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Battle Royale

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  67,281 ratings  ·  5,254 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 April 21st 1999)
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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 e…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)

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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
Oct 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Emily May
Dec 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 31, 2013 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
Dan Schwent
Dec 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Apr 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
There's this rumor that Suzanne Collins ripped off the idea for "The Hunger Games" from "Battle Royale". After reading the supposed original, I could say that the plot for both books are pretty similar but Koushun Takami's novel is of an entirely different league -- it's quite incomparable.

"Battle Royale" does have a very colorful and well handled take on the the fight-to-the-death premise than anything I have ever read before. It's a book of mass-slaughter: more than forty deaths and practical
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 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: japan, seen-movie, 2013
This is more like a 4.5 out of 5.

I loved this book so much. Such an original twisted story.

I got a little confused over all the japanese names but luckily once they started to die off I got to grips with who a lot of them were.

I love books that have some short chapters and some long chapters.
The student count at the end of each chapter.

Loved shogo.

Also LOVED the end. Even though I seen the movie years ago i had forgot what happened.

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
Mar 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 02, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Meredith Holley
Mar 02, 2009 rated it did not like it
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
E.T.A.: So, I watched the movie today online. (It's everywhere). If you saw the movie, you still don't know the book. Totally different! The movie is even more like the Hunger Games, but it doesn't scratch the surface of the book. It also is not true to the book at all. Even character names were changed. Read the book instead! ;-)
(Back to your previously scheduled book review):

Holy Massacre, Batman!

If you feel like the Hunger Games was way too sweet, touch
Edward Lorn
Jan 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Japanese literature and menstruating polar bears.
First off, if you go shopping for Battle Royale based on my review, you need to look for Battle Royale: Remastered. I stayed away from this book for years because of reviews from friends that said the translation was broken. All too often, translations are rushed due to the piece's success in the original language or an upcoming film adaptation. Recent fuckery would include the first Stieg Larsson book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which remains one of the worst translations I've set eyes on ...more
Apr 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Sep 12, 2016 rated it liked it

absolutely this book like the hunger games or the hunger games like it but of course has different things and I think i loved the Hunger Games more
Hayley ☾ (TheVillainousReader)
“Now then, I want you to write this down. To memorize something, it’s best to write it down. Write this. ‘We will kill each other.’ Write it three times.”
“Okay then. ‘If I don’t kill, I will be killed.’ Write this down three times too.”

This was truly madness.

I remember when The Hunger Games came out everyone was saying it was the poor man’s version of Battle Royale. Damn, was that an understatement. Don’t get me wrong, I loved The Hunger Games but it’s nothing compared to the masterpiece tha
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
Jul 15, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
Jun 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
5/5 stars

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 slowly but tha
Sep 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
There's room at the top they're telling you still
but first you must learn how to smile as you kill
if you want to be like the folks in the hill

The above lyrics written by John Lennon kept playing in my head over and over while reading Battle Royale and it's really no wonder. A bunch of 15-year-old students are thrown into an island with the mission to kill each other until only one remains. This is actually the predecessor of all the similar books and movies that have been popping out the last co
Colleen Venable
Jul 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
In post WW2 victorious Japan, the military have kept an unchallenged grip over high politics. Periodically, a random group of high school students are kidnapped and made to play a deadly game, at the end of which only one of them remains.

Nobody knows for certain the true purpose behind this gruesome display of seemingly blind violence towards the civilians. Students from the newly selected batch will handle the matter in highly contrasted ways. Some will follow the orders almost unflinchingly,
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Plot twist of the century. This was fantastic.

P.S. So, I’ve watched the movie. To say that it’s the worst adaptation I’ve ever seen is to say nothing. I’m disgusted. Read the book, folks.
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had heard several times that the Hunger Games was a rip-off of Battle Royale. I personally always thought the Hunger Games was a combination of The Running Man and the Long Walk. But now, having finally gotten around to reading Battle Royale…I can only say wow.

People have very valid complaints here. There are entire sections that are almost word for word. Was Collins ever actually accused of plagiarism?

Anyway, I digress.

There are a bunch of students on a bus for a school field trip. Or so t
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Koushun Takami (高見 広春 Takami Kōshun) 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 from Osaka Un

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