Is The Hunger Games so different from Battle Royale?

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techmec21:
Ok, this is just me wanting to get a general opinion from the strongly-opinionated people of the Escapist Community. As I'm sure many of you are aware, The Hunger Games movie released today/tonight. For those of you who don't know the plot, it focuses on a bunch of kids being thrown together (by their government) and told to kill each other in order to earn supplies for their respective villages. I read it, didn't like it because it focused less on fighting/killing and more on the romance between characters, along with the politics behind the "game" itself.

At the risk of sounding sexist, Hunger Games is the girls' Battle Royale. I've got a coworker whose still in highschool and alternate between thinking she has a deplorable taste in film/literature and thinking that she's got a great one, mostly because she liked Twilight but also adored Battle Royale when I recommended the book to her. I usually spend my shifts with her dismantling everything she claims was 'good' about Twilight, but that's an unrelated story.

Anyhoo, if Hunger Games is mostly just Battle Royale with more emphasis on romance and PG-13 violence, then I wouldn't be surprised if it appealed to a younger/more female crowd.

techmec21:
Now, to me, these books seem really similar. I liked Battle Royale significantly better than The Malnourished Games. However, with all the hype due to the upcoming movie, everyone's fanatic about it. Barely anybody I talk to has even heard of Battle Royale. I feel that it should have more recognition, especially if such a similar movie is so popular. So, my question is: what's so different about the Hunger Games? If there is no difference, how'd it get so popular? Escapist Community, any thoughts?

Oddly enough, there was an American Battle Royale remake in the works a few years back. It might've been horrible or it might've been awesome, but it was also being considered a short time before the VT shootings, so that put the boot to that project pretty quickly.

techmec21:
tl;dr : Hunger Games and Battle Royale are really similar. So, how did Hunger Games get so popular, especially when Battle Royale is better?

Well, on the film front, Hunger Games has a few recognizable actors, and everyone is speaking English. I guess that helps with sales.

Queen Michael:

DVS BSTrD:

kman123:
The Hunger Games is Battle Royale. For pussies.
And racists...if you come to think about it.

How's that last part?

I might be wrong here, but I think he meant that it's Battle Royale but with a lower proportion of non-whites.

So having an all Asian cast isn't racist but an all White cast is?

techmec21:
tl;dr: Hunger Games and Battle Royale are really similar. So, how did Hunger Games get so popular, especially when Battle Royale is better?

Because it was originally written as a manga and the movie was never officially released in the states?

Basically, because it's foreign.

It has a gratuitous romance thrown in? Because the protagonist needs a motivation other than, oh I don't know - survival instinct? Sounds like tween trash to me.

However I am going to see it this weekend so I'll then be able to compare the two in more depth.

Iron Criterion:
It has a gratuitous romance thrown in? Because the protagonist needs a motivation other than, oh I don't know - survival instinct? Sounds like tween trash to me.

However I am going to see it this weekend so I'll then be able to compare the two in more depth.

For the protagonist it is all survival instinct and rebellious spirit. In the latter books add in some guilt and depression. If at any time you feel the protagonist is genuinely attracted to a character, you are more than likely wrong. Romance is not the protagonist's motivation, though the same cannot be said of some other characters.

ShadowStar42:
The Hunger Game and Battle Royal both took their core concept from Greek myth, so calling either a rip off doesn't really seem fair (unless you really want to go back to whoever wrote the story of the minotaur). Personally I really liked The Hunger Games precisely because it does focus on the politics of the situation and on the relationships between the characters.

Director Kinji Fukasaku has said that he based this movie on his experiences in World War II Japan, where he worked in a factory that was regularly bombed by Allied aircraft and many of his fellow workers were killed on their first or second day on the job and he never got to know any of them.- IMDB

DVS BSTrD:

Queen Michael:

DVS BSTrD:

How's that last part?

I might be wrong here, but I think he meant that it's Battle Royale but with a lower proportion of non-whites.

So having an all Asian cast isn't racist but an all White cast is?

