The Original Hunger Games

By Sydney Reese

Just a few weeks ago I read the book, Battle Royale by Koushun Takami. This 666 page book was all I could think about in the 5 days that I binge-read it. When I’m reading a book, my mom has to limit my “reading time” instead of my “screen time”. She hides my books above the fridge, in the cabinet to the right of the garage door and sometimes in her work drawers. My brother constantly calls me a nerd for loving books so much, but I don’t mind. The first ever all-nighter I pulled was in 7th grade for the novel Red Queen, and I don’t regret a thing. I love to escape reality with worlds of fantasy.  Sometimes I wish I had a passport that kept a record of all the places I’ve traveled in books. 

This book was no exception. I couldn’t put it down. 

Interestingly, Battle Royal is actually the original version of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. However, Battle Royale was written in Japanese and then translated into English; from there, Suzanne Collins was inspired to write her classic novel. Both novels have an unmistakably similar plot. A randomly selected group of people are all forced to kill each other in order to “win” and escape the arena where they are all involuntarily placed by the tyrannical government. Both the governments have their own regulations, parameters, and unique characteristics regarding the way in which the game is conducted. 

However, Battle Royale has an unsettling twist that made this book so much more intriguing than its contemporary. While the government in Hunger Games took 24 random teenagers from 12 different districts, the government in Battle Royale took a random high school class. The characters grew up with each other and experienced elementary, middle, and a portion of high school together.

Now they have to kill each other. 

 The hopeless love stories, intense fights, complicated relationships, intelligent contraptions against the government, unexpected plot twists, tests of loyalty and trust, and psychological disorders all made this book one of my favorites. 

While Battle Royale originated in Japan, I think it needs more credit and popularity for inspiring the well-known series The Hunger Games. Overall, Battle Royale was a great read and I highly recommend reading it.