***Be careful: This contains Spoilers!!!!
Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games can be seen as an American adaptation to the earlier Japanese novel by Koushun Takami, Battle Royale. Both novels take place in a post-apocalyptic world where one large governing body has total control over multiple districts, both put children into a facility (a dome-like structure vs an island) to fight until the death as a means of keeping the population in fear to prevent resistance. Both events are highly “media-cized.” Both can only have one winner who is the “last man standing,” and both have endings that don’t follow the rule.
While the basic plot set-up is the same, the two books take on this controversial issue in very different ways. Takami’s work is very gory, bloody and geared towards a more adult audience while Collins’ is more teen appropriate. Also, in Battle Royale, there are 50 teenagers selected, all from the same class, so their relationships are much deeper than the teenagers in the Hunger Games, who are from different districts, and have never met each other, so their allegiances are fresh and more likely to break.
There is some controversy among Battle Royale fans, stating that the Hunger Games is a blatant ripoff of Battle Royale, and while the similarities are numerous (you can check them out here) we must look at The Hunger Games as a western adaptation that plays off the same principle (as seen in Lord of the Flies, The Most Dangerous Game, The Running Man and many others) while bringing to the plot characters who handle events differently, drawing in a younger audience and writing for a market that Battle Royale hadn’t saturated.
If you haven’t, I do recommend reading Battle Royale, it’s phenominal.