Battle Royale

Battle Royale (バトル・ロワイアル, Batoru rowaiaru) has been adapted into a serialized manga, written by Koushun Takami and Masayuki Taguchi, 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. In October 2007, a new special edition of the manga was 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.

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 3 days and 442 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 (see below) along with many other details non-existent in the original.

The manga revolves around seven main characters, including the righteous Shuya Nanahara, the gentle and caring Noriko Nakagawa, the hardened veteran Shogo Kawada, the genius Shinji Mimura, the kind-hearted kung fu master Hiroki Sugimura, the troubled Mitsuko Souma, and the cold, merciless Kazuo Kiriyama. As of January 2006, all 15 volumes have been released in Japan. In the US and UK all 15 of the volumes have been released as of April 2006.

The manga was serialized in Young Champion Magazine for five years.[1]

Main Characters


BRManga Characters.

  • Shuya Nanahara|七原 秋也|Nanahara Shūya}} is a fictional Japanese student and one of the three main protagonists. Shuya, who is nicknamed "Shu", lives in the fictional town Shiroiwa in Kagawa Prefecture.
  • Noriko Nakagawa|中川 典子|Nakagawa Noriko}} is the main female protagonist of the series. She is one of the class of third-year students in Shuya's school. Noriko has a crush on Shuya, whom she admired for his music and song-writing.
  • Shogo Kawada|川田 章吾|Kawada Shōgo}} is a transfer student and the winner of the previous Program. At the very beginning, he meets Shuya and Noriko and joins up with the two of them.
  • Kazuo Kiriyama|桐山 和雄|Kiriyama Kazuo}} is the primary antagonist. Leader of a powerful gang known as the Kiriyama Family, Kazuo is extremely intelligent and can master any skill with hardly any practice, such as playing the violin or painting. He also has a vast knowledge of the human anatomy and enjoys learning. Due to a traumatic brain injury during his childhood, Kazuo became emotionless and can kill with no remorse.
  • Mitsuko Souma|相馬 光子|Sōma Mitsuko}} is the secondary antagonist. Carrying a bad reputation with the majority of her class, Mitsuko relies on her looks to seduce unlucky students into falling into her trap.
  • Shinji Mimura|三村 信史|Mimura Shinji}} is the stereotypical cool guy and playboy of the class. A star player on the school basketball team and skilled in hacking, Shinji devises a plan with his best friend Yutaka Seto to help the whole class escape the island and fight back against Kamon and his soldiers.
  • Hiroki Sugimura|杉村 弘樹|Sugimura Hiroki}} is a close friend of Shuya. Skilled in martial arts, Hiroki sets out on a quest to find his crush Kayoko Kotohiki and escape before the horrors of the Program consume them.
  • Yonemi Kamon|嘉門 米美| Kamon Yonemi}} is the tertiary antagonist of the manga. The sadistic administrator of the Battle Royale Program, Kamon enjoys watching the students kill each other and making jokes about the recent deaths.


Writing style

At first the creators of the original version of the Battle Royale manga kept the story close to the original Japanese novel. As publication increased, Taguchi took increasing liberties with the story. Takami said that he looked forward to new installments of Taguchi's story and Taguchi said that he more strongly "cared" about the characters. Takami liked how Taguchi "distributed" the time among characters; Takami said that in the manga the characters changed and grew as the story progressed, unlike in the original novel. Taguchi said that in the manga version he modeled "most" of Takami's characters after people he personally knew. Takami describes Taguchi's stance as closer to his own than the stance of Kinji Fukasaku, the director of the film. Takami describes the manga as containing the feeling of "a general, nonjudgmental love for humans."[1]

Art style

Taguchi said that many people describe his art style as "reminiscent of "gekiga", or that it's realistic." Taguchi disagrees with the descriptions, instead characterizing faces in his works as "manga faces" since he feels that it is "really easy to put my own emotions into the faces." Taguchi said that when he shows sadness in characters, he locates the characters' eyebrows "down as far as possible." Takami describes Taguchi's art as "directly descended from Osamu Tezuka" and "manga-esque." Takami described the style as "easy to overlook" because the art contains "clean lines." Takami believed that the art style fit the Battle Royale story. In the beginning Taguchi said that he felt that all of the characters had to "look like middle school students." Taguchi said that as the story progressed for many of the characters he began to draw them "more naturally" and add "specific expressions for certain things they would say." Takami describes the newer style as "more grown-up looking." [1]

Differences between Original and Keith Griffin

  • There isn't a reality TV show aspect
  • Sakura doesn't make any bets prior to the program
  • Izumi was at the reef before Kazuo and the rest arrived and Kazuo killed her when he arrived
  • Kazushi makes up excuses for his actions and isn't as psychotic as he is in the K.G manga.


