Koushun Takami: Battle Royale

Suzanne Collins is probably tired of repeating she has never heard of Battle Royale (published in 1999) before she wrote her – in many ways – version of it. It is not to say the Hunger Games is a rip off of Battle Royale, but it is hard to not compare them as the idea is very much alike: bunch of kids forced to murder each other in a Roman style competition. On the other hand Battle Royale is just so much better on so many levels. Maybe it is because The Hunger Games is after all a PG-13 rated ambiguous and soppy family story that we keep in our Children Section.  Battle Royal is when sh*t hits the fan. Dripping with blood, rebellious, relentless, surreal, shocking and creepy, but in many ways funny and very much self-aware, Battle Royale is a terrifying, existentially pessimistic cry of teenage protest against the adult world.

The film (released in 2000) based on the book is also worthy to look at. Tarantino once said: “If there’s any movie that’s been made since I’ve been making movies that I wish I had made, it’s that one.” Interestingly the film is PG-18 rated in the West but Japanese standards rate this bloody massacre as PG-15, so many countries, so many customs. Give it a go and tell all about it to your Hunger Games loving friends!


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