I don't really think that the Hunger Games is for racists, but to answer your question as s eriously as I can: Yes. Japan isn't as ethincally diverse, so having only Japanese people is somehting you can do without trying to exclude other races, but in American productions taking place in North America, it's strange if there are only white people. It takes an actual decision not to feature any other races. Unless there's some in-story explanation, or the Hunger Games does feature non-caucasian races, of course, whoch it's perfectly possible that it might do. I haven't read it or seen it, so I can't tell.

DVS BSTrD:

techmec21:
tl;dr: Hunger Games and Battle Royale are really similar. So, how did Hunger Games get so popular, especially when Battle Royale is better?

Because it was originally written as a manga and the movie was never officially released in the states?

Basically, because it's foreign.

It wasn't originally written as a manga; it was a novel that was made into a manga and a movie.

Iron Criterion:
It has a gratuitous romance thrown in? Because the protagonist needs a motivation other than, oh I don't know - survival instinct? Sounds like tween trash to me.

However I am going to see it this weekend so I'll then be able to compare the two in more depth.

No the Romance was played up for the capital spectators (the tributes can be sent aid packages while in the arena, but you need sponsors to pay for them) The two leads had only met once before they were chosen as tributes, although Peeta really IS in love with Katniss.

Mebulous:

ShadowStar42:
The Hunger Game and Battle Royal both took their core concept from Greek myth, so calling either a rip off doesn't really seem fair (unless you really want to go back to whoever wrote the story of the minotaur). Personally I really liked The Hunger Games precisely because it does focus on the politics of the situation and on the relationships between the characters.

Director Kinji Fukasaku has said that he based this movie on his experiences in World War II Japan, where he worked in a factory that was regularly bombed by Allied aircraft and many of his fellow workers were killed on their first or second day on the job and he never got to know any of them.

But that's just the movie version, not the original novel.

I haven't seen or read the Hunger Games, but I would imagine it got so popular because of two reasons.

1. It's in English. Let's face it, in countries that speak English, English movies/books are more popular, right or wrong.

2. It targetted the correct demographic. The Hunger Games targetted the teen demographic, and that demographic typically pulls in others.

Right or wrong, that's pretty much the way I see it. Battle Royale is edgier and in a language most people have to read subtitles for. The general population don't want to bother with subtitles. That's why we get dubs for anime, and even live action movies.

Battle Royale never got an official Western release, so only nerds have heard of it.

Apparently the author of the Hunger Games has been asked about this and alleges that she's never read or heard of BR, which I find believable. What I find somewhat less believable is that she hadn't heard of, read or seen The Running Man, which has a similar if not identical plot.

Then again, here's a plot summary I'd like you to guess the book of:

Black haired green eyed young child unaware of magical heritage goes to a school teaching them magic. They aren't the best student in the class and often find themselves getting into trouble but still managing to save the school once a book with alarming regularity. Antoagonists come in the form of a blonde elitist from an old magical family with lots of money and a sarcastic and mean potions teacher who unfairly favours the blonde adversary and who everyone hates. Help comes in the form of the hero's two friends, one of whom who is much cleverer than the other two, but lacks some of the social graces of her friends. The other friend is taller than the other two and somewhat thin and gangly, but makes up for it by being the fun comic relief for the other two. Also, the kindly old head-teacher is on her side, which kind of helps keep her from getting expelled.

Writers steal all the time, sometimes they do it obviously, sometimes they do it by a sort of popcultural osmosis.

Frankly, I'm ignoring the Hunger Games and everything related to it. It's not like Harry Potter, it's not going to last, and it doesn't have anywhere near the appeal to adults which HP had. I reckon it's going to be like Twilight, really big for a few years, but then when everyone into it now grows up it'll fall out of favour.

Zenron:

kman123:
The Hunger Games is Battle Royale. For pussies.
And racists...if you come to think about it.

I'm guessing you haven't read the third book then?

Anyway, what sets this apart from Battle Royale is the plot really. I quite enjoyed Battle Royale but I still liked Hunger Games more because I was far more invested in the characters, and it didn't leave me with so many arbitrary questions.

