21 March 2014

panel notes: Hunger Games/Battle Royale, A Comparison- Anime Boston 2014

Here are the notes and points from the Hunger Games/Battle Royale comparison panel from Anime Boston 2014. Also, please consider donating to our respective gofundme campaigns.


Hunger Games vs Battle Royale

Both franchises take this following into account:

-Order can lead to unpleasant circumstances. It can be too enforced and too rigid. A lack of outlet can lead to unexpected consequences. 

-Hope can be controlled/Hope is individual (especially with regards to Shuya and Shinji.) Battle Royale adds hope to the individual as part of a narrative. Hunger Games makes the idea of hope collective. 

-Punishment sometimes misses the mark. 

Where this drift:
-Pageantry and exposure. Hunger Games plays up the melodrama, lack of privacy, constantly on camera, constantly competing not just to survive, but for sponsorships and prestige. Battle Royale lacks this component, until the final reveal of the winner. 

-Structure of event: BR is a “military exercise,” structured under martial law, and executed for the express purpose of research (while also spreading fear). HG is an elaborate gladiatorial pageant, full of showmanship, flashy imagery, and the undercurrent of punishment is glamorized as a martyr complex, and as a laudatory activity, regardless of the fact of death. 

-Emotional Feel of events: HG is billed as glorious combat. BR is viewed as a game (Sakamochi encompasses this idea when giving morning announcements). In HG, the individual is respected. In BR the individual does not mean anything.   

-Rewards: BR- you are allowed to survive. No mention of PTSD or other consequences from the event, just that you survive and the government subsidizes your life. Focus here in on event and that somebody WON the event. Survival in obscurity. HG: Victors become celebrities, government lapdogs, or social icons. Regarded as heroes/role models, not as victims. Collective memory outlives the event. 

-Mentorship: Haymitch vs Kitano. The position of the mentor is respected in the Games. Kitano is just another “disillusioned educator”, like Haymitch, who is doing this as his job- this is where he fits into the system. 

-Also: Shogo is a mentor in his own right, just like Finnick: other “bodies” who just happened to survive. Both are bitter at their situation, and rightly so, and both decide to interfere and “break” the games. 

-Worlds: Panem vs Great Asian Federation
-Political structure: Panem as ancient Roman Emprie, As far as we can tell, Panem has a citizenry and patrician class in the capitol, and the rebelling provinces are treated as labor forces. Each district specializes, which the capitol collects as taxes. Draws heavily from European history and American geography, regional variation and local customs. 

-GAF as modern co-prosperity sphere. Showa era Japan, idea of heavy militarization, isolationist policies, xenophobia, and Asian communism. Those who assist the government are taken care of, the rest can all go to hell as far as they care. Even prefectural and local elected officials are seen as figureheads to maintain a semblance of order, a necessary bureaucracy, that keeps the population in line and keeps questions unasked. Draws heavily from Asian culture, including pre-Meiji isolation and distrust of foreigners, and the suppression of outside cultural interference- strict nationalism. Two different versions of the same idea: Showa is fascism, Tokugawa is nationalism, and both are presented in the course of the story. 

-Hunger Games builds a world. Battle Royale builds an event. We know much of Panem through how the tributes interact, how the people react to the event, how fashion and fighting styles play into the Games, and builds heavily on a memory of the past that can be reflected over and over. Battle Royale is IMPLIED to be newer, of a larger scale, and far more secret. It focuses on the size and scope of its event, and the world is mostly alluded to in flashbacks and a few pages of early book setup, mostly as speeches and charismatic instances. 

-Hunger Games utilizes the idea of sacred time when constructing both the games and those who play it. Battle Royale is sudden and unexpected, snatch kids and go. No pageantry, no public revelations, just grab and go. Hunger Games uses the preparation angle as part of the event, and amps up the players and the audience through training and public engagements. 

-A semblance/veneer of fairness OR equality structured through the training times for the tributes. It breaks down in the end, with Districts 1 & 2 providing much more training to their career tributes, but still, in the eyes of the public, the government only acknowledges the mutual training period before the games. 

-Sacrifice as a function of the society: Panem builds the games into more than just entertainment- they control hope, they allow people to enter their names more frequently in exchange for more advantages during the year, and the tributes themselves are classed as NOBLE. This is a sacrifice all the districts must share, a collective responsibility for all the rebel descendants. It is a martyr-based society. 

-Book Kazuo is an element of chaos and unpredictability. Movie Kazuo was a psychopath, a wild card in the event. The book makes the point of Kazuo’s mindset easily dictating a different option, but he CHOSE (through random chance) to go along with the program. (References to lost generation in Japan, and the general ‘I dont give a fuck’ mentality that sprang up in the late 90s.) Movie Kazuo is more an element of xenophobia- be afraid of the outsider. 


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