Exploring the world of film and gaming with Jonathan R. Lack and friends!
Bravo. Every "critic" on the internet seems unable to actually compare BR the book to Collin's book - which I think says it all. They have to resort to using the movie (which still bears striking similarities) to try and downplay how blatant of a rip off it is.
Yes! This needed to be said.
part 2 please!
Very nice - I actually just finished reading Battle Royale and can't believe the similarities.Has anyone mentioned the mockingjay whistle and bird whistle similarity? That's actually the one that did it for me. It's too different and too unique to be a coincidence.
Exactly. Same for me as well. And what about the going deaf in one ear due to explosion? That was a huge "similarity" for me.
You know, I didn't think of that one, but very good point! Using a bird call to find each other....that's got to be one of the most striking similarities, hasn't it? Interesting. Thanks for pointing that out!
I see your list calling out all the differences while trying very hard to portray them as similarities.History is littered with examples of people coming up with similar ideas independently of one another, including the automobile, airplane, light bulb and motion pictures. Many similar books, movies and comics have been produced simultaneously by artists and writers who never heard of each other. DC and Marvel came out with Doom Patrol and X-Men, virtually identical comics, the very same month. Coincidences happen, especially with a theme as obvious as "battle to the death for a reality TV show." There is no need to call Suzanne Collins a liar or accuse her of plagiarism for producing a book that's thematically similar to an obscure film from the other side of the planet that nobody in America could even see until long after her work was published.P.S. the bird call in HG was NOT used "to find each other;" it became a code signal for the revolution.
actually, Battle Royale was available through Netflix at least as early as 2005 and would have been a familiar title to anyone who is a fan of Tarantino...
Jim - I do not think Collins is a liar or a plagiarist. I never say that in this article, and if you read parts two and three of this article, I go on to defend her and explain exactly what you said - sometimes, stories are similar, and there is nothing necessarily wrong with that. Please read what I actually wrote before judging me or my work. I wrote this article to compile all the similarities I could find, because many fans of both works wanted to see them. I just wanted to lay the facts on the line. Again, of you read the entire article, I defend Collins. It is also silly to say that no one heard of Battle Royale before Hunger Games. That is simply not true. I read the book four or five years before Collins was published, and saw the film around the same time. Finally, you are incorrect about the bird call. It later became a code signal for revolution, but at first, Rue comes up with the idea so she and Katniss can locate each other after Katniss goes to destroy the food supply. Just as Shogo comes up with a bird call so he and Shuya can find each other after Shuya goes to fight Kiriyama.
Jonathan,I am writing to call you on your doubletalk...You stated in your first and second paragraph of "Act One", "Thus, if “Royale” can be called imitative, accusations of Collins’ plagiarism can be left by the wayside, and we can just say that she and Takami drew similar inspiration from similar works. Right? Wrong."Now, I have not read the rest of your article, and you may go on in the rest of the article to defend Collins, but here you effectively say that Collins plagirized Takami. The works may be very similar, but this does not mean she plagirized. I was in a creative writing class in college, and each student was given the first paragraph of a story and told to write the rest. Most stories had uncanny similarities to the original. This was the point of the exercise. My story was almost identical to the original, and I had never read the original work. Granted, we were given the original author's first paragraph, but I think the basis for the two stories, "Hunger Games" and "Battle Royale" in previous works (namely the myth of Theseus, and the actual Roman "games", as well as any good war story or movie "Platoon" for instance) gives any author more than a first paragraph for a starting point. If you have a similar stating point, you will have characters that experience similar things.As for the bird calls... Bird calls have been used as signals in war long before Takami and Collins were twinkles in their parents' eyes. In conclusion, I am of the opinion that one cannot come to the conclusion that "Takami wrote it first, Collins must have copied Takami." This is a preposterous notion.
