Headscratchers: Battle Royale

  • This Troper would love to know what kind of relations there were between the students before they ended up in the Battle Royale Program. For example, what was Shuya's impression of Shogo before? What was the relation between Mitsuko's "delinquents" and Kiriyama's?
    • It's mentioned in the novel and the manga that Shogo had not been with their class very long, and most people (Shuya included) were wary of him. There were rumors about how he'd come to be so scarred-up, mostly to the effect that he'd been mixed up with hoodlums at his old school.
    • Also there really was not much interaction between Kazuo's and Mitsuko's gangs. This is because Mitsuko's gang targeted other girls and older men outside of the school and Kazuo's gang took on other male gangs and Yakuza in the district. Mitsuru Numai who is the real leader of the Kiriyama family was also a gentleman to ladies and since Kiriyama doesn't really care about anything they knew about each other but stayed out of each other's way.
  • In the English translation of the manga, if the Program is a reality TV show then the cameras make both Shinji and Shogo's plans unworkable, since they'd be detected in seconds by the organisers. Note that this was only added in translation and doesn't feature in the original Japanese writing.
    • The American version of the manga is famous for its "Blind Idiot" Translation. There was no fucking "reality game show" in the original, just the causes of death reported on the TV and footage of the blood-drenched, smiling winner (a much more effective scare tactic).
    • The translation is a complete travesty - in the end, Shuya quotes Bruce Springsteen's Born To Run in Japanese, but in the translation, Shuya instead makes a giant You Bastard speech at the reader ("Which of you came for the blood? Which came for the semen? Any Mitsuko fans out there? Kiriyama fans?"). And so on.
      • This might have been because Viz couldn't get permission to quote the song, particularly at the length they were apparently doing so in the Japanese text.
      • Viz only did the novel, Tokyo Pop handled the manga and its regrettable translation choices.
    • Flanderization aside, I thought the reality TV show was a clever gimmick. For all of the money that the dictatorship is putting into the Program, what do they get back out of it? A fearful populace, certainly, but that doesn't exactly balance the books and there are plenty of cheaper ways to induce fear in a society. So instead of pouring tons of money into something and not getting anything very useful back out of it, they do the same thing they were already doing only find a way to turn a profit from it, as well.
  • For that matter, the collars have microphones and such in them; how is it that the Program directors didn't catch on to Shinji's plan when they should have easily heard him outright telling Yutaka what he was going to do?
    • There's probably only so many they can listen in on at a time. If, say, Mitsuko's doing something interesting, and Kiriyama's being followed avidly, they might not be tuned in to Shinji. Also, Shinji and Yutaka were communicating by written notes.
    • It's still nagging. You'd think that a fascist dictatorship, if they force forty-two teenagers to kill each other, could at least afford to have forty-two supervisors.
    • They did hear and did prevent the plan. Shinji was was high on the tier list, which is why he wasn't killed outright. Also they couldn't seem to afford 42 guns
    • I agree don't forget there was a betting pool on the Program and quite a few of the instructors bosses were betting likely he wouldn't have Shinji killed if one of his superiors had bet a large amount on him (killing Shinji would have annoyed him). Also They probably believed that escape was impossible anyway. But yes even if each solider was monitoring a student people's attention would get drawn away to the action.
    • Of course they can afford 42 guns. There are two reasons why they don't give guns to all the kids: 1) Because the varying weapons make the game more random, and 2) Because the students outnumber the soldiers already, and would then have superior firepower if all of them had guns.
    • They actually don't outnumber the soldiers. As Shuya was leaving the school, he looked into a side classroom and saw it filled with Special Defense Forces, estimating that there were as many soldiers as students. It would still be dangerous for all of the students to have guns, though, and it does make the game more random to have a variety of weapons.
  • In the manga once Noriko gets to the gun for the very first time, she's the very first person to seriously get Kiriyama. She also kills him outright in the novel. You may wonder, what would happen if the boys allowed her to do some shooting during the story...
