Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Hunger Games vs. Battle Royale

HUNGER GAMES Plot Synopsis: Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used to be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games." The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When Kat's sister is chosen by lottery, Kat steps up to go in her place.

BATTLE ROYALE Plot Synopsis: As part of a ruthless program by the totalitarian government, ninth-grade students are taken to a small isolated island with a map, food, and various weapons. Forced to wear special collars that explode when they break a rule, they must fight each other for three days until only one "winner" remains. The elimination contest becomes the ultimate in must-see reality television.

Quite some time ago, I read THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins. I thoroughly enjoyed it, then looked up a few reviews to see what others thought. I was surprised to find that some people thought it was a rip off of another book, BATTLE ROYALE by Koushun Takami. Intrigued, I sought out this book to see if they were right.

ETA: people have been commenting here and there about this post, and saying that I've only read HUNGER GAMES and not BATTLE ROYALE. Even though the above paragraph states I've read it, I just want to be clear. I have read the book version of Battle Royale. As in, the original storyline that was later turned into movies and manga. I have not seen the movie, nor read the manga series. So everything in this post is related to the book version only. But, I have read it. Moving on...

As with all my book discussions, there are SPOILERS below.

The stories are very similar. Very. They are centered around teenagers forced to kill each other, and only one can survive. The government, which is all-powerful, has put them there because they are trying to control some aspect of the country. Those running the “games” can alter the environment so the chances of conflict is higher. The kids have access to weapons, though what they can get isn’t always equal to what someone else has. There’s a romance between the two survivors. The two survivors break the rules in order for both of them to leave the “games.”

That said, these stories are not the same and there are some major differences.

Ms. Collins says she based her story on the Greek myth THESEUS AND THE MINOTAUR - King Minos of Crete waged war on Athens. He won, then demanded that the Athenians deliver 7 boys and 7 girls every seven years, to be sacrificed to the Minotaur. Theseus, prince of Athens, volunteered to go, determined to kill the Minotaur and end the horror. He fulfilled his task and returned home with all fourteen children. This fits with the kids that are selected by lottery, one boy and one girl, from thirteen different districts. In BATTLE ROYALE, all the kids of one class are sent to the arena, where they are forced to kill each other. That dynamic makes things hugely different, because you know everyone you are supposed to kill. Whereas, in HUNGER GAMES, you might know the other person who came from your district. But you won’t know the others. It makes involvement in the game a little easier.

Another big differences is the audiences. In BATTLE ROYALE, none of the country’s population is allowed to watch the games. They don’t even know it’s going on until it’s over and the winner is shown briefly on TV. In HUNGER GAMES, it’s the opposite. The population is required to watch the games, from start to finish. This illustrates very different motivations on the part of the government. BATTLE ROYALE: the point is to keep the people from trusting each other so they don’t rise against the government. HUNGER GAMES: the point is to punish the people because their ancestors rebelled and lost, and the government wants the survivors to never forget who’s boss. This makes for a very different flavor in each book.

The last major difference is that BATTLE ROYALE is far more violent and graphic than HUNGER GAMES. Plus, BATTLE ROYALE has multiple viewpoints, which makes it far more exhausting to read. You read from a character’s point of view, cheer them on through surviving a fight with his classmate, and then he’s killed by another classmate who had seen the whole thing and ambushed him. This happened often, and I eventually stopped cheering for the characters. In HUNGER GAMES, the story is told from one person’s perspective. We don’t see all the killing and violence – we just know it’s happening. It still has an impact on the reader, but not to the point where you get sick of all the killing. Essentially, BATTLE ROYALE was written with an adult audience in mind. HUNGER GAMES was written with a young adult audience in mind.

Both stories are good. They are well-written and compelling, and will keep you up at night. But they are not the same story, nor do I think HUNGER GAMES is a rip-off of BATTLE ROYALE. It’s been said that all stories have been told, there are just new ways of telling them. And I think these two books illustrate this point.

ETA: Collins recently gave an interview with the New York Times about this issue, and states she didn't know BATTLE ROYALE existed when she wrote HUNGER GAMES. Here is a snippet:
"When I asked Collins if she had drawn from “Battle Royale,” she was unperturbed. “I had never heard of that book or that author until my book was turned in. At that point, it was mentioned to me, and I asked my editor if I should read it. He said: ‘No, I don’t want that world in your head. Just continue with what you’re doing.’ ” She has yet to read the book or to see the movie."
NOTE: Everyone is welcome to share thoughts and opinions about these books in the comments section. Keep in mind, though, that I have strict rules.
  1. No snark, sarcasm, or outright insults.
  2. No veiled or implied insults.
  3. Be civil, and keep the discussion about the books, NOT about the people discussing the books.
Any comments expressing negative opinions about people on this blog will be deleted, regardless of any relevant content also shared. No exceptions.

90 comments:

shanasilver said...

I got THE HUNGER GAMES for Christmas and I am so anxious to read it. I'm using it as incentive to finish my first draft (have about 10k left to write). This will be my reward.

I'm a little scared though. I really really don't like violence (I usually close my eyes on Grey's Anatomy, for example) and a premise where the protagonist has to kill people freaks me out. But I've been hearing such good things about this book, I think I have to suck it up and try to read it if I can handle it.

I try to avoid books with violence because the images get stuck in my head more than they do on TV. I am still trying to get over a traumatic experience reading GLAMORAMA by Bret Easton Ellis about 10 years ago.

Anyway, I skipped over some of your post due to avoiding spoilers, but I'll come back and read it in full when I finish the book.

C.R. Evers said...

yet another thing I haven't heard yet. I LOVE the Hunger Games. It's not just the story line, stylistically it's tight. The characterization, the tension . . .

I also have a a hard time thinking that people "rip" off a story from another person. I mean really, there aren't that many different skeletal structures for a story to have. The main difference is how the story is told. If that were the case, then almost every fantasy book would be a rip off of Tolkein etc . . .

I can't tell you how many times I've had to change things in my current WIP because after reading a book I find out that I have something that is too close to another book. I'm amazed to find out that I'm not as original as I thought I was. ;0D So, I also have personal experience with how hard it is to come up with something that doesn't seem like a rip off of something else.

But it makes me want to check out Battle Royale. I'm interested to see.

interesting.

Meg Wiviott said...

I am not familiar with either of these books, but now I'm going to have to read them. I'm intrigued by C.R.'s comments about HUNGER GAMES, "It's not just the story line...."

Thanks for sharing.

beth said...

Ah! I got the Hunger Games for Christmas, so I'll wait to read this until I am done with it. It is next on my list.

PJ Hoover said...

Thank you for the great comparison. Since hearing about Battle Royale, I have been tempted to read it to see the similarities.
I loved The Hunger Games and figured even if it was a rip-off of sorts (which maybe it is not), it was super written and deserved the praise it got.

BA Boucher said...

Both books seem to be ripping off something else...The classic The Running Man with the current California Governor.

In all serious they sound dissimilar a quite interesting. It's a little disturbing to read about kids killing each other, but then again, I was raised on Lord of the Flies

Rena said...

Wow, you really thought this out well. Thanks for your comparison. It's nice to hear how books are different, rather than the usual complaint of "it's just a rip-off of such & such ..."

Gottawrite Girl said...

Hmmm... teenagers forced to kill or be killed. Sounds like highschool!!!

: )

Thanks, Tabitha!

Tabitha said...

Shana - it's a good book, and it's not too violent. I'm not good with violence either (Battle Royale was a little too graphic and gruesome for me at times), but Hunger Games didn't go too far with it. Hope you enjoy it!

Christy - it's such a great book, isn't it? And you're so right about it being more than the story line. It's well-written and the characters are real. Very well done. :)

Meg - they're both good books. And Christy is so right when she says there's more to the story than the story line in Hunger Games. It's a really well-done book.

Beth - so many people got this book for christmas! :) Hope you enjoy it, and hope you'll share your thoughts when you're finished!

BA Boucher - LOL! :) I was raised on Lord of the Flies too. It creeped me out as a kid, but I really enjoyed the exploration of what absolute power does to kids. Great book, though it's not for everyone.

Rena - thanks! I think more people ought to examine the similarities and differences a little closer. The same idea does not mean the same story.

GWG - LOL!! Yeah, you're completely right on that one. :)

Marcia said...

Wow, I've never heard of Battle Royale, though I read Hunger Games a while back. I agree that HG is so well written that it would transcend any charge of "rip-off," regardless of similarity to another plot. And in the writing and publishing game, you often have no idea who may have begun their novel first. Her idea could have been original with her.

Mary Witzl said...

When I first heard about The Hunger Games, I did think this book was a rip off of Battle Royale, but you have shown me that this is not so. I hate reading books about killing too, but I'll bet my kids would read it -- they've read Battle Royale and we've even got the movie.

Sheri said...

No such thing as an original thought - right? It's all just reinventing of an old idea. What about Lord of the Flies? You could say that is similar in some ways too, yet very different. We write the stories that present themselves to us. The critique will always compare and criticize.

Keri Mikulski said...

I'm dying to read THE HUNGER GAMES.. I've heard so much buzz surrounding this book. :) Great comparison!

Tabitha said...

