Title: Battle Royale vol. 1
Author: Takami Koushun
Manga-ka: Taguchi Masayuki
Published: 2000 (original) & 2003 (English ver. by TokyoPop)
Genre: Action – Drama – Horror – Psychological – Mature – Tragedy
The tittle of first chapter actually tell its all: “The Worst Game in History” and its absolutely tickling your curiosity.
Unlike the movie, the manga starts with a childhood story around Yoshitoki Kuninobu and his friend, Shuuya Nanahara. They lived in Jikeikan Orphan Care Facility. They worried that someday when they reach their junior high school, they will have to face the scary game that they have seen on TV. The program is a state-sponsored TV show involves ninth graders and it is one of the most popular shows.
We are introduced to the main characters and how the class got kidnapped and sent to the island. As part of a ruthless program by the totalitarian government, ninth-grade students are taken to a small isolated island with a map, food, and various weapons. Forced to wear special collars that explode when they break a rule, they must fight each other for three days until only one “winner” remains. The elimination contest becomes the ultimate in must-see reality television.
The first chapter also introduce us to all students of a ninth-grade students of a Shiro Iwa jr high school. There are 42 of them: 21 boys and 21 girls.
Yup! There will be 42 students fighting for their live during this survival game.
In my opinion, the 1st volume has a great start to create an eerie feeling to the reader. We are completely showed the great fear of the students when they are realized that they have been drawn to this Death Game. Even some of the character died in this volume!
Most of this volume is set in the classroom with Yonemi Kamon explaining the rules of the program to the students. Mr. Hayashida, the class teacher, is killed before the Program begins for resisting. Kamon shoots and kills Yoshitoki Kuninobu for attacking him after he, Kamon, says that he raped Anna Ryoko, the caretaker of the orphaned Shuuya and Yoshitoki. Kamon also kills Fumiyo Fujiyoshi by throwing a knife in her head while she whispers during class. After the event begins, Yoshio Akamatsu kills Mayumi Tendouwho is discovered by Shuuya. Shuuya knocks out Yoshio when he threatens Noriko and the two run off and settle in the woods for the night. Yoshio is killed off by Kazuki Niida not long after and finally, the scared Megumi Eto is killed by the pretty, but evil Mitsuko Souma by slicing her neck open.