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.[2]

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.

According to TOKYOPOP editor Mark Paniccia, in the Newsarama article:

'For adapting the work, Giffen was given a tight Japanese-to-English translation of the story, but his assignment was by no means just to tweak a translation. "I told him to do what he felt he had to do", Paniccia said. "I told him to Giffenize it."'

To which Giffen responds:

'"It's a good story that Takami is telling", Giffen said. "What I do is go in and make bad scenes that much worse. I loved the movie of Battle Royale, and also love the manga. I just wanted to do it right. I wanted to do justice to it, and I knew I couldn't get away with doing a straight translation, because it would be horrifyingly bad."'

In April 2006, Tim Beedle, a former associate editor of Battle Royale, stated on the TOKYOPOP Messageboard the reasoning behind the decision to have a fairly loose adaptation:

'Prior to starting work on the first volume of Battle Royale, its editor (Mark Paniccia, who has since left TOKYOPOP) made a decision to hire Keith Giffen, a well-known American comic book writer, to provide a much looser adaptation than usual. He made this decision for a variety of reasons, but two seemed to be more prominent than the rest. First, due to BR's extreme content and M rating, it was going to be a tough sell. (Some of the large chains refuse to carry M-rated books.) Hiring a known writer could help compensate for this by driving sales. Second, more than any other book we were publishing at the time, BR had the potential to find a crossover audience in the direct market among American comic book readers, who often are adverse to trying manga.'[3]

Brazilian edition

Conrad Editora from Brazil began publishing a Portuguese version of the Manga at the tail end of 2006. From the contents of the first two volumes (it follows the original 15-volume format) it does not seem to adapt the Giffen "Reality Show" version, but instead apparently follows the original premise of the Novel and Manga.

Volumes and Chapters

The following names reflect the English-language version.

Volume 1


Summary: We are introduced to the main characters and how the class got kidnapped and sent to the island. 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 Shuya 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 Tendo who is discovered by Shuya. Shuya 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 Kazushi Niida not long after and finally, the scared Megumi Eto is killed by the pretty, but evil Mitsuko Souma by slicing her neck open.

Volume 2


Summary: In this volume, we are introduced to Kazuo Kiriyama and his gang and when he begins his killing spree, including almost his entire gang, Izumi Kanai, Yukiko Kitano, and Yumiko Kusaka. Sakura Ogawa and Kazuhiko Yamamoto commit suicide together, ending the first day of the program. The next day, Tatsumichi Oki ambushes Shuya and Noriko. After a brief fall down a cliff, Shuya accidentally kills Tatsumichi with his own weapon; Kyoichi Motobuchi also attacks Shuya shortly after but is killed by Shogo Kawada, the mysterious transfer student. Shuya and Noriko team up with Kawada and venture off to find more possible allies.

Volume 3


Summary: This volume is mainly about Shinji Mimura finding Yutaka Seto and how they start their plan to bomb the school. We also meet Yoshimi Yahagi who is unexpectedly attacked by her boyfriend, Yoji Kuramoto. Yoji eventually realizes that he loved Yoshimi all along, only to be shot in the head by Yoshimi's friend Mitsuko. Yoshimi, upset by this, threatens Mitsuko who shoots her in response. Hiroki Sugimura is seen sprinting through a designated Danger Zone, desperate to find any trace of Kayoko Kotohiki before the zone becomes off-limits. He stumbles upon the body of Megumi Eto. Disappointed but happy that the body wasn't that of Kayoko, Hiroki quickly escapes the zone within seconds of it becoming a Danger Zone. We are later introduced to Takako Chigusa and Kazushi Niida, who begin fighting each other after Niida threatens Takako. More of Mitsuko's backstory is also revealed.

Volume 4

  • Chapter 25: Honor
  • Chapter 26: Bond
  • Chapter 27: Respect and Affection
  • Chapter 28: Insanity
  • Chapter 29: The Right Answer
  • Chapter 30: Persuasion
  • Chapter 31: Everybody's Thoughts
  • Chapter 32: Secret Weapon

Summary: This volume continues Takako's fight with Niida. Niida is eventually killed but before Takako can leave, Mitsuko appears and shoots her several times, leaving her for dead. Hiroki finds her dying body and she confesses her love for him before dying in his arms. Meanwhile, Shogo reveals to Shuya and Noriko about how he was the winner of a previous program and part of his past with Keiko is revealed. Suddenly, gunshots ring off in the distance. Shuya, confident that he can convince the students to stop fighting, runs off to stop the battle. He encounters Kaori Minami and Hirono Shimizu in a gunfight. Shuya convinces Hirono to join him until Kaori shoots Hirono in the arm (Hirono runs away) and Kaori is killed by Shogo.

