Battle Royale Vs. The Hunger Games
I would just like to start out by saying that this is not one of those blogs that “proves” that The Hunger Games rips-off Battle Royale. Just because Battle Royale came before Hunger Games, doesn’t mean that it’s a rip-off. There were wizards before Harry Potter, and there were Vampires before True Blood. The author of Battle Royale even said that he was inspired by Stephen King’s “The Long Walk”.
When I reviewed The Hunger Games on Youtube, half of the comments were addressing Battle Royale, and how it was superior to The Hunger Games. That piqued my interest enough to find a copy of Battle Royale novel. I’ve since got myself a copy of The Battle Royale book, read it, and now is the time to compare both books. Yes, there will be spoilers.
In Battle Royale the main protagonist is Shuya Nanahara, he has a little bit more of an optimistic attitude when it comes to the program. He refuses to believe for a long time that his classmates would actually participate in the program, especially girls. What he didn’t think of is that some of his classmates have a lot of emotional baggage, and aren’t as happy or as popular as him, so they would definitely take it out on their classmates. But Shuya believes in the greater good of all people, which honestly made him a bit of an idiot in my opinion. Shuya is also a gigantic Mary-Sue, not only does he have a heart of gold but half of the class has a crush on him without him realizing it, he also receives help from the past winner of the program “just because”. His survival depended greatly on Shogo Kawada’s experience and hard work.
In The Hunger Games the protagonist and narrator of the story is Katniss Everdeen. She knows very well that there is no getting around with the other tributes, especially the careers, it’s kill or be killed. She has survival skills and knows how to kick ass. But Katniss is a little whiny and it’s tiring to be stuck in her perspective all the time. I almost became as bitter as her by the end of the first book. In the first book I felt Katniss had it too easy, I was never really worried about her well being. The area, the sponsors, the dress, Peeta, it was made too easy for her. She didn’t need to do much, she was just really lucky.
The Love Interest
Half of the female participants had a crush on the protagonist Shuya, but the one that was around him the whole time throughout the program, and eventually returned feelings for was Noriko Nakagawa. From what I can remember, she was sick most of the time in the book and didn’t do anything, but felt bad for being dead weight. She didn’t have much of a personality besides agreeing to whatever Shuya had to say. I had no idea how Shuya fell in love with her, I guess because she’s pretty. She eventually shot Kazuo Kiriyama, one of the main antagonist, but at that point I didn’t really care.
Peeta, I didn’t really like him much in the beginning. He was also injured most of the time, and you can argue that he was also dead weight. But his vulnerability had a use, the sponsors ate up Katniss and Peeta’s tragic love story. If Peeta wasn’t so charismatic, Katniss probably wouldn’t be alive.
In Battle Royale Japan is now known as “Greater East Asia”. The author said in the interview that his focus was on the program, and not the government. In the novel foreigners are not allowed to travel in Greater East Asia, non-Japanese music is illegal, but Shuya manages to listen to a lot of classic American rock at school. Their internet is censored, and school teaches them government lies and all that jazz. The program isn’t televised, citizens know who the winner is, and that’s it. In the novel they didn’t really give a definite reason as to why they have the program, one of the characters theorized because it raises distrust amongst the citizens. In the movie the program is used to control juvenile delinquency.
The Hunger Games spans three books so they got a better establishment of the government than the Hunger Games. Panem, 12 districts that once were North America work for the Capitol. The Capitol forces children to participate in The Hunger Games as punishment for a past rebellion; the problem is that games themselves don’t make a lick of sense. How can people watch their children kill each other, and wait 74 years before a rebellion actually starts? 74 years of watching kids kill each other, and those who willingly participated?! Why?! I get the connection with financial politics but the literal story of the Hunger Games doesn't make sense.
Each chapter has a different perspective of the students, I really enjoyed that I didn't have to be with Shuya for the entire book. It’s writing style is simple and takes it’s time describing the personality of the character in the particular chapter. Battle Royale is quite gory, it makes The Hunger Games look like Sesame Street.
The Hunger Games is first person narrative, that can be very annoying if you don’t like being inside Katniss head. It reads like a movie script, fast pace but the middle area was a bit slow for me. Aside from two deaths, The Hunger Games wasn’t as gory as I was hoping it to be.
If you look back, it’s a tie for the protagonist, one for The Hunger Games, another tie, and one for Battle Royale. That makes it an overall tie for both books, yay. I like both books for different reasons, and I dislike both books for different reasons as well. I suggest giving both books a chance.