Sunday, January 15, 2012

Book Review - Battle Royale Ultimate Edition Volume 1 - 3 (out of 5) by by Koushun Takami, Masayuki Taguchi

Battle Royale Ultimate Edition Volume 1 - 3 (out of 5) by by Koushun Takami, Masayuki Taguchi (GRAPHIC NOVELS)

I have never heard of this book before until The Hunger Games - some people said The Hunger Games author, Suzanne Collins, stole the idea (a bunch of teenagers killing each other off in a game) from this book, written by a Japanese author. I was curious, and wanted to see how close the two stories were. My library did not have the novel, but had the graphic novels instead. So I decided to read them.

It was probably a good thing that I read the graphic novels instead! I think there were like 40+ kids in this game, and with all their Japanese names, I would never have remembered who was who without the visuals! In fact, with 24 kids in The Hunger Games, I already got confused with a lot of the minor characters. Anyway back to this series...

Each of the ultimate edition is THICK. It wasn't until I was done with Book 3 (all the volumes my library had) that I found out there were 2 more volumes! And I couldn't find them in any of the library in my network... so I googled the ending instead (interestingly enough, the plot/characters/ending in the graphic novels differed a bit from the original novel, as did the movie!)

Now, I could see where people said Collins may have copied the idea from this story (if she did indeed read this story). The premise really was very similar. However, I think that was where the similarity ended. The reason behind the game, how the game ended, and most importantly, the personalities of the characters, were all very different, so the two stories had a very different feel to them. I mean, look at all the vampires stories out there - most of them are about vampires and non-vampires falling in love, but yet they are all different.

Due to the numerous characters in this series, only a handful of them were more developed, but I guess this was more of a plot-driven story to see who'd win ultimately. I supposed, since I read the graphic novel version, the character development might also be lacking a bit compared to the novel (just a guess). I also would NOT recommend this series for those until 18 years old - it had A LOT of adult content - violence (more so than The Hunger Games) and sex (to think these were 9th grade students). I am not sure whether the original novel included sexual content or not (but I presume the violence would still be there, given the premise.)

I did like the ending of this story (well, from what I could tell from searching google).

This story was also made into a movie, and I watched that too. As mentioned, some plot development and what happened to the characters were altered, but the overall story was still the same. Interestingly enough, there was no sexual content at all in the movie, but the violence was probably worse because now you got to see all the blood and gory.

Overall, I still liked the Hunger Games better, because I cared about the characters. With this series, I just wanted to see who win and how it ended. But you have to give credit to the author for using such a controversial and thought provoking topic as the backdrop of the story. This story also was not dystopian - it could be something that was happening in today's world instead.

3.5 / 5 .

Note - The book was borrowed from the library.

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  1. Was reading your review and thinking I should get it for my daughter (age 11) who is obsessed with The Hunger Games, until I got to the part about the sex and violence! Perhaps not!

    1. Fiona - definitely NOT 11 yo friendly! I knew some Japanese magna could have some R/X rated contents but I didn't think they'd have any since the characters were just in 9th grade! Maybe I am just old fashioned like that lol.