Literary Quote of the Month

“For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences,” … Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Battle Royale by Koushun Takami and Masayuki Taguchi... A Review on the series

Battle Royale by Koushun Takami and Masayuki Taguchi... Long before there were the Hunger Games there was Battle Royale. It is a gritty, violent, artistically beautiful Manga series based on the original book by Koushun Takami about 42 ninth graders who think they are going on a class trip only to discover that they are the new contestants in "the program", a reality tv show that is fought to the death, with only one student allowed to survive. They are fitted with an explosive collar and given a bag of supplies, included with those supplies is a randomly selected weapon to protect themselves or ultimately kill. Every 24 hours, someone must die or else "Central Command" will kill everyone.

The series spans 15 volumes, a movie and an actual book that everything stems from. It is an amazing series, one that will leave you in awe if you can get through it...

I did not know what to expect when I picked up that first book. The premise reminded me of The Hunger Games, but this is not your Hunger Games... this is more. It is an amazing storytelling feat as well, because even though there are 42 students, you will get an intimate look at each one. The character development is incredible with so many in the story, but there are sub-stories and plots, and in these "mini-stories" we get to know each and every one of those students. 

While reading we experience intrigue, mystery, friendship, love, sex, fear, and anger for the children that must go through this program. The story is gripping and even with the violence, you will need to know what happens next. But it isn't all violence, although what violence is here is brutal. There is an underlying story of friendship and sacrifice. And you become invested in some of these characters, hoping that they'll make it out in one piece.

Some of my thoughts on this Manga...
     1. The artwork is beautiful. The drawings are so compelling and expressive, but this also means some of it is VERY graphic. These children die violent deaths.

     2. Even though these are suppose to be ninth graders, most of them appear to be much older, say 17 or 18 years of age. This would also explain some of the blatant sex that exists in some of the pages.
 
     3. I wouldn't recommend this to young children because of the violence, and even with adults, some of this is hard to take...

BUT, the story is gripping, on the edge of your seat kind of reading. The dialogue is great, the sub-plots are captivating. Should you read this? All I can say is that I could not put this down, but the violence gave me nightmares. I read all 15 books in about a week.

5 stars for the story, 5 stars for the violence.

2 comments:

carol said...

My daughter (14) read the book and loved it. Hunger Games was too popular for her, I think, so she read it instead. I didn't realize they had made a manga series too.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Carol,
I bought the book too, but haven't started reading it yet. I'm curious as to how the violence is portrayed just by the written word. I think that the drawings in the Manga might have made the violence seem worse. Nice to see your daughter going for what interested her as apposed to what everyone else was reading!

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