Marcia - yeah, publishing takes so long that a novel you wrote ten years ago could be similar to something published this year. I really believe the "all stories have been told, there are just new ways of telling them." :)

Mary - it's definitely not a rip-off. And it's a really good book. I had trouble putting it down, even when my kids were screaming at me for dinner. :)

Sheri - yep! And Collins even said she got her idea from a Greek myth, so nothing original there either. :)

Keri - it's a great read. Fun with not too much violence. I'm sure you'll enjoy it. :)

Paolo said...

Battle Royale was written by a Japanese author while The Hunger Games was written by an American author. Battle Royale came out in 1999 while The Hunger Games came out in 2008. I'm not saying that the Hunger Games is a rip-off of Battle Royale, or am I? Just read Battle Roayle first before you read the Hunger Games.

Tabitha said...

Yes, you could read Battle Royale first, if that's what you want to do. Or you could read Hunger Games first. Or just one of them. Or neither. :)

These two books were written with two different audiences in mind. BR is clearly adult fiction, HG is clearly YA fiction. In my opinion, which came first is irrelevant. They're different enough that one isn't a rip off of another. But that's my opinion, and others are free to come to their own conclusions. :)

Mel said...

I saw the movie Battle Royale then I decided to read the book I loved it I had trouble putting it down. Yet I am a horror and violence fan. Since seeing this new book in the shops I haven't even looked at it after reading the blurb as it sounded like a nicer rip off. But now that I've read your thoughts I'm intrigued. I'm thinking of checking it out, but I don't think anything could beat Battle Royale for me it was just pure genius and bliss.

Anonymous said...

The Running Mans Plot and the Plot of the Hunger Games or Battle Royal have nothing to do with each other. In Running Man you volunteer to be put on Game Shows for Money. While in The Hunger Games and Battle Royal teens are forced by the government to enter an arena and kill each other until one survives. One major difference between The HG and BR is that in the HG the Gamemasters made it important to make the HG interesting for viewers, whereas BR had no such view on the Battle.

Anonymous said...

The violence in the Hunger games is not really something you have to worry about. I'm not going to spoil but i just read it and the last thing im thinking of from that book is the killings, which weren't in much detail. This book is fantastic.

Anonymous said...

Are you serious? Hunger Games is just the bad American take on of Battle Royale. The writing style is a little different but that varies by author; the idea is practically the same. Its ridiculous how you don't see that. Hunger Games is the romanticized verison, its for the people that believe that every ending HAS to be a HAPPY ENDING. Falling in love, and whatnot. Not every good novel needs that junk. Plus you can't claim it is not a rip off if you have not read both of them.

Futhermore, don't read horror novels if your scared; you'd be too afraid to pay attention to detail and make an accurate comment. dolt.

Tabitha said...

This blog is a place to discuss different opinions. All opinions are welcome, and so are healthy debates.

That said, if you cannot be civil and constructive, you have no place here. Any further name-calling like the above will be deleted.

David said...

I'm surprised no one has mentioned The Long Walk in comparisons. It's also a King book, but written under the Bachman name. Of course, the teens don't kill each other, but it has a similar 'death game' theme.

In it, 100 boys must walk as long as they can until only one is left. Their speed must stay above 4mph or they get a warning. After the third warning in a set amount of time, you are 'ticket.'

Unfortunately, getting a 'ticket' means you get your brains blown out.

It has the same evil government role in the backdrop.

Tabitha said...

I've never read that book, so I'll have to pick it up. Thanks for mentioning it!!

Anonymous said...

I am a huge Battle Royale fan. I have read a summary of The Hunger Games on Wikipedia and although the summary probably doesn't do any justice to the book, I don't see why it would be better than Battle Royale. I have also heard that in The Hunger Games there are mutant werewolves or something like that. Now that just doesn't seem realistic to me. Battle Royale felt 100% real to me. And that whole lover interest between Katniss and Peeta, that sound a whole lot like Shuya and Noriko if you know what I mean. Yeah that's just my opinion.

Tabitha said...

I agree that BR is more realistic than HG. And that's mostly because HG was set in the future, while BR was set in present day. The technology used in BR was much closer to what we have today than the technology used in HG, so it's easier to put yourself in the BR setting and imagine it happening to you.

The question, though, isn't which one is better (an individual decides that based on personal preference - I liked both, each having their strengths and weaknesses).

The question is whether HG is a rip off of BR. For me, it's not. There are many similarities, yes, but not enough to warrant it being a blatant rip off.

Anonymous said...

Unlike many people posting here I've read BOTH books. I read Battle Royale first, it's actually one of my favorite books.

I enjoyed Hunger Games. It's lighter, fluffier and a lot more fun. I also think it's great for the teen market. Collins did an excellent job of making likeable and relatable characters.

I also liked how she used the media and how important it is to entertain the public as a plot device. It added another dimension to the story, and since I'm studying journalism and media I love that kind of thing.

While I understand the differences between HG and BR, they're TOO similar. I wasn't able to enjoy Hunger Games because I kept thinking about Battle Royale. Almost every scene in the HG I could think back to a VERY similar scene in Battle Royale. Kind of ruined HG for me, which I really wanted to like.

It's still a good book. But don't use the fact that it's fun or whatever as an excuse for it's unoriginality.

Tabitha said...

"While I understand the differences between HG and BR, they're TOO similar"
For you. I've already said that these stories are very similar, but that doesn't make one a rip of of another. You cannot copyright an idea, and it's possible for two people to have the same idea without crossing paths (look at Hush, Hush and Fallen). Collins took a similar, possibly the same, idea, but she executed it in her own way.

As for the many similar scenes, yes, I found that, too. But there are only so many ways of writing compelling 'fight' scenes in such similar situations. And Collins wrote them in her own way, using her own characters.

"don't use the fact that it's fun or whatever as an excuse for it's unoriginality"
I didn't. Tip: don't tell the blog owner what she can or cannot do in her own domain. :)

If you'd like to point out specific passages to back up your claims, feel free to do so. But please don't tell me I said things that I didn't.

happylittlegirl said...

I don't believe that Collins ripped off Hunger Games from Battle Royale because it's totally possible that she and Koushin Takami just had the "same" idea. That said, what I really wanted to comment about was this:

"Plus, BATTLE ROYALE has multiple viewpoints, which makes it far more exhausting to read. You read from a character’s point of view, cheer them on through surviving a fight with his classmate, and then he’s killed by another classmate who had seen the whole thing and ambushed him. This happened often, and I eventually stopped cheering for the characters."

For me, this wasn't exhausting at all and this was one of the things that made Battle Royale great; because everyone was put into a situation where there's no one truly good and no one truly evil, that you may even understand that the government does what it does because it's had enough of insolent behavior from the youth. So there's no one to root for and you find yourself having no idea of how it's going to end, and even better, you have no idea how you want it to end.

Because it doesn't follow the usual flow of stories, it's one of the most suspenseful (and enjoyable) books I've read.

Tabitha said...

That's great! And I completely agree that Battle Royale is a very compelling and suspenseful story. It surely kept me on the edge of my seat. :)

You've just illustrated something really interesting, which I'd like to expand upon: the reader.

For me, I need to both sympathize with and invest in the characters I read about. In BR, I connected with several characters, only to have them killed a few minutes later. After a few cycles of this, it got too tiring to care about anyone, so I stopped. That diminishes enjoyment for me, and so I didn't enjoy the rest of the story as much as I would have liked. But that's me. :)

Not everyone needs this kind of connection to their characters, so not everyone will have the same experience I did. BR is perfect for that kind of reader (just not for me). :)

shrinkydinks said...

I've read both books (in the order they were published), and loved them both. But I have to say I liked Battle Royale more, probably because HG was geared more at younger audiences, and because BR actually featured all of the 42 participants and did its best to give each a story.

The thing that bothered me about HG wasn't its resemblence to BR, but the fact that it only focused on a select number of "important" characters. And even within those characters, the good guys are all perfect, strong, good-looking and loved by all, and the bad guys are flat characters with no real emotion (This seems to be a trend in teen sci-fi in general). I found it saddening how most of the tributes were not even given a name (the girl from district 3, the boy from district 4...), though their lives could've been just as rough as Kat's. Tabitha is right, for some people that could be tiring; sympathizing with a character only to see them die a few paragraphs later. But even so, I wanted to know what kind of world these unnamed tributes came from, what they lived for and how they died.

But even so, the Hunger Games was a great read, and I'm hoping to get to the sequel sometime soon :)

David said...

I am afraid you are very wrong about the motivations of the government in Battle Royale. In the novel and in the manga series, the death match between all the students is actually broadcasted to the entire population. That is why all the electronic collars have mics in them to ensure quality sound for the tv broadcast. In addition, the Battle Royale Act was enacted in order to punish the rebellious youth who were boycotting schools. When looked at this point of view, it becomes clear that The Hunger Games was very much influenced by Takami's Battle Royale.

Tabitha said...

I haven't read the manga series, so I can't say anything to that. But I have read the original novel, and the kids killing each other was definitely not televised in Battle Royale. Once the battle was over and a winner emerged, then it was announced. But the battles themselves were not televised in the original novel. The manga series may be different, though.

Dark Angel said...

Best book, I've read in years. very high-concept. Can't wait to see the movie!

winegums said...

Obviously there are a lot of people here who love The Hunger Games, and that's fair enough- IMO it's well written.
But I still think it's very fluffy, and basically 'violence-lite'- things never get as gruesome as they do in BR, which is altogether bleaker and harsher on all its characters- and is better for that.

