"They got to you. Too late again! Dear god in heaven...do I get to save anyone?"
The male protagonist of Battle Royale, and an orphan. He has not been in the class for a long time. His father was killed for opposing the totalitarian government, and his mother died. Because of the latter, no one wanted to have Shuya so he ended up in an orphanage, where he grew up alongside his best friend Yoshitoki "Nobu". He is a very optimistic guy, and an aspiring rock musician (rock is outlawed). A Wide-Eyed Idealist who tries to see the good sides in everyone, he makes friends easily and is quick to trust other people.
Break the Cutie: Let's see: His mom abandoned him and dad committed suicide in the film.( In the book they die in a "car accident") His friend is killed before his eyes and he's lead to believe his foster mother has been raped. Has to witness and reluctantly be apart of the slaughter of his classmates. And even thought he escapes he's being hunted by the government. Sucks to be Shuya.
Chick Magnet: Let's see, there's Noriko, Yukie, Yumiko, Yukiko, Megumi, Hirono (in the manga)...
First-Person Smartass: To a certain extent in the novel. It's not really clear whose point of view we're seeing.
Parental Abandonment: Depending on the version, his mother might have walked out on the family and his father committed suicide (film), his father might have been killed and his mother died of illness (manga), or both parents might have died in a "car accident" (novel).
The Power of Rock: How Shuya changed from a straight-laced sports player to a rebellious rock fan.
The female protagonist. She is at first the love interest of Shuya's friend Yoshitoki, but gradually grows closer to Shuya over the course of the story. Since the teacher shoots her in the leg early on and the wound is infected, she is The Load much of the time. Noriko is a perfect fit for Shuya: good-hearted, idealistic and quick to trust. Although she does not realize it, Noriko manages to keep both Shogo and Shuya balanced and she is the only other person besides Shuya to survive the game.
Neutral Female: The poor girl is shot in the kneecap during the Program briefing because she stood up for Yoshitoki, and as result, can't do much. This ends up subverted toward the end, when she kills Kiriyama of all people.
Never a Self-Made Woman: She is mostly Shuya's Love Interest and The Load. Although she is the main female protagonist, she actually contributes little to the story other than killing Kazuo Kiriyama in the novel. She was given a bigger role in the film, though she seems to do even less. This is because her character is to be the voice or a representation of the author like Simon from Lord of the Flies.
"I'm not dying on account of you. You heard her, I'm horrible. Don't force me to prove it."
The mysterious New Transfer Student, Shogo is a tough guy who is older than the others and keeps to himself. He's big, covered in scars, and a chain smoker. He was the winner of the previous year's Program (and racking up the highest body count ever seen), and this gives him an enormous advantage when he enters it the second time. A true Badass and a survivalist to the core, he has no qualms about killing in self-defense even though his goal is to save his classmates from the Program. He allies himself with Shuya and Noriko early on after killing their attacker, and they go along with him since he knows a way the three of them can escape from the island.Obviously a very popular character.
The Atoner: His motivation, because he accidentally killed his loving girlfriend Keiko in the previous Program. Not only did he cause her death, but he had crossed the Moral Event Horizon by slaughtering dozens of classmates in order to ensure Keiko's safety.
Supporting Leader: To Shuya and Noriko throughout the story, particularly in the movie.
Victorious Loser: Technically, he won (despite cheating) the Program, and yet he died. In a positive note, he's now with his beloved Keiko.
Younger Than They Look: In the manga, oh so very much. He's only supposed to be a year older than his classmates, but the art makes him look about 30.
Zen Survivor: Of the previous Program in the Hyogo Prefecture.
Shinji Mimura (Boy #19)
"You know it, I'm the man."
The most popular guy in the class; a star athlete, ladies' man and very intelligent. This makes him a Marty Stu, which the author acknowledges was done to conceal that Shinji is in fact a Decoy Protagonist. He is good friends with Shuya and the "leader" of their clique, which also contains Yoshitoki, Yutaka and Hiroki. More importantly, Shinji was raised by an uncle who is a political enemy of the fascist government. As a result, he has computer hacking skills and knows much more about the inner workings of the police state than his classmates, which comes in very handy when he manages to smuggle a laptop into the Program.
