTOOOM!_-_05_[720p].mkv_snapshot_05.29_[2012.11.04_11.22.44]
[HorribleSubs]_BTOOOM!_-_05_[720p].mkv_snapshot_06.29_[2012.11.04_11.23.44] [HorribleSubs]_BTOOOM!_-_05_[720p].mkv_snapshot_08.26_[2012.11.04_11.25.41] [HorribleSubs]_BTOOOM!_-_05_[720p].mkv_snapshot_09.16_[2012.11.04_11.26.32]
[HorribleSubs]_BTOOOM!_-_05_[720p].mkv_snapshot_12.58_[2012.11.04_11.30.14] [HorribleSubs]_BTOOOM!_-_05_[720p].mkv_snapshot_15.08_[2012.11.04_11.32.24] [HorribleSubs]_BTOOOM!_-_05_[720p].mkv_snapshot_17.25_[2012.11.04_11.34.40]
[HorribleSubs]_BTOOOM!_-_05_[720p].mkv_snapshot_20.19_[2012.11.04_11.37.35] [HorribleSubs]_BTOOOM!_-_05_[720p].mkv_snapshot_21.58_[2012.11.04_11.39.14] [HorribleSubs]_BTOOOM!_-_05_[720p].mkv_snapshot_22.24_[2012.11.04_11.39.40]

I’m right on the edge with Btooom at the moment.  I get that the whole piece is something of an unqualified condemnation of human  nature, and the broader feeling in watching is still that it’s compelling in an unsavory sort of way.  But there were moments in this episode that ventured pretty close to flat-out exploitation, in my view.

One thing’s for sure – this was an episode that pretty much painted threw both males and females collectively under the bus.  I’ll give Btooom that – it’s an equal opportunity show in that it makes everyone look bad.  Girls, boys, kids, old men and young, popular kids and social climbers, musicians, salarymen, otaku, mothers…  The universal message so far seems to be that we’re rotten to the core no matter who and what we are.  Maybe that the island is where all of us belong, anyway – or that the island is where we already are, symbolically.  We can choose to play the game and become killers, or opt out and probably die.

The revelation that it was Ryouta’s mother that had him sent to the island (I hope she was well paid) didn’t come as a total shock, and we already knew who sent Himiko there.  I’m still waiting for Taira’s dark side, and thus far it’s really the only one we haven’t seen – it’s hinted this week that he was a ruthless A-hole in his business life, but that’s pretty pedestrian compared to the rest of the back-stories.  It looks as if he’s going to sacrifice himself to save the others (or at least try to) next week based on the preview, so we may not get too much deeper into his character in any case.  If things weren’t batshit crazy enough we now have Komodo Dragons added to the mix, but I imagine they’re as susceptible to bombs as humans are.

The scene from the episode that really didn’t sit well – and calls into question whether I stick around despite being quite compelled to see how this all turns out – was the one where Ryouta has his encounter with Himiko.  I don’t especially like the way her body was used as a prop there, especially considering the subject matter – and it seemed quite gratuitous to me to have Ryouta leer grotesquely and practically strip her panties off given the circumstances.  I get that she’s carrying a lot of guilt around and has good reason to fear men, but this comes close to the concept of rape being used for titillation – and despite the implication of the episode, I don’t think all men are perverts and rapists just waiting for the right circumstances to unleash their true nature.  I found the scene demeaning to both characters and to females and males generally, and while that doesn’t seem out of place in a series where misanthropy is the core message, that doesn’t mean I want to see more examples played out over the next seven weeks.  I still think Btooom is doing a lot of things right and the overall premise remains an interesting one though, so we’ll see.

Zetsuen no Tempest – 05

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[HorribleSubs]_Zetsuen_no_Tempest_-_05_[720p].mkv_snapshot_18.35_[2012.11.04_12.52.36] [HorribleSubs]_Zetsuen_no_Tempest_-_05_[720p].mkv_snapshot_20.16_[2012.11.04_12.54.17] [HorribleSubs]_Zetsuen_no_Tempest_-_05_[720p].mkv_snapshot_21.04_[2012.11.04_12.55.05]
[HorribleSubs]_Zetsuen_no_Tempest_-_05_[720p].mkv_snapshot_22.04_[2012.11.04_12.56.04] [HorribleSubs]_Zetsuen_no_Tempest_-_05_[720p].mkv_snapshot_22.14_[2012.11.04_12.56.14] [HorribleSubs]_Zetsuen_no_Tempest_-_05_[720p].mkv_snapshot_22.23_[2012.11.04_12.56.24]

The strength of BONES has mostly been in creating original series, but there’s something to be said for the ability to choose the right projects to adapt – and in Zetsuen, they seem to have hit the jackpot.  This show could hardly be more BONES if it were a BONES original – fabulous bishounen, Byzantine plot, generally dark and tragic feel.  Maybe in a funny way BONES is the most Shakespearean anime studio to begin with.

Rather than “The Tempest” it’s “Hamlet” that’s at the thematic heart of the episode this week, with Aika quoting the title character directly and Samon striking a very familiar pose with a skull at the end.  More on that ending in a minute, because what led up to it was pretty good stuff.  ZnT has a way of sweeping you along with its grand theatricality – sweeping orchestral music, giant tanks full of black iron fish, dramatic flashbacks to conversations that sound as if the participants knew they were on camera.  It’s quite silly to be honest, and a little pompous, but no one can do silly and pompous and make it seem attractive like BONES can.

