Borderland Thrills Audiences and Leaves Them with Thought Provoking Questions

Marie Yoon

​Imagine if suddenly, you are in a world where you must play cruel games in order to survive. Would you obediently follow the rules, or find your way out of this suspicious land? Would you find partners to work with or play solo? How would you complete these games? With every single choice leading to death or life, Alice in Borderland is definitely a must watch. Full of thrill, the show is very intriguing and will only make you wonder what will happen next.

Available on Netflix, Alice in Borderland is a sci-fi Japanese TV series based off a graphic novel. Released on December 10, 2020, the first season consists of 8 episodes, and a second season is heard to be coming out around late 2021. It starts with Ryōhei Arisu and his two very close friends living their normal lives in Japan. Suddenly, they find themselves stuck in a strange, dystopian world. They roam around for a couple of days in confusion, trying to find out what happened to them. Eventually, they find other people from the real world who also got stuck in this dystopian world. The cause and reason why remain unknown throughout the remainder of the show.

They find out that they have to play deadly games in order to survive, and if they do survive, they receive a card from the classic deck of cards. The higher the number, the higher the difficulty is, and each symbol, heart, diamond, spades, and clubs, indicates the meaning behind the game. The main goal is for everyone to collect all of the cards in order to leave this strange world, but as Arisu and his friends continue to play these games, they start to wonder what or who is behind all of this.

I like the series because it is very interesting how they incorporate many ideas. It is clever and fascinating how they use the deck of cards and the original film, Alice in Wonderland, as the key to survival. Because the characters are constantly fighting to survive in a set time, everything goes by really fast and only makes the audience pay attention more. There was not a time where I was bored or uninterested. Each game they played were different and had different meanings along with it which made it not repetitive. The games and challenges are masterminded; viewers must use their mind while watching the characters solve the problems to the game. As I watched Arisu and others take part in mind controlling games, it made me wonder, “What would I have done?” It is amazing to see how they pull through despite the challenges.

There is always a lot going on, which lets the viewers wonder what will happen next. Sometimes, it is confusing because the characters would act differently than what I expected. Betrayal being common even around close friends brings a surprise turn of events. Although some of the characters’ hidden thoughts are hard to understand and follow through, it keeps the audience as much engaged and leads to many plot twists.

The cast selection is perfect and makes the show feel like real life. The main character Arisu, played by Kento Yamazaki, serves as a strong lead. My favorite character Shuntarō Chishiya, played by Nijirô Murakam, stood out to me because of his cold appearance. As the story went on, he was very different than what I expected him to be. He was full of unexpected moves and personalities which is what made me pay attention to him the most.

I would rate this series a solid 5 out of 5 stars. The storyline was clear while still having a satisfying amount of plot twists in it. I would recommend it for people who enjoy using their minds and thinking along with the characters. As this show rated TV-MA, these people should also be able to handle gore along with very savage fighting and killing.
Alice in Borderland will leave you with thought-provoking questions. Its uniqueness will not bore you, but keep you entertained throughout and definitely be worth a watch.