Deadpan Snarker: In the flashback when three guys try to rob him. "Cash-flow problems? That it? Well, good news, gentlemen. There's a new craze sweeping the streets...it's called 'employment.'"
Decoy Protagonist / Deuteragonist: Especially in the film. While his classmates are trying to kill one another or survive, Shinji is comes up with a plan to escape the game. And it almost works had it not been for Kiriyama.
Shoot the Shaggy Dog: His efforts to break out of the game. It's harsher in the novel and manga; Unlike in the film, Shinji didn't realize there was a bug in the collar leading to his hacking efforts being futile. Kiriyama puts a nix to his effort of bombing the base as well.
Not quite, since either way his hacking program shut down everything (including the voice monitors), either way his plan to bomb the school would have worked if Kiriyama didn't intervene.
The most quiet and reserved guy in Shuya's clique, although an incredibly powerful fighter. He is a martial arts expert but a Gentle Giant pacifist who never fights unless he is forced to. Hiroki is very shy and reserved around girls, earning him Shinji's teasing, but has a near-obsessive love for his classmate Kayoko Kotohiki. In the Program, he refuses to join up with Shuya but instead sets off on a search for her.
Martial Pacifist: He doesn't like fighting, even when others are trying to kill him.
Nose Tapping: In the manga, he does this when he's unsure (which is pretty often).
Technical Pacifist: Subverted. He refuses to take a gun and is genuinely concerned with only using his martial arts in self-defense because he's afraid that if he gets seriously violent, he'll enjoy it.
Technician Versus Performer: Hiroki is a performer who fights furiously to defend the girl he loves, while his opponent Kazuo is a technician who is all skill and no passion. Hiroki wins, but Kazuo (who wears a bulletproof vest) then gives him a fatal wound.
"I just decided to take instead of being taken. Itís not a question of good or bad, wrong or right. Itís just what I want to do."
The most feared girl in the whole school. Mitsuko lives in a cycle of abuse, having taken it as a child and now dishing it out; a life of physical and mental abuse has shaped Mitsuko into a Femme Fatale with the psyche of a vengeful child. She is the prettiest girl in her class, and often uses her adorable looks to take advantage of men. She leads a Girl Posse in school. When Mitsuko ends up in the Program, she becomes one of the most dangerous contestants. Out of the four "villains" in the game, she is the second most dangerous.
Intimate Healing: In the manga only. In some twisted part of her mind, she thought this was what she was doing to poor Yuichiro. Keep in mind, this scene is only in the manga. The original one in the novel is more of a Pet the Dog moment as Mitsuko gives Yuichiro a gentle kiss and then puts him out of his misery since Tadakatsu has already involuntarily wounded him fatally.
Ironic Death: When Kiriyama kills her by blowing her whole face off, causing her to die looking ugly.
Morality Pet: Yuichiro serves as this in the novel and manga. He was the only character in the story she showed any humanity towards. In the manga, this is done just to further illustrated how screwed up Mitsuko is.
The top student of the class, he has the mind of a genius but is physically unable to feel human emotions like sadness, compassion or even happiness. When he is forced to kill his classmates in the Program, he is indifferent and really can't decide whether he should unite his friends to lead a rebellion against the Program (and endanger his life), or play the game to win (and also endanger his life). When he decides the latter by a coin toss, he does so without hesitation. In the Film of the Book, he is portrayed as a mutepsychopath instead, and voluntarily signed up for the game.
The Ace: The novel shows how the students all have unique interests (sports, academics, music, art, fighting) but Kazuo is better than everyone at everything, without even trying.
It should be noted, he seems to have problems beating Shogo in driving, and Hiroki in martial arts.
Broken Ace: Yes, he's the closest thing to perfection, but he doesn't have single bit of empathy or emotion. All of his success doesn't even mean anything to him.
Affectionate Nickname: Members of the "Kiriyama Family" call him "Boss," while Tsukioka playfully refers to him as "Kiriyama-kun."
Asexual: More than likely. His response to Mitsuko's attempted seduction is to kill her.
