Thursday, March 22, 2012

“The Hunger Games” Versus “Battle Royale” – A Critical Analysis of Two Similar Works: Act Three – My ultimate conclusions on this whole sordid affair...

Tomorrow, the first big tent-pole release of 2012 hits theatres: “The Hunger Games,” an adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ 2008 smash-hit novel.  I’m excited for the movie, as are many others, but here’s the thing….when I read the book, it felt awfully familiar.  In fact, it was remarkably similar to one of my favorite books of all time, Koushun Takami’s “Battle Royale,” published in 1999. 

So throughout this week, I’ve been publishing a special three-part article investigating whether or not Collins stole from Takami, and why that informs how we should look at “The Hunger Games.”  In Act Three, the final part, I provide my ultimate conclusions on all the issues I’ve been writing about all week.  If you haven’t read Acts One or Two yet, they went up yesterday; my review of “The Hunger Games” movie will be published tomorrow. 

So without further ado, enjoy Act Three of “The Hunger Games” Vs. “Battle Royale” after the jump….

Jonathan Lack at the Movies Presents
“The Hunger Games”
“Battle Royale”
A Critical Analysis of Two Similar Books

Act Three:
May the Odds be 
Ever in Your Favor
My final conclusions from this whole sordid affair

So…now that I’ve established a fairly robust set of comparisons between “The Hunger Games” and “Battle Royale” and made my point about how dumbing down a thematically complex work will inevitably reach a broader audience, only one major question remains….

Do I think that Suzanne Collins plagiarized Koushun Takami’s “Battle Royale?”

The short answer?  No.  No I do not.

The long answer?  Let’s see…

As someone who is familiar with both books, I personally feel one cannot overlook the vast number of places where the stories overlap.  It goes beyond a similar premise, and it’s tough for me to look at the comparisons and believe that it’s all a coincidence.  This is why it irks me when Collins says she had never heard of “Battle Royale” in interviews.  It comes across as disingenuous.  Nevertheless, I consider myself a fan of “The Hunger Games,” and the things I like about it tend to be the original elements: the futuristic society, the ‘reality show’ conceit, the outside help Katniss receives, the image-based strategy, etc.  And as far as I can tell, these are the elements that hold the most fascination for many readers.  “The Hunger Games” would not be a creative success if it tried to dumb-down and replicate “Battle Royale” verbatim; it works precisely because of its most inventive elements, and because of that, I would never say that it is “plagiarized” from “Battle Royale.”

Instead – and I think this is a fair assessment – I would say that Collins clearly used “Battle Royale” as a foundation for her story and built on top of that with new ideas to build a fun, breakneck thriller.  I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.  Many of the best pieces of popular entertainment come from reworking older stories; “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” spring immediately to mind.  They aren’t derivative to the same degree as “Hunger Games” – Lucas and Spielberg cribbed from multiple sources, not just one – but like Collins, they took a set of ideas they liked, reworked them, added some ingenious new elements, and struck gold.

I wish Collins would just come out and say that this is what she did in interviews, rather than hide behind her seemingly dishonest insistences that the story came from Greek mythology and the Iraq war.  If “The Hunger Games” is an Iraq War parable, it’s the least socially conscious or meaningful war parable ever written, because as I’ve already explained, I think the book only scratches the surface of examining the toll abuses of power take on the young.  And unless my ninth grade English teacher simply forgot to tell me the myth about Zeus kidnapping a group of Athenian children and forcing them to fire lightning-bolts at each other for sport, then I’m absolutely befuddled as to where Greek mythology plays into any of this.  When I look at the actual evidence, it seems pretty clear to me that the inspiration to this book was “Battle Royale.”

And again…I’m really not overly perturbed by this.  Does it bug me that, despite having identical premises, “The Hunger Games” has avoided the controversy that’s always met “Battle Royale?”  Yes it does, but that’s not Collins’ fault; it merely reflects a set of odd cultural standards I’ve long since learned to live with.  Do I get a little irked when Collins insists she had never heard of “Battle Royale?”  Yes, because I think it’s disrespectful to Takami’s work.  But does any of this impact my enjoyment of “The Hunger Games?”  No, it doesn’t; if anything, I found it kind of cool to read a new spin on one of my favorite stories. 

