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.
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”.