Curb-Stomp Battle: Almost all of his fights are this despite the fact that he's often outnumbered and has inferior weapons. In the film, he guns down at over 3 students that each held more dangerous weapons than his paper fan. In the manga, he defeats upperclasman easily with a book, and in the novel he even does this to Mitsuko.
Delinquents: Numai made Kiriyama the "boss" of "The Kiriyama Family." It should be noted he's not a bully or even a troublemaker, but simply the leader.
Determinator: Averted. While he may be an Implacable Man, that keeps on getting up he has no drive or spirit to do anything. He pretty much spent his whole life not trying, yet still manages to be The Ace.
Dissonant Serenity: In the film there's one scene that he smiles with joy while people are firing at him.
The Dreaded: The rumors of his insane body count spread fast to the point where Shuuya immediately asumes Kiriyama is on a killing spree upon catching wind of either gunshots or students' deaths. Sugimura spends most of their fight trying to overcome his fear of him.
Evil Counterpart: To Shogo in the film. Both are transfer students who are older than the others in the class and have had experience with the Program before, but Shogo is much nicer by comparison. They even end up killing each other; Shogo's shotgun blast kills Kiriyama, while Kiriyama's haphazard machine gun shots fatally wounded Shogo.
Smug Super: In the film he reloaded his gun right in front of Shuya just because he knew his vest would protect him.
Spanner in the Works: Oh, god. Let's see, just by deciding to play the game he ruins the heroes chances of joining with him Shinji's plan to stop the BigBad, and comes very close to stopping Shogo's plan.
Villainous Breakdown: Again, only in the manga. Being shot in the frontal lobe somehow caused him to regain the emotions he'd gotten used to not having, as well as causing him to feel the trauma of his mother's death for the first time.
Underestimating Badassery: Non-stop. A reoccurring event in the novel is that everyone believes they defeated him, only for him to calmly get up since he's protected by a bullet proof vest. Being a Bookworm makes him the targets of bullies in the manga especially. In the film, a group of kids try and intimidate him with guns he disarms them and guns them down in about thirty seconds, then in the manga and novel he defeats upperclassmen that curbstomped Mitsuru.
Wild Hair: In the film only, inverted in the novel and manga.
Takako Chigusa (Girl #13)
"You said this was a game, right? Fine. I'll be your opponent. I won't lose against an asshole like you. I'll give everything I have to erase your existence. Got it? Do you understand? Or are you too stupid?"
A loner but among the most beautiful girls in the school, she is Hiroki Sugimura's best friend and fierce supporter since childhood. Takako's nickname behind her back is "Robo-Bitch" because of her outwardly cold demeanor. Although she is proud, severe and quick to anger, she's unhappy being shunned by the other girls in her class. She is deeply in love with her only friend Hiroki, but he doesn't know.
"Do you understand what I'm saying? Do you see why I had to save you, no matter what?"
The female class president. She's an intelligent and caring girl, often a Team Mom to her friends, but bold and not afraid to speak her mind. Yukie has a massive crush on Shuya, and saves his life at one point. She gathers a large group around her during the Program and they take shelter in a lighthouse.
Shuya's oldest friend, who is like a brother to him. He is nicknamed "Nobu", and is a part of the Five-Man Band that also includes Shuya, Shinji, Yutaka and Hiroki. He dies before the Program even starts, because Kamon/Sakamochi pressed his Berserk Button and used it as an excuse to shoot him. Originally, Noriko is his love interest, but as he dies he asks Shuya to keep her alive.
"You're crazy, you know that, right? But a good crazy. I can relate to that."
The Dragon of Mitsuko Souma's little gang, which consists of these two and Yoshimi Yahagi. Her main hobbies are both dealing and using drugs, fighting, shoplifting and bullying those weaker than her. Despite this, Hirono is opposed to the idea of killing her classmates.
All Just a Dream: Used for tragedy in the manga. When Hirono is wounded and drowning in a well, she has a dream of climbing out of the well, suddenly restored to full health, and joining Shuya and Noriko in their escape from the island.
Almost Kiss: It looked exactly like she and Shuya were about to do that when Kaori began shooting.
Alpha Bitch: She's much more violent than would usually be expected from this trope.
