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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Hunger Games Vs Battle Royale

In response to my glowing review to Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games, my little sister suggested me to read Koushun Takami's Battle Royale. I have never read the book before, and upon browsing I found in Wikipedia: "the parallels are striking enough that Collins's work has been savaged on the blogosphere as a baldfaced ripoff," 

It was not.

I have finished reading Battle Royale and the whole Hunger Games Trilogy, and I am happy to say I seriously questioned whether the people who 'savaged' Suzanne Collins' work have read both her works and Koushun Takami's. Despite the underlying circumstances (teens forced to kill each other in a game held by dictatorial government) there is nothing similar about the two works: the rules are different, the story lines are different, the approaches are different, and most importantly the ideology behind them are different. If this single idea, the great battle royale/killing spree, is a girl, Suzanne Collins dressed her up just like Katniss: neat braided hair, the small luxurious golden mockingjay pin, tight suit to ease movement, and dramatic yet functional makeup. On the other hand, Koushun Takami dressed her up just like the Japanese girl: school-uniform, sickle, teenage makeup, all normal except the wild crazy eyes which gives us the hell-of-a creep. Hunger Games is the Pop music, Battle Royale is the Rock music. Hunger Games ended with a feeling of achievement, Battle Royale ended with a feeling of 'More!!!'

This, is of course, the books. I have yet watched the movies nor that I am inclined too, as the characters have resided quite comfortably in my mind, but I can assure you that whoever made the movies was definitely not the authors. Movies adapted from the books almost always lacked that little details that the original books have, the little character details and word choices that tell us how a character really feels or the emotion he/she went through. Watching the clip, maybe it is true that the movies look similar, but it is in no way the book's author's fault. It doesn't really make sense to attack the author of the book if the two movies are similar, especially when the two books are so different from one another.

Books, just like songs and movies and any other means of expression, do more than just entertain us; they give us a glimpse of what the author thinks, of who he/she is, of his/her logic and way of thinking. Plagiarism happens, it is inevitable; but where is the fine line behind copying and just accidentally the same? The only way to know this is to compare both works thoroughly, not just skimming through some pages and give out blatant accusations. As I toiled through pages of my writing, I respect Suzanne Collins' work. Even if she did take a page or two from Koushun Takami's book, her trilogy was by no mean a small feat and it was a thoroughly different work of art altogether. It is time for us to stop casting stones so easily and understand more before we express our opinions. In a world where a summer camp casually set "Hunger Games" theme without seeming to understand that the book was about rise of rebellion and more than just a gloriously hide-and-seek-and kill, this task may seemed daunting. But it is worth to try nevertheless.

Suzanne Collins, thank you for a beautiful trilogy that has become one of my favorite.
Koushun Takami, you rock.

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