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Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
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Battle Royale (original 2003; edition 2003)

by Koushun Takami

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,197902,631 (4.12)1 / 96
Member:kgriffith
Title:Battle Royale
Authors:Koushun Takami
Info:VIZ Media LLC (2003), Edition: 1, Paperback, 624 pages
Collections:Wishlist, Favorites, Read but unowned (inactive)
Rating:*****
Tags:fiction, widget

Work details

Battle Royale by Koushun Takami (2003)

  1. 92
    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Kira)
    Kira: The Hunger Games is a shorter, less violent book, with a similar plotline of children forced to fight to the death.
  2. 51
    The Long Walk by Stephen King (LadyHazy)
  3. 41
    Lord of the Flies by William Golding (Panairjdde)
    Panairjdde: Two books that explore the survival instinct of people, even at youg age, as fueled by fear and lust for violence
  4. 31
    The Running Man by Stephen King (mniday)
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    Hunters of the red moon by Marion Zimmer Bradley (Konran)
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English (87)  Italian (1)  All languages (88)
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The Republic of Greater East Asia was falling apart. Its youth were a disaffected lot and were often displaying such traits in increasingly violent ways. The government decided to act and passed the Program where 50 third-year junior high school classes are forced to fight their classmates until only 1 participant remains left alive. This story follows one such class of 42 students as they are abducted from their intended school trip and awaken in a strange classroom and discover their new circumstances. Stranded on a deserted island each person is equipped with a pack containing food, water, a map and an item classed as a weapon (anything from a machine gun to a fork) and sent on their way at 2 minute intervals. Will they participate? Can they trust anyone to make allegiances with and if they do there is the ever present threat of betrayal with only one person able to claim victory.

This is a brutal tale in both the psychological and violent sense that the reader, for the most part, follows in the company of Shuya, one of the students. It’s not all violence and gore though as you do also get snippets of back-stories of some of the more prominent students to better understand their character traits. This helps keeping the who’s who straight, with so many of them running about initially, and adds to the feels when the inevitable death ensues. There are also moments of really black humour on show too (the lighthouse anyone?) which while not lightening the mood certainly add to the readability of the story. Even though it was never in the running for any of the great prizes for literature it certainly is that, as long as you don’t mind a bit of blood spatter that is.

Since finishing the book I’ve also rewatched the movie for the sake of comparison. While there are a few differences the two are pretty much the same with only the ending having any real dramatic change. The film is definitely more OTT than the book but the characters lack the depth that you can gain from the written version. So if you’re interested in experiencing either then I’d recommend if you want the action then check out the movie but if you want more story to go with it then the book is the way to go. I guess I’ll need to find the manga now and do this all again sometime. ( )
  AHS-Wolfy | Jun 6, 2019 |
Mature-Content Rating: Mention of rape, extreme underage violence, mention of suicide, gore, language

“What I mean is, even a dumbass like me can think everything’s pointless. Why do I get up and eat? It all ends up shit anyway. Why am I going to school and studying? Even if I happen to succeed I’m going to die anyway. You wear nice clothes, you seek respect, you make a lot of money, but what’s the point? It’s all pointless. But… but, you see, we still have emotions like joy and happiness, right? They may not amount to much but they fill up our emptiness.”

Try to remember all the kids from your 9th grade homeroom class. The bullies, yes, but also the couples, the siblings, the bffs, and that special girl/guy that you’ve had your eye on. Now imagine the government shipping that class off to an undisclosed location without telling you or your family, giving you a bomb-laced collar, a backpack with supplies, and telling you to go kill your classmates or die yourself.

The world of Battle Royale is a communist Japan; the government controlling everything including the music the characters are allowed to have and what’s allowed to play on tv. To remind the people of their place, every year a 9th grade class is chosen for the Battle Royale. A collar with a bomb is put around their neck in case they try to exit the battle zone; they are given a backpack with food, water, a map, and a weapon (that can be anything from an AK-47 to a fork); and are told only one will be allowed to stay alive at the end of three days.

The main characters are Shuya, Noriko, and Shogo. While mostly the reader follows Shuya and Noriko (his crush) and the recent transfer student Shogo, other times are dedicated to each individual character. We’re given backgrounds, relationships, hopes for the future, hobbies; anything to humanize the characters and create emotional bonds. You know, before they start killing or someone kills them.

Overall, this is not a book for the lighthearted. It’s gruesome, brutal, and probably nightmare inducing. ( )
  ReadingBifrost | Apr 17, 2019 |
Bello bello bello. Crudele, cinico e duro, ma tanto tanto bello. ( )
  maxliscia | Aug 7, 2017 |
I bought this while stuck in America earlier this year, because I'd run out of things to read and that pesky volcano wasn't liable to behave anytime soon; I'm very glad I did, because the novel one very notorious film is based on has a lot more depth to it than I had ever imagined. You get know more about the schoolkchildren involved, and grow to like some of them a lot - this is all glossed over in the film in favour of the killing, which, while still central, also manages to make way for a more human aspect. The ending is also mildly different, with less of the teacher being creepy and more of him having an actual reason to agree with the games. ( )
  Arianwen16 | Jan 4, 2017 |
I think the little blurb aptly describes this, a Lord of the Flies for the 21st Century". Exploring ideas of trust, hate, free will, love, fear, etc, etc, Takami takes us for a ride into forced depravity. A look at a world where spirituality is dead and only the material matters.

That all being said, this WAS one of the most violent books I've read this year. And that is not a praise." ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Koushun Takamiprimary authorall editionscalculated
Collins, NathanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oniki, YujiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"A student is not a tangerine." - Kinpachi Sakamoto, Third Tear Class B
"But tramps like us, baby we were born to run" - Bruce Springsteen, "Born to Run"
"It's so hard to love" - Motoharu Sano, "It's so hard to love"
"During all those last weeks I spent there, there was a peculiar evil feeling in the air - an atmosphere os suspicion, fear, uncertainty, and veiled hatred. You seemed to spend all your time holding whispered conversations in corners of cafes and wondering whether that person at the next table was a police spy. I do not know if I can bring home to you how deeply that action touched me. It sounds a small thing, but it was not. You have got to realize what was the feeling of the time - the horrible atmosphere of suspicion and hatred." - George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia
Dedication
I dedicate this to everyone I love. Even though it might not be appreciated.
First words
As the bus entered the prefectural capital of Takamatsu, garden suburbs transformed into city streets of multicolored neon, headlights of oncoming cars, and checkered lights of office buildings.
Quotations
"Don't even think of raping me after beating me to a pulp. Look, little kid, you should worry more about your life than your dick." Takako Chigusa (female student NO. 13)
Last words
Disambiguation notice
This is a novel, and should not be combined with Vol. 1 of the manga adaptation: http://www.librarything.com/work/5691...
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 156931778X, Paperback)

Battle Royale, a high-octane thriller about senseless youth violence, is one of Japan's best-selling - and most controversial - novels. As part of a ruthless program by the totalitarian government, ninth-grade students are taken to a small isolated island with a map, food, and various weapons. Forced to wear special collars that explode when they break a rule, they must fight each other for three days until only one "winner" remains. The elimination contest becomes the ultimate in must-see reality television. A Japanese pulp classic available in English for the first time, Battle Royale is a potent allegory of what it means to be young and survive in today's dog-eat-dog world. The first novel by small-town journalist Koushun Takami, it went on to become an even more notorious film by 70-year-old gangster director Kinji Fukusaku.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:11 -0400)

In a country ruled by a ruthless totalitarian government, a group of ninth-grade students are confined to a small isolated island where they must fight each other for three days until only one survivor remains, as part of the ultimate in reality television.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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