I was extremely excited to get my hands on Battle Royale: Angels Border, what I got was poor plot development, random tangents which made no sense towards the original story and a whole lot of time wasting that I could have been using to re-read the original.
Battle Royale: Angels Border is a side story to the original Japanese manga series written by Koushun Takami and illustrated by Masayuki Taguchi. This story, by Koushun Takami and Mioko Ohnishi, is a narrative of six girls who are apart of a brutal military experiment called The Program that pits junior high students against each other every year in a brutal battle to the death. Most of the students from Shiroiwa Junior High are beside themselves, scattering, breaking down, and some, killing. However, Yukie Utsumi and five of her friends lock themselves in a lighthouse, clinging to a desperate hope of survival. This hope may not be enough, they all trust each other, but they also know that only one can survive the Battle Royale…
This manga felt clumsy and nonsensical, whereby, character motivations were glossed over and important characters weren’t made known being a completely missed opportunity.
This is how I thought before I went online to see if others had shared my distaste for the novel. Reading hundreds of comments, reviews and opinions, I began to understand the story again, why these single characters and girls in the lighthouse had such a profound influence of the series. The innocence of these six girls in a lighthouse is broken down with suspicion, anxieties and trust all being at play when a boy enters their mists. My opinion had changed.
At this point, I would’ve liked further development into Satomi and the reasons behind her resentment to men which caused her to distrust her friends so much. It all comes back to wanting more, which I feel like is the reason I didn’t resonate with these stories immediately. My frustration is rooted at this point due to the fact that Satomi was the catalyst and representation of distrust and the absence of loyalty that comes with suspicion. The reason the girls failed at surviving is her burden to carry (along with a swift accidental assist from Yuko).
The art style was also superb among both stories (Shinji is hot- like extremely hot) and left more to be desired from the original series. It felt as though the art styles not only differentiated between the stories, but resonated with the unique character qualities and traits of the focused characters. At first, I was a tad taken aback to a style I was not used to of this series, but I was able to adapt quickly.
There was clarity in the relationships between some of the girls and their motivations for undertaking such actions with Yukie and Haruka being able to convey their feelings about the situation. The actions of Yuko and Satomi were not explained very well which I feel was an obvious miss for this novel. I feel like more could have been explored with these two and could branch out into another novel or series in the future. It would be interesting to dissect their characters and pasts to understand the circumstances they felt they were in and why they took on such burdens.
The main thing that I found that this story had is relatablity. It’s not an unusual story to come by. A homosexual un-reciprocated love with a girl and her best friend, a girl who thinks that hot popular guy is way out of her league and a death match between a bunch of high school students, right? Joking aside, the characters begin to show us layers of who they are and adds more depth to them with insight into their reactions of being in the killing game. It adds more pain to their deaths when identifying their hopeful futures and relationships with each other being broken down into nothingness, despair.
I enjoyed the second part of the manga much more than the first, this can most likely be attributed to me enjoying the company of Shinji and Chiasto more than Haruka and Yukie among other things. The first seemed to be leading nowhere for me apart from admiting to the audience that Haruka loved Yukie and Yukie loved Nanahara.
Overall, reading the manga was mildly enjoyable. After doing background research, regaining my memory of the past series and love for some of the characters, I realised that this story is well rounded with an aesthetic and unique art style for both narratives. It was a nice way to get back into the BR universe and has lead me to promptly begin rereading the original manga.
I think that in my experience, a six out of ten poisoned soups would be fair.
~ krisesandchrosses ~