Every year, a class is randomly chosen to be placed in a deserted area where they are forced to kill each other in order to survive. Initially believing to be on a graduation trip, Shuuya Nanahara and the rest of Shiroiwa Junior High's Class B find that they have been chosen to participate in this game of life and death known as "The Program."
Waking up to the realization that they have been quarantined on an island, the 42 students discover they have been fitted with metal collars which will detonate if certain conditions are not met. In order to obtain freedom, they must slaughter everyone else by whatever means necessary, and the last one standing is deemed the winner. As each member of the class heads down their own path, Shuuya makes it his goal to get off the island without playing the game in order to put an end to this madness once and for all.
Battle Royale is an adaptation of Koushun Takami's novel of the same name which was published in April 1999 (and later published in English by VIZ Media). The novel was adapted into a live-action film the following year and became one of Japan's highest grossing films, though it was condemned by the National Diet.
The series was published in English by Tokyopop from May 13, 2003 to April 11, 2006. The Tokyopop version was extensively rewritten by Keith Giffen which eventually led to contradictions and plot holes in the later volumes. Tokyopop rereleased the series in 5 omnibus volumes under the name Battle Royale: Ultimate Edition from October 16, 2007 to February 10, 2009. It was also published in Brazilian Portuguese by Conrad from November 2006 to November 2011 and in Polish by Waneko since March 2012 to March 4, 2015.
A Psychological, Action, Thriller that will take you on the most extreme thrill ride you can imagine. But be warned, you must be 18.
Battle Royale is basically about survival of the fittest, where kids have to duke it out with each other in a sort of "last man standing game". This interesting plot brings forth a great deal intensity and emotional turmoil, of which you have never seen. It’s also surprising how long and in-depth the story is, even though it only covers a short time-frame. The problem with this set-up is that it almost completely removes the thought of getting attached to any characters
because they usually end up the same way. However at least some of them are developed so well that you cannot help but get attached to them.
The artwork is perfect in depicting a disturbing amount of gore and violence that you'll feel sick to the stomach, because the one thing this manga is famous for is going over the top. A lot of readers may have a problem with the extreme level of gore but one thing I personally had a problem with was how old the students looked, when they were supposed to be 15-16.
Battle Royale is an excitingly, gut-wrenching manga that will keep you on edge. It is really interesting how this manga was put together, in 15 Volumes, without the story feeling dragged. However the TokyoPop version did mess it up a bit with their poor translations. BR is also one of the few manga out there that allow readers to express so many emotions; from sadness, to frustration. Unlike the similar manga "Gantz" BR has this lingering feeling of hopelessness that makes the story very depressing. With this really depressing story it can make Battle Royale less enjoyable to read but there are plenty of shocking moments and cliff-hangers to keep you going.
A few years ago I saw a god-awful movie called Battle Royale, I discussed the movie with a friend and he said: Well if you hate the movie that much but liked the concept why don’t you read the original source material. This came as a shock to me at that time, I had no idea that the movie was based on a novel. I never got my hands on the novel so I decided to buy the manga.
I was astonished with the artwork in Volume 1, I kept staring at certain panels trying to figure out how much work they put into this. I
was determined to add the complete series to my collection.
Volume 1 starts of with introducing the main characters and a little of their background. Unlike most series the main characters are not the only ones with a well thought out background. Every student in Battle Royale is a character so well developed that it could breath and walk right of the panels. I could even sympathize with the most evil of characters.
The artwork is extremely detailed, and not always for the faint of heart. One of the few flaws of Battle Royale in my opinion may be hidden within the beautiful artwork. Sometimes panels are so extremely detailed that it may be nauseating to stare at it too long.
If you like a little gore, some sexy antagonists, a flinch of love and an air of despair, then there is not another manga I could recommend as much as Battle Royale.
'Kill or be killed. This is how this fucking game works'.
It's more violent than your Tokyo Ghoul and much more emotional than Attack on Titan. This, ladies and gentlemen is 'Battle Royale' - an original story featuring a very gruesome gladiator fight imposed by the government act, between innocent teenagers on a deserted island. One thing is for sure - Battle Royale encapsulates trust, betrayal, love, insanity, gore, fear, anxiety, despair for survival and most importantly, hope into this incredible 15 volume manga that is just incomparable with the movie.