Even Evil Has Standards: She's one of Mitsuko's friends. a major bully to the other girls, and as mentioned below, kind of a Jerkass, but her internal monologue in the novel makes it clear that she finds killing her classmates to be going too far, and will only use lethal force in self defense if she absolutely has to.
Go Out with a Smile: Horribly deconstructed in the manga. In the last panel of her Dying Dream, she imagines herself to be reaching out to the heroes with a genuine, happy smile... and then you turn the page to see her drowning face pulled back in a grotesque leer as she sinks into the well. It's one of the most disturbing images in the manga, even if you can stomach the high level of gore throughout most of the story.
Hope Spot: Done three times in the manga, the last one right before we find out it was all a hallucination and she was dying.
Jerkass: Hirono used to slash Megumi Etou's skirt with a razor and trip her in the stairs, provided Mitsuko with drugs (which she tested on Yoshimi), and didn't seem to be all that bothered about Yoshimi being used as a prostitute by Mitsuko.
Who's Laughing Now?: When she gets into a shootout with Kaori Minami, one of her former bullying victims. Interestingly, some of her remarks to Shuya show that she doesn't want to be shooting, and she explicitly states that Kaori shot first. Even more interestingly, in the novel, she kills the person in question. However, the novel version of Hirono is more of a Jerkass than the other two, so...
The junior member of Mitsuko's gang and a hopelessly romantic girl. Yoshimi was exploited by Mitsuko, who even pimped her to strangers at one point. She is deeply in love with her boyfriend Yoji, even though she's still one of the thugettes.
My Girl Is Not a Slut: More justifiable than most cases, considering Yoshimi's past. Yoji is annoyed that Yoshimi is far more sexually experienced than he is, and goes into an impotent rage if she instigates any sexual behaviour towards him. He actually loves her, but thanks to the Double Standard, feels that pretending he's only using her for sex is more acceptable. Because that's what a real man does, right?
"I've always thought you weren't as bad as everyone said you were. Even if you'd done bad things, I was pretty sure you did them because you couldn't help it, because there was some reason behind it that wasn't your fault."
A big anime fan who is seen as an Otaku by his class, Yuichiro very easily sympathizes with other people.
Batter Up: His weapon is a baseball bat, which Mitsuko beats Tadakatsu to death with.
Go Out with a Smile: In the manga. Actually it's probably just about the least unpleasant death out of all the students. It was a clean kill and he doesn't even seem to have had time to notice the bullets.
Joke Weapon: A fork. He tried to intimidate someone with said fork.
Plucky Comic Relief: Deconstructed over the course of Shinji's plot thread, as both characters come to seriously question what value Shinji can possibly find in Yutaka and why he keeps him around.
Tender Tears: Chokes up whenever Shinji says something kind to him. The two of them being best friends, this happens so frequently that Yutaka jokes, "if you stick around with a crybaby like me you'll end up drowning before we escape."
What the Hell, Hero?: Yutaka actually does show some brass and call out Shinji for an action Yutaka considers heinous... too bad it takes Shinji kinda-accidentally-kinda-not murdering Keita to push Yutaka to this point.
Yukiko Kitano (Girl #6)
"I don't know how much longer I can pretend to be brave."
A nice, feminine girl who is best friends with Yumiko Kusaka, with lots of Les Yay. When they team up on the island, they try to stop their classmates from fighting.
"He taught me to be careful what I wish for...I just might get it. Oh, I get it all right."
The actual leader of the "Kiriyama Family" and the original tough guy of the school. Although a schoolyard bully and a teenage delinquent, he has a conscience and says he was never needlessly cruel. Mitsuru was the one who first encountered Kazuo Kiriyama and turned him from a quiet, well-behaved model student into a feared "hard case."
Berserker Tears: When he discovers that Kazuo killed the other gang members.
Bullying a Dragon: He did this to Shogo Kawada in the locker rooms after he first came to the school. Nobody knew exactly what Shogo did to him, but Ryuhei was in tears and ran back to Kazuo, who didn't do anything.
Bury Your Gays: In the English adaptation of the manga, his file notes that he is "not to leave the island alive under any circumstances". Word of God also states that there are anti-homosexual laws in the Republic of Greater East Asia.
