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From Tokyopop: In the future, random Jr. High School classes are chosen to compete in a game called Battle Royale. The rules: only one student can survive after 3 days on an island or else they all perish. Weapons are handed out and each student is sent out into the field alone and unprepared for the horror that awaits them. The classmates turn upon themselves in a battle for survival, treaties are made and broken, and former friends become foes as the relentless countdown continues. Amid the betrayals and rising body count, two classmates confess their love for each other and swear to survive this deadly game together.
Note: An English-language release of the collected volumes, published in the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom by Tokyopop, was extensively rewritten by Keith Giffen, whose script does not completely follow the original manga. This adaptation makes several changes to the plot. Most notably claiming "the program" is a reality TV show and changing the time that the story is set in by almost 10 years, both of which are contradicted in later volumes.
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This manga is great. Lots of gore and stupidity that just kept me coming back. With its reputation that should come as no surprise. If you're looking for gore look no further. Just one problem, it did nothing for me besides being cheap gore porn.
Maybe the book does the characterization better, I don't know I haven't read it yet. All I know is that everyone was dying and besides one or two people, I didn't care one bit. If you sympathize with characters easily( and I do mean easily) you might even cry reading this. If you can care about characters but they have to work for your love, like me, then forget about liking anyone in this. Why? Cause they are all either moronic beyond belief or psychotic(and not the fun kind, the kind that you just want dead already). Wanna see the epitome of stupidity and bad decision making? Read this manga to see a good show.
Also if you're not a fan of excessive backstory and authors trying to make insane killers somehow sympathetic right before they die then don't even touch the book. However if you're looking for some cheap thrills go for it. The art is pretty disgusting at times and everyone has huge watery eyes like you just killed their dog, but it's a story where most people don't stay alive long enough for it to matter what they look like. You'll forget all about them by the next page anyway.
Tl;dr : Read for the gore/horror, the psychological aspects don't come through too well unless you're a REALLY empathetic person.
Having read the book before this all I could think of was the differences. In the manga the characters have all these back stories, battles and emotions that were not presented in the book. I donít know why the manga went so off course with the deaths.
As I was reading this I began to think "So the artist cared about the main charaters but when it came to drawing the not so important characters he was like, F*** it just make sure it has eyes, a nose and a mouth.
I got used to the gore because I expected it in a graphic, violent story. I couldnít really get over the Mitsuko thing though. Yeah she used her sexuality in book, but nowhere near as much (and as how) as in the manga
I know the manga isnít supposed to be exactly like the book, but it just added a lot of scenes that did not make the manga better (or sense in some cases), and took away from some of the characters. It wasnít a bad read though
... Last updated on August 19th, 2014, 12:02am
The reason I've read this was because some claimed that the hunger games series was based on it. Whatever it is I think I became a fan of Battle Royale as well. Obviously the story is amazing. I liked the fact that we had glimpses of all the characters lives, It made it easier to relate. I also like how every thing is discussed in details like their feelings, and their relationships like how they connect to each other, after all they are classmates.
the author had to be genius to write such a masterpiece. I mean, all of the events are well planed. moreover it was easy to understand the actions of the characters and kinda forgive them, even the evil ones! Well in the end kiriyama (I think ) was my favorite and his past was the most incredible. Shyuua on the other hand I didn't like much, even though he was supposed to be the lead. I think he is absolutely reckless and unreliable which makes him somewhat a burden on kawada, he is trying to be the goody-goody but people keep hurting and dying because of him! even the good ones.
On the down side I think there are some pretty sick characters! I mean even if they were exposed to such a danger I doubt people get this mental, but what would I know.The art is detailed I give it that, its obvious that great effort was put into it. but I think it goes a little too overboard sometimes, especially with the violence. So i don't recommend this to young or sensitive readers.
A classic of the Survival genre
This stuff is pretty intense, and definitely targeted toward adult males..... So when I first read this back as a young and relatively innocent eighth grade girl, this utterly disgusted me. Now four years later, I still find the portrayal of lots of things disgusting, but, I can somewhat "ignore" it for the story......
