Manga Review — Battle Royale by Koushun Takami & Masayuki Taguchi

Battle Royale is a manga series that follows a bunch of Grade 9 students who are tricked into participating in The Program which compels them to kill each other in order to survive on the island they have been sent to. They are each given a bag with the necessities like a weapon, a map, water, food etc. But just enough to keep them going for a while, after which they have to resort to other means. Spanning over fifteen volumes, the manga explores how negative circumstances bring out the worst in people. Yet many of them are alight with hope and faith in the humaneness of their fellow classmates.

Shuuya, Mimura, Kawada, Noriko and Sugimura are the main characters who influence others and try to rebel against the Program. Flash backs help us understand who these students were and what they are forced to become in order to live. A majority of the characters are killed off in the first ten volumes until only the main ones are left. Every few hours or so, certain sections of the island are made danger zones which ensures that inactivity is just not an option. In a scenario where even the minutest of movements by one has an impact on the life of another, these barely grown ups loose every sense of childhood and become endangered by the demon within. A journey that captures loss & suffering and how people cope with them, marks this series of brutality, love and camaraderie.

I loved Hunger Games when it came out. And what drew me to this manga is that. But unlike Hunger Games, there is way to much of character overload in this series. Many a times it was difficult to keep track of who died, who killed whom. And the switch between flash backs to present wasn’t an easy transition – maybe because this is my second manga series and I am not used to reading it. I really adored Shuuya, Mimura and Sugimura’s trio. They are good friends even in school and have always stood up for what’s right. Despite the extreme violent conditions on the island, we are privy to some lovey-dovey scenes between a few couples. It may seem insensitive or wrongly place but what better time to realize/express one’s love for another than when they are surely about to die.

sleep well
Illustrated by Masayuki Taguchi.

I felt that the detailing or graphic content was too overwhelming at times – gory to be specific – complete with the split gut, blood pouring, beheaded scenes. I don’t mind some violence but almost all the volumes were filled with such bloody depictions. There is some sexual content in there too. Overall, this manga is not subtle in any way. Its a very open, straightforward portrayal of the fear and wrath that engulfs people when they are pushed beyond their limits. The story is reasonably good (in an infuriating way), dialogues are simple and well thought out. The sketches were the only major thing I had some problem with. The climax and the twist towards the end are good but not brilliant. I feel quite a lot of people could have been saved had they been given a thought. If ninth graders can wield a machine gun then they can think sensibly too. Overwhelming is not a good enough word for this manga. But if you are into Hunger Games + a lot of gore, then give it a try.

Ratings – 3.5 stars on 5.

– Meera

The Lights Do Flicker.

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GIF Courtesy of mrdiv.tumblr

 

A sphere awash with colors.
Colors that one doesn’t heed.
Since heeding took up time.
And time is as costly as money.

If we could have our own lights.
Lights that would change color.
Then what color would set aside
Any side of this sphere?

But dim now and bright before.
Would bright then again repeat?
In this fast lane, repeats gone,
Gone before a heart’s beat.

– Meera

The Right Side of the Bed.

Where mornings are rejuvenating.
Where some more answers reside.
Where life is not a race
But a road-trip.
Where the life lessons relax,
Awaiting our return.
Where the wind rests
Around us, not ruffled
By our lethargy. Relentless
Faith in our companions remain.
Where the concert of chimes resonates.
On this side of the bed, our Joys write.
Or are set right.

- Meera

Disclaimer – Image courtesy of Google. I do not own the image used in this post. 

#DearMe : Stay Strong!

Disclaimer – Image courtesy of Google. I do not own the image used in this post. 

#DearMe is a tag I’ve seen floating around the web so I decided to to do it. Its just something you want your “younger self” to have known, all this while growing up. As a person with distinct traits, I think most of my major values have been the same, growing up – to be positive, to help when needed, to not take advantage of anything – but I have learnt tons since, and that’s something I wish I could race back into the past and tell myself.