And I actually found the multiple viewpoints a device that enriched the storytelling- the middle-school class who get trapped on the Battle Royale island all take on a three-dimensional quality thanks to this that Collins doesn't quite manage to achieve with any of her characters except for Katniss. (and for all Collins's Minotaur references and the differences in minor details between the two books, the similarities between the two are too many for anyone- anyone who's familiar with both series, that is- to ignore).

Karla said...

Well, a lot of the things I want to point out were already written above, so I only have to comment on one: I find it hard NOT to expect that Katniss will win the Hunger Games, since the book is her point of view. As juvenile as this may seem, if Katniss dies in the middle of it all, the plot stops.

In Battle Royale, having multiple points of view makes the reader think who's going to die next, who's going to survive, etc. While you're rooting for this character this moment, s/he dies in the next, and now you're scrambling to find another character that may (or may not) win. But I can't say the same for The Hunger Games. The moment I read the first two words of THG (after learning prior that it's a kill-or-be-killed book), the fact that Katniss survives became so very clear. Suspense? Not so much.

Tabitha said...

That's great that the multiple viewpoints worked so well for you. For me, it doesn't work, but that's just my personal preference.

And, yes, it was clear from page one that Katniss will survive the Hunger Games, and yet I still thought the story remained suspenseful. For me, it wasn't whether or not Katniss would survive, it was how she would survive, and what she would be willing to do in order to make it. Could she end up living with herself in the end, or would she be riddled with guilt? Those are the things I wanted to know, and it was enough to keep me engaged. Sometimes surviving can be the more difficult thing because you have to live with your actions after the fact. Again, that's just my personal preference.

As for winegums's statement that there are too many similarities to ignore, well, that's really just conjecture. It's entirely possible for two authors to have zero interaction and still come up with very similar storylines. Take Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick and Fallen by Lauren Kate. Those two books came out within two months of each other, and they are so similar that you could argue one ripped off the other. However, that's not possible because it takes years to get a book from a draft, to an editor, through the publishing process, to the shelf. So, it's entirely possible that Collins had never even heard of BR when she wrote HG.

Let's just say, for argument's sake, that Collins did read BR and it did have some influence on HG. So...what? She didn't plagairize, or take chunks of BR and put it into HG. Instead, she took the same basic idea and made it her own.

An idea cannot be copyrighted. It's the execution of that idea that's copyrighted. Whether she came up with the idea on her own, or whether she got it from outside sources makes no difference. The important thing is that took that idea and created her own world filled with her own characters. That's why I don't think HG is a rip off of BR.

Karla said...

I am amazed by how strongly you present your views, and, if I were to be honest, I found it hard not to be partly convinced. I must admit that though the first few pages ruined the suspense for me in the outcome of the first Hunger Games, the story of Katniss and Peeta made me open the second book. And that's when the similarities between The Hunger Games and Battle Royale gradually ceased to exist.

By the second book, I could no longer find evidence to support the argument of "THG is a rip-off of BR" since Collins has turned the similar plot to a different ("very fluffy" and "violence-lite" to quote the previous comment) one from Battle Royale. This I gladly acknowledged. And while you are correct in saying that "An idea cannot be copyrighted", the only qualm I only have now is that Collins could have known how to give credit where it is owed. Because if she did, everyone who noticed the many similarities would have been abated, and we would not be having this argument at all.

Tabitha said...

I completely agree that Catching Fire diverts completely from BR and takes its own path. It kind of gives credence to the 'not a rip-off' argument. :)

As to giving credit where credit is due, yes, she should. If she did, in fact, get inspiration from BR, then she should acknowledge that in the same way she acknowledged the greek myth.

If there was no BR inspiration, then she shouldn't give credit where it's not deserved.

So, the real question is this: did BR inspire her? I don't know. Only Collins knows, and she says it didn't. Knowing the industry as I do, I can totally see this. I've seen writers state ideas for their stories that sound almost exactly alike, and these were separate, unrelated instances.

I see it this way: what does Collins gain by not stating BR as inspiration? Nothing, really. So, the fact that she hasn't makes me think it wasn't an inspiration. I just don't see the benefit of witholding that info.

BTW, I think it's awesome that you and I can take two books and find suspense in completely different ways. :) It really illustrates how subjective this whole industry is.

Susan said...

Can you source where she said she didn't? As far as I know she hasn't even acknowledged the similarities or BR's existence which i find both suspect and offensive and it's keeping me from reading HG at all.

Tabitha said...

I have a vague memory of reading that somewhere years ago. I'll do my best to try to find that and post a link.

Tabitha said...

Okay, I can't find the original place where I read this, but I did find a very recent post from the New York Times. Here's an exerpt:

"When I asked Collins if she had drawn from “Battle Royale,” she was unperturbed. “I had never heard of that book or that author until my book was turned in. At that point, it was mentioned to me, and I asked my editor if I should read it. He said: ‘No, I don’t want that world in your head. Just continue with what you’re doing.’ ” She has yet to read the book or to see the movie."

And, here's the link:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/10/magazine/mag-10collins-t.html?pagewanted=3&_r=3

Butterfly said...

The last major difference is that BATTLE ROYALE is far more violent and graphic than HUNGER GAMES. Plus, BATTLE ROYALE has multiple viewpoints, which makes it far more exhausting to read.... In HUNGER GAMES, the story is told from one person’s perspective. We don’t see all the killing and violence – we just know it’s happening. It still has an impact on the reader, but not to the point where you get sick of all the killing. Essentially, BATTLE ROYALE was written with an adult audience in mind. HUNGER GAMES was written with a young adult audience in mind.

What exactly do you mean by that? That young adults don't like violence? (Uh ... yes we do. We like it a lot. We like it so much that adults write articles about how disturbing our love of carnage is.) That our brains aren't developed enough to keep up with multiple viewpoints? (Countless tv shows, books, and comic books beg to differ.)
I'd rather read about classmates being forced to kill each other - with the added disturbing bonus of none of their families understanding what's going on - than yet another YA love triangle, thank you very much.

Tabitha said...

Before you go jumping down someone's throat, it might be prudent to find out more about that person. I write fiction for young adults, can't stand love triangles, and tend to rip the heads off people who imply that kids aren't smart or need to be talked down to.

I was referring to the publishing industry standard of what's marketed as YA. BR has too much in your face violence and gore to be marketed as a YA novel, but HG is clearly written with that audience in mind. That is all.

Perhaps next time you're offended by something someone says, you could simply ask instead of turning around and offending right back.

saluk said...

Old comment but I had to reply:

"The main difference is how the story is told. If that were the case, then almost every fantasy book would be a rip off of Tolkein etc . . . "

Unfortunately, this is pretty much the case. It's hard to be a fantasy fan because finding those examples which aren't rip offs in some way is quite hard. They exist, but they usually have the same cover art and plot synopsis as the bad ones do :)

About HG vs BR: I believe that the author did not read Battle Royale and was not aware of it. It is very possible for people to have the same ideas without copying each other. I have had to forget story ideas of my own because I have watched something that was almost an exact copy of what I was thinking. It's actually not uncommon.

Also, while many of the scenarios between these books are similar, the way the story is told and many of the details stand out, making them very different stories. Even if it was a rip off (which I don't believe at all), Collins really made the story her own. Also, though it is for YA, I find it pretty intense and violent compared to most other books in the genre. Kids killing kids is never pleasant.

All that said, it is hard as a longtime fan of BR to read HG without being taken out of the story a few times when it does feel similar to the other story. But I still felt it was worth reading.

Tabitha said...

I agree, both with your comments and with the other person's. So many stories have been told that it's extremely difficult (nearly impossible, in some cases) to come up with an original and unique idea. But that doesn't mean you can't still write a great and unique story. Collins took this same idea and made it her own. Whether the reader likes it is just personal taste. :)

Side note: Lisa Shearin has written a new fantasy series that has traditional fantasy elements of humans, elves, and goblins, but she's re-interpreted them and their roles in fantasy, making it a wonderfully unique reading experience. If you're a fantasy fan, you might enjoy them.

droid83 said...

I think a problem with your review is the fact that you only read the book, but did not look at the manga or the movie; if you look at the three of them together, there are far too many similarities to ignore. Here Heather lists some points of similarity: http://www.thegalaxyexpress.net/2010/03/hunger-games-vs-battle-royale.html

The main problem that most of us BR fans have is the fact that she did not give credit where credit is due, whether to Koushun Takami--who gives such credit to those he was inspired by (Stephen King et al)--or to any other well-known author. I mean, seriously--she didn't list Stephen King, William Golding, or Shirley Jackson as inspirations. She only listed the Minotaur myth. I highly doubt that that was the only one she drew inspiration from, or that she had not heard of the other authors or their books beforehand.

It's quite unfortunate that the U.S.A. has a history of plagiarizing Japanese works by "Americanizing" them, though. After all, nothing happened when Disney ripped off Jungle Emperor Leo/Kimba the White Lion when they made The Lion King except for a large outcry from people who had been fans of Leo/Kimba. Why? Because Kimba wasn't fully "American" even though it had had Americans directing half the plot.

Tabitha said...