You are certainly entitled to your opinion. That does not, I think, make the opinions of myself and other readers and commenters "preposterous." Preposterous would imply the conclusion is impossible to come to from the given facts. Clearly, the opinion that HG and BR are suspiciously similar is not preposterous. You can accept it's all coincidence, I have absolutely no problem accepting that conclusion, but ignoring the facts of the case outright would be the truly preposterous act.
Now it is you who are not reading what is written. I did not say that the notion that Collins copied Takami because of the similarities was preposterous. I was saying that the logic leap of: because Takami came first it must follow that Collins plagirized" was preposterous. This is the major arguement I see on the internet. You, at least have pointed out specific instances where there are striking similarities. But, my point is that one cannot come to the conclusion that Collins PLAGIRIZED Takami based on these similarities. We can say only that there are striking similarities and leave it at that. I cannot argue that the similarities are indeed striking, but Collins did in fact add, as you said, more creative layers. So even to call this the “the dumb American version of “Battle Royale.” is to be untrue to your other comments. It seems you are conflicted in your opinions of the books in question. Maybe you are just wanting to get all the facts on the table, and that is admirable. But to continuously praise Collins and then a second later bash her work, is not the way to lay out the facts.I like the list of similarities and look forward to reading the promised list of differences. Objectivity is the key. All I was trying to do in the first response was to point out that similarities do not PROVE plagirism. Now, in this second response, I restate it.
That's fair. But as I said before, this is only one part of the article, an if you read the other two (which are already posted, just go to the Hunger Games tab on the left), I think you will see that our opinions are not so different in the end.
You have a fairly good list here. I am going to try and rebut your points as best I can.[Similarities Between “Hunger Games” Book and “Battle Royale” MovieIn “The Hunger Games,” Katniss has no dad and a deadbeat (or, at least, useless and disinterested) mother. Shuya Nanahara is an orphan in Takami’s book, but in the film, his father is also gone, and it’s implied that his mother was never there for him. Though the Battle Royale program happens once a week in the novel, it is an annual event in Fukasaku’s film, just like the Hunger Games.] Very good. Can you explain to me why Jim Hawkins in 'Treasure Island' likewise has no father figure in that book, why 'Oliver Twist' has no parents along with Harry Potter and why every fairy tale/myth in the world has a plethora of parentless children? Could it be that parentless children is one of the oldest tropes in fiction? [In “The Hunger Games,” each announcement of the dead is preceded by the Panem national anthem. While no music is played during the PA messages in Takami’s novel, the instructor Kitano plays pieces of classical music to start his announcements in Fukasaku’s film. In fact, much of the pomp and circumstance surrounding the Hunger Games is similar to how Fukasaku imagines the Battle Royale. In Takami’s novel, the Program is always held in a secret location, and there is no media fanfare except to announce the name of the winner during nightly news bulletins. In the film, however, cameras come flooding in at the end of each annual Program to interview the winner, and Kitano runs the Program with darkly humorous fanfare. In addition to the aforementioned classical music, he shows the children an ironically cheerful instructional video before the Battle starts. Most importantly, Kitano very overtly views the Battle as sport, telling the students that “Life is a game.” This is a significant tonal departure from Takami’s novel, but it’s much closer to the Reality Show framework of “The Hunger Games.” ] The only thing troublesome about the music intros is that they have been used since time immemorial. I seem to remember a trummpet voluntary before the chariot race in Ben Hur. The Ponitius Pilate character gave a rather inspirational speech there as well [In the sequels to “The Hunger Games,” “Catching Fire” and “Mockingjay,” Peeta and Katniss, survivors of the Games, lead a revolution against the government that forced them to kill. Koushun Takami wrote no sequel to “Battle Royale,” but Kinji Fukasaku’s son Kenta did make a sequel to the film in 2004, titled “Battle Royale II: Requiem.” In it, Shuya and Noriko lead a revolution against the government that forced them to kill. This is one bit of ‘borrowing’ I will not hold against Collins, however, as I do not expect her to have sat through “Battle Royale II.” It is possibly one of the worst movies ever made, certainly among the most disappointing sequels.] It would have been as difficult for her to sit through the sequel as it would have been for her to sit through the original. Neither were released in the USA. I am not saying that there are no similarities between the two books/films, but from the trope of one character risking life and limb to save the love interest, (Darcy in Pride and Prejudice (social disgrace), Nancy in Oliver Twist Oliver's life), D'Artagnan in The Three Musketeers (saving the Queen), James in Harry Potter)to the least likely character in a war movie who becomes a killing machine, they have all been used too many times before for it to be anything else but using a common fictional trope. It takes a great deal more thatn a this to even think that Collins was inspired by Battle Royale and did not give credit. It does not come close to plagerism, which is the actual use of passages from one book to the other.