DearYoungerMe

I hope you will continue to be who you are. There’s no need to  to try & fit into someone’s “requirements”. Cause people who want an altered version of you, don’t deserve you. I wish you’d be a little less nice. You’ll see why. Also, high school cliques don’t matter in the long run. When you grow up you’d be glad for the two good friends you still have as opposed to the ten who probably won’t remember your second name.
Know that, people will break your heart, and its okay. You’ll walk past it with your head held high. Cause that’s what you and I do, that’s what we are best at. And many of them are going to leave without reason (sometimes stupid reasons). But just understand they’ve done their part in your life. Its time you got to know new people, better people :) Your fear of public speaking is not going to go away unless you try, take the leap. There are people to catch you. Believe me, I’ve tried it and it has only made me more proud of what I can do. 
Lastly, live in the moment. Don’t let a little negativity dampen your spirit. There’s so much to look forward to, these trivialities are just not worth being bitter about for long. Be awesome today, tomorrow and every day after. 

Cheers!

With love, 
The Older You. 

– Meera

The Lesser of Two Evils

Vicious & Bold,
There roams the earth
From legends & tales,
Creatures to behold.

Image Courtesy – Google

Now they’ve arrived,
No disputing races
No mercy or mistake
Will in their ways, subside.

Eye to eye,
They stare us down.
Without a blink
Snuff us out .

And yet I hold dear,
This foreign entity
Who, the lesser of two evils
Dominates all here.

To this day and this end,
I wait. Surely there’s a
Greater doom to mend.

– Meera

(Un)intentional Annoyances & How To Avoid Them.

We all have certain habits that tick off other people. Sure, its normal. But more often than not, they make little sense. People may not be as blunt as they ought, out of the niceness of their heart, but its like the itchy feeling around a scab. You know you must itch but your wound probably wont agree. So the longer you keep repeating such ridiculous behavior, the sooner you can bid your friends goodbye. I’ve tried being nice for the longest time, now I’m just going to be incredible snarky on here. Enjoy, grouch, rant and even turn away, if you have to.

Those that ask you “whats up?” thrice a day. For Heaven’s sake, quit it. I’m just not the party animal that you are. My day comprises of mundane things like going to college, coming home, assignments, eating, sleeping and if I’m lucky then a few minutes of reading or TV. Pardon me, if I don’t have hot updates about the five different parties I attended in a single day. Also, if something was “up” I’d tell you the first time, your question is not going to miraculously make my day more happening.

Two faced rogues. I find tons of these – those who behave enthusiastically face to face and couldn’t bother to reply with a “K” on text message (or vice versa). Now I don’t know how much of their friendliness is a show. Cause, buddy, if I was looking for some drama, I’d switch on the TV. Why you’d, so evidently, want to display your colorful side is beyond me. Its bothersome. Really, it is.

Those that send you their headshots. How beautiful. You’ve grown a minuscule mole since the last selfie you sent me yesterday. Its another matter if the selfie actually shows what you have been upto. And that’s totally fine. As a friend, I want to know whats been keeping you up and happy. But what was the point of zooming in on your nose? And that too, on a daily basis…?

Them negatives. People who are constantly whining about their pathetic lives should know better than to burst our happy bubble. We, positives, could smack your sorry faces and make you see the silver lining. But your gloom wears us down too. We are all for helping you as long as you want to change. If that’s not going to happen, why are you still here?

Insistent, stubborn mules. You really don’t want to encounter these species. They will make you learn new aspects of sign language cause in their presence, that is the only form of communication you’re going to put forth. They will chase the words, forming in your mind, in the opposite direction. Even if the their argument is wrong and the truth is a wide-open-eye distance away, they are going to shake their pesky little head at you, till the ground swallows them up.

What do you do if you identify yourself with an annoying habit? Reflect and put a cork on it (or not, whatever floats your boat) :P This post wasn’t meant to hurt anyone, just a few thoughts I’ve been having for awhile. I hope I didn’t scare you off with all that jazz. I do enjoy making new friends :D

Peace.

– Meera