I read the link you provided long ago, and I don't draw the same conclusions. I've already stated (in the review and the comments) that there are a lot of similarities between BR and HG. A lot. But that doesn't automatically mean idea theft. Since I'm inside the writing and the publishing world, I know just how possible, and common, it is for two separate people to come up with the same idea all on their own (if you'd read the comments here, you'd have already seen this).

"The main problem that most of us BR fans have is the fact that she did not give credit where credit is due"

If Collins did indeed draw inspiration from any form of BR, then I agree (again, I said this in earlier comments). But Collins recently stated that she didn't draw inspiration from BR, and hadn't even heard of it until after she'd turned in HG to her editor. Are you saying she's lying? That has to be lying because no one else could have come up with a similar concept on their own?

As I said earlier, it happens all the time in the writing world. If she says that BR didn't inspire HG, then I choose to believe her. If you don't, that's your prerogative.

"I think a problem with your review is the fact that you only read the book, but did not look at the manga or the movie"

Are you saying that I'm not entitled to an opinion because I haven't read what you think I should have read in order to form an acceptable opinion? That's kind of offensive. And a bit dictatorial. Thanks for the advice, but I think I'll write reviews in my own way.

droid83 said...

I'm sorry if I cam off as offensive and, as you put it, "dictatorial". But yes, I did read the comments, and no, I'm not arguing that people cannot come up with virtually the same ideas; what I am arguing is the fact that the presence of specific scenes in The Hunger Games makes it highly unlikely that she had not heard about it beforeheand. One example being the crossbow scene early on in BR and Kat using the bow and arrow early on the Games, and another being the presence of a person who had previously won the event helping the two characters who survive. I had mentioned Kimba/Leo and The Lion King because the scenes are so much more obvious, and to show that this is not the first time a Japanese work has been copied without credit. Just because someone says they didn't know something existed doesn't make it so.

I'm sorry if it sounded like I was saying you opinion is invalid, because that certainly isn't what I had meant to portray; I was simply suggesting that the reason that you were not seeing the same similarities as people who are familiar with all three is because some of the similarities are only found in one medium. For example, the event being broadcast: in the BR manga the games are televised nationally, with things like people bidding on who they think is going to win happening. A person who has only read the book wouldn't have picked this up because it didn't happen that way in the book, and if I remember correctly, it didn't happen that way in the movie either. But it was quite important to the manga's storyline.

Again, I'm sorry if I came off as being offensive in any way. I'm merely trying to point some things out that you and others may not have thought of when it comes to BR's stories.

Tabitha said...

No worries. :)

There are lots of similarities. Lots. I fully admit that. Even with the scenes you've pointed out, it still doesn't mean Collins couldn't have come up with these things on her own. I see this all the time in the writing world. In fact, I've heard separate writers on separate occasions describe their works in progress using almost exactly the same language. The two books I pointed out earlier, Fallen and Hush Hush, came out within months of each other and yet are almost exactly the same story. If they hadn't been published so close together, then I'm sure more people would be crying 'rip off.'

Because of this, I don't think seeing more versions of BR would change my opinion. Collins created three books based on one general idea, and she made it her own. Therefore, I don't think it's a rip-off.

Honestly, though, what I've seen or haven't seen is irrelevant. Either Collins drew inspiration from BR or she didn't. She says she didn't, so you either believe her or you don't.

bkswthlks said...

What are the similarities between Fallen and Hush Hush? I've only heard of Fallen before.

droid83 said...

I'm always skeptical about claims of ignorance when it comes to cases of potential plagiarism, simply because I've seen far too many cases of classmates blatantly plagiarizing and claiming they knew nothing of another source that they had not cited but have obviously used, and then get off with nothing but a warning, if that. I've seen this happen for both academic and creative assignments, from all kinds of kids and young adults in high school and university. It's made me take every claim of ignorance with a grain of salt, this one no less than others.

I think at least reading some of the manga would show you exactly how different it is from both the book and the movie, as some things are miles apart. If you're still not convinced after comparing the different versions of BR together and then comparing all of it with THG then that's alright; you can think it's a case of similar ideas occuring to different people, I can think THG is simply a watered-down version of BR, and we can both go our separate ways at least having looked at everything there is to offer.

And, I would also like to hear the comparisons between the books you mention, as I have not read either of them.

Tabitha said...

Fallen and Hush, Hush:
Both stories are centered around human girls who encounter fallen angels. Both angels are jerks in the beginning, but then a romance grows between them. Both angels have a long history with either the girl or the girl's family, and both angels are dealing with powers greater than they are. There are also other fallen angels who intend harm to the girls, but it's unclear as to who they are or where the danger is really coming from. All is revealed in the end and the romance is solidified.

These stories are built upon the same basic idea, but the authors have made them their own. I'd use the same arguments in my HG/BR post as to why one isn't a rip-off of the other, even though there are many similarities. The fact that Hush, Hush was released two months before Falled, though, solidifies it because it takes an average of two years to get from book contract to the shelf. Which means that both of these books were in the works at the same time.

Tabitha said...

Droid83 - it's true that some claims of ignorance are merely a refusal to admit knowledge. And some aren't. I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt, and it looks as though you see it the opposite way. Neither approach is wrong, it's just different. :)

Given that Collins isn't often in the media and doesn't have a strong online presence, I can see how it's taken her so long to comment on this long debated issue. But that's also me and my benefit-of-the-doubt approach. :) Others clearly see things differently.

I appreciate your appeal for me to read the manga or see the movie. To be honest, though, I'm not a big enough fan of BR to see or read any more of it. I enjoyed the one read, but it's not something I'd read again (neither is HG, for that matter) or continue to seek out. I think you're right in that I'd probably see more similarities--partly because I'd be looking for them, and partly because of the basic idea behind both stories--but, for me, it's not enough incentive. I'm just not that into violence.

Plus, it's been my experience that manga folks run in different circles than book folks, and kidlit folks run in different circles than adult fiction folks (not always, but often). Given that Collins' first book was for middle grade aged kids, I can see how she may have not seen BR before writing HG. But that's just my opinion based on my own experiences.

droid83 said...

Mm, I can understand not wanting to see/read such violence again, regardless of medium. I actually tried to put all intent on comparing the two aside when I read THG--there was actually a point where I was like 'Nah, they really aren't that similar', but then things started to get too similar for comfort.

I guess I can understand her having not seen or read any of the BR stories, particularly if she is not into violence much. There's still a part of me, though, that wonders if she had heard about it and decided to use the idea as the basis for her own book--which I have little issue with, considering it is just a basic idea--or if she had, perhaps, decided to look up the story of BR on wiki or something without actually reading or watching it--which I would have much more issue with, considering some of the similarities I've noticed. Generally when I'm researching other books I'm doing it so I can be sure that I'm not writing the same stories with just a change in character and scenery. But so many people I've met have heard about the movie at one point, and most just can't remember the name, so it makes me wonder if it may have even been a faint memory of hearing about it that jump started THG story.

Hush, Hush and Fallen seem to have one of the most common romance subjects going on, haha--I don't think I can count how many stories I've read with that basic premise, minus the angels. Having not read them I'm not sure if they're as similar as BR and THG, but I'm really interested in reading them now so my opinion on that might change.

Honestly, I had thought that the similarities between them would be more along the lines of Last Orders and...I can't remember the name of it, but it was another book that had come out long before. Basically, LO was nominated for a prize and this Australian scholar pointed out the similarities of it to another book--not just the premise of the story, but how the chapters were written (one had only one sentence, one was stopped mid-sentence and continued in a later chapter, and I think the number of chapters each character got to speak)--and questioned how it could be nominated without anyone having taken the possibility of plagiarism into consideration. Of course, the backlash had to be in support for LO because it was "written better". :/ I honestly hated the book when I read it, as did many of my classmates, but yeah. Many more similarities than just the general idea. Many more than BR and THG, now that I think about it. Many, many more. (We had compared the books in English last year because my prof was talking about plagiarism in literature.)

droid83 said...

Actually, I think I have read something that has a similar premise to Hush, Hush and Fallen that had the guy being an angel--but it was a manga. The whole 'girl-falls-in-love-with-jerk' thing is very prevalent in manga and anime, and while I don't read or watch much of either,m I remember it being at least a little part in most mainstream stories I read. I can't remember the title right now, but I can find it if you want; I'll probably end up looking it up again because it's going to bug me not knowing what it is.

I want to just brush it off and say that that whole trope is just so common in all genres that I'm not surprised two books had it and BR and THG didn't, but you do have a point with it. I guess it could partially be because BR and THG's premise is so much more uncommon that it made me think plagiarism right away, whereas I would normally just brush off a similarity like the one you mention between Hush, Hush and Fallen.

Unknown said...

"Generally when I'm researching other books I'm doing it so I can be sure that I'm not writing the same stories with just a change in character and scenery."

I have done the same thing in the past and that's probably why I am so incredulous of Collins' claim that she had no prior knowledge of BR. Isn't it common sense to research the topic of your literary work before starting the writing process? What if you are completely ripping off another writer's premise unknowingly, isn't it your responsibility to determine this beforehand? I would be more inclined to give the author lenience on this issue if BR was an obscure novel, but its fan base and popularity are prodigious. Even a basic google search with the query: 'kids+fight to the death' reveals a link to Battle Royale on the first page. (Granted a search engine isn't the best method to prove a point, but I'm fairly certain it lists links in order of popularity so at least at this point in time BR is on the first page along with THG.)

