It’s only about twelve years late, but here’s a US trailer for the Japanese film Battle Royale, in which a class full of kids is forced to fight each other to the death on a remote island. The movie was released in 2000, and directed by renowned Japanese filmmaker Kinji Fukasaku based on the novel of the same name by Koushun Takami.

Though it seems that nearly everyone who wants to has seen the film through various legitimate and less legitimate DVD releases, Battle Royale has never been officially available in the US. That changes in March, when Anchor Bay releases the movie on Blu-ray — just in time for the theatrical release of The Hunger Games, which bears a striking plot similarity to Battle Royale.

See a trailer for the DVD release below.

Controversial at the time of its release, Fukasaku called Battle Royale his “words to the next generation” and said that his interest in the material was related to a hatred of adults that arose in him during the ’40s, when he realized that the Japanese government had been lying about the reasons for fighting WWII.

Meanwhile, Suzanne Collins, author of the novel series upon which The Hunger Games is based, maintains that she had never seen or heard of Battle Royale before writing her books. I find that difficult to believe — it seems like someone whose interests run to the sort of material represented in The Hunger Games would have known Battle Royale — but I suppose it is possible. The point is moot now, as both books and films are done, and can easily co-exist.

Battle Royale hits DVD on March 20; The Hunger Games opens on March 23.

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