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Battle Royale: The Novel Paperback – November 17, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Koushun Takami was borin in 1969 in Amagasaki near Osaka and grew up in Kagawa Prefecture of Shikoku, where he currently resides. After Graduating from Osaka University with a degree in literature, he dropped out of Nihon University's liberal arts correspondence school. From 1991 to 1996 he worked for the prefectural news company Shikoku Shinbun. Battle Royale, completed after Takami left the news company, was a finalist for the Kadokawa Mystery Prize, but ulimately lost due to the controversy the novel's content provoked among juruy members. With its publication in Japan in 1999, Battle Royale received widespread support from young readers and became a best seller. in 2000. ot was adapted as a manga and made into a popular feature film.

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Product Details

  • Series: Battle Royale
  • Paperback: 632 pages
  • Publisher: Haika Soru; 2nd edition (November 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1421527723
  • ISBN-13: 978-1421527727
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1.7 x 5.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (154 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,813 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

119 of 122 people found the following review helpful By Evan R. Cassity on November 12, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This revised English translation of Koushun Takami's spectacular debut novel could not come at a better time. It has been out of print from VIZ for a few years now, but their new Haikasoru imprint is ideal for bringing it back. This "notorious, high-octane thriller," presents a gripping story that will stay with you for the rest of your life. It is a simple story. A group of 42 high-school students are taken to an evacuated island, given weapons and a time limit, and forced to kill each other until only one of them is left standing.

First off, why is this a must-buy?

1. The translation has been improved. The first edition was rife with typographical errors, and more than once a character would be addressed with another's name. I asked the Haikasoru editor personally, and he said the book received a line-by-line edit, so this improved, tidied translation is something to be excited about.

2. A 22-page afterword by author Koushun Takami! This will be "his longest published work since the novel itself," according to the Haikasoru website. His own opinion on the cult status of his own creation is something no fan should miss.

3. A new forward to the novel by Max Allan Collins. The prolific Road to Perdition writer knows a thing or two about good fiction, and there can never be too many essays about good novels by good novelists.

4. Last but not least, an interview with the director of the first Battle Royale film, Kinji Fukasaku. Unfortunately, Fukasaku died in 2003, so this will be an old interview, published in English for the first time. It will be interesting to know the opinions of this master director, who so perfectly adapted a film for a much younger generation than his own.
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58 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Travis Stein VINE VOICE on July 30, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After describing The Hunger Games to a friend, he said that sounded almost exactly like what he read with Battle Royale... only with Japanese kids instead. I enjoyed The Hunger Games (and look forward to catching up with the rest of the series), so I gave this book a shot. I was definitely glad I did.

The plot by now is well-known to most reading this review. Every year, 21 male and 21 female Japanese junior high school students are taken to a remote and deserted island where they are forced to compete in a free for all contest where the lucky winner gets to live out the rest of their life as a surviving pawn of the Japanese government's games. The number of characters at first can seem pretty intimidating as there are 42 students at the beginning coupled with a few other characters in the Japanese government. However, the important characters are Shuya, Shinji, Shogo and Noriko. Sometimes it's hard to keep track of every character but Koushun Takami does a nice job of clearly labeling/distinguishing the characters throughout the novel.

The book does what The Hunger Games did for me. It made me mad, but it made me think also. Battle Royale is packed with action sequences and there is never a dull moment for very long as someone must die at least every 24 hours. If not? They all die via their collars which are rigged to explode if the entire group decided to band together against the government. The overriding theme in Battle Royale is one of human survival and a look into just how the human psyche can be twisted. How do you really justify not killing someone in a game like this? It's either kill/be killed or sit-by/be killed. Takami does an excellent job of showing the dark side of the human race that can be brought out in even the most innocent of people.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By amerdale876 on November 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
I was first introduced to "Battle Royale" by a good friend of mine who said I just HAD to watch the movie. It took me a while 'cause the movie is not distributed in the U.S. and, therefore, is hard to buy or rent. Finally, I found it to rent and the movie was amazing ... phenomenal! I had bought the book (the novel NOT the manga) a few months ago (before watching the movie) but hadn't gotten around to reading it yet. After watching the movie, I just HAD to read it and finally picked it up and began reading all 620 pages within a week or so.

All I can say about the book is: it's 10 times better than the movie!!!! This book is clever and insane at the same time, making it a terrific, can't-put-the-book-down-type of read! As was said in one of the earlier reviews, you wouldn't think it'd be easy to keep up with the 42 students but, after a while, it is. Unlike the movie (which was very good for the time they had to keep it down to), the book is seen through pretty much every character's point of view and the action scenes as well as the explanation of injuries and deaths is so well-written and described that you can't help but wonder what author Koushun Takami is going to write for his next book.

I do have to admit that I'm a huge Bruce Springsteen fan and since the novel mentions him and quotes one of his famous songs during a crucial end scene of the book, my liking of this book grew hugely! The fact that Takami was able to comment on not only young adult issues but also of country politics and economics, computer hacking, fascism and emotional issues (plus the importance of rock music and its influence) is astounding! All of these issues are addressed within this book without sounding preachy and complicatedly overdiscussed to the point of boredom.
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