I don't understand why you're trying to compare books that has no relevance to this. The point is NOT comparing random books, but two books that share the concept of battling each other to death.
I wasn’t going to post here, but I’ve just read your article again and I was extremely surprised at how many of the “similarities” you list are either wrong or illogical. Let me go through a few of them:“In both books, a lottery system is used to choose the ‘players’ “ – OK: so how else should they do it? The lottery is an essential plot device in THG, as it explains why Katniss volunteers (incidentally, the volunteering of a “hero” is meant to be another direct reference to the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur) . IIRC, the lottery element in BR is less essential, and there are other methods that could have been used (e.g. choosing the class with the worst exam results). But that doesn’t help the argument that THG is influenced by BR, does it?“In both stories, the killing game takes place in a Jungle setting (my mind’s eye imagined nearly identical spaces)” – Well, your mind’s eye needs a monocle then, as the arena in THG is not set in a jungle – it’s a North American forest (similar to where Katniss lives). The first thing Katniss notices on entering the arena is the smell of pine. Takami and Collins have basically chosen landscapes for their games that are appropriate for where they are set (island jungle and forest wilderness respectively) – what’s remotely questionable about that? At the start of both contests – the Hunger Games and the Battle Royale – the ‘players’ are each given a backpack with a random weapon and other supplies, such as food and water.” – No: the Tributes in THG are given nothing other than a standard “uniform”. (They’re also allowed a personal token, but even that seems to be disallowed in the film version.) Everything-else (food, water, weapons, backpacks, etc) has to be fought for. Katniss scavenges a backpack, but it contains no weapon or water: she only collects a knife because it’s thrown at her. Hardly any of the other Tributes collect backpacks at the start, and no other Tributes apart from the “Career” group who control the supplies have any proper weapons at the start (Rue only has a homemade slingshot, for example.) So in short: the setup is completely different from that in BR. In “Hunger Games,” the ‘game-masters’ force players together by manipulating the environment. Early on, for instance, a giant wall of flame attacks Katniss, forcing her to flee to a different part of the arena. In both cases, the actions of those in charge limits the amount of space players have to battle, leading to greater conflict as the contest progresses.” - It’s true that the Gamemasters manipulate the arena in THG – to a much greater extent than in BR actually. They don’t continually reduce the “playing area” as in BR, though.
Just because there are small differences added the similar concept, doesn't mean you can disregard the similarities completely. Response to your pointsPlayers could be selected by class.Both locations are of highly wooded landscapes. Collins could have chosen a rundown town/city as location. Player from both books were given backpacks containing random things. Collins could have chosen to give each player the same weapon, no backpack at all. The point is not HOW both books forced their players to come together, but that they both forced their players to come together.Obviously if Collins was going to write a book and try to take all the credits, she wouldn't make everything exactly the same. That would be really stupid.
*or no backpack at all.
