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Battle Royale: The Novel Paperback – 7 Jan 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: VIZ Media; 2nd edition (7 Jan. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1421527723
  • ISBN-13: 978-1421527727
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 4.3 x 13.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 298,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Koushun Takami was borin in 1969 in Amagasaki near Osaka and grew up in Kagawa Prefecture of Shikoku, where he currently resides. After Graduating from Osaka University with a degree in literature, he dropped out of Nihon University's liberal arts correspondence school. From 1991 to 1996 he worked for the prefectural news company Shikoku Shinbun. "Battle Royale," completed after Takami left the news company, was a finalist for the Kadokawa Mystery Prize, but ulimately lost due to the controversy the novel's content provoked among juruy members. With its publication in Japan in 1999, Battle Royale received widespread support from young readers and became a best seller. in 2000. ot was adapted as a manga and made into a popular feature film.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 12 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback
After having read the Hunger Games trilogy I'd heard on the grapevine about where it all originated from and thought that Battle Royale sounded like a good read. But I have to admit I was somewhat torn between whether I should risk reading it (particularly as it's not exactly cheap) for a number of reasons. So I'm gearing this review towards those of you who, like me, aren't too sure whether you'll enjoy this book.

The first doubt I had, before choosing to buy, was towards the telling of the story. Would I be able to follow it since it's originally japanese and I'd read a few bad reviews about the translation? Would it be too different from the novels we're all used to? Absolutely not! This book is really fantastic, and I wouldn't have been able to tell you it wasn't English originally if it weren't for the names of the characters. And even then I probably could have looked past that fact and assumed it was.

So what about the characters? I won't delve into who I liked for fear of giving away the end results but the character development and connection was something I was concerned about. With 42 students to remember I feared I wouldn't make a connection with many or I'd lose track of who was who and all their different back stories. Well to some extent this is true. For me, the names were initially difficult to remember and place a face to but this became so much easier after 10 or so pages once I'd gotten used to it. I honestly thought this wouldn't be the case and I'd struggle signigicantly but it was fine.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 24 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback
Imagine this: Japan is run by a totalitarian government, which occasionally selects groups of ninth graders to methodically destroy each other. On TV.

There now, isn't that chilling? It's the creepy, all-too-real premise of Koushun Takami's "Battle Royale," an intricate novel about a parallel universe, where Japan is part of a brutal, coldhearted empire. Takami's writing style is a bit too spare at times, but he's still able to inspire a sense of haunting terror in his readers.

A group of third-year high-schoolers are being transported on a bus, when they are gassed to unconsciousness, and taken to a distant island. When they awake, they have silver collars around their necks, and a man explains that they have been chosen for the Program: a military training exercise where you must kill or be killed. If you don't play, or stay in one place too long, the collars explode.

The teenagers slowly weed one another out, armed with weapons and random household tools, and monitored by the authorities to make sure they don't plot. Finally the entire class is weeded down to three young adults, including Shuya Nanahara and his girlfriend Noriko. But if they refuse to kill, then they must escape the fascist nightmare... which no one has done before.

"Battle Royale" was condemned in Japan for being so violent, and having a bunch of normal high schoolers killing each other off. So of course, it became a massive bestseller. But "Battle Royale" would have been striking even if it hadn't been publicized like that -- not only is it well-written, but it asks the question straight-out: how much will people do to survive?

Maybe it's also a parable about high-school life, and the struggle to succeed at all costs in Japan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The Librarian on 14 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Once I discovered that the 'Hollywood Version' was based on this, I decided to read this first. I read a lot of reviews which warned of the graphic violence and must admit to some trepidation before starting the book. However, although the violent bits are quite graphic, it doesn't detract from a very good story.
Takami homes in on the unpredictability of human nature and what people will do to survive, be it in a kill-or-be-killed situation or living under an oppressive regime. The plot is pretty basic but the insight into the characters more than makes up for it.
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When I saw the film of this I didn't realise there was a book or manga series, and Hunger Games didn't exist yet.. I enjoyed the movie but looking back the point of the story totally passed me by as a pretty amazing social commentary.
The book (and the mangas) really flesh out the story behind the characters and puts so much more emotion and depth into it.
The story is set in an alternative present time Japan. The government has come up with the Battle Royale Act as a reminder to the citizens who is in control. The BR Act consists of selecting random classes of teenagers each year from around the country to be put in isolation to participate in a fight to the death until there is one survivor.
It's a pretty dark premise and it is pretty horrific throughout, but the emotions, issues of trust and the character building throughout make it really compelling. It is one of those stories that I couldn't put down, and even after I'd finished I couldnt stop thinking about it. (So I read the mangas, which compliment it well- though now I forget whether certain back stories were in the novel or manga!)
The translation of the book is great, following so many Japanese character names I found a little hard to remember who was who to begin with. I can't fault that though!
If I'm entirely honest I didn't like a scene near the end, it got a bit unbelieveable and silly, but not enough to spoil what is now one of my favourite books.
It really makes you think, the parrallels with the story and the cutthroat world teenagers are thrown into when they leave school and enter into the battle for survival. I recommend it!
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