Camp Gay: Not so much in the novel and never mentioned in the film. But it's prominent in the manga, where he is depicted as slimy and leering with a pompadour haircut and uncontrollable giggling.
Otaku: Possibly. He's seen playing a video game on the bus.
Too Dumb to Live: He's so pathetic that Shuya knocks him down by throwing an arrow at him.
Yuko Sakaki (Girl #9)
An extremely shy, sensitive girl who suffers from depression and becomes part of Yukie Utsumi's group in the lighthouse. The suicidal Yuko is assigned the most unique weapon in the Program. She has always hated the sight of violence, and is irrevocably traumatized by the things she sees on the island.
Abusive Parents: In the novel, she had a very, very nasty brute of a father, who apparently regarded not just her, but also her mother and elder brother, as punching bags. It was to the point that it was more relief than bereavement when he was killed by a Yakuza thug. The problem here is that seeing Shuya standing over Oki's corpse was redolent of everything her father did, making her obsessed with making Shuya a complete non-threat...
A House Divided: Her own paranoia managed to utterly destroy their relatively well maintained group within seconds.
The best friend and second-in-command of Yukie Utsumi and one of the lighthouse girls.
Does Not Like Men: According to the manga, she's the one who demanded to ban boys from joining to their group (possibly due to abuse in her past). She attributes it to having seen Niida kill Akamatsu and Mayumi, and admits that she may have overreacted.
Face-Heel Turn: In the manga, after she has slaughtered Chisato, Haruka, and Yukie, she approaches Yuko Sakaki, telling her they're both safe. However, Satomi lets slip that she will "get them all" and play to win.
The female class clown. She is the most optimistic of the girls in the lighthouse and a Plucky Comic Relief to them. Apparently, when you're a fat girl in Japan like her, there are very few choices in high school, so class clown is as good as any.
Big Eater: Bites her in the ass when she decides to taste test Shuya's food before giving it to him.
The weirdest person in the class, who spends a lot of time in a fantasy world and is possibly schizophrenic. Her friends don't seem to be entirely comfortable around her. During the Program, her weirdness degenerates into complete insanity.
Cloudcuckoolander: In the novel; she thinks she and Kaori are space warriors sent to Earth to cleanse it of evil (such as Kiriyama). Some fanfics elevate her into Crazy Awesome, for whatever the reason. This is omitted from the film.
Ms. FanDisservice: In the manga, she shows up for her final scene wearing only her underwear, apparently as part of her ritualistic throes of madness. The reader is pretty much railroaded into assessing her sexually, but considering she's gone completely bonkers by this point, it's not exactly titillating.
A sensitive girl with a crush on Shuya (Shinji in the movie), who is absolutely paralyzed with terror when thrown into the battle. Megumi is one of the "daydreamers" (along with Mizuho and Kaori), and the only one of them who is actually sane.
Kick the Dog: In the manga, he's established as a coward right off the bat, but that's not a complete dealbreaker in terms of audience sympathy — you'd expect this game to bring out the coward in some players. It's when Keita rounds on Yutaka, accuses him of being worthless, and tries to persuade Shinji to abandon Yukata in favor of Keita, that really settles the matter: This kid might not be a Kiriyama, a Needa, or even an Oda, but he's still scum.
"Even if by some miracle one of us could go back, we still wouldn't be together. Even if ... even if I were to survive ... I couldn't bear being without you."
One of the most attractive girls in the class, and Kazuhiko Yamamoto's long-term girlfriend.
Better to Die Than Be Killed: With Kazuhiko in the manga and novel. In the film it seemed to have more to do with their refusal to participate. In a rather cruel instance of irony, the students approaching them were the Lighthouse Girls, who had no intention of doing them harm.
"Even if I were to survive, I couldn't stand being without you. Don't leave me alone."
Sakura's long-term boyfriend who is deeply in love with her. Their relationship is the closest in the class.
Better to Die Than Be Killed: With Sakura in the manga and novel. In the film, it seemed to have more to do with their refusal to participate. Almost amusingly, it looked almost like Sakura actually dragged him off the cliff.
