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Battle Royale: The Novel Paperback – Nov 17 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 79 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Haikasoru (Nov. 17 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1421527723
  • ISBN-13: 978-1421527727
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 4.3 x 13.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 79 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #127,530 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Koushun Takami was born in 1969 in Amagasaki near Osaka and grew up in Kagawa Prefecture of Shikoku, where he currently resides. After graduating from Osaka University with a degree in literature, he dropped out of Nihon University's liberal arts correspondence program. From 1991 to 1996, he worked for the prefectural news company Shikoku Shihnbun, reporting on various fields including politics, police reports, and economics. Although he has an English teaching certificate, he has yet to visit the United States. Battle Royale, completed after Takami left the news company, was rejected in the final round of a literary competition sponsored by a major publisher due to the critical controversy it provoked among jury members. With its publication in Japan in 1999, though, Battle Royale received widespread support, particularly from young readers, and became a bestseller. In 2000, Battle Royale was serialized as a comic and made into a feature film.Mr. Takami is currently working on his second novel."

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I received this audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own.

Battle Royale totally blew me away! Not only is it my favourite read of 2012, but it is also one of my favourite reads of all time! This book was originally written in Japanese and translated into English.

I love survival stories, and Battle Royale is the ultimate in survival. The book starts off innocently enough, with a group of 15-year-old students setting out on a field trip. Unbeknownst to them, they have been chosen to participate in the government's sadistic reality game. The students are gassed in the school bus and awaken to find themselves in a classroom on an island with steel collars around their necks. They are told that their class has been chosen to take part in a battle simulation program conducted by the Republic of Greater East Asia's ground defense forces which they say they instituted for security reasons. It is officially known as the "Battle Experiment 68 Program," and it was first held in 1947. Fifty third-year junior high classes are selected annually to conduct the program for "research purposes." The classmates in each class are forced to fight until one survivor is left. The final survivor from each class is awarded with a lifetime pension and a card autographed by the nation's Dictator. The numbers are staggering. If fifty classes of 40 students are selected each year, that means that 1,950 teens are killed annually assuming that there is a winner from each class! The students are each given a duffel bag at random which contains one weapon and nominal rations of bread and water.
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By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on May 16 2010
Format: Paperback
Imagine this: Japan is run by a totalitarian government, which occasionally selects groups of ninth graders to methodically destroy each other. On TV.

There now, isn't that chilling? It's the creepy, all-too-real premise of Koushun Takami's "Battle Royale," an intricate novel about a parallel universe, where Japan is part of a brutal, coldhearted empire. Takami's writing style is a bit too spare at times, but he's still able to inspire a sense of haunting terror in his readers.

A group of third-year high-schoolers are being transported on a bus, when they are gassed to unconsciousness, and taken to a distant island. When they awake, they have silver collars around their necks, and a man explains that they have been chosen for the Program: a military training exercise where you must kill or be killed. If you don't play, or stay in one place too long, the collars explode.

The teenagers slowly weed one another out, armed with weapons and random household tools, and monitored by the authorities to make sure they don't plot. Finally the entire class is weeded down to three young adults, including Shuya Nanahara and his girlfriend Noriko. But if they refuse to kill, then they must escape the fascist nightmare... which no one has done before.

"Battle Royale" was condemned in Japan for being so violent, and having a bunch of normal high schoolers killing each other off. So of course, it became a massive bestseller. But "Battle Royale" would have been striking even if it hadn't been publicized like that -- not only is it well-written, but it asks the question straight-out: how much will people do to survive?

Maybe it's also a parable about high-school life, and the struggle to succeed at all costs in Japan.
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Format: Paperback
A previous review compares the novel to the manga series claiming that the novel is a poor adaptation. It would be important to realize that the manga is instead an adaptation of the novel (released in 2000 where the novel was first published in 99) and more accurately, the American Tokyopop version referenced in the review was even later released in 2003.
This novel was unbelievably addictive, I literally could not put it down until I was finished days later. It was an intensely vivid and terrifying glance into the psychology of fear and trust. It is undoubtedly gory and excessively violent but is extremely successful in its goals. By far some of the most incredibly exciting fiction I have read in years.
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Format: Paperback
I'm not the type who likes extreme violence, guts, and gore (which this book is filled with, but for good reason), but I really, really enjoyed this book. It is the best pulp fiction I've ever read. Keep in mind, though, that it is no masterpiece along the lines of Shakespeare and Fitzgerald in terms of language usage (it was translated from the Japanese language, and I thought the translator still did a fine job).
However, "Battle Royale" is a very memorable book; you will be surprised how all the events stay in your mind. Despite there being some 42 kids with difficult Japanese names, I remembered each character, how they lived, and how they died. And this book is literally impossible to put down-it's v. v. compulsive reading. I finished it in one sitting.
You probably already know what this book is about, but here's a quick plot summary anyway: the Japanese government institutes "Battle Royale," and randomly selects 50 ninth-grade classes for the program. Each class is left on a deserted island, supplied with different weapons, and forced to kill each other until there is only one survivor. Most are unsure of each other's intentions and cannot trust anyone; this is what the government wants: for no one to trust each other well enough to form a group against the government.
"Battle Royale" has understandably been criticized as violent exploitation (esp. since these kids are 14-15 and some are more than willing to hack each other up), but there is something much more deeper than that. The book explores tricky relationships between people, and there are many questions asked in the film, like "Who can I trust?", "Can I trust my best friend?", "Can I trust my boyfriend/girlfriend?", "What is right/wrong?", "Can we fight the system?
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