Am I supposed to believe that the author just couldn't be bothered to do a basic search to verify that her idea hadn't been done before? I think it is a writer's responsibility to do the research to ascertain that their book's premise hasn't already been taken by another popular book (thus, they can avoid the suspicion that naturally follows their claiming ignorance, even if it is true). That's not to say they shouldn't be able to write their book as long as their plot/characters aren't a carbon copy of another book's. I'm all for reinventing the wheel and I love innovation of old ideas. But it is imperative that writers research ideas similar their own, if there happen to be any, before writing their book.

For example, I had an idea for a book very similar to Stephen King's The Long Walk which I thought of before I encountered his book. I did a basic google search on the plot I had in mind and instantly stumbled across links to The Long Walk, whereupon I read summaries and reviews, then decided that I would have to rework my original idea (but now I realize that if THG's author could get away with using a basic plot very similar to another author's without facing legal action then I should be able do the same thing, although it goes against my creed as a writer).

In this case, it feels justified to compare writing to the scientific method. The first step being to form a plot or basic idea (a "what would happen" scenario). The second step being to do background research to make sure the story you have in mind hasn't been written before. I'm sure this analogy is inherently flawed, but hopefully with elucidate the point I'm trying to make.

I have infinitely more respect for a writer that says: "Yes, I knew that my idea had been used in "X", "Y", and "Z" books before I started writing it, but the way I used the idea is novel (no pun intended)" than the writer proclaiming: "I had no idea my book was similar to any others" because that implies they didn't do the research.

I feel repelled by The Hunger Games simply for that fact, but will make a conscious effort to read it with as little bias as possible when I get the chance. With any hope it will be as dissimilar from Battle Royale as your blog post assures. :)

carasuriya said...

Personally, (and I am SURE it's the same for others and why some people get angry) I just get frustrated when I read something so gritty and mind-bending as BR and then you see the same premise in another novel that's getting all this hype. And it seems kind of similar sometimes, you know, to how Americans have this thing where they take Japanese horrors and then re-make them into their own versions of it (sometimes at the cost of the Japanese) and then make tons of money off it (the Grudge, the Ring, the Eye, etc.)

That said, I am really interested in reading the Hunger Games as a lover of young adult fantasy novels. I just think I will need to totally disassociate it with BR and keep a completely different mindset about it, cause I know getting bogged down in comparisons can really detract from the experience. Honestly, I think I will like it, but I also really, really hope that the people who read HG will also read BR (if they can).

P.S. I really, really like this post, you did an awesome job!!! :)

carasuriya said...

Personally, (and I think this is the case for others and why people get angry) I just get frustrated when I read something as mind-bending and great like BR, only to see a very similar premise in a new novel that's been getting all this hype. I also get kind of uncomfortable in that this all seems a little bit similar to the American thing where they take some fantastic Japanese horror film, remake it (sometimes at the cost of the Japanese) and proceed to make tons of money off it (the grudge, the ring, the eye, etc).

Anyways, that said, I also happen to be really excited to read the book as I always have been a huge fan of young adult fantasy novels. I think ultimately what I'll try to do is just completely disassociate the two novels, and approach them with different mindsets, like you said. It makes a lot of sense, and that way I can fully enjoy both :)

P.S. this was a super amazing awesome post! I really enjoyed reading it! :)

AaaandDone. said...

Just because you change the title of a story, change the characters names and maybe a couple details here and there doesn't give you the right to publish the story. Battle Royale was crafted with such imagination and great storytelling that calling the Hunger Games a rip-off would be an insult to Battle Royale. That said, I wonder what would happen if I published the story of "the fox and the four little rabits" who are trying to make houses to live in but the fox keeps breaking in and in the end gives up. The three little pigs? Sounds a bit similar to "Kids chosen by governemt to fight to the death and two survive at the end by breaking the rules." and Battle Royale. It saddens me that people try to justify the fact that they became fans of the Hunger Games' series and then found out that it was a ripoff by saying its kind of different. Well, as strong as an arguement as that is (sarcasm heavily implied), it doesn't justify anything. I'm not saying that people can't have their own opinions, please go ahead. All I am saying is that don't fool yourselves in thinking that just because she changed a couple of character's names and made a couple storyline differences doesn't mean it isn't a copy. It doesn't even make it "similar". It's a blatant copy of an idea that someone capatalized on because of the unfamiliarity that most of America has with the Battle Royale Novel. Also, anyone can look up a similar story and say they got the idea based on something. It's obvious that she got the idea from an original story one way or another. So good for her on her success. Maybe she can write a story similar to "Brave Story" or "Twinkle Twinkle" next. I'd love to pay money for a book i've already read.

Tabitha said...

Implying that someone is an idiot is the same as actually calling him one. So, the no-name-calling rules apply here as well.

Keep this civil and check your snark at the door, or I'll do it for you.

annspangly said...

When I was reading Hunger Games I instantly thought 'Battle Royale'. Not that I thought the author ripped the story line. To be honest I think the books are completely different and compelling in their own ways. In my opinion the only similarity is 'coming of aged' children forced into a devastating situation by a twisted government. The anger you feel towards said governments for putting these children and you the reader through such tragedy. Hunger Games was one book I picked up and literally never put down. (I had a day off from work). It has been awhile since a book has moved me so. I am looking forward to reading the two books following such an emotional opening. I feel that I will not be disappointed.

annspangly said...

Sorry, what I meant to say that I believe the feeling each of the books gave you was similar as well. Even if the Hunger Games was ripped even a bit from Battle Royale the writing style is completely different. Not to forget the government reasons for such a game so drastic it's hard to compare.

Tabitha said...

I think you've hit the jackpot here. These two books *definitely* evoke the same kind of emotions, which makes them seem even more similar. Especially to the untrained eye.

An CroĆ­ Ait said...

I finished reading The Hunger Games series first and loved it. I then read Battle Royale and there is no doubt in my mind that Collins lifted most of her ideas from it. There are FAR too many similarities. Granted she developed it and took it in new directions. She divided a big book into three parts and I love what she did BUT I do NOT believe she didn't read either Battle Royale or see the movie or get the summarize version of it from someone.
Takumi deserves credit and should have been asked. Both books have powerful messages against abusive governments. Writers should also abide by the rules of fair play.
Suggestion:
Let Collins give some of the fortune she gets from The Hunger Games books and movie to relief in Japan after the disaster of Fukushima.

Tabitha said...

Okay, that's a fair opinion.

I'm curious, does that mean you think Collins is lying when she said she hadn't read Battle Royale before writing Hunger Games?

Side note: I don't intend this as a loaded question or to in any way anger you. I'm honestly curious, and whatever answer you give is also a valid opinion. :)

smilequick said...

I don't understand why people think this is a big deal. There are no original ideas anymore. They've all been done before. There are several dystopian books and movies out there that all have similar structure and plot lines. Anyone could say Hunger Games ripped off Battle Royale, Battle Royale ripped off Lord of the Flies and that ripped off The Lottery, etc. You could go on and on. I'm surprised when a new romantic comedy comes out and it doesn't get sued for ripping off the romantic comedy movie that came out last month. All this shows is that Suzanne Collins was smarter in how she got it promoted. It obviously did well and Battle Royale did not.

Tabitha said...

I'm with you. Stories have been told and retold since the beginning of time. How can there possibly be any truely original ideas left? :) It's all in how you spin the idea in your unique way, which I think these authors have done.

AlbaTiger said...

Smilequick - "All this shows is that Suzanne Collins was smarter in how she got it promoted. It obviously did well and Battle Royale did not."

Battle Royale has been adapted into a film and a FIFTEEN book manga series.

The novel has been translated into almost a dozen languages.

The manga has been translated into Spanish and Portuguese and was released in English though the story modified slightly by Keith Giffen rather than just being a straight translation.

Interesting you see a few awards from american organisations and a movie being released during this current period of anything and everything being made or remade by Hollywood as an indicator of "greater success."

Your point about stories being retold is a fair one though does miss the side point that Koushun Takami(like many other authors) has given credit to the authors and writers which influenced him.

Collins' has only mentioned the Minotaur myth.

That of course isn't a factor when looking at possible plagiarism but is an interesting topic of its own about perceived professionalism.

I can't help but be reminded of J.K Rowling and her having never specifically named anything as inspiration for Harry Potter.

Tabitha said...

"Your point about stories being retold is a fair one though does miss the side point that Koushun Takami(like many other authors) has given credit to the authors and writers which influenced him.

Collins' has only mentioned the Minotaur myth."

Which, of course, brings us back to Collins' recent statement of never having read or heard of Battle Royale until the first draft of Hunger Games was finished. Does that mean you think she's a liar?

"I can't help but be reminded of J.K Rowling and her having never specifically named anything as inspiration for Harry Potter."

Interesting. Do you mean that it's not possible to think of something so big without the influence of another person's idea? If so, then I have to say that I disagree. If I misunderstood, could you clarify?

Mistress Divine said...

I understand it's hard to have an original idea, that has not been used before (I have created a great story, only to find someone else used it).

You say there are ALOT of similarities, well alot is not just one thing, or two. A copy of something has alot of similarities.

The thing alot of HG fans don't take in to account is it's not your work. Now put yourself in Takami's shoes. Imagine it was your story, your pride and joy.

