From Page To Screen (58) Battle Royale

For this weeks From Page To Screen I have decided to cover the book turned film Battle Royale by Koushon Takami.

First let's discuss the book.
Battle Royale is a novel written by Author Koushon Takami. The book was originally released in April of 1999 by Ohta Shuppan. Battle Royale released to critical acclaim in Japan and quickly flew up the best seller list in Japan that year. In 2003 Viz Media translated the book to English for the first time. An expanded edition with a revised English translation and an afterword by Takami was published on November 17, 2009 by Haikasoru, a division of Viz Media. In 2008 Battle Royale was at the center of controversy when Author Suzanne Collins released The Hunger Games which is strikingly similar to Battle Royale in plot and premise. Suzanne Collins maintained she had never heard of the book until hers was turned in. At the time Takami released a statement saying he appreciated fans "standing up" for his book, but stated that he thinks "every novel has something to offer," and that if "readers find value in either book, that's all an author can ask for."

Let's take a look at some of the characters.

Shuya Nanahara- Main protagonist of the story, Shuya has witnessed a good deal of troubling events throughout his life. His mother died when he was in third grade and his father was killed while fighting against the Government. When no family members step up to adopt him, Shuya was put in an orphanage. Despite the Government ban Shuya has a love for Rock n' Roll and considers himself a "Rock Star". 

Noriko Nakagawa- Noriko is a quiet reserved girl who is a member of the program Battle Royale. Noriko is a companion and later on a love interest of Shuya. Although she doesn't realize it her encouragement and positivity is the only reason Shuya is able to keep going during the games.

Shogo Kawada- Shogo is a loner transfer student who is put into Class B about 2 months before the program Battle Royale takes place. Shogo is described as muscular and has a distinct scar underneath his left eye left over from his participation in the program the previous year. Shogo allies himself with Shuya and Noriko in the hopes that together they can defeat the program.

Now let's discuss the movie.
Battle Royale is a film directed by Kinji Fukasaku and was released December 16, 2000 by Toei Company.  Battle Royale cost $4.5 million to make and earned $40 million worldwide. Battle Royale was a mainstream success, becoming one of the ten highest-grossing films in Japan. Battle Royale received global audience and critical acclaim and is often regarded as one of Japan's most famous films. Sadly, due to The Hunger Games success Battle Royale might never be remade for a US audience due to the fact most people would assume it was a ripoff of Suzanne Collin's work. Producer Roy Lee stated that a remake of Battle Royale would no longer be possible due to the release of The Hunger Games, stating that "Audiences would see it as just a copy of Games — most of them wouldn't know that ‘Battle Royale’ came first. It's unfair, but that's reality." However, he stated that he might return to the film in ten years to "develop a ‘Battle Royale movie for the next generation."

Major Differences Between The Book Film
The Students have all heard about the program. None of the students have heard about the BR act.
The Program supervisor is a government agent named Kinpatsu Sakamochi who has no previous relation to the students..The Program supervisor is an ex-teacher named Kitano, who had previously taught the class. .
Shogo Kawada and Kazuo Kiriyama are both part of the class before the Program begins, and are caught up in it involuntarily.Shogo Kawada and Kazuo Kiriyama both volunteer to participate in the program.
Shuya gets a knife issued as his weapon while Noriko is given a boomerang. Shuya is issued a pot lid and Noriko is given a pair of binoculars.
After saving Shuya and Noriko from Motobuchi Shogo joins up with them for the programs duration.Shogo leaves Shuya and Noriko behind after Yumiko and Yukiko's deaths. He doesn't reunite with them until they meet again at the clinic.
Yoshimi Yahagi and Yoji Kuramoto are killed by Mitsuko Souma when she finds them together.Yoshimi and Yoji are found by Mitsuko outside the residential area. They have hanged themselves.
Shuya, Noriko and Shogo stay at the clinic through most of the second night. Shortly before they leave, they run into Hiroki Sugimura. As they move away from the clinic, they are suddenly attacked by Kazuo, who causes Shuya to get separated from Shogo and Noriko.Shuya, Shogo and Noriko are staying at the clinic when a fight erupts outside between Toshinori and Kazuo. They are forced to leave when Kazuo attacks the clinic and chases after Shuya. Shuya is narrowly saved by Hiroki Sugimura who happened to be nearby .
Sakamochi explains the rules of the Program to the students himself.Kitano shows the students an instruction video that outlines the rules of the program.
If the students do not kill anyone off during a 24 hour span they all die. The students have a 3 day grace period before the collars detonate and kill them all.
It is revealed by Sakamochi that the Program's purpose is to discourage disturbances in the social order of the Republic, and to ensure the continued existence of its totalitarian government.The BR act appears to have been passed as a response to an alarmingly increasing rate of violence and delinquency being perpetrated by the youth of Japan.
Suspecting Shogo has tampered with the collars Sakamochi threatens to kill him but is interrupted by Nokori and Shuya. Shogo then stabs Sakamochi in the neck with a pencil.Kitano is gunned down by Shuya.
Shuya and Noriko leave Japan for America. Shuya and Noriko become wanted enemies of the state after both surviving the program.
OK, this week I have to say that it is an even draw between the book and the film. Both are excellent in their own ways and I highly recommend watching and reading Battle Royale if you haven't already. I will say though that I do like that the book puts the kill count at the start of each chapter. It really drives home how brutal the competition is. Also I think that the ending of the book is just a tad bit better but I understand why they chose to change it. 
Well that about wraps up this weeks From Page To Screen. Have a recommendation for an upcoming From Page To Screen, let me know in the comments below!

Have you read the book or watched the film? 
Which did you like better? Why? 
What is your favorite quote or scene from Battle Royale? 
Have you ever read the Manga version? If so, Do you recommend it?

Leave your answers in the comments below, I love to read your responses. Like what you see? Please share!


  1. I, sadly have heard of this one after I've read The Hunger Games. I had no idea even this existed before. I learned later and even sadder thing is that I still haven't seen this movie or read the book. It's not that I'd think of it as a rip off of Huger Games, but I'm afraid it's too dark for my taste. But I'll get to it eventually. Great reviews :)

    1. It is really dark and the deaths between students quite brutal. However, it is a really great book should you ever decide to read it.


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