OMIGOD WHAT DID I GET INTO.
Before I talk about how awful “Battle Royale II: Blitz Royale” is, I want to address something else that makes a mockery of the original manga…
Yes. The Battle Royale movie. On its own, it isn’t a bad movie. Heck, it’s Quentin Tarantino’s favorite film. But is there any surprise that’s the case?
The Battle Royale film is probably based more on the novel, since there’s aspects that differ from the manga. Like Kiriyama’s design. Here, he’s physically similar to Ed from Cowboy Bebop. At least his hair is. Not a compliment.
And from what I gather, the teacher is different from the novel to the manga to the film. In the novel and the manga, the teacher has the same role: A government employee, no one has met him, and he’s just vile and twisted. The main difference is their names. In the film, the teacher is Kitano, who the class has had before, and seems to be there to have revenge on the class that mocked and stabbed him.
The main issue with Kitano is that they know him, while the opposite is true of Kiriyama. What makes the teacher scary in the manga is that no one knows who he is, and therefore don’t know any of his weaknesses. In the film, Kitano is a sad, pathetic man with a distant child and a crush on Noriko. Yes. Not lust, but puppy love. Heck, he brings her an umbrella in the middle of the program! Is this the fearsome teacher one would expect?
Meanwhile, Kiriyama is all wrong. Instead of a permanent poker face, he has normal emotions! And he is nowhere near the threat that Mitsuko serves. Actually, Mitsuko was done right, but her back story is dumbed down.
I understand that a movie has different pacing than a fifteen volume manga, but it still feels rushed. I think the movie is good in its own right, but can’t stand up to the patience that the manga serves.
Okay, Battle Royale II.
Plot: Everything is wrong. Everything. The art is wrong, the plot is wrong, the characters are wrong, wrong, wrong. Sigh… Makoto Hashimoto is SUCH A LOSER. She’s apparently the class jinx. Her class is chosen to be part of a different program, which is more like the army than Hunger Games. I’m not even sure how to describe the rest of the plot. Basically, they want to find a way home, but the only way out is to take a test that no one in previous years has passed. Can they do it? No.
First, and oddly my biggest complaint, the artwork. Yeah. Usually I’d complain about how the characters in this manga don’t give off a single emotional connection or how the plot strays too far from the original concept, but honestly, I find the art most off-putting.
When you read the original manga, you can tell everyone apart. Some are tall, some are short. Some are fat, some are thin. Some are ugly, some are beautiful. But in this mess, everyone looks six degrees away from everyone else. The art ruins any chance of this being a good manga. Plus, everyone has Dumbo ears.
I’ll admit, the plot could have been worse. True, it’s different than the original concept. But could you honestly imagine a repeat of that idea? Props to the creators, I think I’d rather have this than a copy of what worked.
But that’s the problem. It worked. This… doesn’t. How stupid are the creators of this program to attached the soldiers with exploding collars? Why give the students a chance to kill their oppressors? It makes no sense! Speaking of making no sense, we pretty much focus on Makoto. Everyone else is just a cardboard cutout of a character. What I loved about Battle Royale is the way they made me care about its forty-two combatants. I don’t know how many students are in Battle Royale II, and I don’t care.
Makoto’s really annoying as well. She cries and has no skills to speak of. Some of the other characters are more take-charge, but by then it’s pointless to care. Not because they die. Actually, there’s few fatalities until the end. No, it’s pointless to care because it’s only two volumes and no one is fleshed-out enough. That was a huge mistake.
And of course, it end abruptly. Like all bad manga, we never truly understand what happened to characters poorly drawn that we don’t care about.
Don’t look for Battle Royale II online, because you’ll just be disappointed. Frankly, I’m glad it never got an American release. A mess like this can stay at home.