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Battle Royale Vol. 15 - Koushun Takami

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Genre: Graphic Novels / Comics / Author: Koushun Takami / Paperback / 224 Pages / Book is published 2007-11-01 by Tokyopop

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      04.07.2010 15:18
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      A great ending to a brilliant series

      The last review in my series on the manga adaptation of the 1999 novel Battle Royale, by Koushun Takami, about a group of high school students who are sent to an island and told to kill one another off.

      --

      The final volume of the series, the battle between Kazuo Kiriyama and our three heroes continues - with Kiriyama badly injured from a shot to the face by Noriko in the last volume, the killer is rendered pretty weak. And although unwilling at first to finish the job, Shuya, with the memories of all his dead classmates behind him, finds the strength and will to shoot Kiriyama and finish him off. Just before he perishes, Kiriyama, whose backstory we were treated to last volume, whispers to Shuya that he can "finally feel again".

      Then Shogo points a gun at the two and it seems he is the winner, aboard the ferry leaving the island to bring him back home. The teacher congratulates him, but gunshots from outside indicating an attack from Shuya means that Shogo's plans to defeat the Program has succeeded.

      Shogo stabs the teacher through the neck with a pencil and looks like clear sailing, but he is dying from a gunshot wound obtained in the fight.

      With Shogo gone, Shuya and Noriko meet up with Shinji's revolutionary aunt, who helps them get on a boat, away from Japan and to New York, where they can start a new life.


      ---


      With it concludes the story, the immensely long 15-volume story of the students on the island. I guess the ending was a bit obvious, but it's not like it could have ended any other way. From the moment the Game started, as much as we had hoped and wished, it was obvious that every other student was going to die on the island, leaving only our heroes to survive, but it's not like it didn't take us on a lot of stray paths filled with twists and turns.

      The final volume of the series really does try its best to pull at the emotional side of things - now with all of the action gone, and Kiriyama rendered pretty much useless, there wasn't going to be much hope for any real gunfights or anything, although the scene aboard the boat is pretty cool.

      And it works. The story pulls all the right emotional strings, with the memories of all the students from the Game, and the sadness when Shogo died. He was, after all, one of the more tragic characters in the story.

      However, I like how it ended and I don't think I could have asked for a more fitting end. It leaves you with this taste of hope, which indicates that, while the story might be over, there's a whole life ahead of our heroes.

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