Squid Game is taking the Internet by storm — the show, not the actual game. (We hope.) The overnight hit South Korean series challenges its 456 debt-ridden players to children’s games. The price of failure is death. To the victor? A prize pot of ₩45.6 billion (nearly $40 mil) to start, which goes up by ₩100 million for every player who dies. And, of course, no take-backsies when you realize the price of playing.
The series rose to popularity in less than a month, becoming one of Netflix’s most watched titles. With all nine episodes out, and a season 2 still undecided, what do we do now? Fortunately, anime has no shortage of deadly survival games. You’re all well aware of Battle Royale, so give these a go:
If Squid Game isn’t a big enough gamble, how about literal gambling? Kaiji takes an already high-stakes hobby and drives it even higher. Lose these wagers, and… well, you won’t die. But you will end up working in an underground labor camp until you pay your way out. An underground labor camp owned by the people who run the gambling events. And who also, funnily enough, tend to be the people to whom the show’s gamblers are indebted. In other words, it’s a giant debtors’ ouroboros, and only the shrewdest gamblers come out better than they went in.
Kaiji started as a manga and has been made into an anime, four live-action films, and actual real world game shows. That’s right, a handful of people competed to clear real-world debt by competing in games straight out of Kaiji. Fortunately, the penalty for losing was just… losing.
King’s Game: The Animation
No, this doesn’t have anything to do with golf or chess. This series (originally a cell phone novel) is inspired by Japan’s “king game,” which is a bit like truth or dare. Players draw cards or straws, and a “king” gives an order. Then a new king is chosen. But in King’s Game, only one person gets to give out orders — and, as in Squid Game, the consequences for failing to play along are deadly.
A young man name Nobuaki transfers to a new school, and a strange cell phone game follows him. You can’t choose not to play. You can only participate or die. Or participate and die, depending on what the King wants. And who is this mysterious “king”? Not who you’d expect at all.
The Entirety of Fate
Squid Game offers people money in exchange for surviving death games. Fate — like all of it — offers people wishes in exchange for beating each other up with hot anime versions of legendary heroes. People in anime will do just about anything for a wish, it seems; even when the rules of engagement seem a little sketchy.
Of course, these constant Holy Grail Wars mean that Fate is becoming less about winning wishes and more about saving the world. Because let’s be real — a lot of really awful people are poised to get their way under this system.
You can brave Squid Game on Netflix now… and all of the above shows on the anime streaming platform of your choice!