This is a bit of a variation from discussing anime. I do feel that it is appropriate for the blog as Battle Royale is a Japanese film/novel/manga and I do love Japan. The Battle Royale novel was written in 1999 by Koushon Takami; who also wrote the manga adaptation. The Hunger Games which was published in 2008 by Suzanne Collins will also get a film adaptation that is expecting to be released March 23, 2012. Now you may be wondering why I’m discussing these two titles or you may not if you have read the books or seen the Battle Royale movie. Since it is drawing close to the release date of The Hunger Games and they have released the posters of the actors portraying the characters of the movie, I thought I would voice my thoughts.
Suzanne Collins denies that she has ever heard of Battle Royale and gives a convoluted rationale to the stark similarities. The biggest similarity is the “fight to the death” scenario. In both publications, a group of teenagers are pitted against each other where the last one standing “wins”. Tracking devices are used in the characters in both publications. Both fights are controlled by a totalitarian government; although Suzanne Collins does not outright say the government in The Hunger Games is totalitarian, from her descriptions, it seems that is exactly what it is. In both, attempting to escape is prevented or ends in death.
The differences are that Battle Royale is downright brutal although The Hunger Games is pretty brutal itself but not as gory as Battle Royale. There is also a more romantic aspect in The Hunger Games that is not in Battle Royale. How the teenagers are chosen and their relationships differ as well. In Battle Royale, the students all know each other and are friends/frienemies/enemies and are around the same age. In The Hunger Games, two teenagers are chosen from twelve districts with the youngest being 12 years old. In the Battle Royale manga, the games were shown as a state-sponsored tv show with high ratings. The Hunger Games are exactly the same. Suzanne Collins having never read or seen Battle Royale is not impossible but one cannot deny the likeness. This is not to say people from two different cultures can come up with the same idea. It’s just that Battle Royale in all its forms had been around for a decent amount of time before Collins’ book was released. Not only that, Battle Royale, the film specifically was popular and caused controversy. But, hey, if she wants to stick to her story about her flipping through channels watching about the invasion of Iraq and people compete in reality shows, comparing the main character Katniss Everdeen to Theseus, fine by me. Her books have become immensely popular and she is getting film adaptations. Not to mention, the books are pretty good and I enjoyed reading them. Definitely better than the Twilight series which I also read in is entirety, pure research purposes. There are enough differences between The Hunger Games and Battle Royale for it to not be a complete rip-off. I think The Hunger Games stands on its own because it comes from a Western perspective so many Westerners can understand it better and be able to identify with the characters easier.
For your viewing pleasure, the trailers for both film adaptations.
I really enjoyed this movie and saw it before I knew about the novel or manga adaptation. I highly recommend viewing it. Very fun to watch.
It looks really good and if they stick to the book, it should be pretty successful. I plan on seeing it. Granted the main character isn’t exactly as I pictured her but she’ll do.