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Koushun Takami’s Battle Royale is an international best seller, the basis of the cult film, and the inspiration for a popular manga. And fifteen years after its initial release, Battle Royale remains a controversial pop culture phenomenon.
Join New York Times best-selling author John Skipp, Batman screenwriter Sam Hamm, Philip K. Dick Award-nominated novelist Toh EnJoe, and an array of writers, scholars, and fans in discussing girl power, firepower, professional wrestling, bad movies, the survival chances of Hollywood’s leading teen icons in a battle royale, and so much more!
From “Death for Kids” by John Skipp
Oh, kids. They grow up so fast. Unless somebody kills them. Or they kill each other.
It’s only natural to want to protect them, of course. And not just their lives, but their innocence. That said, life is what happens when we’re making other plans. And death shows up whenever, and for whomever, the fuck it wants.
Speaking personally: I saw my first dying people within half an hour of landing at Ministro Pistarini International Airport, just outside Buenos Aires. It was 1966, and I was eight years old.
We’d just taken a Boeing 707—the largest craft in the fleet of Aerolineas Argentinas—from Washington, D.C., care of the US State Department. My dad’s mysterious new government job had brought the family from Milwaukee to Arlington, VA, for six months of prep, before launching us deep into the other America.
I have jumbled memories of landing and negotiating customs, lugging our baggage as we followed the guy with the driver’s cap and the sign marked skipp to the sleek sedan taking us to our new home. All I can say for sure is that I had the window seat in the back, on the driver’s side—and that we were less than ten minutes down the Richerri Motorway—when I saw the cloud of dirt and rock from the edge of the overpass ahead.
There was a bus, hurtling sideways and over the brink, like a train derailed. I couldn’t see the shattering glass, but I could see the screaming faces. Blood on some, poking through the broken windows. Others pressed against the glass as yet remaining.
Then we were under the overpass, me whipping backward in my seat to watch the bus plummet downward, then disappear from view. Our driver did not slow for a second.
That was my first genuine childhood glimpse.