Kill or be killed!
15 Volumes – Completed
42 ninth graders were picked by the Japanese Government for an all out battle against each other. Only one of one them can survive this contest. Each student is faced with the option to kill or be killed in a place where trust grows thin and friendship grows meaningless. Begin the battle royale!
I have to admit that this manga proposes an out of the box idea to show a clash of personalities. Aside from its mature content and the obvious plot about survival of the fittest, this manga tells the story about teenagers with different characters and backgrounds. I really mean it when I said different.
It is considerably easy to saw the difference between each personalities involved in the story, which become obvious right from the start, as the author begins introducing the main characters. The righteous Nanahara, the popular Mimura, the veteran Kawada, the heroic Sugimura, the monster Kiriyama, the hard core Souma, and the tender-hearted Nakagawa were the main characters entwined in the mess. As the story progresses, more characters were introduced, along with their unique personalities and backgrounds. It all adds up nicely, as if the authors were trying to show us the many faces of teenagers.
I am more than willing to share my point of view for each personalities; how they evolve and affect the outcome of the battle royale. But that would be a total spoiler for the manga. To see how each character reacts to the stressful conditions within the battle royale was to see how each personality responds to the game of kill or be killed. Seeing how each personality responds would allow us to see the life of each character.
Before I go any further, I really should emphasize that all 42 battle royale contestants were ninth graders. I think this point should be kept in mind when reading this manga. Seeing how all those ninth graders grew up to be as they are should amaze us. The story becomes interesting every time the life of each character begins to unravel. It draws out our sympathy as each of the characters are killed one by one. I wouldn’t be surprised if this manga draws out tears or anger. I was drawn to almost every chapter of the manga. It was a long one at that, but I have never regretted reading all 15 volumes of Battle Royale.
That being said, Battle Royale will still be a battle and what kind of battle would it be without violence and blood? Gore is something to be expected in this manga. What about sexual scenes? It’s there, but I don’t see any meaningless sexual scenes in that manga. Everything was in order. Nothing was going overboard.
Battle Royale is a creative combination of philosophies shown in an unique plot where we were able to see how harsh the world can be. Each character -with emphasis on a few of them- has their own share of that harshness. They live in a sick world where they grow up to be something expendable in the eyes of that very world. Curse that world!
[Reviewer: Amir Syafrudin]