23 September 2005

Battle Royale

Premise: 42 high school students are kidnapped, sent to an island, and forced to fight to the death in front of a live television audience.

This is a manga with both style and substance. On the surface, it's all about excessive violence and gore. On another level, it's an indictment of the educational system and the treatment of teenagers by society at large (while the finger is pointed firmly at Japan, there are a lot of parallels that can be drawn with America as well). Over the course of the series, there are many flashbacks to help the reader understand why the major characters react as they do, but without absolving them of their brutality.

And boy, is this series brutal. Boys and girls are shot, stabbed, maimed, impaled, and blinded. It can be exploitative at times. But it's never dull.

Recommended for: Fans of A Clockwork Orange, Natural Born Killers, Fight Club, Kill Bill, or Lord of the Flies; people who saw the Battle Royale film and wished there was a little more to it.
Not Recommended for: the squeamish.

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