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Book Review < Back

Battle Royale vol. 1

Credits: Written by Koushun Takami and Illustrated by Masayuki Taguchi
Publisher: TokyoPop

Commentary

Take a class full of unruly high school students, drug them and transport them to a desert island, put explosive collars on them, give them a bunch of weapons, tell them they have to kill each other until only one of them is left. And the carnage will be televised on the hottest reality gameshow ever. Angst and bloodshed ensue.

That's the premise of BATTLE ROYALE, a pop phenomenon in Japan that started as a bestselling pulp novel, then got adapted into a hit movie that so shocked politicians that they tried to have it banned, a movie that may never be released in America, and now a comic book series written by the original novelist, Koushun Takami.

You could say this is the ultimate teen angst story. Imagine being a teenager in this world: it's bad enough that adults don't understand you, but they hate and fear you so much they passed a law that permits a gameshow where you have to kill everyone in your class. Imagine having to kill your best friend. Or having the bully who made your life hell now really meaning it when he or she says they're going to kill you. Or having to kill the person you have a crush on. This is a tale of adolescence pushed right over the edge. Thrill to uniformed schoolboys and schoolgirls shooting, slicing, stabbing, crossbowing, bludgeoning, or just plain kung-fuing each other to death, drawn in cute, wide-eye saccharine detail.

How can you resist such hilarity?

-- Adi Tantimedh

 
Adi Tantimedh is a screenwriter and filmmaker who writes comics when he has the time. He has recently completed JLA: The Age of Wonder for DC Comics, and written and directed Open House, a short film for Studio FP in Italy. His current projects include the forthcoming Blackshirt for Moonstone Books, Anna Passenger, a novel being serialised on Opi8.com, and various film and television projects.

 


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