Battle Royale
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Battle Royale

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4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  23,202 ratings  ·  2,616 reviews
Koushun Takami's notorious high-octane thriller is based on an irresistible premise: a class of junior high school students is taken to a deserted island where, as part of a ruthless authoritarian program, they are provided arms and forced to kill one another until only one survivor is left standing. Criticized as violent exploitation when first published in Japan - where...more
Paperback, 617 pages
Published February 26th 2003 by VIZ, LLC (first published 1999)
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Community Reviews

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Tatiana
I came across this book after reading “Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins which was claimed to be a “Battle Royale” rip-off. Needless to say, I was curious…

I have to admit, similarities between these two books are undeniable. They both are based on the same idea of teenagers forced to participate in a deadly game where only one person wins and lives. However at the same time these books are completely different. I believe you can enjoy and appreciate them both equally. If “Hunger Games” is more of...more
Michael Alexander
Oct 13, 2009 Michael Alexander rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: the non-squeamish, trash film fans
So unputdownable it's ridiculous. Took a 4-hour plane ride i intended to sleep on and instead read all 624 pages of this; and while I'm a fast reader, even I'm not THAT fast usually.

Basically, as everyone else is saying, it's a book about one class of Japanese junior high kids put on an island with a small bag of supplies, a random weapon (grenade? crossbow? Uzi? fork?), an exploding tracking collar, and orders to kill, kill, kill. Nice fascist dystopia world you see around the edges of this pla...more
Kira
Jul 09, 2012 Kira rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: People who don't throw up a lot
Recommended to Kira by: An irish guy
This review was crap. I'm rewriting it ASAP.
Simeon
I read the first hundred pages of Battle Royale and fell asleep. That night I dreamt that I was in The Program. (I remember fleeing a pretty intense gunfight and thinking nonsensically: dammit, at least I'm getting good exercise.)

I hardly thought about it until the next evening, when I began to read again and only finished as the sun rose.

You cannot know gunfights or car chases until you've read Battle Royale.

It's fantastical, it's pulpy, and it's brilliant. I wish it had been written with more...more
Dan Schwent
A busload of Japanese teenagers is kidnapped and dumped off on an island, where they are forced to fight to the death until one student remains, all in the name of The Program. Which of the 42 students will survive?

I remember hearing about the film version of Battle Royale ages ago but never managed to watch it. Seeing that a lot of people compare The Hunger Games to Battle Royale, I figured I should give it a shot and I'm quite glad I did. Battle Royale is The Hunger Games with more gore and wi...more
Emily May
I first read this story in Manga form a few years ago (one of only two manga series I've enjoyed) and I quickly became addicted to these characters and their individual stories. Whilst reading Battle Royale, you go on an intense journey into the minds of nearly all 42 students and discover what it is about them that enables normal high school kids to kill their classmates - or decide not to.

I'd recommend reading the manga before or instead of the novel for a few reasons. For one, it makes it a l...more
Sparrow
Everything about this book makes me throw up a little bit in my mouth. I say again, "yuck yuck yuck," both to the absurd violence and the shallow emotion of this story. Every time the plot turned toward something interesting, it was quickly replaced by a turn toward Lame. I get why SO MANY people compared The Hunger Games with this book (which is the reason I picked Battle Royale up in the first place) because of the basic Lord of the Flies, kids-will-be-kids premise. I, however, found Battle Ro...more
Cassy
Apr 21, 2011 Cassy rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Cassy by: Reviewers of "Hunger Games"
Whenever I think of this book, I picture Takami sitting down with a piece of paper and making a list of dozens of cool, violent ways to kill a person. Poison! Jumping off a cliff! Lot of guns! Strangulation! An exploding head! Falling off a roof! And my personal favorite, splitting open a head with a machete like it is a ripe watermelon!

Then he goes about the task of writing a book that incorporates each and every one of these deaths.

And are you concerned that you will never keep up with all the...more
Brandy
I picked this up based on the fervor over "OMG The Hunger Games so totally ripped this off." And for the first half of this book, I agreed: I thought I knew exactly where BR was going, and how it would get there. It's the story of 40 teens who are instructed to kill each other until only one remains, and are each given a bag containing food, water, and a weapon--some as great as machine guns, others as worthless as forks. Early on some alliances are made, then broken; people are betrayed and kil...more
Cinnamon
This review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.

I think it's been about five minutes since I read the last word of Battle Royale. My heart is still pounding abnormally fast, and every few seconds, I have to take a break from typing to watch the French countryside rushing by outside the train window instead.* The view is strangely soothing, and I definitely need some calming right now.

