Kinji Fukasaku’s Battle Royale is Coming to Region-free Blu-ray

Arrow Video is releasing Kinji Fukasaku’s acclaimed yet controversial film on Blu-ray, and it’ll be region free.
Battle Royale - Kinji Fukasaku

Whenever a new format comes out, the age old upgrade issue always crops up. Specifically, I’ve already spent considerable time and money building up my DVD collection. Now that I have a Blu-ray player, how many of those titles do I re-purchase on Blu-ray, especially considering that new formats are looming on the horizon and Blu-ray titles are still relatively expensive?

There are some titles, however, that are absolute must-buys for me, regardless of however many format upgrades come and go. The Lord of the Rings, Blade Runner, anything by Miyazaki — sure I already own these on DVD, but can I really call myself a pop culture nerd unless I get a little obsessive every now and then?

One other titles on the aforementioned list is Battle Royale, Kinji Fukasaku’s acclaimed and controversial film about a group of junior high students who are sent to a deserted island and forced to kill each other off. Which, on the surface, sounds like cheap exploitation fare. Fukasaku’s film, however, is a brilliant satire about adult negligence and government corruption that packs a surprising amount of character depth and emotional impact (read my review).

Earlier this month, Twitch posted that Battle Royale would be making its way to Blu-ray via England’s Arrow Video and there immediately some concerns as to whether or not the Blu-ray would be region free. Thankfully, Arrow Video has announced that the Blu-ray release will, indeed, be region free. They’ve also announced complete specs for the release. You can read all of the details over on Twitch but briefly: the 3-disc release will include both the theatrical cut as well as the director’s cut (which I greatly prefer), and both cuts have been digitally restored and transferred to 1080P and contain new subtitle translations.

The set will be released on November 29, 2010 and will be limited to 5000 units — and once they’re gone, that’s it, no more will be made. Purchase links can be found here.

No word yet as to whether or not Battle Royale 2 will receive similar treatment, but somehow, I doubt it (i.e., Battle Royale 2 really sucks).

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