Btooom Manga is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Junya Inoue. It has been serialized in Weekly Comic Bunch since 2009 and later in Monthly Comic Bunch, with chapters collected into 26 tankobon volumes as of 2018. Btooom! follows the adventures of Ryōta Sakamoto, an unemployed and isolated young man who is one of the world’s top players in the titular video game.
After Ryōta is nominated to participate in the real-life version of the game, he becomes trapped inside it and meets his love interest Himiko, who was his in-game wife. With the help of their fellow players, Ryōta and Himiko must find a way to return home.
Btooom Manga starts off with Ryōta Sakamoto is an unemployed 22-year-old young man who lives with his mother Yukie. He is one of the world’s top players of the combat video game called Btoom! One day, he awakes in what appears to be a tropical island, though he does not remember how or why he has been transported there. While wandering around, Ryōta sees someone and calls out for help.
The stranger responds by throwing a bomb at him. Ryōta soon realizes that his life is in danger and that he has somehow been trapped in a real-life version of his favorite game. In the game Ryōta meets Himiko, who is another Btooom! player — and Ryōta’s in-game wife.
Btoom Manga as the series progresses during Iida’s investigation with the government agents like Matthew Percier, along with the help from Ryōta’s step-father and step-uncle Hisanobu and Mitamura, it is revealed that the developer of Btooom!, Tyrannos Japan, has been associated with the terrorist organization called Schwaritz Foundation, in an attempt to use the players as their test subjects to conquer the entire world and getting rid of the evidence of their exposed crimes they are currently committing.
It also contains two separate endings on Chapter 121, a good ending, and a bad ending.
Btooom Manga main character, Sakamoto, isn’t your typical manga protagonist who is born to fight, able to battle and kill with no qualms. He is a man with a conscience and even in the kill-or-be-killed environment of the tropical island, he still finds it difficult to just kill others and in the few cases in which he does so he is filled with regret (and even in these situations he only did it because he had no other option). He is, in my opinion, an interesting protagonist and a refreshing break from some of the other protagonists in manga who seem to be slightly unrealistic in their approach.
Overall, it’s an enjoyable manga that I recommend you to read. If you enjoyed Battle Royale or seinen works like Gantz, I recommend you check this series out.
The most notable aspect of character portrayal in btooom! is realism. This is evidently seen in our protagonist, Ryuuta. Although he is a neet, an anti-social, and has anger management problems, he also possess incredible compassion to help others, an observant and calculating brain that enables him to survive, and a strong sense of morals. This manga is not only told in his perspective, but we can also hear his complex thoughts on every page. This is what made this manga really interesting.
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Btooom Manga is a refreshing survival game manga that deals in various genres, such as mystery, action, psychological, romance, ecchi, and seinen. Some would like to claim that it is a rip-off of battle royal, but personally I don’t see why that should even matter.