    • Also probably because Kiriyama was not paying much attention to hear. He thought that she was harmless and concentrated on Shogo first who was the most dangerous of the trio. Noriko only shot him anyway to protect Shuya she wouldn't have done it otherwise. Also Kawada pretends to kill him to save Noriko's sanity.
    • Shogo didn't let her carry the gun because she was wounded and half-delirious, and could have fired it by accident.
    • Because Noriko, right before Shuya, is the most pacifist character in the story who survives through to the end. She's also an extremely average girl with no particular aptitudes or interests, someone who would fade into the background in nearly any other situation. Having her be pushed so far as to kill the unbeatable, unkillable, more-awesome-than-thou psychopath at the very last second makes for the best dramatic impact for what it means to all the characters involved. Her being a girl doesn't matter as much as her "unremarkable shrinking violet" status and her "David vs Goliath" situation, but yes, there is that "weaker innocent girl overcoming more powerful violent man" thing at play too.
    • Also, if they gave her the gun before, she WOULD NOT shoot a soul, unless it was Kiriyama. She had the same delusions as Shuya that everyone was redeemable, and keep in mind that she didn't even shoot Kiriyama until Shogo was already down. This and the above statement make for a very powerful scene, especially since Shogo had to convince her that she DIDN'T kill him to save her sanity.
  • This Troper loves Battle Royale (the novel and manga more than the movie) but would love to know how someone like the director can survive. After every iteration of the Program, you'd probably have heartbroken parents with nothing left to live for looking for him...and Japan isn't that big. Particularly since he mentions, in the manga at least, that even high-ranking officials and yakuza leaders can have their kids taken...those guys can probably trace his real name and address.
    • I highly doubt even the yakuza can seriously harm a military dictatorship. I'd love to see the yakuza get ahold of Sakamochi, though.
      • That goes double and triple for Kamon.
    • What would it achieve, anyways? The Director is just the head pawn of The Program. Killing him won't get their kids back, it'll probably just send the government after them and any family/friends they might have left, and another Director will take over the next year anyways.
  • I've always wondered what's stopped someone from being issued a gun or grenades, opening the bag right outside the door, and just shooting the director and the soldiers right then and there. It's not like there's any guards or even lights in the hallway, at least not in the manga.
    • In the book, the hallway was lined with guards. As for the manga...well, Kamon could just blow up the collar if the wearer comes back into the classroom. Not to mention that the student would be outnumbered four to one in a firefight.
    • Not to mention—-Japan (or the Greater East Asia Republic) has very, very strict gun control. How is it that these totally untrained kids are able to even figure out how their guns work, much less hit anything other than the broad side of a barn?
    • Well, many of the students didn't know how to shoot - Kazuo, for example, has to spray his target with a rain of bullets to hit it. Some of them had an edge, because they had used model guns before.
    • Not to mention the story in every version takes place in a crapsack world full of delinquents disrespecting authority.
    • Also, in the original novel, several characters states that there were instructions following their weapons, especially the guns. Some, however, only noted that they did not bother reading because they already knew...
    • Firing and reloading guns isn't an extremely complicated skill to learn, y'know. The maintenance and repair of them, sure, but you don't need to drown in the things to know basic use.
    • I'm a Marine chiming in here. It's not that firing and reloading guns is a complicated skill, it's not. However hitting a target, particularly a moving one is quite a bit more complicated than it sounds. A lot of the stuff you see on television with people running, firing one handed while hitting another running target is borderline impossible. It doesn't bother me that the kids can shoot because some people are naturally good shots and in a novel I'm willing to accept that the kids just happen to be naturally good shots though.
  • Why is it in the sequel they make the exploding collars so if one kid dies the kid sharing the same number also dies? Since they're supposed to be in a war that seems counterproductive, since if one kid dies you'll soon be yet another kid down for no reason.
    • The Program in the sequel was a mass execution to scare the Wild Seven, rather than a military operation. The government were forcing them to kill teenagers like themselves, instead of bombing them at once.
    • There Was No Sequel. There was some movie that was pro-Taliban that tried to be a sequel, but no one should watch it.