What? Really?

Maybe its because I read the manga before reading the book, but I was heavily invested in Shuya and Noriko surviving and the pure badass awesomeness of Shogo Kawada.

Shogo Kawada would kill the fuck out of the hunger games girl.

techmec21:
Ok, this is just me wanting to get a general opinion from the strongly-opinionated people of the Escapist Community. As I'm sure many of you are aware, The Hunger Games movie released today/tonight. For those of you who don't know the plot, it focuses on a bunch of kids being thrown together (by their government) and told to kill each other in order to earn supplies for their respective villages. I read it, didn't like it because it focused less on fighting/killing and more on the romance between characters, along with the politics behind the "game" itself.

On the other hand, you have Battle Royale. The plot of the story is... there are a bunch of kids who are thrown together (by their government) and told to kill each other in order to survive. Last person standing wins. In the book, it's described as originally being a way to keep down the population, while also being a source of sick televised entertainment. A movie was made based off the book, but it received a relatively poor reception. They even made a sequel, which did worse.

Now, to me, these books seem really similar. I liked Battle Royale significantly better than The Malnourished Games. However, with all the hype due to the upcoming movie, everyone's fanatic about it. Barely anybody I talk to has even heard of Battle Royale. I feel that it should have more recognition, especially if such a similar movie is so popular. So, my question is: what's so different about the Hunger Games? If there is no difference, how'd it get so popular? Escapist Community, any thoughts?

tl;dr : Hunger Games and Battle Royale are really similar. So, how did Hunger Games get so popular, especially when Battle Royale is better?

To provide a short answer it as written by I assume an American and published from Americans. While I believe Battle Royale transcends nationality it never picked up mainstream success because of its East-Asia centric nature. Also the movie was a very poorly dome book adaptation. It complete change the motivations of several main characters which killed a lot of the tone that made the book so powerful. Also the movie was done by a Japanese studio focusing on a Japanese audience. Most Americans hate doing two things 1. reading subtitles and 2.Trying to see things through a non-American prospective.

Sorry that was not a short answer, but to be fair I could have went on a lot longer.

DVS BSTrD:

Iron Criterion:
It has a gratuitous romance thrown in? Because the protagonist needs a motivation other than, oh I don't know - survival instinct? Sounds like tween trash to me.

However I am going to see it this weekend so I'll then be able to compare the two in more depth.

No the Romance was played up for the capital spectators (the tributes can be sent aid packages while in the arena, but you need sponsors to pay for them) The two leads had only met once before they were chosen as tributes, although Peeta really IS in love with Katniss.

There's a romantic relationship at the centre of Battle Royale too, it's just... realistically portrayed.

Hunger games is very tweeny, but its not bad, its just tweeny.

I haven't read The Hunger Games yet, but I really enjoyed Battle Royale. There's a third series that's pretty similar to it as well, a seinen manga called Btoom!. Instead of a bunch of kids thrown on an island by a government to kill each other, it's a bunch of people of all ages nominated by people who hate them to be taken to an island by an evil corporation and kill each other while following the rules of the fictional videogame Btoom!, which is best described as Halo with all of the weapons replaced by various types of grenades, and a ridiculously cool radar mechanic that I'd like to see implemented in a real game.

Queen Michael:

Mebulous:

ShadowStar42:
The Hunger Game and Battle Royal both took their core concept from Greek myth, so calling either a rip off doesn't really seem fair (unless you really want to go back to whoever wrote the story of the minotaur). Personally I really liked The Hunger Games precisely because it does focus on the politics of the situation and on the relationships between the characters.

Director Kinji Fukasaku has said that he based this movie on his experiences in World War II Japan, where he worked in a factory that was regularly bombed by Allied aircraft and many of his fellow workers were killed on their first or second day on the job and he never got to know any of them.

But that's just the movie version, not the original novel.

oh I thought we were talking movies, sorry :0

burymagnets:

DVS BSTrD:

Iron Criterion:
It has a gratuitous romance thrown in? Because the protagonist needs a motivation other than, oh I don't know - survival instinct? Sounds like tween trash to me.

