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Battle Royale: The Novel [Paperback]

Koushun Takami
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Jan 2010
Battle Royale is a high-octane thriller about senseless youth violence, and one of Japan's bestselling - and most controversial - novels. As part of a ruthless program by the totalitarian government, a group of high school students are taken to a small isolated island with a map, food, and various weapons. Forced to wear special collars that explode when thy break a rule, they must fight each other for three days until only one remains.

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Battle Royale: The Novel + Battle Royale [DVD] [2001] + Battle Royale 2: Requiem [DVD] [2003]
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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: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 138,840 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

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
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
4.0 out of 5 stars No mercy 24 Mar 2010
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard to put down 14 Sep 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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5.0 out of 5 stars dystopian future the original better than hg 23 Aug 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Sadly we have to compare to hungar games however, the original battle royale was a great film way before hunger games, and this is the book written after the film. It's about a dystopian future where government controls the populous by making kids fight to the death. Much more adult content/ realism than hunger games, it makes for a much more interesting read. Unlike hunger games you get to follow all of the characters and see how they cope being thrust into this world, who loses their humanity when the right to survive is striped from them and who clings on to it in the hope that theirs another way. Brilliant read would recommend to anyone who likes Sci fi and those who like alternative realities :)
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
I'm pretty sure you know about 'Battle Royale' - most of us probably having seen the film first, so what does the original book bring to the table if we already know the story?

The simple answer is not that much more. The book itself is quite long and pretty formulaic. In fact, I'm not sure a novel is the best format for the story, and I think it would work better in a comic format - or as we've seen - on the big screen. In fact, I'm going to stick my neck out here and say that perhaps, this is one of the few occasions when the film is better than the book.

That said the book is OK, and the translation from Japanese to English is well done. The author cites Stephen King as one of his main influences and there are clear similarities between their styles of story telling; although Takami is nowhere near King's level of ability (but that's nothing to be ashamed of, as King is considered one of the best story tellers of our time).

One problem I found, or at least that I thought it would be a problem, was the shear numbers (42) of unfamilar Japanese names. In the end though, we only really need to try and learn/remember about 10 of them, as most of them are just cannon fodder to be dispatched in each chapter - this is what I mean when the book becomes a bit formulaic. It's not really a problem, but means there's little suspense and you can guess the twist before they happen. It's one reason I think this would be better in a comic format. However, do expect to get a bit confused when 3 friends are called Yuki, Yuko, Yoki for instance. As I said though, when you know all three will die within the next 10 pages, does it really matter if it's Yuki or Yoki who is shot in the head with a crossbow?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Personal Favourite
I first came across the Battle Royale franchise five years ago by pure chance when my father purchased the first volume of the graphic novel series. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Mr. William Prior
5.0 out of 5 stars Battle Royale: The Novel
Written in English. Horrific story of how humans turn upon humans in exceptional circumstances. In this case schoolchildren. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Rosamunda
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing book
i really liked the film they made of this book, but this is way better than the film in so many ways.
Published 8 months ago by Nathan Atkinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Finished this massive book in one night
This review is very late but I literally read this book in one night. It is quite a huge book and I still read it without break. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Raluca Roman
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! Perfect Buy!
I haven't read this book yet. So far, I'm only about three pages in after the introduction, map and list of character names--which, I'll warn you now, will be hard for you to keep... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Barclay A.
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
A great story. It's fast paced and gripping. School kids fight each other on a deserted island? Shocking idea so I had to find out what was going on. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Alexandra
3.0 out of 5 stars Battle Royale: The Novel
This was another present for my other half, as she is a big fan of the original film, however, after getting about half way through,
she said she couldn't figure whether it... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Peter Fox (WatchInShadows)
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
One of the best novels I have read. It had me gripped from the beginning until the end. The true strength of this book is that it makes you care for even the supporting characters. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Conrad
4.0 out of 5 stars Battle Royale
The story line is very original, it is very well written, the deescription of the characters makes you want to empathise and sympathise with certain characters, it keeps you on... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Wenda
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, shocking and unmissable.
This latest edition is a great translation of the original - and a smoother read with much of the awkward translation remedied. Read more
Published on 28 May 2012 by S. Sheldon
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