Netflix's Squid Game Director Reveals Show's Anime Roots

These days, it seems no show has the unhinged popularity of Squid Game. The oddly-named show has become one of Netflix's biggest series, and fans from around the world are eating up the tense Korean drama. Of course, this means all eyes are on director-writer Hwang Dong-hyuk, and the creator said in a recent interview that anime helped him hone his dystopian tale.

Recently, Hwang spoke with Variety in the face of Squid Game's exponential growth. It was there the writer admitted he did take notes of inspiration from some series, but he is not fond of having Squid Game called a copycat of hits like Hunger Games.

"I freely admit that I've had great inspiration from Japanese comics and animation over the years," Hwang shared. "When I started, I was in financial straits myself and spent much time in cafes reading comics including Battle Royale and Liar Game."

"I came to wonder how I'd feel if I took part in the games myself. But I found the games too complex, and for my own work focused instead on using kids' games," he continued.

For anyone unfamiliar with these titles, Battle Royale is a Japanese survival-thriller from Japanese director Kinji Fukasaku. The movie tells the story of junior high students who are forced into a fight to the death by a totalitarian regime. Battle Royale came with lots of controversies, but it coined the hugely popular genre of survival stories in media today. And obviously, Squid Game fits into that niche.

As for Liar Game, the psychological thriller debuted in 2005 as a manga. The series, which has since spawned anime and live-action series, tells the story of an average college student named Nao. The girl becomes embroiled in a mysterious contest known as the Liar Game where players are urged to steal money from other contestants in any way possible. As Nao competes in the game, she and her allies decide to dismantle the organization from within, but that means the group must advance further into the Liar Game itself.

As you can see, these two Japanese series have clear points of comparison with Squid Game. But when it comes to this Netflix hit, Hwang has his own unique take. Now, fans around the world are begging for a second season, so we'll just have to see where the director takes Squid Game next!


What do you think about Squid Game's humble origins? Do you think the series should tackle an anime of its own? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB.