on November 17, 2009
Koushun Takami's notorious high-octane thriller envisions a nightmare scenario: a class of junior high school students is taken to a deserted island where, as part of a ruthless authoritarian programme, they are provided arms and forced to kill until only one survivor is left standing. Criticized as violent exploitation when first published in Japan in 1999—where it became a runaway best seller and was adapted into a movie—Battle Royale is a Lord of the Flies for the 21st century, a potent allegory of what it means to be young and (barely) alive in a dog-eat-dog world.
Why hello there. I’m sorry that I have not been here in a while I keep meaning to post here, but then my life gets crazy and I don’t post as much as I would like to and it disappoints me and I’m sure that it disappoints you as well. Enough of my sad apologies though, I’m here today to talk about Battle Royale by Koushun Takami. I first heard about this book from my co-worker sometime in 2011 right about when the Hunger Games was getting popular. I found finally found a republished translation of the book on my work trip to Sacramento last year. I finally got around to reading the novel this past Spring, I even watched the movie, which is available on Netflix for your viewing pleasure.
The novel all 576 pages keep me turning pages while reading it, although the brutality in the novel had me limiting my chapters to only one or two a night because let’s be honest I get nightmares easily and really like my sleep. I rooted for the main characters Shuya Nanahara and Noriko Nakagawa throughout the novel and their bittersweet love story. I loved that the book added more depth to all the characters and attempted to give insight to where some of the characters were coming from.
The movie as expected took some liberties as far as the novel goes. For example in the movie two of the students Shogo Kawada and Kazuo Kiriyama are said to be transfer students that join the class on the island, while in the novel these two students are part of the class that are also brought to the island on the bus. I love the scenery and the imagery in the movie. I should warn you though that the movie is done in Japanese with English subtitles. I appreciate that this movie had subtitles rather than English dubbing which can take away from the main elements of the movie.
I would definitely recommend both the book and the movie to anyone. If you liked the Hunger Games and enjoy distopian novels this is definitely a book for you. I also just found out this weekend that there was also a manga called Battle Royale, which I’m now on the hunt for because the person that recommended that said that the manga was slightly different than the novel.
I hope too see you soon!