So. Battle Royale. Was. Epic. Dare I say it? It was better than The Hunger Games, and The Hunger Games i...more
Katherine
"Lord of the Flies" meets "The Most Dangerous Game" meets the gruesome, bloody stylings of Quentin Tarantino... on acid who killed Stephen King and tossed his body into BTK's backyard.

I have read this book twice in the last two years both times within two days and I can guarantee that I'll read it a time or two (or three) again in the future (NERD!). The very thought of being 15-year-olds and being thrust into a situation where you have to kill or be killed, your best friends become your enemies...more
Albert
I heard about the movie before I read the book, so I knew that the premise was a combination of Lord of the Flies and automatic weapons. I just didn't expect the violence to affect me so deeply. I guess I've never been exposed to extreme violence in books where my imagination comes up with images. I definitely discovered a new closet of images with this book.

I started this book on a long subway ride home. I was so engrossed by the book I missed my stop by five stations. I will admit there was a...more
bannikin
Cult novels are hard to resist. Lord of the Flies. Naked Lunch. A Clockwork Orange. Fight Club. Startling. Brutal. Original. Compelling. They frighten me to death, yet I love them. It's that kind of complicated.

I picked up Takami's Battle Royale mainly because the guy in the bookshop opened his mouth and said 'cult novel'. Just two little words and I was immediately consumed with the need to know why.

Wikipedia gives the following plot outline:

"The novel and manga Battle Royale takes place in an...more
Bianca
If you enjoyed The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins, I suggest you should try this book. I don't know why they kept comparing this book to The Hunger Games when they are totally way too different from each other.

Battle Royale combines a awesome dystopian, dictatorship government, and oh, you know, just a bunch of Junior High School students killing each other for entertainment. You will find yourself attaching to many of the characters just as I did. Some of the highlights in this novel...more
Colleen Venable
In a terrifying way this TRULY the most realistic portrayal of 9th grader emotions I've ever read. I might argue this should be considered YA, and brilliant YA at that, but considering the amount of folks who are determined to keep this book, and the movie it derived from, banned, I might want to keep my mouth a bit more shut.

A surefire way to get me to pay attention to something is to tell me how often it's banned. That was the original reason I sought out the film (and an all-region DVD playe...more
Trudi
I'm a huge fan of dystopian books, where the future is bleak and infinitely dangerous and if you're gonna survive, you better check your morals at the door. With reality TV everywhere we look these days, and the UFC a mainstream pastime, it's easy to imagine a Survivor where tribe members voted out don't go home, but are executed instead. I figure society's perpetual blood lust is never as deeply buried as we think (or hope).

Stephen King describes Battle Royale as "an insanely entertaining pulp...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Wow. The movie was pretty full-on, the book perhaps more so (the book came first). I finished reading it last night and it's still revolving around in my head.

The gist of the plot is this: in an alternate present-day Japan, 50 grade 10 classes from across the country are forced into the Program, a Government-run initiative designed to subdue the population. The students in these classes are gassed while on a "study trip", and wake up in isolated locations - in this story, a tiny island - with co...more
Rae  Walker
Feb 27, 2007 Rae Walker rated it 2 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Chris LaVine
Okay, this book has a premise that you can't beat: 40 school children are set on an island with exploding electronic collars and are ordered to kill each other. Each child is given a backpack with one weapon and sometimes that weapon is good (hand held machine gun) or bad (a violin). BOOM! POW! Can't be beat! Except for the writing (or perhaps the translation) is so bad that one can hardly get through the chapters without at least fourteen eye rolls and maybe one dry heave.

Plus gigantic amounts...more
Marita Hansen
Adrenalin pumping, gun toting, emotional roller-coaster and an all out brilliant story. Now the gushing is over let gets to the rest of my review.

If you don't like reading about death and killing, this isn't the book for you, but if can handle extremely edgy content, then buy it now because you'll love the story. Yes, there were some bits where I cringed and thought, "Nooooo ... I like that character, bring him back, you big meanie!" but by and large I was completely wrapped up in the story.

Okay...more
Ana
I have to admit, I decided to read this book because after reading The Hunger Games I saw a lot of comments referring to Battle Royale, saying how good it was and that the trilogy created by Suzanne Collins was just a rip-off. Needless to say, I was curious!

It’s impossible not to notice the similarities between them: they are both set in a society where teenagers have to participate in a “contest” where they are forced to fight each other to the death until only one of them remains; however, the...more
Lina
Battle Royale: The book about the benefits of being anti-social.

