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Battle Royale: The Novel Paperback – 7 Jan 2010

47 customer reviews

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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: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 257,881 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

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Bex TOP 500 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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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By cdoreilly@hotmail.com on 25 April 2003
Format: Paperback
Those who have seen the movie, "Battle Royale," will be familiar with the story - 42 high school students, sent to a deserted island, must fight to the death until only one survivor remains. Being a huge fan of the film, I was eager to get my hands on the Koushun Takami novel, on which the movie was based. Never before have i read 600 pages in two days. I found the book extremely hard to put down and despite parallels with the film, it features enough differences to keep fans of the movie interested. Perhaps the most interesting feature of the novel is its portrayal of the thoughts of each student. This allows every single charater to be given a personality, making their inevitable deaths that much more horrifying. Learning more about the character backgrounds allows for greater knowledge that i feel makes the film more enjoyable too. While i have nothing but praise for the story, the translation is not always spot on and is, at times, a little confusing. Fortunately for those who have seen the film, each character (wth the exception of sakamochi, or kitano) has the same name in the book as the movie. Being able to put a face to the name aids greatly in understanding the book, despite taking something away from the imagination. I really enjoyed the book, but if i did not have some knowledge of the characters already, then remembering and identifying the 42 different players may have been difficult. The translation may let it down at parts, but overall this is a very touching and moving tale about love, friendship and loyalty. If you havnt seen the movie, i would recommend you read this. If you have seen the movie, then i insist you read this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bishmanrock on 19 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Battle Royale is a book set in an alternate timeline where Japan has become a militaristic state ruled by the all great Dictator. Aside from outlawing rock and roll, Japan has a bunch of crazy new laws, one being the Battle Royale act, where students are abducted and forced to fight to the death as part of a 'game'. This is claimed to be for the greater good of the state, and the winner gets a life pension and an autograph from the Dictator himself!

The book follows one of these games, from the students being abducted through the three days of fighting (after which, if there is more than one student left standing, the collars attached to the surviving students explode!). The novel primarily follows Shuya and Noriko who team up with a shady Shogo hoping to overthrow the game, but the story also frequently delves into the affairs of the other students. It's a bloody book, lots of gore, but never glorified. The message of oppression hangs throughout the entire novel.

Brilliant read. The style of writing feels a bit basic at first, but you get to grips with it and get sucked in. Definitely worth experiencing and infinitely better than the film.
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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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