Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Battle Royale” as Want to Read:
Battle Royale
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Battle Royale

4.24  ·  Rating Details  ·  34,532 Ratings  ·  3,464 Reviews
Battle Royale, a high-octane thriller about senseless youth violence, is one of Japan's best-selling and most controversial novels. As part of a ruthless program by the totalitarian government, ninth-grade students are taken to a small isolated island with a map, food, and various weapons. Forced to wear special collars that explode when they break a rule, they must fight ...more
Paperback, 608 pages
Published November 17th 2009 by VIZ Media, LLC (first published 1999)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Battle Royale, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Candice Kamencik The whole idea of "only one can survive" is a popular theme that's been around for a long time - even far before this book. One extremely mainstream…moreThe whole idea of "only one can survive" is a popular theme that's been around for a long time - even far before this book. One extremely mainstream example was the show Highlander. So did all these people rip each other off? I don't believe so. The "only one" idea is made unique by the way it is set within a story. The Hunger Games series does share a lot of common threads with this novel, but even so, to see this idea and say, "Hmm, I'm going to write an "only one can survive" book, but base it as a culminating activity within an entire population, and stipulate political intrigue as the main guiding factor." is what makes them different. To say books/stories with the "only one" theme are the same is like saying that books with "good vs. evil" are all the same. It's the story crafting that separates things.(less)
Sarah 1, Not sure on that. Shuuya was a popular boy in his class, wasn't he? The popular ones tend to have a fan base who find them attractive. Or at least…more1, Not sure on that. Shuuya was a popular boy in his class, wasn't he? The popular ones tend to have a fan base who find them attractive. Or at least that was how it was when I was still in school.
2, The dystopian future is always as grim as can be and having to fight for your life for the entertainment of others is pretty grim! Plus the market is saturated thanks to the Hunger Games popularity. Like Twilight and vampires, so books that share these popular themes are pushed hard in the market.
3, I don't tend to read this type, even though I find it interesting but there are lists on good reads devoted to death game books, here's one such list:

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
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
Michael Alexander
Oct 13, 2009 Michael Alexander rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dan Schwent
Dec 31, 2013 Dan Schwent rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, christmas-2013
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
Emily May
Aug 11, 2012 Emily May rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dystopia-utopia, 2012
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
Nov 21, 2011 Simeon rated it it was amazing
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
Will M.
42 children forced to kill each other. Around 15 year old children forced to become violent and merciless killers. Only one can survive this brutal bloodbath. It's all about strategy and being emotionless. Who will prevail?

The premise was not new to me, but the execution was spectacular. Not only did the author managed to impress me with the plot, but he also managed to make me feel sympathy toward some of the characters. I'll be honest and say that it would be impossible to feel sympathy toward
For the last, oh, 200 pages of this book or so, I kept thinking about what I'd say in my review. I never know how I'll start a review, but this time I kept thinking of possible opening lines. But, like Lays potato chips, I couldn't stop at just one, so here are my top 3, in no particular order:

1. There... once... was... a... book... of... ellipses... which... occasionally... had... words... in... between... them...

2. I'll never read the phrase "That's right" the same way again.

3. I see dead p
Apr 21, 2011 Cassy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Apr 29, 2008 Katherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-elite
"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
Jun 25, 2011 Cindy rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 20, 2015 Mizuki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Before reading this book, I believe Ms. Collins, author of The Hunger Games, had ripped off Battle Royale, and after reading BR the novel, I continue to believe THG is a rip-off. For example:

(1) different bags of weapons and food given by the government

(2) the battle filed gets smaller everyday

(3)(view spoiler)

(4) The backstory of a former winner who had lost a girl he loved in a previous game

(5) said former winner doing what he could to
Jun 23, 2007 Albert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 15, 2008 bannikin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Apr 29, 2013 Bianca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Rae  Walker
Feb 27, 2007 Rae Walker rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Marita Hansen
Apr 17, 2012 Marita Hansen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: edgy-ya
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.

[Name Redacted]
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
Oct 09, 2014 Mpauli rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Battle Royale takes place in the near-future totalitarian regime of the Republic of Greater Asia. Without former knowledge of the parents or school, each year whole classes of 15 year olds are kidnapped by the government and brought to secluded places, where they have to fight to the Death.

This time it's the class of Shuya Nanahara and he and his 41 classmates get chosen for this horrible events.
Most of you will immediately see some parallels to the Hunger Games and Suzanne Collin's series seems
Jan 19, 2010 Marvin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, favorites
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
Aug 19, 2015 Lau rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans de la distopía (dura)
Nota: Ayuda a leer este libro tener un cierto conocimiento básico de la cultura japonesa. Es útil saber que ellos hablan diferente (de una forma más poética y elaborada); que son muy, muy educados y respetuosos y el contacto físico es casi nulo (a menos que estén en una relación); que el suicidio es algo honorable (busquen harakiri o seppuku); y que decirle a una chica que será una buena esposa no se ve como algo machista (como podría pasar en occidente) sino como un elogio y una demostración de ...more
Nate D
Mar 05, 2014 Nate D rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 29, 2010 Thomas rated it really liked it
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
Nov 03, 2012 Ana rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
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
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
Dec 15, 2014 David rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Katniss Everdeen
I first encountered Battle Royale by watching the movie (which I still own). At the time, it just seemed like an over-the-top violent Japanese action flick with a rather absurd premise: a class of high school students ("junior high school" in Japan) is taken to an island and told by sinister government officials that they have to fight each other to the death.

Years later, along came The Hunger Games, with a premise so similar that of course everyone compares the two books. Well, being a fan of T
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Around the Year i...: Battle Royale, by Koushun Takami 12 28 Jan 03, 2016 02:00PM  
2015 Reading Chal...: Battle Royale by Koushun Takami 2 10 Dec 11, 2015 03:47AM  
ONTD Book Club: August - Battle Royale 21 124 Aug 12, 2015 08:31PM  
2015 Reading Chal...: Battle Royale by Koushun Takami 7 32 Aug 10, 2015 09:13AM  
Battle Royale or HUNGER GAMES? 118 1079 Jul 25, 2015 12:47AM  
  • The Crimson Labyrinth
  • The Informers
  • Dark Water
  • The Room
  • Audition
  • Dead Babies
  • Kamikaze Girls
  • Clown Girl
  • Goth
  • Brave Story
  • The Stories of Ibis
  • The Summer of the Ubume
  • Hey Nostradamus!
  • Sayonara, Gangsters
  • The Coma
  • Glue (Terry Lawson, #1)
  • The Diving Pool: Three Novellas
  • Japanese Tales of Mystery & Imagination
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 about Koushun Takami...

Share This Book

“Loving someone always requires you to not love others.” 218 likes
“By then she was dead. In fact, she may have been dead a while ago. Physically, several seconds ago, mentally, ages ago.” 127 likes
More quotes…