Volume 5

  • Chapter 33: Rouse
  • Chapter 34: Last Man Standing
  • Chapter 35: Trap
  • Chapter 36: Thirst
  • Chapter 37: Existence
  • Chapter 38: Set Up
  • Chapter 39: Anxiety
  • Side Story: Man of Justice

Summary: This volume introduces Sho Tsukioka, the only other member of the Kiriyama gang remaining besides Kazuo. Sho had been following Kazuo ever since the beach massacre in Volume 2, waiting until they were the final 2 so Sho could kill Kazuo in self-defense. Kiriyama cleverly tricks Sho into entering a Danger Zone which kills him. It also continues Hirono's escapades until she is killed by Toshinori Oda when she is pushed into a well, knocked unconscious, and drowns. Shuya, Noriko, and Shogo are staying in a nearby house while Noriko is resting from a wound.

Volume 6

  • Chapter 40: Sworn Friend
  • Chapter 41: Flower of Courage
  • Chapter 42: Parting
  • Chapter 43: Raid
  • Chapter 44: Hard Change
  • Chapter 45: Rescue
  • Chapter 46: Encounter
  • Chapter 47: Departure

Summary : In this volume, Shuya, Noriko, and Shogo are forced to leave the house they are in due to the area becoming a Danger Zone in a few hours. As the three begin to depart the house, they encounter Hiroki Sugimura who states that he will join them after he finds Kayoko. The group part ways and Shuya, Noriko, and Shogo are ambushed by Kiriyama while walking through a field. Shuya distracts Kiriyama so Shogo and Noriko can escape. Kiriyama eventually catches up to Shuya and the two begin to fight, Kazuo clearly overpowering Shuya. Hiroki Sugimura saves Shuya's life by attacking Kazuo from behind. Before Kazuo can recover, Hiroki grabs Shuya and jumps into the ocean with him. Hiroki is then confronted by Yukie Utsumi and her gang who offer to help the unconscious Shuya (having received bullet wounds from Kazuo).

Volume 7

  • Chapter 48: Bug
  • Chapter 49: Firing
  • Chapter 50: Demolition
  • Chapter 51: Team
  • Chapter 52: Versus
  • Chapter 53: Explosion
  • Chapter 54: Bonds
  • Chapter 55: Trajectory

Summary : In this volume, Shinji's plan is about to succeed, but they are distracted by Keita Iijima. Shinji does not trust Keita due to a past event in which Keita let Shinji get attacked by two men, hoping that Shinji would get beat up due to Keita losing a bet. Shinji argues with him and accidentally ends up killing him, making Yutaka unsure if he can even trust him anymore. The two reconcile soon after until Kazuo shows up and kills Yutaka. Shinji then realizes he must blow up the storehouse with Kazuo inside to get rid of the gun shooting menace. His plan to lure Kiriyama into the storehouse works and the explosion can be seen all over the island. However, Kazuo survives by getting into a tractor and kills Shinji.

Volume 8

  • Chapter 56: Sixth Sense
  • Chapter 57: Unfortunate
  • Chapter 58: Liars
  • Chapter 59: Soap Opera
  • Chapter 60: Allure
  • Chapter 61: Sorceress and the Bullet
  • Chapter 62: Split Personalities
  • Chapter 63: Traumatic Games

Summary: In this volume, Mitsuko Souma bumps into Tadakatsu Hatagami and Yuichiro Takiguchi who capture her. Tadakatsu does not trust Mitsuko due to her bad reputation at school and believes they should kill her. On the contrary, Yuichiro believes that Mitsuko is just lost and that she can be trusted. The two decide to keep her alive. Later on, Yuichiro talks to Mitsuko and she realizes that, unlike the other guys she's known, he doesn't want to sleep with her. But when Mitsuko tries to kill Tadakatsu after seducing him into having sex with her, he escapes and tries to shoot her. Yuichiro ultimately saves her by taking the bullet and is knocked to the ground. Mitsuko finishes off Tadakatsu. We learn a little about Mitsuko's troubled past and how she was molested by her step-father, corrupting her mind to the point where she believes that sex can fix problems. Mitsuko, believing that she can help heal Yuichiro by having sex with him, begins to rape him. When Yuichiro refuses, she stabs him in the face with her sickle.

