I am not familiar with Alice in Borderland (Imawa no Kuni no Arisu). I only learned about the live-action series when I received a YouTube notification about a new Netflix trailer. And even without checking it, I knew I was going to stream it judging by the title.
When the day came, I did a little research and found out it is a Japanese suspense manga series written and illustrated by Haro Aso. Alice in Borderland also has a 3-episode original video animation, and now, we have the live-action series produced by Netflix and directed by Shinsuke Satō.
Yes, Shinsuke Satō, the person who directed numerous live-action film adaptations of manga and anime such as The Princess Blade (2001), Gantz (2011), I Am a Hero (2015), Bleach (2018), Inuyashiki (2018), and Kingdom (2019).
An aimless gamer and his two friends find themselves in a parallel Tokyo, where they’re forced to compete in a series of sadistic games to survive.
While watching the series, I wrote some episode reviews via my MDL account. Let me share them with you plus my whole thoughts on this series.
As mentioned, I did not know anything about “Alice in Borderland”. I approached the series without any expectations. But just a few minutes into the series, I already knew I have to and will finish watching it.
You see, I was so impressed with the introduction of the characters. It was is nicely done that it won’t matter if you are new to the story. The narration and direction made sure I fully grasp and never let go. And that is why they have a great start.
Then came in episode two. I already knew that it was the perfect time for the characters to show their true colours. The story did, but the second episode gave more and did not fail to present the action and thrill like the first.
Episode 3 tells us how crisis brings out the best and the worst in people. But what can they do in a situation like this? How can one be human? This episode is a huge turning point for the characters, especially the lead. Honestly, this episode got me shaking, too.
After that massive explosion of emotion, episode 4 gave us a short rest. It was lighter than the previous, but it still gets you thinking and going until we know the truth behind this game. Is it correct to say that life plays tricks? Sometimes it’s the people and all its ambiguities. We must find out!
Now for episode 5. Utopian haven, what’s that? I don’t believe in that. Anyway, this episode is lighter than usual but still gave you a thrill with add-ons.
And when you thought everything is calm, episode 6 has a bomb waiting and wanting to explode. Plus, there is betrayal and twist after twist. “Alice in Borderland” does have a unique narrative. I’m now intrigued by the manga and anime.
Episode 7 is a big slap to society. Freedom does not mean rules should not exist. Rules are there to help keep or in some cases, restore the peace. That is if the rules are for the good of humanity. Another thing I like about this episode is the short flashbacks of some characters. Ever wondered who they were before coming to that world? Get your answers here.
Episode 8 is where things are revealed or part of the big picture. And I enjoyed how it was executed.
“There is no place where we’ll always be safe in this world. The North Poles, which the explorer saw, without the illusions of civilization. When all is done, you simply return to the soil. This land is the true form of the world. I’m thankful to this place. Now, I’m freer than I ever was.”
Ah! Alice in Borderland. I know Netflix has a habit of cancelling great shows. But I hope we get to see this series through the end as Alice in Borderland is such a well-made series.
Though set in a parallel world, it mirrors the world today. I hope people are trying to understand the story and forget that everything is fiction. The attitude, outlook and behaviours are not a sham. These people exist today.
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