Fifteen years after its publication, Koushun Takami’s shocking tale of school children trapped in a fight till death is still one of Japan’s most famous exports. With the recent release of a new translation and two other related works, it’s time to have another look at this modern classic: Japan Times
I should probably start this review with somewhat of a disclaimer. About 10 years ago — not long after Kinji Fukasaku’s film adaptation of Koushun Takami’s controversial novel “Battle Royale” became a cult hit overseas — I bought a screen-printed poster from a London-based design studio called Airside. The design featured a highly stylized frame grab from the film, of a schoolgirl being thrown into the air as she is shot in the back, the crimson of her blood contrasting vividly with the tan and white of her school uniform. It’s a disturbingly beautiful and iconic tribute to a great film, and it hung proudly in my living room for years.