Would you not be annoyed if your story did not get fame for not being 'PC'. Yet fast forward 9 years, out comes this popular author and her work, using your story ideas (with tons of similarities).
Her story then becomes famous as it meets pc views. She does not even mention you, as if your story never got published first.

I would be annoyed. VERY annoyed.

I know your not interested in the manga, it's really not as good as the book. But you should read all work before making statements saying it's not copying (not that you have to, but it's not right to review something you have not read/researched).

What if I now wrote a story in post-war-destroyed world. About kids who are forced to fight eachother. I change a few things here and there.
90% Of HG fan will say i stole it's story!

Now you understand why BR fans are angry. It's like when twilight fans accused vampire diaries and true blood of stealing, when both stories came out years before it.

We could all be wrong though.:)

Tabitha said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I do actually understand why BR fans are angry (so there really wasn't a need to 'dumb it down' for me). I happen to disagree--I don't think it's worth getting so upset over all this. Collins didn't reproduce Takami's work and try to pass it off as her own. Instead, she took the same basic (*very* basic) idea and made it her own. If others are going to get up in arms about that, well, to me that smacks of sour grapes. Not even Takami has gotten upset over HG.

Since HG and BR stem from the same basic idea, the executions of those ideas are going to have lots of similarites. But similar does not equal copy. There are enough differences to make them unique stories. If you were to take the same basic idea and write a new story, it would be *your* story and completely unique (that is, if you did what Collins did and wrote your own story, but if you just changed a few things here and there then that's not the same thing).

It just so happes that Collins's version of this idea was widely successful, which means all the circumstances surrounding her book (the editor, marketing, current trends, etc) complemented her book. Timing is everything in this industry.

"it's not right to review something you have not read/researched"
If I claimed to have reviewed the manga but not read it, then you would have a point. But I clearly state that this whole review is based on THE BOOK. So I don't appreciate the insult to my research skills, since those don't even apply here.

Children's authors don't tend to run in the same circles as manga, and many don't read too many adult books. There are so many children's books we need to keep up with so we can keep track of what's being published and by whom. So it's perfectly fair to say that HG isn't a copy of BR based on the books alone, just based on statistical probability.

Mistress Divine said...

I was not trying to 'dumb it down' for you, I was just sharing a different point of view.

I was trying to explain why alot of BR fans say it stole ideas.

I remember this author that got sued for stealing. Her story was different from the author sueing her, but she had stole scenes from this other book.


Authors are not dumb enough to copy a book word for word, of course they would change things.
From what I heard, Collins had alot of BR scenes in her book.

I was not insulting your research skills. Sorry if it looked that way. I also know that manga is not the same as books. The reason i bring it up is because it's apart of the BR story, before hunger games came out. Now you're saying she did not copy any of his work, well how do you know if you have not read it all?

I'm not trying to insult here. As much as I don't like the manga, it's part of the series.

Tbh I understand what your saying. I know her other 2 books were not taken from the BR story, they're very new in ideas.
I just can't say the same for the first, it's more that just a 'basic idea' she took.

Takami could be very upset. Just because he has not said so, does not mean he's not. Besides i'm sure he's worried about all the hate mail her fans would send him, if he said something. Did you see how much hate Stephen King got from twihards?

Besides Collins was smart to bring it out now. Who wants to argue about a book made 10 years ago?

I would have agreed with you if a few things were the same. Many other books have similarites, I agree.
But VERY similar scenes through out? Come on....
I know I would have said sorry to the other author for the confusion.
Sometimes you need to put away your fan goggles - to look at it from another side.

But thanks for your added view. I like to look at it from all sides. :)

Tabitha said...

"I was not trying to 'dumb it down' for you, I was just sharing a different point of view."
Okay, fair enough. I thought you were intentionally being condescending, but since you weren't then no offense taken. :)

"I was trying to explain why alot of BR fans say it stole ideas."
Yeah, I understand that. I see exactly where BR fans are coming from. I just don't agree.

"I remember this author that got sued for stealing. Her story was different from the author sueing her, but she had stole scenes from this other book. Authors are not dumb enough to copy a book word for word, of course they would change things."
Actually, if an author was sued for stealing and lost the case, then he would have taken passages directly from someone else's work, maybe changing a word here and there. But if they take an idea from a book and execute it in their own way, then they can't be sued for stealing. Ideas cannot be copyrighted--it's the execution of that idea that's copyrighted.

Collins didn't take any scenes directly from BR and alter them slightly. She used the same idea and executed it in her own way.

"Now you're saying she did not copy any of his work, well how do you know if you have not read it all?"
I've never said that. I said that HG isn't a rip off of the BR *book*. I've stated clearly, more than once, that I haven't read the manga and that I can't speak to it. But not once have I ever made any claims or stated opinions that include the manga. The only thing I've said is that it's highly unlikely that Collins read the manga, based on what I know about children's authors. If she read anything, it would be the book. But she said she hasn't read it, so...

"From what I heard, Collins had alot of BR scenes in her book."
This statement concerns me. You've been arguing that HG is a rip off of BR, yet this says that you haven't read HG. And yet you came down pretty hard on me for not reading the manga? *raised eyebrow*

"I would have agreed with you if a few things were the same. Many other books have similarites, I agree.
But VERY similar scenes through out? Come on...."
Except you haven't read HG, so you wouldn't know this. I have read work from both sides, and I didn't see any scenes as similar as you're claiming (again, I'm referring to the *book* here). If there were scenes this similar, Takami would have sued and won long ago.

"Sometimes you need to put away your fan goggles - to look at it from another side."
I don't wear fan goggles. :) Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of HG. I think the books are entertaining, but I don't gush about them to my friends. I don't own any copies, nor will I, and I doubt I'll read them again. I certainly won't be seeing the movie.

I have the same feelings about BR, so I'm looking at it from a non-biased, objective perspective and I didn't see anything blatantly ripped off (of the *book*). I saw the same basic idea executed in two entirely different ways. Which is perfectly fine.

"Takami could be very upset. Just because he has not said so, does not mean he's not."
That just means he's more mature than some fans out there. ;)

Mistress Divine said...

'She used the same idea ' don't you mean ideas? I mean it is more than one.

I think I explained the whole manga thing. Let me put it this way, it's like a dvd with added bits. The reason I bring it up is because you're saying she did not steal ideas based on one part of his work. The problem is she's taken (or at least it looks this way) bits and pieces, some of those ideas are in the manga. It's hard for me to bring up scenes and ideas, when you would not know about them.

I admit I skipped alot of HG, because I found too many similarites. I can understand that sounds lame, but my whole first post was about BR fans.
I did however read a very long review (more like an essay) comparing scenes. So yes,
it is my right and opinion about the scenes being too similar. I said I understand that you don't need to read the manga. Let us just say there are some ideas that collins was accused of using, that are not in the book. It still counts towards stealing, even if it's a manga. As the manga has the same story as the book. That was my whole point.


I could post them all if you want, but I doubt it would change your mind.

For someone who is not a big fan, you sure seem defensive over the matter. I don't mean that as an insult. I really don't care that much myself. I was just curious as to why.

Maybe your title should have been 'HG fans vs BR fans', thats what it seems to come down to.

The HG fans will insist she never stole any of her ideas, and that BR fans need to 'suck it up, cause she's more popular!'. While BR fans will insist she stole all her ideas.

I don't know what to believe. I agree in that she's not coppied enough for a lawsuit against her.

But you said yourself 'there are ALOT of similarities'. Well there are a few, then there are alot.

Same -set in future-world, danger zones, cross bows, romance between main players, psycho who kills for fun. Lottery based system, evil goverment, reality tv show (movie/manga), kids are put on island, all have back-packs with weapons. Big brother/guide character that beat the last game. Main character protects weaker player. Even the logo's look scary alike....

Those are just a few of the similarities!

I just cannot believe she has never seen BR. Sure you can say she's telling the truth, but that is more than just the basic idea.
How do you explain this?

I know this is going to make the rest of my post seem lame, but i'm looking forward to the HG movie. XD

I never said it's not a good book in it's own right. You say BR fans are not acting mature, but they're not acting like twihards insisting her book is original just because they like it more.

Tabitha said...

"it is my right and opinion about the scenes being too similar"
No one said it wasn't. You're free to have whatever opinion you want, and I respect that. Just as I'm free to have whatever opinion I want. Everyone else here, too, for that matter. Even rabid fans.

"there are some ideas that collins was accused of using, that are not in the book. It still counts towards stealing, even if it's a manga"
Yeah, I perfectly understood you. If, in fact, she read the manga, which I doubt, and if she took specific scenes from it, then that would be considered stealing. But you also stated that there wasn't enough to warrant a lawsuit. Well, one scene is enough to warrant a winning lawsuit. So, really, but that logic, there aren't enough similarities to justify crying 'rip-off.' :)

"I could post them all if you want, but I doubt it would change your mind."
No, it won't, for two reasons. One, I just don't care enough about this issue, and I'm also guessing that what you'll list is a bunch of general ideas (which can't be copyrighted). Two, I'm entitled to my opinion, which I have formed based on experience in the publishing world.

"I really don't care that much myself."
Then why the heck are you trying so hard to convince my I'm wrong? I'm not trying to change your mind. You can think whatever the heck you want to think. I'm just sharing what *I* think. If you don't agree, it's no skin of my nose.

