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Battle Royale manga review
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Battle Royale is a survival horror seinen of 15 volumes written by Koushun Takami and illustrated by Masayuki Tagushi in 1999, published by Young Champion Magazine in 2000.

The manga is an adaptation of a novel of the same name and author, it made such a success that it spawned a live-action movie with the same name.

 

In a post-cold war martial-law Japan where authority is strict with its rule, the japanese government created a death game show in a way to show off its power and tenacity to the world.

The game show called “The Program” consists of choosing a random school each year, choosing within it a random class that is afterwards dropped in a beforehand prepared set on which each classmate will struggle to survive on his own, there must only be one survivor, the events of the death game are broadcasted afterwards to the world, ring a bell?

The plot follows the story of 9th grade class B of the Shiro Iwa Junior High School, a class composed of 42 students, of which Shuya Nanahara, Shogo Kawada and Noriko Nakagawa are the part of.

These 3 being the main protagonists of the manga, try to make their way through the game without killing anybody, making them easy prey versus the rest of the class driven with bloodlust or survival extinct, or both, at the same time going against the event organizers, who seek violent photage for propagandist and fear inducing purposes.

Although the novel is outstanding, the manga, in  my opinion, does a better job conveying the psychological portrait of every character, which absolutely makes sense, because the manga gives you an opportunity to see the emotions reflected (sometimes subtly) in the faces, motions and manner of speaking of each of the classmates, to actually see the written visualized.

As the death toll grows, each character is given enough time to make you attached, whether loving him, loathing him, despising or being proud of him, it will leave its impact, flavored with excessive violent and/or sexual scenes, making each death hard to assimilate in every way possible.

Shuya struggles trying to save as much as he can, not seeing his classmates as enemies, even though most of them went out of their ways, but as allies and friends, fixating the system, the government and game organizers as his target, never losing sight of who the real enemy is.

 

Battle Royale is a classic, I’d say a must-read even, for it highlights the struggle against the extreme measures a government is ready to deploy on the expense of the people, but most of all, it is amusing to no extent, heartwarming at times and gut-wrenching at others, giving you eventually an arguably satisfying closure.

 

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