So what are my thoughts on “The Hunger Games” anyway?  I’ve been saying I like it, but why is that?  The simplest answer I can give is that from the time I started reading, I could not put the book down.  The novel has plenty of flaws, most which annoyed me far more than any similarities to “Battle Royale,” but nevertheless, I raced through “The Hunger Games” in a day or two; the book must have been doing something right. 

More than anything else, “The Hunger Games” is simply a very effective survival thriller.  Collins vividly illustrates a future where every element of the protagonist’s life is based on making it through another day, and then thrusts her into a scenario where her survival instincts are tested.  The titular Games aren’t so much a test of the tributes’ physical prowess as it is a trial for their minds and spirits; they must come up with a strategy that takes advantage of all the assets at their disposal: the Cornicopia (where supplies are left), the Sponsors (rich viewers who may send aide into the arena), the pre-Game Interviews and the Gamemakers’ assessment (events where the tributes try endearing themselves to viewers), etc.

In fact, the whole ‘reality show’ conceit isn’t really social commentary, as some have suggested, but another piece of the Games’ puzzle the players must utilize if they hope to win.  Collins’ idea of survival is broad and multi-faceted, focusing just as much on outer-image as on inner-strength, and for me at least, that’s what makes “The Hunger Games” an engaging read.  I wouldn’t say Katniss has a dynamic character arc, but I think it’s extremely cool how the survival instincts of her life in District 12 come to life in so many different ways during the contest; the precise public image she crafts is just as much a weapon as her bow-and-arrow.  The intellectual side of things is so interesting, in fact, that I wish some of the other Tributes behaved like Katniss.  Peeta displays similar intelligence, but the ‘villainous’ tributes get by only on brute strength, and the antagonists could be so much more interesting if they were also a match for Katniss’ wit.  I also think that, given how much thought is put into how Katniss and Peets survive for the majority of the book, the way they ultimately both make it out alive is a tremendous anti-climax, one that prevents Collins from saying anything bold or memorable about the difficulties of surviving in a dangerous world. 

In fact, Collins could have gone quite a bit deeper into the actual psychology of survival throughout the book – which is what I meant in the previous section when I said that death is only a plot device – but settling for an exciting, briskly paced thriller is fine by me.  That’s the main difference between “The Hunger Games” and “Battle Royale” – the latter is more focused on themes and subtext than on story or thrills, while the former is all about the strategy of the actual killing contest.  This is why, for pure entertainment, “Hunger Games” may be a better read.  “Battle Royale” is a much better book overall, but I can’t deny what a fun read “Games” offers.

I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t mention that I also found it to be an occasionally frustrating read.  Collins spends an awful lot of time on a hypothetical romance between Peeta and Katniss that goes absolutely nowhere, and it gets grating fairly fast.  I understand that this relationship develops in the sequels, but that’s no excuse for letting the quality of the first book suffer.  It makes “The Hunger Games,” as an individual work, feel incomplete, and that is a definite problem.  Consider the “Harry Potter” books; each one works beautifully as a self-contained entity while also playing into a larger whole.  J.K. Rowling managed to plant seeds for future works without ever giving us substantial unresolved sub-plots; each novel ends with pay-off, just as they should.  The loose ends in “The Hunger Games” didn’t make me want to read more, but instead made the book feel unfinished and occasionally unsatisfying, a misstep I hope the movie doesn’t make. 

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss in "The Hunger Games"
Speaking of the movie, I’m actually very excited for it, because I have no doubts whatsoever that it will be a substantial improvement on the book.  If “The Hunger Games” has one truly debilitating flaw, it’s the writing.  Collins is a fine storyteller, but her prose is messy; she struggles with tone, dialogue, and visual descriptors, and she is simply incapable of effectively bringing action sequences to life on the page.  Reading the book, I didn’t feel an inherent sense of scope to this world, nor any immediate connections to the characters (especially important when the novel is written in first-person).  If the filmmakers do their job well, which it looks like they have, none of these problems should exist in the movie.  Film is a visual medium, meaning that the set-pieces, locations, and scope will be much easier to realize; just looking at the trailer, I feel so much more excitement for director Gary Ross’s world than I do for Suzanne Collins’ world.  And with the film’s top-notch cast – Academy Award nominee Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, anyone? – I can see the characters coming to life in ways they simply didn’t in the novel. 

This is why the film is actually among my most anticipated prospects of 2012; as a novel, I feel “The Hunger Games” is a fun read with lots of untapped potential, and if the film manages to draw out even half of that latent strength, I think we’ll have something truly spectacular on our hands.  