For most of you out there, who've seen the Battle Royale movie and are
bitching how it's better than its 'successor' The Hunger Games… You haven't read the manga or the novel that was used to make, what is in my eyes now, poor of an excuse movie. Battle Royale is so surreal and down to Earth gory and explicit, yet somehow it feels frighteningly real and close to our own universe.
A group of 9th grade students are chosen to participate in The Programme called the Battle Royale. It is part of the law, that each year, a 'randomly' chosen 9th grade class, will be participating in this battle to death game, broadcasted all over Japan. A similar story, isn't it? Yet this is the original 'Hunger Games' and I'll go against my own opinion to say - 'Hunger Games' is nothing compare to Battle Royal in every single sense, be it books or the film (I'm being highly subjective here, but hey, this is my review and my own humble opinion)
The story is following the original novel written by Koushun Takami, but expands greatly into a backstory of each single character. The story in this manga is very high paced, yet it doesn't feel too rushed at all, neither is it complicated to comprehend what's going on. It feels very natural and easy to read and the flow is never interrupted with unnecessary scenes. 'Battle Royale' has quality what most present day mainstream 'kawaii' manga lack. It is as if the majority of todays mangakas are aiming at readers who would prefer something 'light' and 'fluffy', but nothing that would seriously shake their already soft brains and challenge them to think deeply about the world they're living in.
'Battle Royale' makes you open your eyes to the reality that we are living in, but do not bear to admit - the brutality of everyday life, be it abused or neglected children, homeless and damaged people, prostitution and mental insanity. It questions the stability and the governments ability to control a nation. It's constantly in motion to question, break and push the limits of morals, such as the value of human life, the value of your own life and the value of friendship and love. One thing you'll be taught after reading 'Battle Royale' is how fragile and easily altered human nature is. How one can crack quickly under pressure when told 'Kill or Be Killed', and what was once a 'friend' is your ticket out of this hell. It makes you realise that there are more things one should treasure and more things one should be willing to sacrifice. It also explores how to show compassion and love towards those that would least expect to receive it, how to forgive those damaged by life people (ref. to Kiriyama).
Every single character in this story gets a chance to shine, and I'm serious - every fucking 42 students get's an opportunity to expose their inner personalities and backstories, that makes it seems like they're real people. It gives us, the readers, a chance to explore the reasons behind their actions, the reasons behind who they are. It is so down to Earth in terms of honesty and in terms of portraying the mentality of the majority of teenagers out there, that I doubt any other manga can do that.
'Battle Royale' aims at very realistic approach towards manga illustrations. The eyes are all aiming towards natural shape, the faces of most children are oddly shaped, which brings a great sense of reality. There are no sparkles, neither there are any neglected characters - each and every one of them has features that reflect their own personality. There is NO fan service, and this is what I love about it.
The quality. Oh don't get me started on how detailed and impeccable, Masayuki Taguchi's art in this manga is. I think if it wasn't for his art, this manga wouldn't be that meaningful or that popular. He breathes life into the characters and makes them all seem so ordinary, yet so unique in their own sense. If you think Attack on Titan had extreme expressions, you haven't seen what facial expressions did Kazushi Niida did whilst trying to rape and murder his class mate Takako Chigusa. Taguchi makes the characters to express a lot of pain, anger, desperation, sadness with a little grain of happiness and hope. Because of how extremely violent this manga is, those moments when characters are seen happy, like Nanahara's and Noriko's reunion, makes you believe that even in the most darkest moments, there's always hope.
And yes, this manga is most known for it's brutal, violent and highly sexual depiction. Now I must say, I've seen a lot of gore in manga such as Deadman Wonderland, yet not as EXPLICIT and OVERWHELMINGLY bloody as 'Battle Royale'. It makes Deadman Wonderland look like child's play. The shooting scenes and the way the bullets are portrayed protruding from the persons head with all the brains splashing, might make some of you gag as it's so realistic, it seems like you can hear the blood trickle and smell that sickening metallic smell that it brings. The anatomy can be sometimes exaggerated and the reason why I gave it a 9, is because most teens look like they'd be in their early 20's, when they should be 14/15. Well I guess none manga is flawless
However, the shining coin is the way the manga is divided into small arcs that are each dedicated to a different characters story line. The stories are all individual, meaning they're told from each characters perspective, making the plot very variable and not dragged on AT ALL (emphasis on this).