However I am going to see it this weekend so I'll then be able to compare the two in more depth.

No the Romance was played up for the capital spectators (the tributes can be sent aid packages while in the arena, but you need sponsors to pay for them) The two leads had only met once before they were chosen as tributes, although Peeta really IS in love with Katniss.

There's a romantic relationship at the centre of Battle Royale too, it's just... realistically portrayed.

Hunger games is very tweeny, but its not bad, its just tweeny.

I wouldn't say it's tweeny so much as it is a reflection of the main character as a person. She just doesn't think about romance. Besides there's the set-up itself to think about: One guy she's only met once before confessing his love for her, and the other is her best friend.

thehorror2:
The core plot of the books is, from what I understand (not having read either battle royal or any of the hunger games series) but the world of the two is very different. While the titular battle of battle royale is merely for the amusement of depraved adults, the hunger games represent a cultural domination on the part of the aristocracy that subjugates the working classes and makes them sacrifice their best and brightest children for a shot at prosperity.

If that doesn't seem like a big enough difference to you, well... shut up, girls are finally flipping out over a series with a better moral than Twilight. Don't ruin it.

Needless to say, the "enjoyment of the adults" aspect only went as far as a few high level party members in the totalitarian government holding a betting pool. For the rest of it, the subjugation was the point.

Mebulous:

Queen Michael:

Mebulous:

Director Kinji Fukasaku has said that he based this movie on his experiences in World War II Japan, where he worked in a factory that was regularly bombed by Allied aircraft and many of his fellow workers were killed on their first or second day on the job and he never got to know any of them.

But that's just the movie version, not the original novel.

oh I thought we were talking movies, sorry :0

We are; I just meant that the memories of the director can't have been the original inspiration for the story.

Queen Michael:

Mebulous:

Queen Michael:

But that's just the movie version, not the original novel.

oh I thought we were talking movies, sorry :0

We are; I just meant that the memories of the director can't have been the original inspiration for the story.

There's an afterward by the author in my copy of the book. If I'm remembering this right, he was inspired by two things: one, his love of pro wrestling (no, really), and two, his annoyance at just how strong of a cultural value conformity was in Japan. The book was his idea of what would happen if a totalitarian government ever arose in Japan; he felt like his own culture had such a strong group think going that such a government would never collapse from within. The general plot was his way of squeezing a battle royale from pro-wrestling (I think it's called royal rumble in the west these days) into that setting.

Queen Michael:

Mebulous:

Queen Michael:

But that's just the movie version, not the original novel.

oh I thought we were talking movies, sorry :0

We are; I just meant that the memories of the director can't have been the original inspiration for the story.

Unless, of course, you are/were like me and ignorant of it being a book previous to being a movie. In which case it is very plausible for the memories of a director to be an original inspiration for a story. Again, sorry for the mix-up, as I read that quote years ago when I first watched that movie.

You said it yourself. Battle Royale is about the fighting and THG is much more about the characters and the politics. IMO they're both equally valid appproaches.

Also, I'm getting pretty sick to death of people comparing Battle Royale to THG. They have the same premise. I get it.

No need to bring it up every 5 seconds.

when i heard the plot of Hunger Games i did think 'that sounds a lot like Battle Royale'. hope it's as good

The problem with Battle Royale is the same problem that the Japanese version of "The Ring" had that all actors are young Asians, same age range, same hair colour, same eye colour, basically the same size and build and you can't tell who is who unless one of them has a beard. Then he's the guy with the beard and everyone else just blends together.

The difference is that The Mildly Peckish Games is basically Battle Royale dumbed down for people who really probably wouldn't like Battle Royale. Although I will say with absolute sincerity that I really hope that it does better at being "That Movie" than the Twilight movies. I'm definitely a fan of having our young female lead characters pine and be confused about relationships AND SHOOT THINGS than just pine and be confused about relationships.

just my 2 cents.

I've been asking this question endlessly since I heard about the Hunger Games. However no one I know who has actually read the books has even heard of Battle Royale.

draconiansundae:
I've been asking this question endlessly since I heard about the Hunger Games. However no one I know who has actually read the books has even heard of Battle Royale.