And whether you or I like how it all turns out or not, “The Hunger Games” is about to become one of the biggest franchises around; some box-office prognosticators are estimating weekend grosses above $100 million.  The series was successful in book form, but due to the film, it’s about to become an absolute mammoth, and that’s why I wrote this entire article.  When something becomes this wildly successful, it shouldn’t be simply taken for granted.  If the new American blockbuster is cribbed from a thirteen-year-old Japanese hit, people should know that; when a story about kids killing kids makes hundreds of millions of dollars, audiences should maintain a critical eye.  You don’t have to agree with any of the points I’ve made over the course of this article; I’m positive some of you won’t, and I want to hear your point of view.  All I ask is that you’re willing to enter into this discussion with a thoughtful, discerning mind; when we analyze the media consume, we help set a standard for better content, like “The Hunger Games” or “Battle Royale.”  If not?  Well, that’s where “Twilight” comes from…. 

Now, I’m off to go enjoy “The Hunger Games” movie.  For those of you who haven’t bought tickets yet, may the odds be ever in your favor….
This article has been presented in three parts on, with parts 1 and 2 having published over the last two days.  If you would like to read the full, unedited version of the article, please e-mail and we will send you a PDF version of the complete article.  


  1. Nice read, well done !

  2. - I agree. This was a great read. It highlighted a seemingly overlooked problem with the story's premise. Especially considering it's targeted audience.

    - I haven't read either book(s). Yet watching both films back to back; Battle Royale seemed more responsible in it's execution concerning the premise. Hunger Games came off as more a drama, if anything.

    - After reading your article(s) concerning the similarities/differences between the two books; my previous statement makes more sense to me.

    (i'm off to read your review of the film.)

  3. Wow... i just read your article (3 parts) and i'm really impressed
    specially act II made me think
    i'm translating it to spanish 'cause i want my sister to reade it
    if i'd have where publish it i'd ask you permission to publish it (=P)
    reading again act II i noticed that you are very young!!! (6 years at columbine) you write very good
    maybe i'd say more but i'm better translating that writing my ideas...

    keep writing, investigating, doing whatever you do

    i'll going to read Royal Battle now, thanks

  4. The question to ask is, are the similarities, ideas and concepts that are there, really so impossible to come up with, that there is no way 2 people could both end up with them?
    Are they really that amazing or did you perhaps think to yourself "oh why didn't I think of this stuff?"
    I don't think the stuff is so complex or random that this thought is out of question, at all.

    Theres been inventions that occurred to several people from different places without knowing of each other, for example the telephone.

    It's because ideas don't come from nowhere. No one magically comes up with something from nothing.
    If you built a time-machine and went back to prevent all the telephone inventors from inventing them, more and more would appear at later times, because the required knowledge to come up a particular invention is available already at that time.
    The same goes for any kind of art, except that its not about exposure to the right combination of available understandings of the universe, but exposure to particular topics, cultural phenomena and everything else

    Add that, with the particular similarities in these 2 novels, several are related. What I mean is, once you have one, most of the others are ideas that follow as the obvious as you try to complete the picture.

    The other thing is, what does collins gain by not simply saying she did know battle royale beforehand, if that is so obviously the case?

    THGs important parts aren't even what it shares with BR, the parts that are similar are more like tools to keep the story going, not what it is all actually about in the end, which is, hope where there seems to be none, that a single person can make a big difference in society. It relates to the current situation in the world, where big number of poor people everyday, while the developed world doesn't give a damn and thinks everything is just fine.

    btw: By calling it a dumb american version seperately isolated several times, you are essentially provoking stupid rage about it. It surely doesn't improve the odds of intelligent conversation.

  5. I really enjoyed your three-part article. Very insightful and well written.
    The greek myth the Hunger Game author is referring to is the Minotaur, the half human half bull monster imprisoned into a labyrinth. Athenians were forced to send every year a group of boys and girls in sacrifice to the beast. At least until Theseus arrived, killing the monster.

    1. Why does she reference the Greek myth when she plagiarized the Japanese movie?

  6. After finally watching the movie HG, I have decided to resolve the HG/BR bridge that there should be a fanfic where it shows that Battle Royale were the events that happened after the first attempt at Totalitarian rule. The killings were isolated and hidden from the population but anyone can be chosen at anytime causing the uprising seen in BR2 which actually ended up in failure.