Volume 9


Summary: In this volume, we get to learn more about Toshinori Oda and his backstory. Hiroki continues his search for Kayoko Kotohiki and stumbles upon the corpse of Hirono Shimizu when he is suddenly attacked by Toshinori Oda. Kazuo shows up and kills Toshinori while Hiroki escapes. Later, Shuya wakes up in the lighthouse in the care of Yukie Utsumi's gang (one of them, Yuko Sakaki, witnessed the death of Tatsumichi Oki who was accidentally killed by Shuya). Yuko, believing that Shuya is a demon, poisons some stew that is meant for him to get rid of him, but one girl, Yuka Nakagawa eats it and dies. This is when the girls become panicked and Satomi Noda shoots all her friends (except Yuko) but she is finished off by a dying Haruka Tanizawa. Yuko begins to panic at what just happened and the fact that Shuya is still alive. Shuya hears the gunshots and runs to the kitchen, thinking that Kiriyama has attacked.

Volume 10


Summary: Shuya finds all the girl's corpses and finds the depressed Yuko. She runs to the top of the Lighthouse and commits suicide by jumping off. Shuya gathers the bodies together and laments their deaths and leaves. While on his way back to Noriko and Shogo, he stumbles across Mizuho Inada (she thinks she's in some kind of Dungeons and Dragons world). Shuya ignores Mizuho's gun shooting and clears off. He finds the bodies of Keita, Yutaka and Shinji and breaks down into tears while clutching Shinji's body, though a vision of his deceased friend raises his spirits. Shuya is then reunited with Noriko and Shogo, Mizuho creates a shrine to speak to her God, but she is killed by Kazuo.

Volume 11

  • Chapter 80: Encounter
  • Chapter 81: The Tidings of Happiness
  • Chapter 82: Limits
  • Chapter 83: The Devil's Tactics
  • Chapter 84: Truth and Untruth
  • Chapter 85: Proposal
  • Chapter 86: Violent Fist
  • Chapter 87: Devil of Nothingness

Summary: Most of this volume is focused on Hiroki and Kayoko (he finds her) and we learn about how they first met. They both travel together to get to Shuya until Kazuo arrives and it ends in a battle between Hiroki and Kazuo, Kayoko watched helplessly, some of Hiroki's fingers are chopped off and a blade is thrown in his eye.

Volume 12

  • Chapter 88: Despair
  • Chapter 89: Awakening
  • Chapter 90: Transcendental
  • Chapter 91: Copy
  • Chapter 92: Inversion
  • Chapter 93: Promise
  • Chapter 94: Incubation
  • Chapter 95: Reason

Summary: This volume continues the battle between Hiroki and Kazuo, Kazuo is shot with his own Uzi but is wearing Toshinori's bullet proof vest. The injured Hiroki tells Kayoko to save herself but she refuses to leave and stays to die with him. Kazuo shoots both of them and leaves their corpses behind. In chapter 94, Mitsuko makes camp in a house where she showers. Afterwards she masturbates while thinking of Yuichiro.

Volume 13


Summary: Mitsuko finds Kazuo and they both get into a gunfight, However Mitsuko tries to seduce Kazuo but she is shot in the face by Kazuo, Later on we get to find out about Shogo's last nightmare in the program with Keiko and how she got killed.

Volume 14


Summary: Most of this volume is a car chase between Shuya's gang and Kazuo, it ends in a gunfight and Noriko shoots Kazuo in the face (however he isn't dead) and we learn about Kazuo's past and why he is silent and violent all the time.

Volume 15


Summary : In this last volume, Shuya finally kills Kazuo and Shogo plans to escape on the boat and finish off the soldiers (especially Kamon), But after their plan works, Shogo dies of gunshot by Kazuo and is left with Noriko and Shuya escaping and beginning a new life in New York.

Battle Royale Ultimate Edition


Battle Royale Ultimate Editions 1-5.

Koushun Takami and Masayuki Taguchi have agreed to create a special edition of the Battle Royale Manga,

Ultimate Edition 1

Released: October 16, 2007

  • Volumes 1-3
  • Afterword from Koushun Takami
  • Unpublished character sketches
  • Weapon details by Eliot R. Brown
  • "On the Couch" character psychiatric evaluation
  • Shuya Nanahara and Noriko Nakagawa Profiles.

Ultimate Edition 2

Released: February 12, 2008

Ultimate Edition 3

Released: June 17, 2008

Ultimate Edition 4

Released: October 7, 2008

Ultimate Edition 5

Released: February 10, 2009

  • Volumes 13-15
  • New colored cover art from manga-ka Masayuki Taguchi
  • Weapon details by Eliot R. Brown


External links