Bloody Hilarious: After his death, when he fell face-first on his own machete. Shuya tries to pry loose the machete from his split face, but it won't budge, so instead he shows his respect to Tatsumichi by closing his eyes. But only one eye closes, resulting in a mutilated corpse winking at everybody.
A rich kid who hates everyone in his class; he clearly has a superiority complex and eerie similarities to the Columbine shooters. It seems like the Program was pretty much designed for people like him, and he relishes the idea of slaughtering the classmates he loathes.
Axe Crazy: It only took a little push to make him start killing his classmates.
Foreshadowing: In the manga, Oda tries to trick Sugimura and when getting ready to do so moves to protect his "jewels", in case Sugimura lets off a panic shot. Where exactly does he get fatally shot by Kazuo?
Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Late in the manga, we see a quick panel of his family, presumably his father, mother, and older brother, weeping, probably after hearing news of his death. No matter what an evil toad he was, somebody is mourning him.
Too Dumb to Live: Toshinori is not only the most odious student, but among the stupidest.
In the film: he shouts out that the reason he survived being shot was because of his Bullet Proof Vest. Cue Kazuo Kiriyama jumping at him with sword in hand.
In the manga: He decides to fake a death rattle, so Kazuo will come near him and check if he's really dead, enabling Toshinori to stab him. Kazuo checks if he's dead by firing a volley of bullets into Toshinori's unprotected balls.
In the novel: No death rattle, but he doesn't realize why Kazuo is coming up to him. Kazuo is just coming up to make absolutely sure that Oda's dead via headshot.
Kayoko Kotohiki (Girl #8)
"Ta-dah! The one and only ki master, Kayoko Kotohiki!"
A playful, dreamy and energetic girl who is Hiroki Sugimura's love interest (although she doesn't find out until [[very late). She is a waitress at a bar, and participates in unusual activities like tea ceremonies and flower-arranging.
Kayoko: "I am just a little troll compared to Takako!"
Irony: She runs into a wounded Hiroki toward the end, and since he had been fighting Kiriyama, she assumes he's playing and shoots him. He wasn't. He'd been searching for her to confess his love and take her with him to meet up with Shuya's group so they could escape.
A Real Man Is a Killer: In the manga, he literally gets off on the fact that he killed Yoshio This is contrasted in the other two as the reality of the game doesn't set in until he accidentally killed Yoshio in self defense.
A member of of Yukie Utsumi's clique, not much is really known about her other than she was a caring nurse's aid and was very talkative. In the manga, Yutaka Seto had a crush on her, and after her death, he described her as being pretty, no matter what she was doing.
"The reason why you're all here today ... is to kill each other."
The Big Bad himself. He is the administrator of the Battle Royale Program, who instructs the students in what to do and oversees the death match from beginning to end. This would normally be an unpleasant task, but he relishes it and the total power over life and death it gives him. Since he is an employee of the totalitarian government, it's a death sentence for the "players" to threaten him or even look at him the wrong way. In The Movie, where Takeshi Kitano plays him, his character is more humanized and has a personal grudge against the students, but has a soft spot for Noriko. He has a daughter called Shiori.
Death Seeker: May have become this by the end of the film: his daughter hates him and the students he despised so much are all dead by then. He tries to goad Noriko into shooting him by pointing a gun at her, which is then revealed to be a water gun when Shuya guns him down instead.
Orcus on His Throne: He never ventures outside his headquarters once, and spends his time smoking, eating junk food, and making cruel announcements over the PA system. This is for a very good reason, since there are armed teenagers out there who hate his guts.
In the film, he briefly goes onto the island to save Noriko from Mitsuko, but he immediately returns to base and this is never brought up again.
This is also the reason why no student is given a gun more powerful than an Uzi: so they'll always have less firepower than Kamon's soldiers.
Pet the Dog: In the film only. His bizarre painting of Noriko.
In the novel and manga, the young caretaker of the orphanage and the closest to a mother Shuya and Yoshitoki have.
Mama Bear: In the manga, she is this to Shuya (after his real mother's death) and Yoshitoki.
Promoted to Love Interest: She's only a minor background character in the book and not even mentioned in the film, but the manga (at least the English version) made her this to Yoshitoki. Yes, his surrogate mom and love interest.