    Then events of HG happen about 80 years later with the advent of new technology and the world decision to televise and control the games into reality competition.

  7. BR and HG have a lot in common, but I wouldn't say that one is a rip off of the other. For one thing, the characters are significantly different. The students in BR are regular kids- the kind most could relate to. They more or less knew each other, were friends and already established previous relationships. The idea in BR was to explore what normal teens would do when forced to turn against each other for survival. There were also exceptions to the rule (Mitsuko, Kiriyama?) and I guess you could say they also wanted to show how an extremely disturbed individual would prey on others when the need arose.

    In HG, the focus wasn't entirely on the youth- there was an equal emphasis on the world it was set in. The teens in HG functioned more as adults because they had to grow up early to feed their families. The tributes weren't friends. They were strangers forced to compete because of their lack of status; they weren't born Capitol citizens. Both BR and HG explored themes on oppressive governments but NOT IN THE SAME WAY. The power dynamic in HG was featured where people in the Capitol were likened to the citizens of Rome during the gladiatorial games. Amoral, overindulged, brainwashed and possibly victims themselves. BR was more attuned to the youth and how they were affected, how they would react when their limits were stretched, etc. HG focused more on the haves vs. the have nots, poor vs. rich, starving vs. bloated and more or less, how all these people functioned under a sadistic dictator and in the name of entertainment.

    The characters? Personally, I liked Katniss and Peeta a lot more than Shuya and Noriko. I don't think it's fair for me to say that they're better; obviously my feelings have nothing to do with character skills or lack thereof. Like I said earlier, the kids in BR weren't meant to have special abilities. I just happened to like the personalities of the protagonists in Hunger Games more. You have a strong female lead who isn't good at fighting, but learned enough survival skills to get by. She was also bitter at times, paranoid and less than perfect. Peeta was more of a mystery; a nice guy who had questionable skills such as lying and being two faced if needed, etc.

    In BR, Shuya was basically your average, nice guy who plenty of girls in his class had a crush on. Yes, he suffered from his dad's suicide but I didn't really see any change in him after that. How did this event affect him for instance? Did it make him bitter? Paranoid? What? Noriko was the nice, sweet girl who fits the Japanese standard of what is cute and attractive in a female. She had two guys protecting her...not once did she have to stand on her own. It's not so much that I dislike Shuya and Noriko (I don't) but I wish they were portrayed as less than perfect. I never expected them to turn out into warriors but they didn't really show any flaws for me to find them interesting. I thought the most interesting characters in BR were Yukie and her gang (where you see a strong knit group of friends grow paranoid over a trick- result is several friendships destroyed), Mistuko (a really disturbed girl who turns into a monster because she doesn't want to 'die like a coward'), Kawada (he just wanted an answer to his question)...Noriko and Shuya were way too idealized and didn't capture my imagination like the secondary cast of characters.

    I like both BR and HG but I don't think of them as the same. They had enough similarities to convince me that Ms Collins must've been influenced by BR...but the end products were different enough for me to view them as separate things.

  8. "And unless my ninth grade English teacher simply forgot to tell me the myth about Zeus kidnapping a group of Athenian children and forcing them to fire lightning-bolts at each other for sport, then I’m absolutely befuddled as to where Greek mythology plays into any of this."

    The Greek connection Suzanne Collins is talking about is the story of Theseus and the Minotaur. Most people know the story of HOW Theseus destroyed the Minotaur and escaped the Labyrinth (When he arrived, the King's daughter fell in love with him, gave him weapons and told him how to escape the labyrinth by following a ball of string), but don't know the story of why he was there in the first place. King Minos of Crete's son was assassinated during an Athenian athletic festival. When Minos demanded the assassins be brought forth, the king of Athens offered his entire city, since he did not know who the assassins were. For retribution he demanded that 7 youths and 7 maidens be picked by drawing lots to be brought to Crete and sacrificed to the Minotaur. After a few years, Theseus, the prince of Athens, volunteered to go, and he was successful in slaying the Minotaur.

  9. "If “The Hunger Games” is an Iraq War parable, it’s the least socially conscious or meaningful war parable ever written, because as I’ve already explained, I think the book only scratches the surface of examining the toll abuses of power take on the young."

    I can only assume from this comment that you haven't read the other books in the HG series, as they make the effects of war painfully clear. Katniss is a physical and emotional wreck by the end, clearly suffering from PTSD (as is Haymitch from the start, although I agree this is downplayed in the movie).

