Review: Battle Royale

Battle Royale
Kill or be killed!

Koushun Takami
Masayuki Taguchi

15 Volumes – Completed

Plot Summary
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!

Personal Opinion
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!

Personal Rating

[Reviewer: Amir Syafrudin]


4 thoughts on “Review: Battle Royale

  1. Battle Royale insanity just unpredictable , crazy and really satisfying .

    It reminds me of Brad Pitt’s ”Fight club” , maybe Battle Royale had different storyline and development but their insanity are in same level .

    Their battle just very unique and (again) crazy .

    Battle Royale is 5/5 creation .

    Agree with the review!

  2. Yes, it is insane. Battle Royale was the first manga that I read with so much blood and gore. The killing was thrilling. Kiriyama and Souma plays a significant role in that area. The author roles out a perfect combination between the characters.

    Fortunately the plot was more than just the killing. One can always wonder how each student died or survived the menace throughout the story. The author had successfully put up a decent amount of unpredictable human behaviors.

    As I browse through the Internet, I found manga readers saying how emotional they can get while reading Battle Royale. Some went deeper to the fact that they’ve become attached to the characters.

    Putting aside the blood and gore, I’d recommend this manga to any manga readers.

  3. I found the entire series to be amazing, there were slight inconsistancies that I found within the story, seeing as how it was made in the name of realism, such as the fight between Sugimura and Kiriyama, where they are manipulating Ki, and the fact that Shuuya somehow survives despite the fact that he’s very minimal in actual physicality in the series. In all reality one of the more aggressive students would have killed someone like Shuuya early on.

    Then there were the benefits which were plentiful, I loved the character development of all the characters, even Yoshi despite his early “elimination”. The way you are made to care or sympathize with certain characters really took me back to my years as a freshman, and who I liked and didn’t really care for. I despised the Yutaka’s and the Mimura’s and the Kiriyama’s alike. I found myself relating these characters to myself and who I would have liked or hated, and how I would have eventually handled the situation. Personally, I would have killed Kiriyama very early on. Possibly to the extent of organizing a group to simply out gun him. That way, the most dangerous student would have been eliminated. It really reveals alot about your own personal character because it forces you to question what kind of person you are.

    All in all it makes you care, and then it makes you curse yourself for caring, when you are utterly shocked at the sight of your own personal “hero” being gunned down, carved open, or otherwise mutilated.

  4. Although I realize that Battle Royale would have a significant impact to its readers, I am still amazed by your comment. No matter how much Battle Royale affects me, I was never that attached to the characters. Anyway it’s nice to know fellow Battle Royale fans.

    About the inconsistencies, I agree that Ki manipulation was beyond reality. But the only thing I find impossible in this manga was Kiriyama’s ability to comprehend anything in a flash. When I’m reading this manga, a part of me was hoping that Kiriyama would die in the hand of Sugimura. A cold-blooded murderer died in the hands of righteous Kung Fu master was something I’d expected. It’s just that Kiriyama was supposed to be inhumane. So I have to accept the fact that Sugimura died in an elegant way.

    As for Shuuya’s survival, I think the author was trying to show us another side of reality. The author admitted that the stronger you are, the better chance you have to survive. That’s why he brought Kawada, the veteran, who wins because he can win. But the point of Battle Royale was not simply survival of the strongest, it tells you the story about the survival of idealism.

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