Exploring the World of Anime

Battle Royale and The Hunger Games

Cover of the 2009 expanded edition, ISBN 978-1...

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 Hunger Games

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.


  1. SuperCold

    I read the book and it’s great! First time hearing of Battle Royale though.

    • You should really check out Battle Royale. Even if you don’t read the novel or manga, watch the film. If you like gory killings and vicious fighting, you would enjoy Battle Royale.

  2. I’m an huge fan of the Hunger Games, but yes Battle Royale and HG are very similar.
    I can’t seem to find Battle Royale though. I really want to read it.
    I have watched BR though and I find it awesome. I love these 2 equally. But Battle Royale is much more gruesome.

    • Amazon sells the Battle Royale novel. Yeah, it is definitely more gruesome than Hunger Games. It’s vicious but I loved it. I’m definitely looking forward to how the Hunger Games movie will turn out.

  3. StacyRF

    Hunger Games Published in 2008. I know because I thought it was pretty similar to both Battle Royale and another book I read called Luthiel’s Song. It was similar to BR because of the way they made the kids fight one another. It was similar to Luthiel’s Song because the main character chose to die in her sister’s place. I read Luthiel’s Song in 2005. So I wondered if Hunger Games was based on a combination of BR and Luthiel’s Song.

    I was a huge fan of both of these books. Hunger Games was pretty good too even though it reminded me of these other books.

    • According to the author, she had never heard of Battle Royale. I don’t believe her but it’s possible. The similarities are just too striking, though. They didn’t mention Luthiel’s Song but that could partly be due to a family member sacrificing her/himself for another is a pretty common thing in literature. I have not read Luthiel’s Song myself and since you enjoyed it, I think I may take a look at it.

  4. I clicked this due to battle royale being in the title 😛 Absolutely amazing movie (my favourite of all time). The hunger games looks similar and awesome too but I doubt it will be better than Battle Royale…at least not in my eyes. Though I might be pleasantly surprised but the hunger games would have to be really good to take my favourite spot! 😛

    • GoodbyeNavi

      Well, thank you for clicking! I don’t think Hunger Games will be better than Battle Royale either. But I’m willing to watch the movie as I truly enjoyed the books. Battle Royale was fantastic while Hunger Games will have the “Hollywood touch” so it will be pretty watered down.

      • Yup, I am thinking the same thing, not read the books though only found out about it via a trailer I stumbled on by mistake and I was like “WHAT IS THIS, I MUST WATCH THIS!!”. It has such a Battle Royale feel to it mixed with something else which I can’t quite put a name on it and I was just like yup a film I am definitely going to go see! 🙂

  5. i have the battle royale on its way to me! i’m very anxious to read it and to compare it to the hunger games!

    • GoodbyeNavi

      I found Battle Royale to be the better of the two but Hunger Games does have that trilogy going for it.

  6. Kat

    Ahhh, I was thinking about how similar these two books were when I first saw the trailer for The Hunger Games movie. I’ve read Battle Royale and I’ve seen the movie and I’ve read the three books in the Hunger Games series (needless to say I’ll be seeing the movie(s) as well). Battle Royale is definitely more gruesome of a book, and therefore, in my humble opinion, better. Japan sure knows how to do horror.

    • See the gruesomeness of Battle Royale was not what made it horror for me. What made it horror was that it was government sanctioned. That these students killing each other was a game and there was a winner in the end that was celebrated. That was horrifying to me because it could happen.

  7. I read the book of Batle Royale and when some one told me about the hunger games I though it was quite similar. None the less I’ll be interested in watching it:)

    • It is pretty much identical in terms of plot. Like you, I will still be watching Hunger Games when it comes out.

  8. battle royal does have a second movie in the series, i think it is called ‘Battle royal II’ , i’m not sure if it is based on a second book in the series, and i haven’t seen it because i hear its more of the same, and not as good. There is an element of the original victor, heading back to try and end the tradition of the game i think… not having read hunger games either, so not sure what the sequel will be like, however it does seem to be heading in the direction of some kind of rebellion.

    • Haven’t seen the second Battle Royale and probably won’t. I have read the Hunger Games trilogy and really only liked the first book. The last two were disappointing to say the least.

  9. Allen

    Like Arsenio Hall said, things that make you go hmmm.

    • LOL. That’s all you have to say, Allen?


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