Squid Game

Hey there lads, Supreme Overlord 49 GB here. It’s like 3 in the morning and I may or may not have just finished binge watching Squid Game. Now, I know what you’re thinking; I, of all people, actually sat down to watch something besides an anime, and an insanely popular show no less? Who is this strange man and what has he done with the overlord of #TeamProtag!? Well, at first I wasn’t particularly interested in the show; as you might expect, I didn’t see a normal TV show as being worth my time and just assumed it wouldn’t really live up to the hype. I knew the basic concept and figured it was probably just a lot of gratuitous gore without any real substance, carried primarily by its unique premise. I’m sure I don’t need to explain the plot hook of Squid Game to you by now, but I’ll give a real simple breakdown anyways; essentially, a few hundred people in serious debt are selected by members of a highly organized and well-funded crime syndicate to take part in a series of children’s games for an absolutely massive cash prize, except that these games are big-budget productions and eliminated players are killed. There’s a lot more to this, but I don’t want to spoil anything more than you probably already know from YouTube videos and other derivative works of media aping the structure and idea of the contest. If you couldn’t tell by the fact I’m writing this at all, I’m in love with this show. It absolutely blew all of my expectations out of the water and surpassed its hype. It has its flaws, sure; the ending is a bit of a cliffhanger, it’s got a little bit of a grimdark tone to it, the English voice actors sound a little awkward, etc. But none of that is enough to take away from what this show excels at in any truly significant way; first and foremost among those excellent aspects being its direction. With 9 episodes—each of which lasts for a solid hour—you’d expect there to be some dead air or exposition, but there simply isn’t. Every scene is meaningful and interesting, keeping you hooked to what’s happening onscreen for every last little bit of the show, never losing your attention for even a second. The pacing is perfect, the characters are extremely well-written and acted, and the structure of the plot is excellent. The writers stick very strongly to the mantra of “show, don’t tell”, respecting the viewer and allowing them to truly digest and figure out for themselves what’s happening onscreen, to pick apart and empathize with the characters. I absolutely loved the music and the way in which it’s used, giving particularly important scenes incredible emotional impact, so much so that I found myself crying multiple times—and we’re not talking shedding manly tears or anything, we are talking full on crying. We see hundreds upon hundreds of people die gruesomely in Squid Game, but I don’t believe the violence or adult content it displays is in any way gratuitous. It serves exactly the purpose it was meant to in exactly the way in which it was meant to; conveying a horror far more real and haunting then the cheap horror of a so-called “horror movie” or “horror game”. The story we’re told here is the kind where I found myself rooting for the characters I loved despite knowing the hopelessness of their plight, forming strong emotional attachments to them and being genuinely wounded by their deaths. There are so many layers and so much absolutely fascinating sociopolitical commentary present here, all of which the show weaves neatly into its narrative without ever shoving any particular message or theme down your throat, letting you come to your own conclusions about the story and what you want to take from it. And you know, “sociopolitical” is a big, scary word without any real teeth; if anything, what makes Squid Game so good is less about it having super nuanced and clever dialogue, and moreso the fact that it is totally and unrelentingly human. I’ve been playing a lot of Final Fantasy 14 for months now, and one of the primary reasons that game fails to tell a half-decent story is because everybody is a weak, poorly written character who feels like an automaton delivering constant exposition, trapped within an extremely boring and impersonal narrative of political intrigue and world saving. By contrast, Squid Game and the people partaking in it feel real, and the weight of what they say and do is heavy as can be. Honestly, I’m not sure how much more I can say without spoiling everything for you. Normally I would mention things like art or animation but those don’t apply here, and I already mentioned the acting is absolutely fantastic. I’m not exactly a connoisseur of special effects or anything when it comes to live-action stuff, but even still you can tell the budget here was not small and the visual spectacles we’re shown are very cool, not to mention the gore which is really well done. It can be a bit overly flashy or even silly on occasion, particularly with this one moment where a bunch of glass breaks and shards go flying everywhere in slow-mo; that was probably the only scene where I would say they went overboard trying to make things dramatic and intense, but they make up for it with the resolution of its ultimate consequence. All-in-all, Squid Game is an absolutely incredible show which more than lives up to its extreme hype, one which I believe absolutely everybody should watch. Do yourself a favor and sink 9 hours of your life into this beast, it’s worth it.

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