Well, for the most part, a lot of the psychology involved was very realistic, and while the physical portrayals of many characters were grotesque/ugly/gross, I was able to see the inner workings of human nature (not necessarily in a good light).
Sadly, all my favorite characters died. I cried quite a bit over them too...
... Last updated on February 12th, 2014, 10:17pm
Good adaptation from the novel, even though overly sexualized
I just recently completed the novel and since I was in that Battle Royale mood, I re-read a few scenes from the manga and picked up from where I left off.
My recommendation: read the novel if you can.
The manga overall is a good adaptation in that it did capture the world building and the mood of the novel. However, I still think that it was overly sexualized. Gore, I can handle, because it's part of the subject of the novel, kids killing each other. The gore facilitates the shock. The sex is however unjustified. Seriously, the artist drew the male sex organ big across one page. Gosh, I was so relieved I was not reading that part in public.
In the book, Mitsuko did not rape that anime guy. But in the manga, for some weird reason, the mangaka decided to do that.
My complaint about the creepy faces of side characters remains. I get that there are "ugly" characters but that doesn't mean most of them should look creepy.
Changes from the novel that I liked:
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
- Sugimura found his girl and was able to had some time with her before he died. I really liked how the mangaka drew their dying scene. The graphic effect was amazing. I was impressed.
- Hirono had that hallucination of joining the main trio before drowning. This change was very good: right when you thought she survived, it turned out she didn't. It made an impact on me.
- Except for Mitsuko's background, I liked all the ways the mangaka extended all characters' backgrounds based on the novel. The extensions stayed true to the spirit of the novel. The changes were "canon" in that sense; you feel like you got more information about the characters by reading the manga, not conflicting information.
My old review from 2012:
Subject: Overly sexualized and unnecessary gore with creepy faces
This manga overly-sexualizes the whole thing. It is so nasty how the artist drew girls, specifically girl body. After an absolutely disgusting sex scene (I can't believe they drew this. Not because I'm against sex scenes but sex just makes this whole story so shallow and mushy. Battle Royale deserves better.) and because the character I cared about the most
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
died in an earlier volume, I gave up.
Most of the characters (especially male ones) who are not primary characters have weird faces. Creepy and disgusting faces. It's like the creator wants us to not form an emotional connection to those characters. It's blatant manipulation so we only care about the main characters. The back stories of some of the side characters are interesting but the faces are just so... Ugh. Add that with the sex and gore portrayed in this manga. Instead of a great psychological thriller like the novel, the manga adaptation comes short as a whole.
To its credits, the manga did portray the main characters's stories very well. My favorite characters were Shinji Mimura and Shogo Kawada. I was so devastated when
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
Shinji Mimura died.
... Last updated on July 22nd, 2015, 4:08pm
The book is better
I'm a BIG BIG BIG fan of the book and this manga is great to some point. The story is GREAT it is the only reason I can't give this manga under 8. The art is not good (maybe 3 or 4 characters are well drawn), too much background story I don't care, destroying Mitsuko character (she's my favorite in the book) and changing some characters death (why?)
It is gore HELLO the story is about a bunch of kid forced to kill each other. You should'nt just focus on the killing but the psychological aspect of the human nature. Anyway, my recommendation is to read the book, and for lazy ass who think 600 pages is too long, watch the movie!
Good, but for adult audiences.
It's a great story, but the art is so ecchi it probably borders on hentai. If you don't want to be visually assaulted by sex and blood spatter, you should read the book this is based off of. You'll still be mentally assaulted by this story, but at least not visually. Also, the art style normally wasn't the greatest. The backgrounds were good, but the people looked strange.
In the end, it is somewhat predictable because
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
obviously the 'main' characters live.
The story was rather violent, but that was the point of the story. I mean, the kids are on an island and told to kill each other. Obviously there will be some gore and people going insane. Overall, this story really makes you want to read more. It's addictive if you can get past the art style and sex/excessively gory scenes. Additionally, the people react how I assume real people might act in this situation - some desperate to stay alive, others committing suicide, some playing to win, others trying to save everyone, and some going totally insane. It's all what you'd expect normal people to do in that situation
It's a great, but gory, read.