You have your protagonist, Shuuya Nanahara - a typical wannabe teenager who has big dreams to reach the top in the music industry and become the next 'Elvis'. He's way too loud (often scoulded to 'keep it down' by Kawada) and too quick to trust, but he has a good heart. A heart wanting to save everyone from the hell they're in. The story does revolve about Nanahara's struggles to come to amends with the reality of the game and it can be sometimes annoying, since he's usually turning on the waterworks, but he has a strong character.
Noriko and Kawada are two characters who keep Nanahara together. You could say they are his rock. Kawada must be my favourite. He is a previous winner of the game and his realistic approach usually throws Nanahara off balance, but at the end of the day, if it wasn't for Kawada's strong and sharp mentality, Nanahara wouldn't be Nanahara. Kawada made him to question his own morals, to question his priorities and most importantly, to value Noriko and protect her with his might.
Shinji Mimura was one of my favourite characters. A popular basketball prodigy, Mimura was a ladies man, a heartthrob, but also an extremely intelligent and caring man. His plan to go against the game was my favourite scheme in the series and I deeply miss him. Hiroki Sugimura was another major character, a friend of Mimura and Nanahara, he was the odd one out. Being socially awkward yet disciplined in the martial arts, Sugimura's caring nature was what made him so unique.
You have your main antagonist, Kazuo Kiriyama - a cold blooded killer who's dead on on wining this game. Kiriyama never speaks in the manga, but his personality is shown through actions. In the movie, he was a 'transfer' student, but in the manga, he was a gang leader and a genius who could learn anything he set his eyes on. His past is revealed in the last chapters.
Mitsuko 'Harcore' Souma is your another 'hot' antagonist, and myGod, does she like to flash her body. Abused since childhood, Souma developed a complex character that made her very manipulative and aggressive. In the manga, the chapters about her are the most sexually explicit.
ENJOYMENT & OVERALL: 10/10
Nothing more to add. This was one hell of a manga that took me through a roller coaster of emotional turmoil. It holds a lot of virtues discussing and touching upon so many loopholes in today's society and social background. What it is to truly love? To truly trust? To truly believe in another human being? Is hope really the mother of idiots? Or is it a grain of victory in the middle of
war? Are those who scarify themselves for the sake of others are heroes or idiots?
If you want to find out the answer to these questions, 'Battle Royale' is the answer, After all, this is something that will change you as a person after you read it.
I have to say that I started this series with a recommendation. I was talking with a friend that how I loved "Berserk" and "Gantz" (manga of course). Then he said that there is manga called "battle royale" that I should check it out. After reading the summary of it I was very enthusiastic. However nothing goes as smooth as it begins.
Story starts very promising but then it lose its pace. It always interrupted by pathetic flash backs. There is always a struggle between naive goodness and realistic evil. They tried to create an athmosphere
that our good and sweet students are killed by evil ones. There is always a flashback and then a murder. So they think we will be sad:S Its very cliche nothing new to genre.
Characters are so badly arranged. Main character is so naive and always shouting while talking like a hyperactive. Also crying to every dead person. So we have a Pollyanna as a main character. And main evil character is like a robot or you can say inhuman. I dont say that as meaning a stone cold crazy person. Its inhuman in every aspect; reflexes,talents, martial arts. That takes away all that gloomy and realistic athmosphere they tried to create. Other characters has no personality (only their flash back memories which are so typical like revenge issues or promises). No character has charisma to attach you to series. And think that there are 42 characters comprtessed in to 119 chapters.
Art work is not even near the work of gantz or berserk so if you expect sth like that; back off! Art is so discouraging . It does not attach you, ıt can not create a desperate or gloomy atmosphere. Its like they draw it just from necessity. But they draw the close-up's better.
Enjoyment?! Its depression. The depression from finishing the manga u started:S Feelings of hatred against characters because they are so weak or naive and dumb. Pathetic romance trials. Every one going crazy after shooting a cat or sth!!! but everything look so artifical.
One word. ARTIFICAL. This series starts so promising but right after losing everything. Which age group they aimed is still a question. Because if you take gore out there is nothing left for some one 18 and older. No deep thoughts no plot no realistic affairs. Only naiveness remains. Naive and irritating characters with the same cliche "HOPE". So I have to say that if you consider to read this manga after liking gantz or berserk; just pass this amnga and continue your search.
Sometimes Japan makes movies with real people. Sometimes they're not even based on a manga! Sometimes they're even *GASP* masterpieces of world cinema! There's a wide world of live-action Japanese film out there to explore. These seven masterpieces should get you started.