I would like to personally thank everyone who mentioned/recommeded this book to me because it really is an amazing piece of work. I first came across Battle Royale when people were talking about The Hunger Games [I've only read the first book] in which it was called a YA rip-off of BR. After reading Battle Royale I have to agree that The Hunger Games was certainly inspired by it, but the concept itself is much older and the compari...more
Marvin
When Stephen King wrote that Battle Royale was "an insanely entertaining pulp riff" I believe he meant to place the emphasis on "pulp". Battle Royale will never be mistaken for classic literature. However it may be one of the finest pulp action novel I've ever read. By pulp, I do not mean to be condescending, after all I'm sure one of my favorite novels, The Count of Monte Cristo was the 19th century version of pulp action. Indeed, Battle Royale shares what all great pulp novels have in common;...more
Jackie "the Librarian"
Bangitty bang bang stabby boom splatter die die die!!!

The plot: 42 thirteen-year-olds in a futuristic totalitarian Asian state (Japan, mostly) are whisked away to an island and forced to battle each other to the death in their cute little school uniforms. They should just REFUSE to play, right? Ha ha, no, they can’t, because if there aren’t any deaths within a 24 hour period, the metal collars placed around their necks will EXPLODE! As will the collars of any student in a forbidden zone. Whee!...more
[Name Redacted By Goodreads Because Irrelevant to Review]
This is a brutal, powerful book.

Set in an alternate timeline in which most of Asia has been consolidated under the rule of the "Republic of Greater East Asia", the story revolves around a class of secondary school students (all around 14 or 15 years of age) who are abducted and dropped on an island off the coast of their hometown as part of their government's vaguely-titled "Program" -- a survival scenario in which they are forced to fight one another to the death. The last student standing is p...more
Nate D
Mar 05, 2014 Nate D rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: RUN
Recommended to Nate D by: Kinji Fukasaku
The book is always better, right? Of course, there are reversals of this axiom, and by reading book versions of a couple of my favorite-ever Japanese films lately, I've run into a couple of them. The Woman in the Dunes, though great in either form, is one, and this is another.

Kinji Fukasaku's swan song at the end of a four decade career, the film of Battle Royale is harsh, urgent, stylish, tragic, equally completely entertaining and suspicious of those too ready to be entertained by it. It even...more
Jillian -always aspiring-
I picked this book up on a whim simply because (a) I've been a fan of Japanese storytelling (modern-day, fantasy, horror, whatever) for years and (b) I've heard about the manga series incarnation of this book from years of being a manga/anime fan. Finally, I picked up the book (despite its $16.99 price tag) -- and I didn't regret it one bit.

The premise is simple for those of you who have already been exposed to Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games: a group of school-age teenagers live in a dystopi...more
Thomas
Jul 29, 2010 Thomas rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Thomas by: Anquan Le
I am a chicken. When it comes to bloodshed, my low tolerance is undeniable. But against all my logical reasoning, I decided to pick up Battle Royale, based on my brother's recommendation. And I couldn't put it down.

This book provided a grotesque glimpse into the dark side of humanity. 42 junior high school students are transported to an isolated island, supplied with weapons, and forced to kill each other until only one remains. The last student standing is declared the winner, although in this...more
Kim
I don't know what that says about me, but I adore every book with some sort of "there can be only one" theme, where people kill each other because they have to.

This book is no different, I think it was amazing.
Mike (the Paladin)
I will try to keep this from becoming a long review. I'd like to say up front that I do recommend this book. I'll have some more detailed things to say throughout concerning the actual writing, plot, characters and so on but on the whole, good book.

I got the print version of this book from the library and later purchased the audio from Audible. Both are good versions and I don't think you'll miss anything no matter which version of it you choose to go with. It starts off a little slow but that...more
Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship}
We will kill each other.
We will kill each other.
We will kill each other.

If I don’t kill, I will be killed.
If I don’t kill, I will be killed.
If I don’t kill, I will be killed.


'From a pool of third-year junior high school students, fifty classes were issued an annual death sentence. That was two thousand students that’s if each class consisted of forty students. No, more accurately, that was 1,950 students killed.Worse Yet,it wasn’t simply a mass execution. The students had to kill each other,comp
...more
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Koushun Takami (高見 広春 Takami Kōshun, born 1969) is the author of the novel Battle Royale, originally published in Japanese, and later translated into English by Yuji Oniki and published by Viz Media and, later, in an expanded edition by Haika Soru, a division of Viz Media.

Takami was born in Amagasaki, Hyōgo Prefecture near Osaka and grew up in the Kagawa Prefecture of Shikoku. After graduating fro...more
More about Koushun Takami...
Battle Royale, Vol. 01 (Battle Royale, #1) Battle Royale, Vol. 02 (Battle Royale, #2) Battle Royale, Vol. 03 (Battle Royale, #3) Battle Royale, Vol. 05 (Battle Royale, #5) Battle Royale, Vol. 04 (Battle Royale, #4)

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