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Battle Royale Volume 4: v. 4 [Paperback]

Masayuki Taguchi , Koushun Takami

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Book Description

22 Dec 2003 Battle Royale (Book 4)
Soccer player Kazushi Niida gets a kick out of The Program when he decides to think of it as an exhibition game. How many goals will this all-star player make before his time on the field runs out? When Takako Chigusa's leg is on the receiving end of his bow-gun, Kazushi may experience a permanent time-out from Sugimura. Meanwhile, Kaori Minami wants nothing more out of life than for her acne to clear up so she can make an impression on her favorite pop star, Junya. However, her chance at fame came a bit earlier than expected, and her fifteen minutes are just about up. She's sharing the stage with Shuuya, Noriko and Shogo, but The Program may be the only TV show where wannabe pop stars try to avoid having hits. Finally, Shinji's plan to hack into the Program mainframe may have been foiled, but a good rebel always has a backup plan. But when Plan B involves blowing up the school, the stakes become frighteningly high, and so does the danger.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Chapter In A Brilliant Saga! Do Not Miss! 4 Jan 2004
By A Customer - Published on
As good as volume 3 of "Battle Royale" was, readers like me were turned off by the excessive sexual content in the end of the book. Thankfully, I can say after reading Volume 4, not only has the series made up for the fact, it's the best book so far into "Battle." It's a helluva book, for lack of a better praise. It begins with Takako and Kazushi batteling to the death with an ending that will leave you breathless! Then the series takes its most disturbing turn when it sheds the spotlight on Kaori, a nerdish student who cracks under the Game's pressure. Her chapters are so creepy, it's highly recommended not to read this book at night, as the artwork in these panels are the stuff of nightmares! Yet as frightening as the story builds, the writing gets more and more ingenious, showing us how much more "Battle Royale" resembles a war story than a satirical take on reality-television: like "Saving Private Ryan," students act as though they were soldiers in battle, doing everything they can to stay alive, help their comrades...or kill anything threatening. Best of all, the characters are well-defined; you really care for them. As you keep turning the pages, you're left asking yourself not "Who's going to die next?" but instead, "Geez, how much more can these guys take?" I have never invested that much interest into a cast in any other graphic novel, or even a written novel. Well, there is only one person I feel irratated at: Shuuya, with his goody-two shoe act and his naive attitude about life. I swear, everytime he blabbers about how life is precious, I begin to secrtetly hope someone would pump lead into his body! Could happen, which leaves me to eagerly anticipate the next chapter! (Anyone here knows how many volumes there are?). I haven't read the original novel or saw the motion picture yet, but after reading the magna, I don't whanna! BTW, try reading the books while listening to the "Kill Bill" soundtrack. It's great music to listen to for "Battle Royale"! (Here's hoping Hirono wins!)
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IS THERE A DOCTOR ON THE ISLAND? 2 Aug 2005
By Sesho - Published on
As Sugimura desperately tries to locate her, Takako has her hands full trying to fight off the lunatic Kuzushi Niida, a boy whose aim is "blood and boo-tay!". Will he be in time? Shuuya and Kawada also have a problem when Noriko passes out from fever, and the two must decide whether they can get her to an abandoned infirmary. There's also another nut named Minami wandering the island, off her rocker and talking to her favorite pop idol. After an abortive attempt to hack into the Program computer systems, Mimura moves on to Plan B.

The body count and brutality of Volume 4 is a little less than previous entries. I guess they had to get rid of all the bit players and establish the shock value before. Now, it seems like Battle Royale is settling down to telling the stories of the survivors. Over half the class is now dead. So as the characters dwindle, I assume the stories will get more and more personal...and painful. There is a real sense of danger, especially in what I would call the "live or die" panels. It seems like every character has a moment where they have a realization about their life, or their future, or some truth is revealed and that moment is drawn frozen in time, and on the next page they either die or they don't. So it creates a lot of suspense...or cheap manipulation of the reader. While the art is generally well done, when chracters are shown in childhood flashbacks, they seem to have oversized adult heads on child bodies, creating a hobbit image. But I really don't have any complaints about this series. The only thing that bugs me is that isn't this being televised as it's happening? So, shouldn't any "secret plans" the group have be doomed to failure? The kids seem to act surprised when they find out they're bugged but haven't they all seen the Program on TV the past couple of seasons?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The emotional and romantic peak of the series thus far 20 July 2004
By A Customer - Published on
I am a devoted Battle Royale fan and sought out the manga after both reading the novel (which is now my favorite book of all time) and seeing the movie (which was plain awesome). I have all books so far as of July 20, 2004 and of all the books that have been released, Book 4 remains my favorite, barely above my second favorite, Book 6. After being thoroughly disgusted and turned off by the excessive and unnecessary pornography of Book 3, I began to lose faith in the manga series and ranked the manga as the worst of the three renditions of the BR story. However, with the sensitivity, beauty, and romance of Book 4 combined with the graceful (and graphic, obviously) violence, Battle Royale Volume 4 remains my favorite in the series and lifted the manga to the top of my BR list.
The volume chronicles the climax of the battle between the lovely Takako Chigusa and the dastardly and perverted Kasushi Niida, the tearing apart and the reunion of Shuuya, Noriko, and Kawada, as well as some backstory with both Mimura and Kawada. Book 4, for me, defines and brings out the best in the relationships between the central characters, especially that belong to the kind and devoted Noriko, the bleeding heart Shuuya, and the "badass with the heart of gold" Kawada. If you're the romantic otaku who loves a little violence and drama along with a love story, Volume 4 will surely please you. If not, move on to Book 6 where the action is much more pulse-pounding and emotional. But then again, love can blossom even on a battle field, even if your love affair is with a graphic novel.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Pulse is Still There 5 Jan 2004
By R. Stringini - Published on
After volume 3, which was still a good read, and yet, far from as good as the rest of the series, Ihave to say, volume 4 really brought the life back. First off, the extreme sex of the Fallen Angel chapter in book 3 is gone, replaced by what makes the series work, pulse pounding excitment, and amazing characters. Also, I have to say, the art and style are amazing,detailed, and beautiful and gruesome at the same time. It's still at four stars, mainly because of my attitude towards the main character, Shuya (I think thats his name). He still feels to much like a bleeding Romeo hero, although he does get better in this volume, by realizing his flaws. And his "heroic" (stupid) actions are not treated as something great. But still, he bugs me, so that brings my rating down one star... more like half a star.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Volume 4 is a little weaker than the previous books 24 May 2004
By Andrew Byers - Published on
I've enjoyed the first three graphic novels of the series immensely, but I found Volume 4 to be a little less enjoyable than the previous volumes.
I guess my main objection is that it didn't seem like that much happened in this book. Sure, a few more students died (I won't reveal any spoilers here about specifically who did what), but after I was done reading the book, I was left with the feeling that not much had happened. That's probably not uncommon for middle volumes in long series like this one; I'd expect that the pace will pick up in the next volume.
The art is as good as ever, and there are some truly creepy close-ups of at least one character who's gone mad. There is a decent amount of violence, including a very nice surprise in one of the scenes, and the graphic sex that was present previously in the series is absent from this volume (so if that turned you off the series before, you won't have to worry about that with this one).
Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed Volume 4, and will definitely pick up Volume 5, but I do hope that the rest of the books are stronger than this one. Obviously, if you're new to Battle Royale, I'd advise you to start with Volume 1, you won't regret it!
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