  10. Yes, I am aware the other books dive deeper into this issue, but we're not talking about the other books. We're talking about the first book, the one called "The Hunger Games." A work's flaws or failings are not absolved by its sequels. It's not like Collins wrote the entire series as one work before splitting it up, a la "Lord of the Rings." She wrote one book, published it, and then wrote some more, and this article discusses the first of those published works.

  11. I wrote most of this before reading your comment above about how you would prefer to not include the other books in your discussion. I just don't really find that THG is a series that you can look at as one book, it just seems very unfair.

    -"Peeta and Katniss that goes absolutely nowhere, and it gets grating fairly fast. I understand that this relationship develops in the sequels, but that’s no excuse for letting the quality of the first book suffer."

    *There relationship doesn't just sit there in the first book. It breaks Peeta's heart and confuses Katniss. The whole back and forth of how she feels is very realistic portrayl of how someone like Katniss (too cynical, analytical, strategic, and smart for her own good) might deal with love. The story is very much about Katniss' coming-of-age, her first real experience with love- and how these things are affected by her bleak world/fate.

    -"I wouldn’t say Katniss has a dynamic character arc"

    * That would be because THG's first book and movie aren't the end of the story, she does transform into someone entirely different throughout the book series. I agree that when looking at the first book exclusively, Collins didn't leave enough room to fit in any of the changes or problems Katniss would go through. Having read the books consecutively I think that the first book feels very incomplete without the second, but I did enjoy it.

    -"The antagonists could be so much more interesting if they were also a match for Katniss’ wit."
    *I think that the reason that the Career tributes are so boring as enemies is that they're all just children, and they didn't suffer as much as Katniss. Careers are raised looking at the games as a chance for glory, seeing the capitol as their ultimate ally. Katniss is supposed to be more than just a teenage girl, and she's more intelligent than most of the characters her age in the books. Even in our world, I can't imagine too many 16-year-olds being as intelligent, independent, or mature as her; she's supposed to be a role-model.
    I don't remember the other tributes, but I know that "Foxface" was supposed to be seen as clever in the books- she just wasn't expanded on. I do think that the gamemakers were decent antagonists in the book, but really much more interesting enemies in the movie.
    I realize from your reviews that the first book and movie didn't satisfy you, and it really seems that it's less of something that merits an argument and more of an "Well I didn't feel particularly touched by Collins' style of writing". Even if you feel she is a poor writer, I think that that sentiment alone is an opinion that can't really be touched; it's a matter of taste. I liked her books, but I'm not offended by you not liking what depth she did add (or failed to add, in your own view). I also didn't feel that The Hunger Games was written messily, though it's not my favorite in the series, and I prefer to look at all of the THG books as one full story rather than separate books.

  12. "She wrote one book, published it, and then wrote some more, and this article discusses the first of those published works."

    That's not strictly correct, though. Yes Collins originally intended only one book, however by the time she'd plotted it out she knew it would be a trilogy, and that's how all the books were written. Collins has stated that she was writing each book at the same time as she was reviewing its predecessor, so there was total continuity throughout the series. No, that isn't quite the same as with TLotR, but it's closer than you may care to admit, and the difference has more to do with modern publishing requirements than anything-else.
    I personally wouldn't advise anyone to read THG as a stand-alone. If you insist on considering a work within more constrictive parameters than it's author intended, then it's likely you'll get an inaccurate impression of it.

    Going back to the PTSD issue: the first book ends only a few days after the end of the Games, so it wouldn't be realistic to deal with that issue at that point. As Collins had already plotted out the later books, it's clear that she already intended to address it in them.

  13. I think the reason this Collins woman would not acknowledge Battle Royale is because then people would call her a hack. There are just too many similarities...too many. This is not 'influence' or 'inspiration', it's just flat-out theft. For her to acknowledge even the tiniest bit will make her look really bad.

    Now contrast this to other American movies that really were only influenced by Japanese sources (Not to mention the writers clearly acknowledged this) you see the core idea of dreams from Paprika in Inception or you see the core idea from Ghost in the Shell in the Matrix but you DON'T see every blatant idea transferred from the source!

    I find it ridiculous when I read how people try to defend Hunger Games by saying, no they are different.

    The only thing I'm glad is at least the popularity of Hunger Games is helping awareness and sales of Battle Royale and hopefully people will realize what a hack this Collins woman is.

