Monday, January 4, 2010

Review - Battle Royale

Title - Battle Royale
Author - Houshun Takumi
Genre - Fiction/World Literature/Japan
Page Count - 624


Under the guise of a "study trip," a group of students from Shiroiwa Junior High School are sleep-gassed on a bus. They awaken in the Okishima Island School on Okishima, an isolated, evacuated island southwest of Shodoshima. They learn that they have been placed in an event called The Program. Officially a military research project, The Program is a means of terrorizing the population, of creating such paranoia as to make organized insurgency impossible.
According to the rules, every year since 1947, fifty 3rd year junior high school (14-15 years old) classes are isolated, and each class is required to fight to the death until one student remains. Their movements are tracked by metal collars around their necks which contain tracking and listening devices; if any student should attempt to escape The Program, or enter declared "danger zones", a bomb will be detonated in the collar, killing the wearer. If no student dies in any 24 hour period, all collars will be detonated simultaneously. After being briefed about The Program, the students are issued survival packs which include a map, compass, flashlight, food and water, and a random weapon or other item, which may be anything from a gun to a paper fan.


Sounds interesting right? Well, it is! However, be ready to sit for the long haul, this book is big! It takes a lot to fill 624 pages, and keep you intrigued. Unfortunatly though, while there were alot of great parts to the book, sometimes the author goes off on tangents that are not nessasarily interesting, (like the protagonists fathers death.) or how it kept flashbacking to a memory of the protagonists.

If you have seen the movie "the condemned' then you know how The Program works, last one alive wins, and from the get go some take this very seriously (like the antagonist Kiriyama) and some just try to run. The book looks at many of the students points of view and it was nice that it wasnt all in the protagonists view. Some of the weapons were imaginative, and some useless like a paper fan (lets see, paper fan or pistol? id chose the one that goes BANG) others like the Sickle seems puny at first but youll find out that the charactor that gets it puts it to good use!.

Other then dragging on a bit, Battle Royale is gritty, controversial, and ok ill say it. FUN (what? yes, yes indeed) if you are unsure whether youd like the book, then rent the movie. Although not as long or involved as the book (some scene are not movie appropriate) it is actually very good as well! and, for you manga lovers. theres a whole manga that follows the book! (though the art is kinda chinsey) I definatly recomend this book, which has become a cult classic in japan (and has quite a few followers in america as well!)


  1. Faye said...
    I heard this book is similar to The Hunger Games but with less pages lol.
    LunaMoth said...
    rather hunger games is similar to this book since this one came out earlier lol.

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