Marc Bernardin
May 16, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Battle Royale, Vol. 1

Current Status
In Season

We gave it an A-

Forty-two high school students are drugged and kidnapped to a remote island. Outfitted with explosive collars and the odd weapon, the young men and women are forced to kill each other until only one remains — and its all captured on camera for a popular reality game show. Based on the cult novel and live-action Japanese film of the same name, Royale hits all the manga bases (martial arts, creepy old men, panty shots) without being Sailor Moon silly. Be warned: The book is printed in true manga style, so you have to read right to left, back to front. It’s a little weird, but worth the effort.

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