We all know and love series’ like My Hero Academia, Attack on Titan, Steins;Gate, and we cannot forget Neon Genesis Evangelion – the list goes on. But what about the lesser known anime? The ones that were swept under the rug or flew under the radar amidst all the hype for the more eye-catching shows of the season. Unfortunately, these mostly went unnoticed, but their potential shines above all. In 2012, a swarm of new anime and manga were released in Japan, one of which being the infamous Sword Art Online. A story in which a boy plays a video game he’s passionate about but gets stuck fighting for his life when he ends up having to play it for real. He makes new friends and foes alike as he tries to beat this real-life game while finding himself. But Kirito wasn’t the only gamer that got DLC he didn’t ask for, there was another 22-year-old NEET who just wanted to sit down and play video games. Presenting one of my absolute favorites, BTOOOM! You can tell this is fake because, in real life, someone living the life Ryouta has wouldn’t be this bishie Initially written by Junya Inoue, BTOOOM! is about a game with the same name that became a worldwide phenomenon, selling millions within the first week. A game so notoriously good, people from all over the world are just waiting in line to pick up a copy. Think of an RPG based Call of Duty but with various types of bombs instead of guns. Enter Ryouta Sakamoto, one of the world’s best BTOOOM! players living under his mother’s roof in Japan. He’s the textbook definition of the stereotypical “guy living in his mother’s basement”: no job, no college degree, no plans for the future, no real-life friends, no training. He lives and breathes the world of BTOOOM! and unfortunately for him, that becomes a reality when he ends up on an island and forced to play the game he so dearly loved for real. It’s survival of the fittest! The first thing I should make mention of is the art style and animation. Studio Madhouse lives up to its reputation, being the company responsible for Death Note‘s beautiful animation during its release in 2006. It’s swift and smooth, utilizing a mix of both vibrant and dull colors in every scene. Every character is given various amounts of expressions and reactions, without appearing too goofy or cliche. Complete with a colorful ambiance and detailed backgrounds, BTOOOM! is just aesthetically pleasing all around. Characters are another thing I love about BTOOOM! Each character was put on the island for a reason, and the entirety of the show lets you peek into each character’s backstory. Without taking away too much of the initial narrative, BTOOOM! paces itself in such a way that allows the viewer to form relations and opinions with the characters on screen. Through their actions and backstories alone, we learn what kind of people they all were. One character was a juvenile criminal and unable to understand what made good “good” and bad “bad”. This came from an abusive upbringing and home-life, where he only saw violence – anything else confuses him. Pit him in a duel against Ryouta, who was raised in a stable household, and you’ll have an entertaining battle. Adding onto that, BTOOOM! tackles sensitive subjects such as domestic violence and bullying. It’s not afraid to bring to light issues that the real world has to offer. Furthermore, this is a premise that has been explored before but casting aside a black/white mentality. There are only lesser evil and the greater good. Being put in a life or death situation brings out one’s true colors and BTOOOM! makes excellent use of that exposition. I cannot emphasize just how much I love the opening. Nano’s “No Pain, No Game” is the first song on my playlist whenever I work out. Another lesser-known singer, Nano sings her heart out with each song she releases, and BTOOOM!‘s opening is no exception. The whole 1 minute and 30 seconds of the opening just hypes you up for another exciting episode. And at the end of each episode, May’n serenades you with “Aozora“, as you get a painting-like shot of Himiko, Ryouta’s love interest. Unfortunately, as of right now there are no plans for a season 2 despite the manga ending, and the release of a mobile game BTOOOM! Online released only in Japan. If only they had released it here, it would have gained a much larger following. You could even create your own character and dress them in whatever you want! What’s up with that? Japan to American 1 – 0 Amidst all the hype for new anime being released every season, it’s hard to sit back and take a look at some potentially really good ones that got glossed over. What’s an anime you wish was more popular? BTOOOM! is available for streaming on Hulu, Anime-Planet, and Crunchyroll. Please support the official release!