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Last checked: October 29, 2014
Battle Royale (バトル・ロワイアル, Batoru rowaiaru) is a serialized manga, written by Koushun Takami and Masayuki Taguchi. It is based on the novel of the same name, and was published in Japan by Akita Publishing. The manga consists of 15 volumes and is distributed in English by Tokyopop. There is a manga sequel called Battle Royale II: Blitz Royale. At October 2007, a new special edition of the manga will be released.
The manga follows the plot of the novel fairly closely, but also expands on the backstory of each of the students. It is also far more sexually graphic than the novel and film versions, and is also noted for its intense, gory violence. The name of the main character is transliterated as Shuya Nanahara in this version.
An English-language adaptation of the publication, published in the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom in a multi-volume format by TOKYOPOP, was extensively rewritten by Keith Giffen, whose script does not completely follow the original comic. The major difference between the Japanese and TOKYOPOP version is that Giffen rewrote the BR program as a Reality TV show program, rather than keeping it in tune with the BR Act, which leaves plotholes through the panels of the manga, especially in Volume #15. This can be partially attributed to the fact that when TOKYOPOP had released Volume #1, the Japanese Battle Royale was up to Volume #9 at that point, thereby not giving TOKYOPOP or Giffen ample material to prove that their rewrite would backfire.
Also, the English adaptation of manga changes the time that the story is set in by almost 10 years, using the term 'in the near future', but on Shogo Kawada's profile, it references the program 2005 season; he says his last program was a year ago, leading to the assumption that the manga sets the story in 2006. In volume one of the English language version, Shinji Mimura and the news channel reporter mentions the 2007 record of three days, seven hours and twenty-two minutes. In volume 14 Kamon refers to the 2009 season, which is presumably the 2009 one. None of those dates are mentioned in the original Japanese edition. Apparently they were devised by Keith Giffen during the adaptation, along with many other details non-existent in the original.
Battle Royale takes place in an alternate timeline—Japan is a national socialist state, known as the Republic of Greater East Asia (大東亜共和国 Dai Tōa Kyōwakoku). Under the guise of a "study trip," a group of students from Shiroiwa Junior High School (城岩中学校 Shiroiwa Chūgakkō) in the fictional town of Shiroiwa (Kagawa Prefecture) are sleep-gassed on a bus. They awaken in the Okishima Island School on Okishima, an isolated, evacuated island southwest of Shodoshima, also in Kagawa Prefecture. They learn that they have been placed in an event called The Program. Officially a military research project, The Program is a means of terrorizing the population, of creating such paranoia as to make organized insurgency impossible. In the manga, the economy had collapsed and the government created The Program to revitalize the economy. According to the rules, every year since 1947, fifty 3rd year junior high school (14-15 years old) classes are isolated, and each class is required to fight to the death until one student remains. Their movements are tracked by metal collars, later identified as Model Guadalcanal No. 22, around their necks which contain tracking and listening devices; if any student should attempt to escape The Program, or enter declared "forbidden zones", a bomb will be detonated in the collar, killing the wearer. If no student dies in any 24 hour period, all collars will be detonated simultaneously.