  14. For GUILT of Suzanne Collins blatant PLAGIARISM one need not restrict one's analysis to The Hunger Games vs Battle Royale, but a simple investigation of Suzanne Collins other works shows that she loves to "borrow" from others' ideas to the Nth-degree... look no further than her "Gregor the Overlander" book, if you have not read of "Arthur and the Minimoys", then you will be befuddled at how much of a blatant ripoff and COPY of the prior story that she indeed "borrowed" from once AGAIN.

    She found that "borrowing" once led to great success with Gregor, so she thought why not go for the trifecta with precious Katniss. So any young writers that yearn to break into the professional ranks need only copy Suzanne Collins formula... read a sci-fi/fantasy book written in a foreign language then re-write it in English and claim it as your own, and whenever questioned on it, feign ignorance as to the other source.

  15. Sorry for the late comment, I don't know if you'll ever happen to read it. However, I just finished to read the whole trilogy of THG and, while I enjoyed it, I still think it's an Americanized version of BR.
    I'm not American nor Japanese, but this is still a personal opinion, thus possibly subject to harsh criticism: however, it's my belief that Americans do love strong and clearly expressed emotions. They like thrilling plot twists at the end of a page that force you to immediately read the other pages. They like dramatic love romances. They like quick, hard action with badass heroes and heroins fighting to win, fighting for their dreams. They like strong personalities and life-changing decisions taken in the space of a few seconds. Show and drama. I'm not saying this is necessarily "right" or "wrong", but it's all superficial; and if you have to show a beautiful "surface" to praise your audience you'll certainly begin to neglect what's behind it. That means that Suzanne Collins' books, being YA fictions, are pretty refined on the surface and they certainly are an enjoyable reading but that's all: no hidden meanings, no deep or complex characterizations, no allegories. Just entertainment, that however is essential in any novel.
    BR goes far beyond, because the audience is extremely different when it comes to its age and culture. Maybe that's also because Takami is a fairly good writer (not that excellence, but his style is very particular), while Collins, well, it's not.

    The difference in depth gets more clear if you look at the world-building of the two novels. They are both settled in an oppressive totalitarian regime; we expect it to be described in his deepest particulars to justify the existence of such cruel games. That should be an important part of the story. However, while Takami builds a realistic, plausible regime (modeled after North Korea's governement, I believe), Collins fails. How such a dystopic reality was born, for example, is never explained; only some general natural disasters are vaguely mentioned, but this doesn't resolve the issue.
    But the most important flaw that comes to my mind is that history teaches that this kind of governement CAN'T rely only on oppression, punishment and repression. There must be a politic ideology, a social binding agent to justify the government's actions; otherwise, a regime that represses personal freedoms, starves its citizens as a form of punishment and sends their children to die in a cruel game even broadcasting their deaths on TV, well that regime would just fall down in a couple of years. Maybe that's not really important for Collins, whose most important purpose was to entertain the audience (her target probably couldn't even understand all these questions and however they likely don't care), but, again, that's a pretty superficial way of writing. Parts of Takami's world can be traced in some actually existent regimes and it can make you believe that what is written could REALLY happen somewhere, even where you live, thus leading also to all those kind of question you've expressed (what would I do? How would I behave?)

    Furthermore, BR was even more shocking given its disregard of the "community culture" which is so deeply rooted in the Japanese society. THG explores the theme of violence among kids (which is, instead, quite heart-felt in the US), but in a more vague and less complex way.

    I would like to say much more but I'm not really able to express myself in a correct English and I don't even know if someone can understand what I've just written :P

    1. I understand it just fine, Lorenss, and thank you for taking the time to write this! I agree with your points very much, especially the notion of how oppressive governments are historically related to a variety of cultural issues. It's something The Hunger Games ignores, for reasons I can understand, but Battle Royale has some great material, and great dialogue between Shogo and Shuya, about how their culture arrived at this horrible point.

      Thanks again for the comment!

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Yes, those dialogues quite struck me not only for the description of the reality in which the game takes place because I felt like I was listening to two normal guys talking about how the adults' world suck, just like it sometimes happen in the "actual reality". I particularly appreciated how Shogo explains to Shuya and Noriko what the game actually is (a way to strengthen the government's power) contrary to what's written in the President's speech at the beginning of the novel.
      This is why, when I read that "BR is more about kids killing kids and survival, while THG is about dictatorship and rebellion" I can't help but giggling. :D

      Thank you for your reply :)