Battle Royale shocked the world with its controversial subject matter upon its original release. Some countries flat-out refused to release or even acknowledge the film or novel. The story of Battle Royale is a shout into the void, a fist raised in the air against the messed up world we live in. It is that rebellious heart that captured the imaginations of audiences across the globe and with Battle Royale: Angel’s Border, fans of the original have some extended reading to attend to.
Focusing in on one of the saddest parts of Battle Royale, the lighthouse scene, Battle Royale: Angel’s Border adds another layer of heartbreak onto what is already a tragic scene to say the very least. Diving deeper into the characters of the lighthouse girls, this manga explores the other side of the story for the ill-fated inhabitants of the lighthouse.
Not unlike a Shakespearean play, Battle Royale: Angel’s Border plays out in Acts and chapters serving as scenes in each ‘Act’. Where the Shakespearean vibe really hits home is the inherent tragedy that encompasses this story. These girls are all stuck in a truly dire situation and it is inevitable that it would end in only one way.
Angel’s Border reveals a great deal of additional information on these characters that is unseen in the original novel and film, the most prominent of which is the fact that Haruka is a closested lesbian, unable to confront her feelings for Yukie. I found this character to be very well-written and was done in good taste. Too often in manga and anime, homosexual characters are played overly sexualized or for humour, but Angel’s Border treats Haruka as a real person, which more depth to her than just her sexuality. Her love for Yukie is deep and the bond between the two is well established and explored. This is undoubtedly one of the best representations of a lesbian character I’ve seen in manga. Kudos to Kuoshun Takami for being real with this and not falling into the trappings so commonplace in the genre.
The story here is explored through flashes to past events and to present events. We see how all of these events are entangled and the web formed by each and every action and reaction by these characters stuck between a rock and a hard place. It hits all the more harder when the two timelines ultimately come to a head as we watch these heartbreaking events play out in a chilling fashion.
The artwork is collaborative effort from Mioko Ohnishi and Youhei Oguma and is beautifully composed. Be it panel layout, character designs work or even down to the simple line-work, there is so much detail here in Angel’s Border making an incredible visual experience to go alongside the excellent story on show.
Battle Royale: Angel’s Border is a tragic exploration of the unforgettable lighthouse girls scene of Battle Royale. There is a Shakespearean quality to Angel’s Border that ultimately makes for a must read manga for fans of BR. It is every bit as profound as the original works and every bit as essential reading as Battle Royale has always been.
You can purchase a copy of this thoughtful manga at Madman’s Online Store.