Hey there =) Ive seen Battle Royale. And read/watched the Hunger Games. I make 1, right?

MammothBlade:

Also, greatest troll ever:

image

If by troll you mean "ACTUALLY a murderous raping psychotic" as opposed to someone who's just trying to get a reaction from people by ACTING like a murderous raping psychotic, then yeah.

Meh... What about Condemned and the Running man...? There are other films/media in this genre...!

I don't think it is a rip off... more of a re-imagining. That has happened multiple times in the past, but successfully... for instanceThe Longest Yard, and Mean Machine... or even I am Legend, which is so different from the book and the original movie (the Omega Man), yet is still good...

Sorry to say, but pledging allegience to a cheaply made Japanese gore flick, with some of the funniest worst acting I have ever seen, just because you are unhappy that a remake is more popular is a bit fanboyish...! I like Battle Royal too, but I understand that a lot of people don't like action driven, poor acting and voice over, and mindless killing, where as from what I have been told, the Hunger Games puts a lot more thought into the why and the how and the characters...!

Hell... the fact that it has attracted so much attention, and so many people have read it, cannot be a bad thing in any aspect! It must have something about it!

Queen Michael:

I don't get it. What's the minotaur story got to do with Battle Royale? A hero killing a monster isn't exactly the same as school kids forced to kill each other. I mean, yeah, killing is involved, but apart from that...

In the story a Greek king (I forget his name, started with an M though) sent 14 children to battle the minotaur every year (or every 5 or 7 years something like that) and chose those from his servant cities to keep them in line. Collins listed it as one of her inspirations.

Mebulous:

Director Kinji Fukasaku has said that he based this movie on his experiences in World War II Japan, where he worked in a factory that was regularly bombed by Allied aircraft and many of his fellow workers were killed on their first or second day on the job and he never got to know any of them.- IMDB

And Collins listed Theseus and the Minotaur and the war in Afghanistan as her inspirations. She, and Fukasaku were both probably influenced by a lot of things that they didn't cite.

techmec21:
Ok, this is just me wanting to get a general opinion from the strongly-opinionated people of the Escapist Community. As I'm sure many of you are aware, The Hunger Games movie released today/tonight. For those of you who don't know the plot, it focuses on a bunch of kids being thrown together (by their government) and told to kill each other in order to earn supplies for their respective villages. I read it, didn't like it because it focused less on fighting/killing and more on the romance between characters, along with the politics behind the "game" itself.

On the other hand, you have Battle Royale. The plot of the story is... there are a bunch of kids who are thrown together (by their government) and told to kill each other in order to survive. Last person standing wins. In the book, it's described as originally being a way to keep down the population, while also being a source of sick televised entertainment. A movie was made based off the book, but it received a relatively poor reception. They even made a sequel, which did worse.

Now, to me, these books seem really similar. I liked Battle Royale significantly better than The Malnourished Games. However, with all the hype due to the upcoming movie, everyone's fanatic about it. Barely anybody I talk to has even heard of Battle Royale. I feel that it should have more recognition, especially if such a similar movie is so popular. So, my question is: what's so different about the Hunger Games? If there is no difference, how'd it get so popular? Escapist Community, any thoughts?

tl;dr : Hunger Games and Battle Royale are really similar. So, how did Hunger Games get so popular, especially when Battle Royale is better?

Actually "Battle Royale" is a major cult classic, it not only had a movie, but the movie went over well enough to spawn a sequel:

http://www.amazon.com/Battle-Royale-Revenge-Uncut-SE/dp/B000KF0W30/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1332534133&sr=8-1

You'll also see things on Amazon like "collections" with both movies and so on.

The second movie is the one that people generally hate, at least in the US. It got away from the basic idea of the series into a massive criticism of the US. It literally has the characters going to Afghanistan which is presented as being some kind of terrorized utopia. This being made in 2005, so yeah the analogy is intentional.