      • Calling it Pro-taliban is stretching it. Sure, they appears to be ending up in Afganistan, but where else to run when you a pinned as a terrorist organisation by one of the major military powers, thats not affraid to use it? I see it as lesser of two evils
  • Why is the rest of the world letting "East Asia" get away with this? Also how did Japan win WW2?
    • In the novels, it's outright stated that the rest of the world doesn't know anything about Japan's inner mechanisms because of its policy of isolation i.e. no-one knows what goes on inside Japan just that the stuff they make is high quality.
      • Which makes little sense when applied to the manga, since a French foreign exchange student ends up in Shogo's game and gets killed. It only makes sense if the government of Greater East Asia lies and portrays it as an accident of some kind.
      • Or the student's host family lies and said the student disappeared.
    • The Greater East Asia Republic is extremely isolationist, like a few real-world countries. We don't know what the hell is going on inside North Korea.
  • As much as I loved the manga, the ultimate showdown with Kiriyama was teeth-grindingly frustrating. Noriko's shot should have killed him, how does a person maintain functionality with a bullet through their brain? And then the climactic and gripping finale turns into Dragonball Z when four issues pass between the time Shuya starts acting and the time he finally just shoots the bastard. All the while having yet another sappy tear fest about all of the people who have died and how he's ending it now.
    • The manga depiction of Shuya was just a sappy tear-fest, from beginning to end.
    • Well, it seems like someone didn't do their homework. It's possible to be shot in the head and not die. In fact, there are quite a couple of reports in the news of people who get severely brain-damaged by being shot in the head, and some people are sent into shock, but otherwise would recover after a while. I must admit, though, the ending was pretty sappy.
    • I was under the impression that Kiriyama had taken a pole through the brain (this actually happened to a dude in reality, by the way - he lived, but turned from an honest hard-working guy into a lying, cheating prick) and that Noriko's shot went straight through the resultant gap/hole, actually missing his brain.
  • When the contest ends, what happens to the bodies of the students who died?
    • The novel mentions a contracted clean up crew that comes in the day after the game ends.
    • This raises a possible Fridge Horror. Imagine the state some of the bodies would be in after three days.
      • Not to mention, near the end of the novel, Shuya comes across Tadakatsu and Yuichiro's corpses, which are being devoured by herons.
  • In the film, the purpose of the game was to stop youth delinquency. However, the government lets Kiriyama participate in the game because he wanted to do it "for fun." Saying this, doesn't this go against what the government tried to do in the first place?
    • No it doesn't. Kirayama was a delinquent so they placed in him a Battle Royale where he can be killed at the press of a button, has a strong possibility of being killed, and isn't even part of the rest of the regular society.
  • How did a French foreign exchange student get caught up in the (very publicized) Program without causing an international stink?
  • Is it me or does movie Noriko not seem to care that her classmates are dying? She even says at the end "It's such a beautiful island, even if that's where everyone died"
  • So, this bugged me about the Hunger Games too, but...do we ever see the in-universe thought process that lead up to The Program, or, like in Hunger Games, is it just hand waved with everyone in the Government being a child hating psychopath?
    • Basically, yeah, the government is just run by psychopaths that think this is a good way to control the populace. The novel features an excerpt from a speech announcing the start of the program with an official public rationale. But that speech is mostly nonsensical gung-ho scare tactics and word salad that only has a chance of working on an already emotionally compromised audience.
    • It's explained in the novel, by Sakamochi to Shougo at the end. Basically, the reason why they put forth the idea of BR and then broadcast the winner to the entire country is so that young people will get frightened and fear and distrust will be rampant among the populace, resulting in it being much less likely for them to form a coup de etat against the government.
  • If the Battle Royale is held to keep young people in fear, then why does no one in the class (barring the two who signed up on purpose) know about it beforehand? Especially when they display the winner on television every year?
    • The movie's kind of flimsy on that, but in the book, they all know about it. The movie's excuse would presumably be the "degeneration of youth" that was the main motivation behind the games' creation in that universe, with the students being too rowdy to take notice of even that.
