The story in this one is far from being original as this kind of story has been done many times before like in the movies "Battle Royale (2001)", "The Hunger Games (2012)", and even the television series "Survivor (2000 - ongoing)" (minus the bloodshed that is). This doesn't make it a bad show as they did make it in a way where it was very interesting and exciting and it will keep you on the edge of your seats. The show is also paced really well up until the final episode where if feels rushed. The whole final episode has a different tone all together as if they had more episodes planned and had to compress the last few episodes into one which lead to an ending that leaves many questions unanswered but it is far from being a terrible ending. The action in this show is quite exciting and got my blood pumping although the action scenes are a tad bit predictable on who is going to win. The action in this show is also quite reminiscent of action films from the 1980's/1990's which is great. The violence in this show can get quite graphic and brutal with some gory scenes and some rape scenes. While not too hardcore some people might find it a bit too much to handle. The characters in this show are decent and while you may dislike some of them at first (you're supposed to) they do mature throughout the show and that is a good thing as it works and you will end up really feeling for them. Although there are some characters in this show that are pure evil and I also found that to be awesome as it makes for a much more interesting show.
I liked the artwork in this one as it had some strong coloring and nice looking characters and some very well done scenery. While I do like the character designs I also dislike some of them at the same time due to some unoriginal looking characters that look like they came straight from other anime... But on the other hand they could be paying tribute to characters that appeared in "Battle Royale (2001)" and movies just like it. Scenery is very nice and defiantly gives you the feeling of visiting an island with very lush greenery all the way to creepy abandoned buildings and warm beaches. Animation is alright but there are some moments where it can look a bit rubbery. There are also some hilarious animation like during some of the rape and crotch grabbing scenes that made me laugh rather than feel uncomfortable. English dub sounds decent but there is some incredibly cheesy dialogue... And I love it as it helps with the "80's action movie" inspired vibe so don't take it too seriously other wise you'll be frustrated. The soundtrack is alright with some nice sounding rock tracks although there were a few that I found to be quite mediocre sounding.
There is a very solid selection of special features found on both discs in this set. You get all the text-less opening and closing credit sequences, promotions and commercials that aired on Japanese television, and two episodes of a special called "Btooom: Digest Edition". The music in the text-less credits are okay but not my favorite. The text-less credits in the special features on disc one have a problem with them and that is that the music has been switched to where the opening theme is in the closing credits and vice-versa and it feels very weird but rest assured that the text-less credits on disc two do not have this problem. The commercials are decent but can be a little creepy after watching the whole series as it makes it seem like a commercial as if we were watching this battle royale (no pun intended) live on TV in their universe. "Btooom: Digest Edition" is a special mini-series of short segments showing all the deaths in their full bloody glory. There really isn't anything much to this other than if you want to re-watch all the gory deaths without fast-forwarding through an episode. Personally I'd rather just re-watch the series as you don't get the same feeling watching deaths in these mini-episodes as watching them in the full series.
Overall I enjoyed this show but if you are looking for a serious action drama show then you won't like this. This show is for the fans of those who don't have to worry about overly complicated plots and just sit back and enjoy some good old fashioned violence (and maybe some sex). Kaiser approved.
Animation/Production Studio: Madhouse
Genre: Animation/Anime, Action, Drama, Thriller
Running Time: 288 Minutes (12 Episodes)
Distributor: Hanabee Entertainment (http://www.hanabee.com.au/)
Rating: MA15+ (Strong themes, animated violence)