That said, the idea of "The Hunger Games" is very old, as Moviebob points out it's very similar to "The Running Man" which can ultimatly be brought back to things like "The Most Dangerous Game". Over the years we've seen things like "Hard Target" with Van Damme, the pseudo-cult classic "Series 7", a Stone Cold Steve Austin vehicle with condemned prisoners (I can't remember the title), and another movie I can't remember the title of with Ice T (I think) and Gary Busey.... or heck even "Gymkata".

I think what makes "The Hunger Games" stand out is that it was written with feminist sensibilities as opposed to those for a more action-oriented, male audience, and happened to be marketed for the whole "Twilight" crowd which is a rising demographic. Just as "Twilight" was hardly a unique idea, the same is true of "The Hunger Games" and the way the series develops (which can be compared to "The Running Man" either the story or the movie, and Battle Royale's progression in the second movie... which moved well away from the intent of the book), it just happened to be aimed at exactly the right audience at exactly the right time.

I tend to see "The Hunger Games" and "Twilight" as bosom buddies on a lot of levels, filling a similar niche today to what "Fear Street" books were filling for kids right about the time I was entering college and was too old to really appreciate them. Albiet this kind of "young adult" fiction is aimed specifically at a female audience and simply doesn't mind if it picks up some male fans along the way, where things like "Fear Street" were aimed at more of a general audience. Part of it is doubtlessly that women rarely have stories like this aimed at them and stylized for them.

I use "Fear Street" as an example largely because before the contreversies that helped shelve then and get the creator(s) to focus almost exclusively on entirely kiddie fair due to young adults being too touchy for them and stepping over the line into "adult" material one time too often, it was an example of a crazy amount of world building for a young adult series and despite what you might think had a lore behind it which while not as good, could probably be compared to HP Lovecraft's Mythos in it's level of detail. That kind of thing helped drive the series. If you check some "Fear Street" fan sites and look at the timelines and such you'll see exactly how deep that rabbit hole can go... and remember the age it was written for. I've read a few and still own some (which is why I am familiar with them, and how I decided they were too "young" for me when they came out), but a lot of my knowlege comes from having played a lot of PNP RPGs, especially horror games, with people a few years younger than me around that time, and a lot of the people I gamed with were heavily into them.... and the point is that it seems almost EXACTLY like what Twilight and The Hunger Games and their audience is like, except with a lot more girls and fem-nerds than there are guys in the audience.

from my housemate who has read both (as I haven't had time to read Battle Royale since I heard of it about a month ago)

Hunger Games and Battle Royale have similar ideas, but the approach is different. Batle Royale characterises the kids overall more, but Hunger Games explores the world more. Both are good.

techmec21:
tl;dr : Hunger Games and Battle Royale are really similar. So, how did Hunger Games get so popular, especially when Battle Royale is better?

Barely anybody I talk to has even heard of Battle Royale.

You answered your own question XD

Seriously, why does most PG films get so huge? They streamline better, usually more obscure stories.

Vault101:
being similar does not making somthing a rip-off

Err... Correct me if I've missed something, but I don't think the thread-starter actually accused The Hunger Games of being a rip-off. He's just wondering why two books with very similar plots have had such different levels of success.

To answer the question: I think it's just because The Hunger Games is more accessible to (and more targeted towards) younger readers. And it probably doesn't hurt that it was recommended by Stephenie Meyer.

Vault101:
being similar does not making somthing a rip-off

is fallout a rip off as mad max? NO they both just happen to use the "desert wasteland" theme

Nobody said anything about either being a ripoff, the question was merely speculating about what makes one more popular than the other when both are similar concepts, and in the OP's opinions, the less popular is actual better.

Anyways, from what I've gathered simply be noticing the trend of commentary coming from women in my social circles over the past few months, they seem to be the bulk of the fan base. Leading me to assume that, as a few others have mentioned, the The Hunger Games greater focus on romantic plot points has drawn in and solidified the youth/teen/young adult female fanbase, same sort of situation as Twilight.

No idea what the movie is actually like, nor the books, but that seems to be where the popularity is coming from.

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