Viewers call out ‘Squid Game’ for allegedly plagiarising ‘As The Gods Will’

"It is true that [the first game is] similar, but after that, there aren't any similarities," said series director Hwang Dong-hyuk

Hit Korean drama series Squid Game has been faced with allegations of plagiarism for its supposed similarities to 2014 Japanese movie As The Gods Will. 

Since the series was released on September 17, some viewers have taken notice of the alleged similarities between the plots of both the Korean series and Japanese film, noting that they both involve survival death matches using childhood games. In addition, others have also begun pointing out supposed similarities in filmography.

A South Korean netizen recently posted a compilation of screenshots from Squid Game and As The Gods Will, pointing out the alleged resemblance between specific scenes from the Korean series. They include a close-up shot of the giant doll head in the game of ‘Red Light Green Light’ in the show and the countdown clock scene, among others.

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However, others have pointed out in defense of the hit series that director Hwang Dong-hyuk had previously mentioned that the Squid Game script had been in the works since 2008, per The Korea Herald.

Director Hwang also previously spoke about this issue during the press conference for the series. “It is true that [the first game is] similar, but after that, there aren’t any similarities,” he said. “I worked on [Squid Game in] 2008 and 2009, and at the time, the first game [had already been] fixed as ‘Red Light Green Light’.”

Hwang also pointed out that As The Gods Will had been created in the 2010s, after his initial idea for Squid Game. “It’s not really something that I wanna do, [to claim] ownership of this story. But if I had to say it, I would say I did it first,” Hwang added.

Squid Game follows a group of people who have been captured to play twisted versions of their childhood games for a chance to win a prize sum of KRW 45.6million. The show was awarded four stars in a review by NME’s Hidzir Junaini, who wrote that “the show’s sharp social critiques, suspenseful competition and sympathetic characters remain largely enthralling throughout.”

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