Two new players joined the company this week – Tetsuma (Yoshino Hiroyuki, forever the sidekick) as another one of Samon’s disciples for Mahiro and Yoshino to dramatically cuckold, and Junichirou (Nojima Hirofumi), as a self-exiled member of the Kusaribe clan whom Hakzae has entrusted with an especially important talisman. There’s a strong implication that Junichirou is an especially important person to Hakaze, and someone she’d like very much to protect (death flag there) but he’s convinced she’s actually dead – and has seen a body, at that.  This seems to be the secret weapon in Samon’s arsenal, and the implication is that Hakaze is actually dead (and inside a barrel) and that the one we’ve been watching and listening to is actually some sort of ephemeral remnant of her material self.  It’s too early in the story for that to be true, I’m guessing, but there’s more to this than we’ve been shown so far, that’s a certainty.



  1. J

    Best phrase up there: "fabulous bishounen" .

    Other than that…I'm not following either of the two shows, but Btooom does have me intrigued. By the looks of it, it follows some weekly tortures and cruelties format…Hope it develops into something more!

  2. J

    *Just to clarify: By 'developing into something more', I don't mean even more cruelties, but maybe, give some meaning to all this suffering, and point somewhere else.

  3. V

    Preeetty sure that an ephemeral body doesn't need sustenance to survive. She seems to be doing everything a living normal human being does.

  4. T

    For BTOOOM! I find my self very intrigued with the show despite at the moment not being anything really new. The rape/sexual assault is being way too overplayed in the show and I don't like how it was used in this episode. I get that they don't want us to like Ryouta too much and it was used to remind us that he is not a good person but I think they took it too far in almost ruining his character. He is already a pretty shitty person so adding would have raped her if she didn't almost wake up was not tasteful and damaging to the series. I am really interested in Taira though. You have to be such a major A-hole to get that result from your job. My guess is that he screwed someone out of a major business deal or more likely works as an insurance agent and screwed someone out of benefits.

    As for ZnT I am loving the theatrical style of the show. Bones and Shakespeare as you said really do go well together. The dead body in the barrel I think could be explained by one of the characters stating earlier that "time" is not linear and alluding to our idea of time not exactly being the same flow as time might be working in the show. If they use that I think it would be a good foreshadow and make for very interesting plot development as the character or we know that Hakaze dies and they need to beat Samon before her consciousness/body on the island dies. And for the most important development in the show… We FINALLY find out where those damn hair clips come from. I like how they actually used a very bishounen style as a relationship concept.

  5. B

    Well for Btooooom!, remember that Taira said in an earlier episode he's in real estate. Is it really any wonder that he's pissed someone off so badly? I worked for 5 years for a company that provided websites to Realtors, I've worked with them a LOT, and most of them are self-important assholes. Their job is basically highly competitive sales, they almost HAVE to be aggressive alpha types (in other words, douche bags) to succeed at it. In a business like that I can completely understand if a competitor or customer that he screwed over would get pissed enough to do something that they probably didn't actually believe would work in the first place.

    I like the show but the scene when Himiko was unconscious was really past the bounds of good taste, even by this show's standards. It was hard to watch in a lot of senses. I hope the show provides some optimism to balance all the doom and gloom at some point because at this time it's setting itself up wonderfully to be a show that I watch all the way through and then never want to think about again.

    Zetsuen no Tempest, on the other hand, I am enjoying QUITE a lot and eagerly await each new episode. Although I will say that the lack of Evangeline in this episode made me sad, more of her and the show will be loads better!

  6. B

    Also: They are all overreacting to the lizards. Lizards, really, and you're that scared? Look, I've been to the zoo, I know how big komodo dragons are (damn big) but you have freaking explosives. Pretty sure soft fleshy lizards are weak to explosives. Just saying, put 2 and 2 together and you could be enjoying roast lizard haunches for dinner.

  7. A

    Don't forget that each person only starts with a limited number bombs at the beginning of the game. With komodo dragons and a bunch of other crazy people on the island who would play the game seriously, I doubt they would want to use their bombs so haphazardly.

  8. B

    Just one BIM could take out 2 to 3 of the things and the loud noise would drive the rest off, not such a big waste of resources when the alternative is possibly getting chased up a tree.

  9. Especially considering the dragons are in between the humans and said trees – and the fact that Komodo Dragons can climb trees…

  10. B

    I dunno about that last part, most of the sources I could find tend to say that only the young komodo dragons climb trees and that the adults are either too heavy to manage it or simply don't bother. Either way there is a chance that they could so yeah, driving them off seems to be their best bet since komodo dragons are also pretty fast and outrunning them (especially if your name is Taira) is a risky proposition (actually for Taira it's pretty much not gonna happen at all).

  11. A

    I actually enjoyed both shows. ZnT has the best score of the season for me — this is pretty personal, as I do enjoy classical music a lot.

    As for Taira in Btooom!, I find him a bit suspicious. He claimed that he couldn't walk, but as soon as Ryouta left, he could walk to the dead man in the river to peel the chip off without using the cane. It seems to me that he's playing the game by manipulating people's feelings for gaining trust before revealing his true intention. I could be very wrong here, and he can be the next to be killed off…who knows, but I want to know more of these characters — this is what keeps me wanting more although it's really really ugly and dark.


  12. A

    Dude, do you know what "cuckold" means?

  13. Dude, do you know what "metaphor" means?

  14. G

    Most of Bones shows, both original and adaption, are dramatic and laced with symbolisms. I like a studio that displays a lot of diversity even within their home ground, in the sense that every work carries a piece of the studio but still preserves an identity and a heart of its own. The opposite example is KyoAni (this is of course just my biased opinion). Bones knows how to construct a sense of world. That's really the main reason why I like them so much.

    Btooom! I find it intriguing but still rather uncomfortable to watch. I wonder how I would feel if I was to marathon the series……….

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