'BTOOOM!' Season 2: Manga Ending Has Two Versions, Spinoff 'BTOOOM! U-18' A Prequel - Anime Sequel Possible?

Patrick Frye

Anime fans have long been demanding the anime BTOOOM! Season 2 largely because the first season left everyone hanging without resolving the story, not even with an anime original ending. With the BTOOOM! manga ending in 2018, a new BTOOOM! manga spinoff called BTOOOM! U-18 was recently announced. Since the second season of BTOOOM! was teased last year, is it possible the anime sequel will eventually be confirmed?

Mangaka Junya Inoue first began serializing the BTOOOM! manga series back in 2009. At first, it was a weekly manga, but now new chapters come out monthly in Monthly Comic Bunch. As of February of 2017, the series has been released in tankobon format up to BTOOOM! Volume 25 (click to see the cover). The final chapter will release on March 20, 2018, and Volume 26 will be out in July.

Fortunately, the BTOOOM! English translation by Yen Press is not too far behind. Nineteen volumes have been released in English so far, with Volume 20 scheduled to release on February 27, 2018, Volume 21 on May 22, 2018, and Volume 22 on August 21, 2018.

The manga series entered its final story arc with Volume 23. On Twitter, Inoue goes by the name "Joker Jun," and the creator announced that BTOOOM! Volume 26 would be the manga's ending. He also teased fans by suggesting he's going to use a "big gimmick at the end."

In an unusual twist, the author is planning on making his finale special by having two unique endings, but perhaps that shouldn't be too surprising considering that Inoue used to be a video game director. Inoue says this novel approach is similar to a "choose your own adventure" book where the readers get to choose what protagonist Ryota Sakamoto will do at a pivotal point in the manga's story. Will Sakamoto choose to find out the truth or will he prioritize friendship?

The mangaka says the light ending will be more "orthodox" and will give fans a "satisfactory ending." The artist says he has drawn more than 100 pages for the dark ending, although he has "recycled the lines and expressions about 80 percent more." The dark ending will be "completely different" and more "militant" than the light ending.

"Please choose the 'light version' or 'dark version' of Volume 26 based on your preferences," Inoue wrote on Twitter. "In doing so, the feeling of participating in the story rises with a jerk. Of course, you are welcome to buy both of them, but you have to read them first. (laughs)"

Working on both versions has led to "pretty acrobatic scheduling." Inoue is working extra hard to release the two versions of BTOOOM! Volume 26 simultaneously. The light BTOOOM! ending will be featured as the main storyline released in Monthly Comic Bunch. The dark ending will be serialized in B Bunch magazine starting in June of 2018. Thankfully, both versions of Volume 26 will be released in July of 2018.

According to Comic Natalie, Monthly Comic Bunch will be launching a new BTOOOM! story called BTOOOM! U-18. The manga spinoff will be written by Yuya Kanzaki, who is known for Ouroboros (Ouroboros – Keisatsu o Sabaku wa Ware ni Ari) and Impossibility Defense (Funouhan).

Not much information has been released about the story of BTOOOM! U-18. The new manga will be a prequel or prologue to the main story and will launch in the same magazine issue that features the original manga's light ending.

The meaning of "U-18" is also a mystery. Since the original story takes place on a remote tropical island, U-18 could be a real-world reference to a German submarine that was sold back in 2011. That seems more likely than an experimental vehicle created by the Soviets during World War II.

BTOOOM! U-18 could also be an under-18 sports league reference, where the new death survival game is focused on under-age opponents. After all, except for Himiko and the sadistic Kosuke Kira, the majority of the BTOOOM! cast are adults.

Way back in 2012, studio Madhouse and director Kotono Watanabe created a 12-episode anime adaptation of the manga series. The anime faithfully covered the story events up through Chapter 50 of Volume 9. That means there is enough source material left in the manga to create a two-cour season with 24 episodes, or if fans are feeling wishful, even BTOOOM! Season 3.

The biggest obstacle that BTOOOM! Season 2 faces is gathering funding for the anime project since the first season was a financial flop. Thanks to online streaming services like Crunchyroll, the anime series became popular internationally, but the BTOOOM! Blu-ray/DVD discs only sold 338 copies in Japan.

Still, even the cult following in Japan was enough for mobile games developer Asobimo to tease BTOOOM! Season 2 as a marketing gimmick when they launched their game BTOOOM! Online. During the launch press conference, Asobimo producer Masato Hayashi promised that if the game app's domestic sales in Japan broke into the top five for sales, then they would make BTOOOM! Season 2 of the anime. According to Inside Games, Hayashi was quoted as saying that Asobimo would fund the second season by themselves if a sponsor could not be found.

Unfortunately, that success did not last long. The game was last updated in July of 2017 and never received an English port for Android and iOS/iPhone. The BTOOOM! game managed to stay in Japan's top five for several weeks, but by April of 2017 Goboiano reports that the app had "fallen below the top 50."

While it could be argued that the game met Hayashi's condition that it "break" into the top five chart, Asobimo has not brought up the possibility of BTOOOM! Season 2 since then, not even as a crowdfunding project as some fans wish. However, with the BTOOOM! manga ending in 2018, now would be the time for others to consider finishing the anime. A BTOOOM! U-18 anime would also make sense if only as glorified marketing for the new manga series, but that's not what anime fans want.

Streaming services like Crunchyroll and Netflix are also a game changer. Netflix began investing heavily in the anime industry, partnering with Production IG and Studio Bones to produce original new anime. The first BTOOOM! anime season is in the top 350 most popular anime on Crunchyroll. It's actually more popular on Crunchyroll than popular series like Spice and Wolf and Hellsing, never mind newer anime that quickly lost their appeal. Many anime are now being co-produced by Crunchyroll, including a 2018 series by studio Madhouse, so why not BTOOOM! Season 2?