"Same -set in future-world, danger zones, cross bows, romance between main players, psycho who kills for fun. Lottery based system, evil goverment, reality tv show (movie/manga), kids are put on island, all have back-packs with weapons. Big brother/guide character that beat the last game. Main character protects weaker player....Those are just a few of the similarities!...How do you explain this?"
Everything you've listed here is very generic, and exists in lots of other stories. It's the execution of all this that counts. And the execution of each are unique between BR and HG.

The only thing that's not generic is the backpack, which *isn't* the same. In BR (book!), everyone got a backpack. In HG, only Katniss got one, and she absently picked it up as she ran away from the cornucopia of weapons. I've seen several BR fans list this as ripped off material, but it's not the same.

"I just cannot believe she has never seen BR. Sure you can say she's telling the truth, but that is more than just the basic idea."
Okay, are you calling her a liar? And does that mean you think it's impossible for two separate people to have the same idea without having any interaction with each other? Because I see that all the time...

"You say BR fans are not acting mature"
No, I didn't say that. I said Takami is "more mature than some fans out there." You jumped to the conclusion that I meant only BR fans. There are plenty of HG fans that don't act very mature. I'd appreciate it if you didn't put words in my mouth.

"For someone who is not a big fan, you sure seem defensive over the matter."
I don't like veiled insults. Actually, I don't like any insults, but veiled ones push my buttons like nothing else. Perhaps it's just the way you say things, but it rubs me the wrong way.

"Maybe your title should have been 'HG fans vs BR fans', thats what it seems to come down to."
That's *way* out of line. Not only have you insulted me and what I take pride in doing on my blog, you've belittled everyone who's commented here. Be civil or you won't be welcome anymore.

Mistress Divine said...
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Mistress Divine said...
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Tabitha said...

This whole post IS NOT ABOUT ME. Stop attacking me on a personal level, and STICK TO THE TOPIC. Most of your last comment was about how you think I'm closed-minded (which is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me, because it's the *opposite* of everything I believe).

If you want to debate the topic, fine. BUT STOP MAKING IT ABOUT ME. Any further posts that express your opinion about *me* will be deleted. But if you care to focus on BR and HG, then you're welcome to debate the point all you like.

I can guarentee that no one else here wants to read what you think about me. They want to read about the books, and only the books.

Mistress Divine said...

'Everything you've listed here is very generic, and exists in lots of other stories. It's the execution of all this that counts. And the execution of each are unique between BR and HG.'

Hold up, you said she only took the basic plot. How can a story with a load of plot ideas from another book, be unique?

There is taking the basic plot, and there is using alot of ideas. Can you name where else you see these generic ideas being used? Because unlike Takami, she did not list any sources....

This is why it's open to debate. Someone before mentiined about her not doing research, a good author would have checked. There is no need if it's just a basic plot, but this is more than that.

ON TOPIC, please do the same.

Tabitha said...

"Hold up, you said she only took the basic plot. How can a story with a load of plot ideas from another book, be unique?"
I didn't say she took the basic plot, I said she used the same basic idea. There's a huge difference between the two. An idea can be conveyed in a sentence or two, but a plot takes a page or two. She didn't take the plot, she used the same idea. And with an idea like this, there are going to be lots of similarities. But similarity does not equal copy. Apples are pears are similar because they're both fruit, they have a peel that's sometimes the same color, and the flesh is soft with a similar texture. But they're not the same. That's pretty much how I view the similarities between HG and BR.

"how can I, and other BR fans, post a fair arguement if you keep responding with the 'are you calling her a liar?' card"
Well, she publicly stated that she has never read BR, so if you don't believe she wasn't influenced by BR, then I think it's fair to ask if you think she's lying.

"Because unlike Takami, she did not list any sources...."
Actually, she credited Theseus and the Minotaur as inspiration. If nothing else influenced her story, then she wouldn't need to cite anything. It all comes down to whether you think she was lying when she said she hadn't read BR.

"Someone before mentiined about her not doing research, a good author would have checked."
I agree, she should have checked.

"There is no need if it's just a basic plot, but this is more than that."
This is where you and I disagree.

"Can you name where else you see these generic ideas being used? "
Probably, if I had the time to search through a bunch of books and come up with a list. But I don't, so this is the best I can do--I just have a general memory of these ideas in other books. If you don't agree, that's fine. If I happen to think of a specific example, I'll come back and share.

"The whole issue in your blog post was not about her being sued for copyright, it's about her taking ideas from BR. So why would a bunch of general ideas not be important here?"
Actually, the issue of copyright is what this is about. If a story has been ripped off, then the copyright has been violated. I saw the same basic idea in both books, executed in two unique ways (obviously others have differing opinions, and that's fine). Because of the nature of the basic idea, there are going to be other general ideas that are similar, because it's the natural way the original idea unfolds. That's just how I see it. Clearly, you see it differently. Which is fine.

"ON TOPIC, please do the same."
Seriously, *please* check the snark at the door. I don't to delete an entire, relevant post because of one line like this. You might not think this was a snarky comment, but I have strict rules on this blog.

Mistress Divine said...

Thank you for your view on this. Sorry for any snark before, It's hard for me to leave it.

I don't think either books are worth argueing over.

My problem is I hate lazy people who steal ideas, without asking a person first.

I'm not saying Collins might have done it, but she used alot of Takami's ideas.I mean ALOT.

Plot points and ideas that are not in 'Theseus and the Minotaur'.
Yes, some of these maybe generic, but it's strange how they come from a book with the same basic plot as HG.It does raise questions.

My problem is with fans saying it's an original story, then getting angry when they hear BR did it first.

You're right in saying whether people believe she is telling the truth, is down to the person.

I can't prove she's not, you can't prove she is.

I think she was very lazy in her research. She could of checked to see if someone had come up with those ideas first. It would take 5 minutes to look it up, thats not hard.

If it were just the basic plot, I would have no issues. But all those other ideas, and even the logo! That is not original to me.

She is a good writer, i'm not saying she's not. I felt like she changed a couple of character's names and made a couple storyline differences , when reading it.

It would have been much better if she had only used the basic plot. Why are the character traits the same? Why are the plot points the same?

The things you mentioned are only small differences. Even the fans can't provide a list of big differences between them.

If BR was released in USA as planned, i'm sure people would make a bigger deal out of it.

To me, BR was amazing for all it's creative ideas/plot. HG used all those same ideas (even if she came up with them), it's up to you whether you think they were stolen.

I understand if people like HG more.

I think Takami gets bonus points for listing sources, and giving credit where it's due. That is someone who did his research, I can't say the same for Collins.

Tabitha said...

"My problem is I hate lazy people who steal ideas, without asking a person first."
The thing is, permission isn't required for an idea--for the reasons I've been stating: ideas can't be copyrighted and the execution of the idea will be completely different. So even if Collins did get the idea for HG from BR, she wouldn't have needed to ask for permission. If she wanted to use *passages* from BR, then she'd have to ask for permission AND pay royalties.

"I think she was very lazy in her research."
To be fair, her editor did tell her not to read BR. Since he's the professional, I probably would have taken his advice if he was my editor.

"She could of checked to see if someone had come up with those ideas first. It would take 5 minutes to look it up, thats not hard."
I'm not so sure about that. I don't know of any search engines that will give you any kind of valuable results when searching for books by subject matter. Even Amazon's search by subject feature leaves much to be desired, and it's the best I've seen so far. So she'd have needed to know exactly what she was looking for in order to find BR. The best way to do research of this kind is to read widely, and that's very time-intensive.

I think many people don't know what an author's life is like. It's not all bon-bons and signings. ;) It's busy, only a select few get hefty marketing campaigns from their pub houses, so the rest have to do much of it themselves. During the time Collins was writing HG, she was also writing her Gregor the Overlander series, which didn't have a huge push behind it--leaving her to manage promotion and writing time herself.

Given that BR wasn't widely popular in the states while she was writing HG, she would have had to dig pretty deep to find it, in an area not her expertise. I'm guessing it's time she didn't have.

"I think Takami gets bonus points for listing sources, and giving credit where it's due. That is someone who did his research..."
Using the same logic, one could argue that Takami should have given credit to Lord of the Flies...it's a bunch of kids, stranded on an island and killing each other. There are some who want to protect, and some who only care about having all the power. There's no romance, but only because there aren't any girls. :) Takami used that same basic idea and executed it in a different, unique way... This is what Collins did, too.

Mistress Divine said...

I've read The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and am reading Mockingjay. It's very clear that the influence from BR is more than coincedental.

People who say BR was influenced in turn by Lord of the Flies have a tenuous argument, as in that story it's not the children being FORCED to kill one another, more more of the devolution of children since they are essentially- in the book and in reality-just short of animals.

Sure, The Hunger Games are great books, but to say they are not directly influenced by BR is shortsighted.

Yes, HG delves into a larger world beyond the competition, but a totalitarian government creating a game where children as young as 14 and as old as 18 are forced to a (island) location, monitored, unable to leave, given weapons,and then told to murder one another while the main characters are a male and female is COMPLETELY Battle Royale. Again, I'm not saying The Hunger Games aren't great, I'm not saying they don't tell different stories. In the end-I'm saying one is CLEARLY VERY influenced by the other.

Takami at least said he had read lord of the flies, he did mention he loved the idea of it.
Where has Collins listed any sources? Other than one idea mentioned in mythology.