    • Another possibility: pure denial. They refuse to accept that they've been dragooned into a Battle Royale which is why they freak out so hard when the first two deaths drive it home that they're not in Kansas anymore.
  • As is shown, the program can pretty much target anyone for the games, regardless of class or background. And they don't even try to hide it, broadcasting it on live television for everyone to see. Unless massive propaganda is used, what would prevent other students from making the necessary precautions to avoid such a scenario in case the government decides to choose their school for the next Battle Royale? Heck, since pretty much everyone is fair game, why don't the richer residents high tail it out of there and move to another country?
    • Hell, I can see the headlines now! 'Battle Royale Act passed, school attendance drops by 80%'.
    • They probably can't get out of the country. And realistically the rich are probably if not entirely at least largely sheltered from the Game. They claim otherwise but I imagine just like in real life with the draft people of sufficient means will find ways around it probably starting with private or otherwise immune schools and ending if necessary by somehow getting those kids who belong to sufficiently important people to skip a grade.
  • Exactly why does nobody in the novel/manga know that the best way to kill someone is shooting them in the head? Granted, Kiriyama tends to shoot a lot and has killed multiple classmates by shooting them in the head. But what about the final fights? Hiroki VS Kiriyama? Great Martial Artist that he is, and all, he did let Kiriyama hit him back towards the uzi and fires a whole barrade at Kiriyama's chest... which he later realizes did nothing since he was wearing a bullet-proof vest. Why did he (or Shuuya, Noriko or even Shogo not just shoot him in the HEAD? Of course, Noriko does shoot Kiriyama in the head and he does survive it for some time. But why didn't they just aim for the heads to begin with?! It's like they were asking for the battle to be prolonged if it could have been ended many issues/chapters before.
    • The centre of mass is the easiest aiming point. Even then, it already isn't easy to hit that in a range, much less under battle conditions, without training, and with possibly non-zeroed weapons. In a heated firefight, aiming for the head makes sense only if you *know that hitting your target in the torso won't hurt him. As our Marine friend puts it, shooting's not as easy as telly makes it look.
    • Actually, the marine pointed out that aiming is more difficult and not the shooting itself. While the head is more difficult to get, you'd think at least Shogo, who already took part in The Program once, would know better than to simply hit someone in the torso. He even killed some people by shooting them in the head. And since he takes Kiriyama seriously, you'd think he'd be even more concerned with ending him as fast as possible.
    • While I could've been more specific (my bad), the difference between 'aiming' and 'shooting' in our context is semantic. The issues I raised all pertained to marksmanship - aiming points, shooting conditions, training, and zeroing. Also, unless you're up against a nigh-unstoppable killing machine wearing a Hollywood bulletproof vest, aiming for centre of mass is your best shot at incapacitating your opponent. It is a large target and offers the best chance of hitting the central nervous system and major organs. Furthermore, even if you miss dead centre, you may still tag the target somewhere, and there is no 'safe' place to shoot someone. Marines and soldiers may not agree on many things, but I'd hazard a guess that this is one of them. XD That said, you make an excellent argument about Kiriyama (a nigh-unstoppable killing machine wearing a Hollywood bulletproof vest) and I concede on that point. I should've thought about it from that angle.
  • During the bus trip, Shogo is shown to look shocked and tries to open a window before he falls asleep, too. But that doesn't make sense! Shogo hacked into the databank, learned which school was going to be picked next and deliberatly put himself into that school and class, to try to bring The Program down and kill the people responsible for it. If that was his plan all along, why does he look shocked or even try to avoid being recruited?
    • I believe that was a charade. Remember Shogo had to prevent the ones in charge from figuring out his scheme for as long as possible, and they were almost certainly monitoring the bus. A "Just As Planned" smirk(or even showing no reaction) would have been too suspicious.
  • The fact that they're putting in classes of students and having them kill each other. Aside from the fact that this could likely lead to the killing of innocent (or at least law-abiding) kids for scare tactics seems silly, when they could just round up any delinquents they could find or know about and have them fight instead. If anything, that'd probably be an even bigger deterrent for criminal activity.