There’s been ongoing discussion/controversy about whether Battle Royale inspired The Hunger Games. I finally got around to watching the the movie and reading the book*, and I’m really glad I did.
I don’t really like gory movies (as you can see from the Gif Set above, the movie is pretty fucking violent) but the violence in Battle Royale is tinged with a comforting over-the-topness that Japanese cinema does so well. It’s just unreal enough that it’s not as unsettling as it should be. I can’t wait to watch it again.
Watching the movie a couple weeks ago had me really hungry to read the book, and I spent pretty much all of Saturday devouring the last 61% of it on my iPad. It’s even better than the movie. Having spent a year of High School in Japan as an exchange student, it was especially delightful to re-immerse myself in the Japanese high school experience, which Koushun Takami absolutely nails in the book. The translation is a little cheesy in spots, but the characters are totally recognizable to me and the storytelling is wonderfully nuanced in a way that I can only describe as spectacularly Japanese.
There are definitely some eyebrow-raising parallels between Battle Royale and The Hunger Games, but at the end of the day, they’re both great stories told from very different perspectives.
Bottom Line- Battle Royale is a really great movie, an even better book, and an excellent companion piece to the Hunger Games. Highly recommended!
*Sorry it took me so long, John Bunting!!! We were both right.
Thanks to Spiraphobia for the illustrative GifSet. It looks like this post has been reblogged over and over for this very same purpose, which I <3<3<3.
I’ve always thought of the Hunger Games as a mix between Battle Royale and The Lottery.