These are two books that are executed in different, unique ways:

Harry Pottter and Lord of the rings.

Both stories use elves, magic, wizards, and trolls.
Yet:
The plot is different
Characters are different
All the themes used, are different
Even the sames creatures used, are different!

Now compare that to HG and BR. Not even enough differences to make a short list.

I think she should mention again, what her influences are.

Oh, her editor sounds stupid. I would be angry if my editor did not tell me about a previous book, that happens to be near indentical to my own. Then again, this is why I would check myself.

BR is famous enough, you only have to type 'young children forced to kill eachother-in battle' in a search engine- bobs ya uncle, up comes BR.

If she was using the internet for research, it's easy to believe she would find it.

That is just my view on the whole thing. Although alot of scenes are the same, it's not copyrighted. I fully agree with you there.

It does however, go into rip-off territory. Although I would not like to call it that, it's very much like Eragon to me. Too many things taken from other work's before it.

PRD said...

I apologize for this, but, in my opinion, having read both books, I find that The Hunger Games is definitely a more, lets say...angsty teen romantic version of battle royale. While there are major differences, I find there are too many similarities that it's fishy. Anyone who denies this really needs to A read both books or B re-read and analyze them. Overall, I find Battle Royale to be more emotionally shocking. Many Hunger Games fans make it a point to say that BR is tasteless gore, but really guys, you haven't read this book if you say that. While there is graphic violence in the book, this is something that is to be expected when in a situation like that. It does NOT make it tastless as they so proudly proclaim. There are children who kill themselves rather than play, and others who lose their minds out of fear and panic. The Hunger games does have it good parts, however, I did not connect to it at all,unlike so many who have with BR. I also highly disagree with "THG being highly philosophical". If anything, BR is. Sorry for ranting lol, I was upset after reading many people insulting BR on another post (letting my anger out...) Overall, Suzzane collins is a wonderful writer, but I STRONGLY beleive that this is a case of giving credit where it's due.

Tabitha said...

FYI: I want to state, again, the rules of this blog.

1. No snark, sarcasm, or outright insults.
2. No veiled or implied insults.
3. Be civil, and keep the discussion about the books, *not* about the people who hold certain opinions.

For example, these statements are not acceptable:

"to say they [HG is] not directly influenced by BR is shortsighted"
This statement implies that anyone who thinks HG is not a rip off of BR is shortsighted, which is an implied insult. I.E., this statement is about the person holding the opinion, not the opinion itself. Not okay.

"People who say BR was influenced in turn by Lord of the Flies have a tenuous argument"
The focus of this statement is also about the person who is making the argument, not the argument itself. Again, *not* okay.

"Anyone who denies this really needs to A read both books or B re-read and analyze them"
This statement implies that anyone who read both books but still doesn't think HG is a rip off of BR was too stupid to pick up on the similarities the first time around. Definitely NOT okay.

"you haven't read this book if you say that"
Same as above--this implies that the reader was too stupid to properly appreciate the book. Again, NOT okay.

Statements like these belittle and dismiss others' opinions, and *everyone* has a right to an opinion on my blog. With one exception: negative opinions about *people* are not allowed. Any further comments that deviate from these rules will be deleted, regardless of the relevent content the comment may also contain.

You are welcome to refute another's opinion with your own, backing yourself up with facts from the books and other concrete sources. Just be sure to keep the focus on the arguments and well away from the people making the arguments.

"Sorry for ranting lol, I was upset after reading many people insulting BR on another post (letting my anger out...)"
Apology accepted, but please note that this is NOT the place to vent. Everyone has the right to express their opinions about HG and BR here, even negative ones (about the books, NOT the people). This is the place to discuss the books, and only the books.

Tabitha said...

"Where has Collins listed any sources?"
"I STRONGLY beleive that this is a case of giving credit where it's due."
Both of these statements sound like you don't believe Collins's public statement that she hadn't read BR before writing HG. Is this true? Do you believe that Collins is incapable of coming up with the same general idea on her own? (I keep asking this question, but no one is answering it...)

If Collins drew inspiriation from BR, then, yes, she should give the book credit. But if she didn't read BR, then it's not fair to give credit where it's *not* due. It all comes down to whether you believe her statement.

"Now compare that to HG and BR. Not even enough differences to make a short list"
Actually, I can make a pretty long list.

-The arena
BR: an island taken over by the government, and then given back to its inhabitants after the battle is over. The environment itself isn't altered or controlled, but there are broadcasted 'forbidden zones' enforced via collars that the kids wear, shrinking the playable area.
HG: a man-made environment that changes based on the whims of the game masters. It is filled with genetically altered organisms that can be life-threatening to the participants. There are no specified 'danger areas.' The entire arena is filled with danger both from the other participants and the environment.

-The Gamemasters
BR: they are there to see that the battle stays on schedule and that the kids don't find a way around the rules (i.e. taking off the collars). At the allotted time, they detonate any collars still in the forbidden zones. The goal is to kill off the kids as quickly as possible and move on to the next battle. They don't care who wins or who dies.
HG: they are there to manipulate the environment and promote the games. They have 'favorites,' and even rank the participants before the games ever begin. Once the kids are in the arena, they can activate certain parts of the environment to make things harder for specific kids. The goal is to make the games as entertaining as possible for everyone watching. They also sometimes have a vendetta against certain participants and do everything they can to make things difficult for them. They also have a vested interest in who wins, and will do everything they can to make things easier on their favorites.

-The participants
BR: all the kids from one class are drugged and then deposited on the island. They all know each other and are friends with some. This gives both advantages (they know certain strengths and weaknesses) and disadvantages (they might have to kill their best friend, which makes the story all the more heartrending). They receive no training--they are just handed a weapon and told to run.
HG: none of the kids know each other except for the other kid who came from the same district. This makes it easier to not see them as real people, and therefore easier to kill. But it's also harder because they have to interact in order to learn strengths and weaknesses, which could possibly get them killed. They get some training before the games begin, but there's no guarantee they'll get a weapon. All the weapons are stored in a cornucopia in the center of a circle, and to get there they have to go through quite the firefight--which will likely get them killed.

Tabitha said...

(continued from previous comment)

-Audience
BR: the audience has no interaction with the kids on the island. In the novel, no one except the gamemasters and the kids know that the battle is going on. I'm told that, in the manga, the collars broadcast the battle to the general population. But listening isn't required, and they are not allowed to influence the battle.
HG: the general population is required to watch every episode of the games, and they can influence the games by helping their favorites with gifts of food or medicine or something else useful.

-The government
BR: citizens can live out a normal life providing for their families and without government intervention. The government springs these battles on random classes to remind the population that it's in control, but they allow citizens to have normalcy between battles because that keeps society and the economy functioning. As a result, most citizens don't have active dislike for the government (the exception probably being families who lost kids in the battles, but the rest have no reason to object to the status quo).
HG: the government controls everything. The districts live in pretty severe poverty where starving to death is commonplace. The government doesn't care about the people in the districts because their happiness doesn't affect the society and economy in the Capitol. In fact, they actively make life harder for the district folks by outlawing hunting and gathering in the wilderness outside the district fences. As a result, most citizens have open and active dislike, even hatred, for the government, creating an overall feel of discontent and misery.

I could go on, but I've got a bunch of stuff still to do today. But, basically, if you look at the high-level ideas in both BR and HG, they look very similar. But if you look at the way each idea was executed, they're entirely different.

"It's very clear that the influence from BR is more than coincedental."
Hmm, I think we're now going in circles. :) You keep saying this (in various forms) and I keep giving my own examples as to why I think the opposite, and now the same things are being said over and over again. :)

I think it's best to just agree to disagree at this point because nothing new is being added to the discussion. You have your views and I have mine, and they're both fine. I think we should just leave it at that--basically, I just don't have the time to keep repeating myself. :) If you have something new to add, great. Otherwise, I won't be responding. But thanks for the interesting discussion.

Unknown said...

Having watched the BR movie and read the HG book, I would like to be in the 'ripoff' camp due to their many similarities.

However, I'm starting to realize that people just have morbid imaginations. Kids stuck in an arena and forced to fight to the death is probably not that uncommon, as far as dark fantasies go. The rest of the arena mechanics/rules pretty much follow from that starting point.

yankinfrance said...

I'm late to this party, but I only recently read the HG trilogy and I'm just now reading BR.

Put me in the "clearly inspired by" camp, with strong leanings to the "ripped off the ideas from" side, given Collins' claims to have been unaware of Battle Royale.

For me, there are too many instance where Collins' version coincides with Battle Royale.

It's possible the inspiration was innocent -- perhaps she'd heard a description of Battle Royale and forgotten about it. Nonetheless, the inspiration is clear.

I blame her editors, who should have been more careful to eliminate the most egregrious "stolen" ideas -- such as the forbidden zones, the knapsacks with weapons.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed Hunger Games (well, the first book, the other two were quite weak in comparison). And I'm enjoying Battle Royale.

We love drugs and stuff said...

They fucked up on the hunger games. they were planning on releasing a english battle royale but thg came in and ruined that plan. i dont like movies that dont have that realistic feel. thats why i never liked thg when i saw it it was a okay movie but didnt see realistic sense to it or did i felt any emotion within the movie. as for battle royale the whole realism of the movie gave me a realistic view of what if this happened. too bad they fucked it all up. if thg was gory it be more intersting