Battle Royale is a movie I saw just last year for the first time, and it’s something that I wished I had seen earlier (like, when I was a kid–so I could play “Battle Royale” with my teen friends.
For those of you not initiated, Battle Royale is a Japanese film (previously a novel/a manga) aptly summarized by Wikipedia:
The film tells the story of Shuya Nanahara, a high-school student struggling with the death of his father, who is forced by the government to compete in a deadly game where the students must kill each other in order to win. The film aroused both domestic and international controversy and was either banned outright or deliberately excluded from distribution in several countries.
So, basically, it’s The Hunger Games before The Hunger Games came out. But it’s so much more than that, and furthermore it’s a learning opportunity for bike polo.
Buckle in, dear polokin. We’re in for some chop.
in Battle Royale, there are several characters who just seem to get it. Despite being tricked/drugged into competing in the games, these lucky few are just outstanding when it comes to killing and/or tricking fellow classmates.
The lesson here is pretty clear: you’re going to encounter people in this sport who just seem to get it. It’s as if they were made to play bike polo (even though Bike Polo isn’t exactly a heritage game yet). They’ll be able to do things in days which took you months or years to learn. This just happens. It’s okay.
Mostly because in bike polo you aren’t summarily killed with a sickle by a young Japanese schoolgirl.
But really, what you need to focus on is your own skill set. So you’re not able to do a wheelie turn while scooping the ball past your front wheel and making an omelet. So what. you’ve got your own methods, and comparing yourself to someone who is seemingly made for the game won’t help anyone.
You’re Part of a Team…Mostly
Battle Royale is, strictly speaking, a “one against all” event. However, that doesn’t mean that these kids don’t team up for mutual survival (point in fact, that’s a huge part of the movie). Much to the same effect, bike polo is a game where people (3) join up to play against another 3 people.
But remember this: you’re on a team–but you’re ultimately the only person in charge of your own actions. It’s not productive to think of yourself as only one piece of the team’s puzzle. In actuality, you’re the only person who has a responsibility to yourself. As such you should rely on your team to work together, but not so much that you stop working as an individual, too.
So there is this part where a character puts a hand grenade inside Toshinori’s mouth and throws it into Shogo’s hideout.
It’s probably one of my favorite parts because it’s just so ridiculous.
Look at that picture!
Anyway, lots of strange things happen in Battle Royale. Unexpected things that throw characters off enough that they aren’t able to respond in the smartest way. This happens in bike polo, too.
Sometimes the ball isn’t going to bounce the way you expect it to–or you’ll crash for no apparent reason. Sometimes an opponent will
throw a head with a grenade in it’s mouth at you react in such a way that you are limited in your response.
Just take a deep breath. Don’t panic.
Some of the best players in the world are the ones who are able to respond to all situations evenly. Not necessarily powerfully or cleverly, but evenly. Don’t over-react, don’t give up. Just try to maintain.
There are other lessons to take away from this fine Japanese film, of course (namely, don’t trust anyone who seems like they really want to be your friend and never turn your back on someone who has a crossbow), but those are for another day.