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The Hunger Games vs Battle Royale

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Jaime Leslie When it comes to adolescents battling each other to the death, only two films have gotten it right. Join as we pit the "The Hunger Games" against "Battle Royale" to see which movie did it best. For this showdown, we'll only be evaluating the original films in their respective franchises, meaning no sequels. Special thanks to our users perryhigh and Margaret Rd. for submitting the idea on our Interactive Suggestion Tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Script written by Jaime Leslie

The Hunger Games vs Battle Royale

When it comes to adolescents battling each other to the death, only two films have gotten it right. Welcome to, and today we’ll be pitting the “The Hunger Games” against “Battle Royale” to see which movie did it best.

For this showdown, we’ll only be evaluating the original films in their respective franchises, meaning no sequels.

Round 1: Backstory

In “The Hunger Games,” we’re introduced to the post-apocalyptic future of Panem. The country is divided into twelve Districts, in addition to the prosperous Capitol. In retribution for the Districts’ defiance, every year a televised death match known as the Hunger Games is hosted that requires one male and one female tribute from each District to compete. The participants who make it to the end award their District with much needed food, supplies, and currency, and are granted celebrity status.

Unlike the organized approach of “The Hunger Games,” “Battle Royale” sees a random class of Japanese junior high students become the victims of a radical law known as the BR Act. After being hoodwinked into attending a “field trip,” students of class 3-B find themselves gassed and brought to a briefing room where they are educated on their forced entry into the annual Battle Royale. They are then set loose onto a remote island where they are expected to either hunt or be hunted.

Taking into account the premise’s rich history and attention to detail, “The Hunger Games” takes this round.

WINNER: The Hunger Games 1 / Battle Royale 0

Round 2: Characters

The protagonist and hero of “The Hunger Games” is Katniss Everdeen. She and Peeta Mellark have been chosen to compete in the 74th Annual HungerGames for District 12. To guide the two tributes is Haymitch Abernathy, District 12’s only living victor of the games from 24 years ago. Despite Peeta harboring strong feelings for Katniss, his love goes unreciprocated due to her strong feelings for childhood friend Gale Hawthorne.

Battle Royale differs from “The Hunger Games” as it puts a strong emphasis on class 3-B as a whole. However, the story particularly centers on Shuya Nanahara. Class 3-B’s teacher Kitano, acts as the students’ escort into the hellish playing field. After the death of Shuya’s closest friend Nobu, he becomes compelled to protect his late friend’s crush Noriko.

Less is always more when it comes down to building a memorable cast of characters. “The Hunger Games” gets this round for overall consistency and the strength of its main cast.

WINNER: The Hunger Games 2 / Battle Royale 0

Round 3: Rules of the Game

Once selected at reaping, each tribute is given a week to prepare themselves for the deadly Hunger Games. Each combatant begins the competition on a platform in the outdoor arena. After a minute has passed, the tributes must then gather weapons and supplies from the Cornucopia Bloodbath and begin the games. The Hunger Games are deemed complete when only one tribute is left standing. However, fans of the series know that those rules can change, if it serves the Capitol – and the story.

In “Battle Royale” you’ll find the rules are fairly similar; however, the stakes are raised a bit higher. After debriefing, the students are let out into the wilderness one by one with nothing but a bag of food, water, map of the island, compass, and a random weapon. They are of course also outfitted with a detonation collar that threatens to end the life of any student that decides to not participate or wander outside of the designated area. These rules are steadfast.

Sorry “Hunger Games,” but the odds are even less in the favor of the students of class 3-B. Because of how strict their rules are, this round goes to “Battle Royale.”

WINNER: The Hunger Games 2 / Battle Royale 1

Round 4: Weapons

The weapons provided in “The Hunger Games” don’t vary too much in terms of specificity. Most are bladed and come crafted with holes in them for lighter carry. The ranged weapons are comprised of blowguns, throwing knives, and bow and arrows, the last of which is commonly seen sported by District 12’s Katniss. Guns are strictly prohibited in the games, so in the struggle to survive, the tributes get their hands dirty.

While fairness may be a virtue to some degree in “The Hunger Games,” you’ll find none of that in “Battle Royale.” The array of weaponry is vast and can vary from an automatic firearm to a paper fan to a pot lid, thereby lowering the survival likelihood of certain students. Other than guns, most students are equipped with bladed or blunt objects. However, the craftier participants are more likely to use their surroundings as their best weapon.

Variety is indeed the spice of life, and that gives “Battle Royale” the point for this round.

WINNER: The Hunger Games 2 / Battle Royale 2

Round 5: Social Commentary

There’s a lot to think about throughout “The Hunger Games,” but one of the more prominent themes would have to be the statement on fascism. In the dystopian nation of Panem, The Capitol is the overarching rule of the land, and they oppress the districts by use of their extensive wealth and exploitation. Every year the districts are forced to participate in their deathly show for their own entertainment, which also makes a strong – almost preachy – point about our society’s fixation with reality television.

While “Battle Royale” appears to tackle similar topics, it’s more a statement on Japan’s history of student boycotts and protests, and less about the division of power. Being a controversial topic in its own country allows the movie’s underlying premise to go over the heads of most foreign audiences, which may have been its purpose. Unlike the Hunger Games, the Battle Royales are held in private and not broadcast for the rest of the world to see. It plays out as an internal conflict between Japanese students and the government.

“The Hunger Games” may address some intriguing topics, but fails to match its competitor’s multi-layered and more subtle approach. This round goes to “Battle Royale.”

WINNER: The Hunger Games 2 / Battle Royale 3

Both of these films may contain some awesome teenage death battles, but “Battle Royale” proves to be the more well rounded film.

Was this verdict not in your favor? Be sure to debate in the comments and subscribe to for more entertaining versus battles.

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