Having finished the books this weekend, I'd like to expand on to what John M. and summeriris have already written. I tried to keep it spoiler free.-"In 'The Hunger Games,' Katniss has no dad and a deadbeat (or, at least, useless and disinterested) mother."* Katniss' mom is not a deadbeat or disinterested mom, she was broken from the depression of losing her husband. In the book (not so evident in the movie) Katniss actually tells her that they can't afford for her to slip into that state again if Katniss dies in the games- which means that although her mom is not as dependable as Katniss, she does help take care of Prim. If it wasn't for that period of depression, Katniss would never have used the hunting skills her father taught her to support her mother and Prim. She would have been useless in the games.-"In the film, however, cameras come flooding in at the end of each annual Program to interview the winner, and Kitano runs the Program with darkly humorous fanfare."*The "fanfare" and public image (the parades and interviews) of the games is for the entertainment of the Capitol's citizens, whereas the games themselves are partially for the panem's wealthy citizens (they bet on their favorite players) but mostly used to show the district people that the capitol owns them in a "we have your children- we will kill them, and there is nothing you can do about it" kind of way. The playing of the capitol's anthem during announcements only pushes the idea that the purpose of the games is to control the population.Any bits that make light of the games (the interviews; Caesar Flickerman's attitude) are there to downplay the gruesomeness of the whole idea, so the the capitol people will follow along and continue to enjoy the games.- "The most direct parallel to my mind is Effie Trinket, coordinator of the Games for Katniss’ home district; she runs the lottery for who will participate in the killing contest like it’s a fun social event..."* Effie does not run the lottery. She picks the names out of (district twelve's lottery and only twelve's) the bowls because she's district 12's escort. She has no power, and is "cheerful" about it because she is a citizen of the capitol and the games are merely looked at as entertainment. Capitol citizens have never had to worry about sacrificing their children, so they could care less. This idea could easily be cited from human nature; a select population of our own world doesn't have to starve so they don't care that much of the world's population does.Also, there are other escorts that select from other district lotteries, and as far as THG fans know they don't have the same attitude as Effie. Even Cinna and Haymitch (and later others) are there to show that Mentors, Prep teams and Stylists will differ from each other and also from their predecessors in the way they view the games and the government.-"Even more obviously similar are how the characters react to these announcements: every address is invariably followed by Shuya and Katniss doing a mental rundown of who’s left..."* I know this is a slightly offensive thing to say, but this is really grasping at straws. Of course they'll count down how many are left. Every person in the arena is, they would be foolish or careless not to.-"In this way, Shogo can also be seen as a parallel to Haymitch in 'Hunger Games.'"* Haymitch is more of a "portal to the outside world" kind of character than a true mentor, especially in the movies. He gets sponsors to send things to Katniss in the arena, but most of the actual training is done in the training center with teachers who are experts in specific skills (archery, knot tying, camouflage). Effie and Haymitch teach Katniss and Peeta how to present themselves in the interviews so that the sponsors actually like them.
This just a continuation of my last post, but it contains mild spoilers for the other books/movies-"In both stories, the killing game takes place in a Jungle setting (my mind’s eye imagined nearly identical spaces)"*The games take place in a *forest* because this lends Katniss an advantage that other district tributes do not have- from what I remember District 11 is made of orchards and empty plains, Distict 4 has beaches. The other games have been hosted in dry deserts, icy wastelands, and there a jungle arena is actually mentioned.-"In both novels, the most powerful, capable participant is painted as the antagonist, and survives through to the very end..."* That could be said for every antagonist in every movie, book, and tv series ever made. Also, Cato isn't the true antagonist. President Snow and government (capitol government, the "government" of the games; the gamemakers, and later government in general) are Katniss' enemies.-"The surviving couples in both stories each become government targets"* Later in the series we find that every single victor is afflicted with some punishment from the capitol, to show that the capitol essentially still owns them even though they won. I wish that this would have been touched on in the first series and it's a minor spoiler, but it makes such an impact on the reader's view of THG's world.
I agree with you. I think most of this is a stretch. Yes, there are similarities, but a lot of the similarities can be found in many other stories, too.