It's been awhile(years) since a manga has captured me as much as this one. The speed at which I read it sped up and up. Even though I was able to put it down earlier, by the halfway point I just had to finish it.
I think the gore is appropriate and it isn't ridiculous either(not over the top). Someone complains about the lack of rape but all the murdering got in the way, obviously Souma was deadly, and 5 of the girls formed a militia(later 6). Combine that with the large land that everyone is running around with... wait why am I bothering explaining. You see why it doesn't happen in the manga. A few moments bend crediblity but there is no ki attack, Sugimura(the martial artist) says its just the wind and he's just playing it up, and the manga plays it up too. What you see him do is just a push attack. Also Souma was all about using her sexuality as a weapon, and the only other thing that comes to mind is the crazy girl who went around in her underwear, so I can't agree with the sentiment that it's oversexualized.
Honestly despite the bends of credibility I can't say this manga has any flaws in what it tries to do. Obviously the story could have had a darker ending but it was about fighting what this government was trying to do, take away everything from them(plus not everything has to be 1984). So it isn't flawed but it is what it is.
The story jumps around to different characters, some time only for a chapter. But there are a couple of characters that are given much more attention, and a small core group. You can split these into three groups, with about five stand out good guys. I really liked all their stories, though Sugimura was one I really related too, his battle and story were a highlight for me(But there's half a dozen or more stand out scenes for me). Basically I'm sure any reader will find one of these guys very likeable. I also randomly liked Hirono and some of the lesser characters that didn't get much screen time, perhaps because of the designs, and art, which I liked as well.
There are some highs, noble deaths, ignoble deaths. This isn't an experience that's defined by the end. The journey is really what's important. Is it commentary while delivering what it rages against? Is it just an action movie that isn't as stupid as people think they are? Whatever, it's enjoyable.
... Last updated on May 15th, 2012, 3:49am
Interpretation of Human Nature
I swear what I've learnt from this is that -some- humans are fundamentally bloodthirsty, insane savages and there's nothing to be done about it.
The violence and gore was repulsive at first. But what put me off the most was really the director, soldiers and all the unnamed members of the state apparatus that organized and took joy in preparing such a program. Lord of the Flies serialized much. It was purely disgusting.
On the plot itself, I can see why Shogo comes out the most popular, and I admit I do respect that guy a lot. Undoubtedly, though, my favourite character is Mimura. There're too many unrealistic, whiny and selfish characters to disillusion me about my own race, and Mimura really perhaps is the closest to a real good bastard we get. He's smart, he tries to do good but he isn't stupid enough to trust assholes who'd sell him out in a heartbeat. He's willing to take along people who're not much better than deadweight and even cause trouble (flashlight, losing the trigger). He's honest. Good job retaining your sanity and wits without either becoming a crazy killer or weeping at every other corpse you see, I say.
I think the plot was well-developed and ended nicely. I understand and accept that it gets pretty unrealistic at times - in fact, bloody hell, I doubt anyone would be able to even move after getting their fingers cut or shot in the arm or leg; we'd all be screaming in pain. Yet the battles can prolong. But it's a manga so I am quite willing to take it with a pinch of salt.
The underlying thematic texture, the carefully interwoven backstories and the individuality of every character conforming to an unexpected Hell was well done. And we readers are left to ponder for ourselves, at the end of it, which of those 42 students we would ourselves have been, were we thrown bodily into Battle Royale.
i love the expressive art where every pore and every bead of spit are beautifully and grotesquely rendered. the characters are delightful variable mix of shit ass crazy and just barely sane. their actions and their thinking lies between condamnable and commendable, but enjoyable all the same. i gleefully wait for the next axe to drop, for the next bullet to be shot - and feel sad and teary all the same when a good character dies.
the only irksome thing is the whiny, teary, weak main male character, who dont do anything - and somehow made it alive. but oh well.