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Thread: Battle Royale Novel Translations?

  1. #1
    Member Sarafina's Avatar
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    Feb 2009

    Default Battle Royale Novel Translations?

    I'm been wanting to pick up a translation of the novel Battle Royale by Koushun Takami for a while but when I searched for it on Amazon, there are 3 different editions: 2003, 2009, and 2014.

    I was initially going to go for the 2014 edition; afterall, newer translation should improve upon an older translation, right? But then I noticed that the 2009 version has 632 pages while the 2014 version has 600 pages. 30 pages is a substantial amount of content so now it makes me wonder what I would be missing out on.

    Has anybody purchased these translations or know what's in those 30 pages? If it's just a Foreword, I wouldn't really care but if it's like maps or art work or other fan related stuff, then it would make a big difference to me as I love those extra artsy stuff.

  2. #2
    Senior Member junny's Avatar
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    Apr 2003
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    From the Battle Royale wiki page:

    Battle Royale was translated into English by Yuji Oniki and released in North America by Viz Media on February 26, 2003. An expanded edition with a revised English translation and an afterword by Takami was published on November 17, 2009 by Haikasoru, a division of Viz Media. This version also included an interview with the director of the book's film adaptation, Kinji Fukasaku. Viz released another new translation on April 1, 2014, under the title Battle Royale: Remastered. They also published The Battle Royale Slam Book: Essays on the Cult Classic by Koushun Takami on the same day, which includes essays on the details of the novel and the controversies surrounding it as well as its adaptations written by science-fiction, horror, and thriller authors such as Brian Keene, John Skipp, and Catherynne M. Valente.


  3. #3
    Member Sarafina's Avatar
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    Feb 2009


    Thank you! The Slam Book sounds really interesting and I might consider that too! I was wondering what was in that collection and if it might be worth reading.

    I actually ordered the 2014 translation recently and am waiting for it to get to me. At 600 pages, it sounds like the scope of the novel would be much deeper than the film.

    Some other things that I read while searching up reviews:

    1) Although the translations are all published by Viz, the actual translator is different for each version. The 2014 translator, Nathan Collins, is said to provide a much smoother reading experience. He smoothed out a lot of the bulky literal translation from the 2009 version.

    2) A lot of people compare the Hunger Games to Battle Royale. What's really interesting was that Koushun Takami stated that his inspiration for Battle Royale came from Stephen King (Needful Things and The Running Man?) and Robert Parker. Suzanne Collins, however, was inspired by King Minos' Labyrinth in Greek mythology in which 7 young boys and 7 young girls were sent in every few years to be fed to the Minotaur.

    3) One of the reviewers made an interesting case in which Battle Royale can better be compared to Lord of the Flies by William Golding than to The Hunger Games. Thought that was an interesting assertion but haven't really developed an opinion on that yet.

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