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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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My two cents
I rather liked Battle Royale, I do however understand a lot of peoples complaints about it. The art for one thing, it's nor my favorite style, too western looking for japanese kids to be honest, but you can't really argue that it is not well drawn. I think that the caricature look of it I liked on the other hand, for the same reason I enjoyed a lot of the slightly super human stunts, especially by Kiriyama, and to some extent the gore as well. I'll tell you this, I'm not a genral gore fan, most of the time and a lot of the time here as well I just find it disgusting and unecessary. But what is the feeling of this manga? I think the caricatures, the gross out factor and the supernatural aspects just brings you there. How much more horrible wouldn't a bullet to the face of a person standing right next to you rather than a picture of it be?
As for the story I rather enjoyed it as well, and to be honest rather than a story it is about characters, and how these characters react to this extreme situation. The backstories I think makes the chracters come alive, they are not just another kill, another messy death, they are made into people with interests, feelings (well most of them) and friends. Which of course is what makes this manga so disturbing, and don't get me wrong, I do think it is. And I'm certain it was meant to be as well.
As for how realistic the peple and their backstories were, I think most of the chracters in were very realistic, what you have to realize is that all these people are put in a very extreme situation, it is made very clear to them that it really is kill or be killed by seeing some of their class mates killed right in front of them. And two, they come from a very different society, I don't think it was made as clear by the manga as it was by the novel, but it takes place in a very different present (one which I always imagined is the result from world war two ending differently) where "the program" has existed for 60 years and the nation is at war or something similar to the cold war at the very least. And there is only 2 people that are really activily killing, most do it in self defence, out of extreme fear for their own lives or out of insanity, which I think is entierly plausible given the circumstances. In the end, I wouldn't say I could relate to but clearly understand most of the characters in the plot, though some may be the protagonist or antagonist a bit too much to the core, but once again I think it sort of brings, if not them, but their action alive, it can really make you feel what the others around them must feel towards them.
This being said, I have not given this a perfect grade, for several reasons, the manga and the novel along with it was pulp litterature, it was an easy read, while still making you think, which is always a good thing. Some times I think the violence took too big a part over shadowing the chracters afflicted by it. A plot hole here and there. But my main issue with the manga was the, what seemed to be almost constant, nudity. Don't get me wrong, I'm no prude rather too far in the other direction, but I just didn't feel it belonged there, and many times it just felt stupid, really stupid.
But I still really liked it, in my opinion it has a lot of believable chracters which i could really feel for, and a lot of suspense and very original writing in some scenes made for an exciting read even though it kind of messed me up emotionally for some time after reading it.
This manga is either for you or not for you. It has really good characters but unless you can stand a diminishing character list and very adult themes i'ld say this is definitly not for you
Its a manga that will really suck you in. I really love survival manga and even though it wasn't completely realistic, underneath the exagerated gore, it explores human nature and does a pretty decent job at it. The gore kind of gets funny at times since even a small bullet shot at a person results in his brains falling out. I mean cmonn lol. The main protagonist is a bit of a homo with his altruistic beliefs and trying to save everyone. What a jackass. Its kind of sad that some of the best characters had to die, but it didnt make the manga any worse
Good . . but come on!
This manga is like heavy metal music. You are either WAY to into violence and messed up crap, or you find the heavy atmosphere entertaining, but can take it with a sense of humor. I say this meaning, this series is gory, sexual, and way over the top.
I like it...
Its really really really good! I think anyone who enjoy violence and drama will like this mangá. I know i did. Its pretty amazing to read about how people would react in extreme situations like that... "what would i do?" you'll caught yourself thinking that. I get really mad about the "super powers" that appear near the end, that's so dragon ball z! Other thing that gets in my nerves is that stupid noriko who cant take care of herself... call me meanie, but i was hoping so much that she would die... lol Plus, the end was very poor and the art was ugly! But despite of that (dont worry, you can enjoy even thought all this stuff) its like a "must read" for the fans of dark, horror, psychological mangá.
I can't see why people put so high ratings. I agree it was good, but the characters... why are they SO soft, although it may seem reasonable that they are soft but in a setting like that, how can you survive acting like a real human? It was deep and made me think a lot but it was mostly anger from the thoughts of being able to save everyone. I was turned off fast by the constant violence as well, and the insane characters were never really interesting.
If your into random killing, and characters who can't draw you in well, have fun. IMO The 3 guys who are into escaping are probably the MOST annoying characters I have ever seen.
Violence a la mode
Battle Royale is a very gory, very sexual, very violent series. However, at times the violence is so over the top it's hilarious. For example, it seems that no matter where somebody is shot, their eyeball will pop out of their skull and hang by their optic nerve. Gross the first time, hilarious the next 20.
The last two volumes with the Final Showdown are some of the most intense I've read, and again, so over-the-top I was laughing for a lot of it (Why is there a sports car on a deserted island?). It's a good read. Not for the weak of stomach.
waste of my life
terrible manga. please do not be fooled by its comparison to gantz or any other adequate manga. this was a waste of my life. i started reading it. never got into it. gave it a chance. than i was was 2 deep into it to so quit so i finished it just to see the ending. it aspirates. its a terrible manga. probably one of the worse mangas i've ever read...matter of fact you can look at my lists, its the only bad manga i've read. i was highly disappointed to after reading it. please dont be fooled by the good ratings into reading this. its terrible. you only live once. so dont waste your life on this soul sucking hideous gross manga
i had high hopes in this manga...but it came up short...very short...if you're looking for a good reading, its not for you...but if you're looking for long speeches( which were VERY annoying), blood, guts, carnage, and sex (which i cant complain bout lol) than you'll enjoy battle royale
... Last updated on January 4th, 2009, 3:09am
too sad for words
I really liked this manga. The violence didn't really bother me, nor did the gore, but the nudity and sex in it did. I often had to stomach it or skip it. The storyline is way depressing and so is the story. Plus my favourite character died. . . Regardless, this manga actually made me think about a lot of things. Its not, in my opinion, just about blood and violence, I feel there was much more to it than that. The characters personal stories just made the whole ending more poignant.
if you just feel like reading something graphic and gory, this is it. no plot or story really just an entire class killing each other off.
this was my first introduction to seinen and ever since I've only been looking for seinen series to read.
re-readability is low, everytime i try to read it again i often just skip the protagonists long drawn out speeches about how people are genuinely good and i go to the main antagonist destroying everyone.