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Posts published by “Ari Santiago”

Ari has worked in digital copywriter and is currently pursuing a master's degree in literary and cultural studies. Occasionally writes games, short stories, and tabletop adventures. Unrepentant Forgotten Realms fan.

Battle Royale in a time of Pandemic: Breaking the Rules Before They Break You

 As the full terror of SARS-CoV-2 dawned on the world, it came as no surprise that people were scrambling for analogies to make sense of the pandemic’s consequences. Some picked the obvious comparison to zombie outbreaks; others went with viral apocalypses, like Stephen King’s The Strand. My own thoughts have turned to a different horror cult classic: Koushun Takami’s Battle Royale. I had fled the virus’s early spread in Hong Kong — in a manner painfully like my departure three months before, compelled by the police’s invasion of the city’s universities — only to be incarcerated in the farcical quarantine of Metro Manila, which was slowly driving its citizens to the brink. Under those circumstances, I could think of no better comparison than that of a class of students forced into a game designed to kill all but one of them. Weren’t we all, at that point, unwilling players in our own game of death?

Content Warning: This article has spoilers for the series, as well as mentions of sexual assault and rape.