Impressions on Re-Watching Battle Royale

Re-watched the film Battle Royale last weekend. This is the first time in nearly a decade (!).

It holds up pretty well, but the experience of watching farther removed from high school is different. Young watchers are clearly supposed to project themselves into Shuyu Nanahara. Watching it now it’s clear that in many ways Shogo Kawada and Teacher Kitano are more interesting characters.

Talk about making someone feel old…

The book’s pretty good, too.

Both the book and film are less shocking than United Red Army, which actually happened.

4 thoughts on “Impressions on Re-Watching Battle Royale”

  1. Had zero desire to watch it when my friend got a copy, have zero desire to watch BR: The Stranger Names Edition (also known as Hunger Games) now:P

  2. It’s too bad that Western fiction has lost the motif of the Harrowing of Hell. [1]

    I don’t know what it says that the two films I’ve seen where it’s there, one’s Japanese (Battle Royale) and the other’s heavily inspired by Japanese style (Suckerpunch).

    Panem’s pretty weird, but the Republic* of Greater
    East Asia (from the book BR) is up there as well 😉

    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harrowing_of_Hell

  3. Bit of similarity between Suckerpunch and the others. Main differences are a) the kids aren’t fighting each other and b) their tormenters are corrupt individuals, not the leader of their nation.

    Re: Harrowing. That is a good analogy–so would the Christ figure in Suckerpunch be the weird old man, the lobotomist or Babydoll herself?

  4. Babydoll and Nanahara are both heroes who are in the world but essentially innocent, they descend into a hell where they suffer in order to save who they love. They destroy death from the inside-out, while sacrificing themselves (but the manner of their sacrifices are different).

    The details of the stories are different, both both essentially recapitulate the Passion and the Harrowing at the same time. Suckerpunch is more explicit about the multiple levels of meaning/reality, while BR uses flashbacks and “requiems” to create the same effect.

    There are demons in Suckerpunch and Battle Royale, but the Devil Character is distant. The Devil in Suckerpunch is the evil stepfather, lord of this world, while in BR he becomes Pathetic.

    I’ve spoiled nothing. Watch Battle Royale — I’d be interested in your thoughts.

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