Viz to publish new 'Battle Royale' graphic novel

Before there was The Hunger Games, there was Battle Royale, the novel, manga and film about a teenagers subjected to a deadly elimination game. And now there's more.

Viz Media has announced it will publish Battle Royale: Angels' Border, a new graphic novel by Koushun Takami, author of the original Battle Royale novel. The two-chapter story is complete in a single volume and features artwork by Mioko Ohnishi and Youhei Oguma. It's a stand-alone story about six of the girls who lock themselves in a lighthouse during the competition, and like all of Battle Royale, it deals with the precarious balance between the need to unite with others and the need to kill them in order to survive.

In the original, an authoritarian government transported a high-school class to a deserted island, gave them deadly weapons and instructed them to fight each other to the death; only one student could survive. Viz published the original novel in 2003, and this year released a new translation, Battle Royale: Remastered, under its Haikasoru science fiction imprint. The manga was published in 2003 by Tokyopop, which re-released it four years later in Ultimate Edition format.

When I interviewed then Tokyopop editor Rob Tokar about the new edition, he pointed out that while the story is full of gore (which kept the manga out of many chain bookstores at the time), there was much more to it than that. "The creators spend a lot of time doing flashbacks of the characters’ lives before they get into the situation, so you really get to know them," he said. "It’s not just killing and gore, it’s the characters’ relationships and what they are trying to do in the worst situation of their lives."

Battle Royale: Angels' Border is Takami's first new work since Battle Royale. It was originally serialized in Young Champion Magazine in 2011 and released in Japan as a graphic novel the following year.

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