Running themes: Battle Royale and The Hunger Games

Let us all sit down and agree on one thing: The Hunger Games is a huge deal. In a gag post-Twilight and Harry Potter world, fanciful tales of children in conflict have become increasingly popular. But hey, if kids are reading books, that can't be a bad thing.

However, with the success of the book series, as well as initial film's launch, has come a troll topic that has been slowly growing in strength: the Japanese book and films Battle Royale. Both The Hunger Games and Battle Royale share some similarities, but they also have some distinct variations that make them wholly unique. At least that is what I've found in researching the two franchises. In full disclosure, I haven't read or watched any Twilight, Battle Royale, or Hunger Games content.

What I am sure of is that there are people out there who have at least experienced some of this lore. Particularly, I'm interested in what Battle Roayle fans have to say about The Hunger Games, or any variation within. The Twilight and Harry Potter connections seem to be fairly broad sweeping, and while BR and HG seem to have a lot more in common, the latter creates a more developed world with meaning and connection between the characters.

Any thoughts?

Are these comparisons and complaints due to a defensive otaku culture?

Where is the backlash coming from?

Do you have any plans to see or read any of these if you haven't already?

5 years, 10 months ago
6097 3 4 10

4 replies (reply)


Well, hey, at least someone at IGN (despite all of the comments claiming he was paid to write this; idiots) had something to say. It echos much of what I read leading up to my post, but he hits some great points.

You can read the full article here.

The Running Man: A 1982 Stephen King/Richard Bachman novel about a dystopian (there's that word again!) society in which a popular game show has people pursued by "Hunters" intent on killing them. Adapted into the 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger film of the same name.

Maybe it is because I grew up around a time when this film was always on TV, but the The Running Man is the lifeblood of The Hunger Games. Sure, reality TV is the bigger deal, but this reality is quite close.

Lord of the Flies: This 1954 novel (adapted into two feature films) is about a group of British boys shipwrecked on an island whose attempts to start their own society eventually turn hostile, as the boys begin fighting - with more than one kid eventually killed as a result. Now Lord of the Flies is a bit different in that there is no external, nefarious force here. No one intentionally put these boys into this scenario or wanted them to kill each other. But the idea of children turning primal, ugly and lethal (and, yep, the island setting) certainly make an impact.

Ahh yes, the book we've all read. Would there even be a Battle Royale without this pivotal book (and morbid yet amusing foam rock death scene)?

5 years, 10 months ago
6097 3 4 10

All I know is that it is a great way to troll Hunger Game fanboys/girls. I doubt the writer of the Hunger Games books intentionally took any ideas, those same ideas are rather common in both movies and literature.

5 years, 9 months ago
201 1 5

I'd REALLY like to hear from people who know more about this, but at first glance, it seems like the rising tide would raise all ships.

The wild popularity of Hunger Games can only generate more sales for Battle Royale, especially with all the talk of their similarities.

5 years, 10 months ago
6516 2 4 11

The Hunger Games does have similarities beyond the fight to the death. Both deal with a dangerous subculture, in the case of Battle Royale - it's unruly teens. In the case of The Hunger Games, it's districts that rebel.

The focus however is completely different. In The Hunger Games the spotlight is on Katniss, and how she changes and deals with at first the games, then her popularity and responsibility as a figurehead. It's very much a 'young adult' book and glosses over all but the most obvious aspects of the subject matter.

Battle Royale, for me, dealt much more with group psychology, relationships between authority and youth, and trust. The portrayal is much more intense, and dare I say real.

I thought that they were quite similar, until I read both of them.

5 years, 4 months ago
31 2

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