If you’re like everyone else, you’ve seen Squid Game (probably days ago, yes I’m late) and might be thinking if there are anime shows that also have high stake games with dire consequences, betrayals and/or gore. Of course, there is such anime, and I’ll list 10 shows that have similarities with Squid Game. Although some are ‘tamer’ than the others, I’ll try to explain how similar they are and what aspects are like Squid Game.
10. No Game, No Life
Starting off with an easy one, No Game, No Life follows 2 siblings, Sora and Shiro, who are shut-in gamers of insane skills. The two of them go by the name ‘Blank’ and destroy competition even when facing cheats and hacks. Then, one day, they meet Tet, the God of Games, and are transported to another world – Disboard. And the story begins.
In this world, everything is resolved through high-stake games. There is a rule that each party must wager something they deem to be of equal value to the other party’s wager. In addition, there are the Ten Pledges, which serve to prevent violence and enforce the rules and outcomes of games (not a perfect system though). From poker, rock-paper-scissors and life-size chess to a virtual reality game, there’s all kinds of games and having a lot of different races with different abilities makes for all kinds of ways to cheat.
Although there isn’t as much gore and the general feeling is a lot more easy going, No, Game, No Life is an anime like Squid Game you might enjoy if you liked the aspect of interesting games where the stakes are high (can’t go much harder than betting an entire race).
The anime has 1 season with 12 episodes, and you can watch it on Crunchyroll.
Official Website: ngnl.jp
Official Twitter: @ngnl_anime
©Yuu Kamiya, KADOKAWA / “No Game, No Life” Production Committee
The next one is more gruesome, but doesn’t have as many games. Btooom! follows Ryōta Sakamoto, the number 1 Japanese player of the video game called Btooom!, and rank 10 worldwide. He gets taken to an island in the Pacific together with many other outcasts, and they engage in a real life game.
While the anime is all about a single survival game, the reason it’s like Squid Game comes in the circumstances for the characters and setting. The players are people others wanted gone, and they are put in a position where they have to kill others to survive. There’s a total of 8 different types of bombs they can use, and each player gets a single type at start. Those range from timer bombs, ones that explode on impact to implosion types. They need to use those to kill at least 7 other people and collect their crystals in order to clear the game.
Another similarity to Squid Game is the main character, whose morals make him hesitant to participate. However, just in the live-action series, there are times when he understands he must do it and acts accordingly.
The anime has 1 season with 12 episodes, and you can watch it on HIDIVE.
Moving on, Danganronpa is an anime adaptation of a game developed by Kazutaka Kodaka and Spike Chunsoft. It follows a a group of high school students who are locked together, and they have to kill each other to survive. Sounds familiar? The conditions are kinda similar, only they don’t really get games to play. The diversity here comes in the punishment losers get, which do get pretty creative.
While it might be more simple compared to Squid Game, the survival aspect in the Danganonpa anime is much like the live-action series. The participants have to think of ways to murder the others, albeit secretly, and the way they solve the mysteries is presented like a game of trial. The main character here is also against the idea, and he does his best to convince others.
The anime has 3 seasons, though it’s a bit complicated. Season 1 is Danganronpa: The Animation, which has 13 episodes and is available on Funimation. The 2nd anime series is Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope’s Peak High School, which was split into 2 parts which aired simultaneously in 2016. There are Side: Future and Side: Despair with 12 episodes each, and Funimation streams those as well.
Official Website: Danganronpa, Danganronpa 3
Official Twitter: @dangan_anime
©Spike Chunsoft Co., Ltd./ KIBOUGAMINE 3RD ANIME COMMITTEE All Rights Reserved.
7. Mirai Nikki
In Mirai Nikki, there’s a supernatural element added to the setting, as well as a more clear horror aspect than in the previous 3 shows. There are 12 ‘players’, who each get a sort of a Future Diary (Mirai Nikki), which tells them something about the future. As with most shows on this list, the goal is to kill the other players, and here the winner gets to become the God of Time and Space.
It’s another survival game, and the main character Yuuki needs to somehow kill 11 others in order to win. He has a girl that wants to help him, Yuno Gasai, and it’s a character you’ll definitely remember. The diaries have interesting ways to help the players, and there’s also the aspect of suspecting everyone, fearing betrayal and plot twists.
The anime has a single season of 26 episodes, and you can watch it on Funimation.
©Sakae ESUNO • KADOKAWA SHOTEN CO.,LTD../Twelve Future diary holders
6. Darwin’s Game
A rather underrated anime from Winter 2020, Darwin’s Game is another show that has several things like Squid Game while also having a supernatural element. The title of the anime is the same as the actual game players are thrown into. They get a unique power, a Sigil, which helps them beat other players and win points. When they lose all their points, they die and disappear, only leaving a weird square-shaped trace in place of their body.
Besides being a survival game and having players actually ‘play a game’, there’s also an audience that can gamble on the players and watch from a safe distance. The main character, Kaname Sudo, is yet another MC that hesitates to participate and wants to keep to his morals. However, he has possibly the quickest development from the ones listed, and it makes for an even more entertaining watch.
The anime has a single season of 11 episodes, with episode 1 lasting ~47 minutes. Funimation streams the show.
Official Website: darwins-game.com
Official Twitter: @d_game_official
©FLIPFLOPs (AKITASHOTEN) / DARWIN’S GAME PROJECT