Of Japan and Hunger Games book covers

The US Hunger Games trilogy book covers are beautiful. They’re elegant, full of symbolism, and just plain classy as hell. I adore the designs. I think the original UK covers are hideous, and for a while I regarded them as my least favorite HG covers on the market. It seems like a long time now since they were my least liked, because it all changed on the day I typed “Hunger Games Japanese” into Google image search.

At first, I was in shock. What is this? Who drew this? What am I looking at exactly?  And then the laughter began. And then the spamming of command+v as I sent it to everyone I knew who would laugh as hard as I did.

Let’s just take a moment to analyze this thing. First off, when you think of The Hunger Games, do you immediately think “WOW. Wouldn’t that look GREAT as an anime? Peeta is totally kawaii, Gale is really Kakkoi, and Katniss is such a tsundere.” No. No sane person has thought that in straight-faced seriousness. Second, what in the world are those weapons? I’ve never seen a bow function like that, and that knife sure is something to behold. There are a number of things I find distasteful about this cover, true, but I guess I gotta commend the artist for keeping true to the character designs………..? (though I think the artist took the size of Katniss’ breasts a liiiiiiiiiiiiittle far)

I need to point out that it isn’t entirely normal for a translated book in Japan to look like this. It’s normal for cheap throw-away serials, yes, but not for things like this. This is utterly bizarre. If ever you get the chance to check out a Japanese bookstore, please do!  There is a lot of charm in the covers, the weights, the sizes of Japanese books. One thing I find particularly adorable (although it’s such a money-grubbing scheme) is the tendency of Japanese publishers to split translated books into multiples.

I breathe a sigh of relief. Because this joke-like version of The Hunger Games is no longer the only one available to Japanese readers. Earlier this month, 『ハンガー・ゲーム』 上 (part 1) and 下 (part 2) were released at the price of 620 yen each (before tax). The kicker is that they’re probably the same translation as the one above, since the translator remains the same person.

They’re lovely and very minimal. I love how they’ve split the Mockingjay pin into halves, made whole when the two books are put together.

I’m just glad Japanese audiences will be able to read the book in public before the movie is released nation-wide on 9/28.

Bonus: I misread Suzanne Collins’ name initially when I saw the new covers. I thought for a moment the Japanese said “Southern Cleanse”. I was extremely confused and blown away before I realized my mistake.

Second bonus: 

Here is one of the promotional pictures for the release of the books. On the right it says “shoujo wa tatakau — ai no tame ni”, which translated loosely is “A young woman fights in the name of love”.

3 responses to “Of Japan and Hunger Games book covers

  1. You know it’s hard to decide what’s worse, the atom bombs the americans dropped on the Japanese during world war 2, or the disdain modern americans show for the work of manga artists, it’s pretty damn sickening to see this kind of close minded, racist thinking cropping up so often even in the 21st century.

    Showing this unfortunate page to my Japanese friend his response was “Yeah this is what we would call a typical piece of ameritrash in Japan, no love for manga art whatsoever, it’s pretty sad and shows just how little americans have come during the last century, racism is still alive and well in america today it seems.” and not only that but the Japanese versions of the hunger games novels also have art interspersed through the novel by the manga artist, making the american verison seem that much more lazy, as with most american novels and their lazy “less is more” covers, although the other hunger games covers follow the american version thankfully they still have the art interspersed from the manga artist.

    Pretty sad, and sickening, sites like these make me absolutely ashamed to be an american, but I will never be as close minded or anti japan, anti manga as the filth who made this article, they deserve nothing more than to be brutally executed in a battle royale themselves, and of course the imbecile who wrote this article has no proof for the manga cover being bad except “DURRR HURRRRR MANGA SUXXXORZZZZ AMERICA ALL THE WAY DUIRRRRR HURRRRR!”


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