Battle Royale by Koushun Takami


Today I’ve dug out my copy of the novel version of Battle Royale! This one seemed like an obvious choice for day seventeen of Blogtober; the theme of violence in children follows on from A Clockwork Orange and it leads in nicely to the YA dystopian series I’ve got planned next (I’ll give you three guess what that one is).

I read this one a few times when I was about fourteen or fifteen after watching the film, once on holiday, and let me take this opportunity to apologise to my mum for clearly watching an 18 film without her permission. My copy is, I believe, one of the first imprints to make it over here as it doesn’t have a UK price on the back, only US and Canadian. I bought it in a waterstones I was doing work experience in at the time and I was so pleased with it. I tried to read the manga around the same time but I could never really get in to it. To this day manga isn’t really my thing.

Battle Royale is really good. The translation isn’t perfect and slightly stilted in some parts but the actual story is great. I loved the creepiness of the countdown on how many children were left alive and the background on how this fictional version of Japan got to the point where this would be socially acceptable. The characters have fairly vivid, and often horrific, backgrounds which shape how they react to their inclusion in the Program. It’s obviously very violent, some might argue gratuitously so, but it does pack a huge message about police states and the effect violence has on children and human nature.

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