Alice in Borderland
Starring: Yamazaki Kento, Tsuchiya Tao, Murakami Nijiro, Morinaga Yuki, Machida Keita, Miyoshi Ayaka
Year Released: 2022
Number of Episodes: 16
Genre: Drama, Action, Science Fiction, Thriller
Director: Sato Shinsuke
Where to Watch: Netflix
Arisu Ryohei—a listless, jobless, and video-game-obsessed young man—suddenly finds himself in a strange, emptied-out version of Tokyo in which he and his friends must compete in dangerous games in order to survive. In this strange world, Arisu meets Usagi, a young woman who’s navigating the games alone. After a dangerous game which tests Arisu’s limits, the two set out together to unravel one mystery after another as they risk their lives and confront what it means to live.
I have been meaning to watch this show for a while but never got around to it but when my friend DJ recommended it, I knew that I had to get it done, and while I didn’t end up loving it the way that everyone on the internet did, I still rather enjoyed it. It was crazy, it was thrilling and it was compelling as hell and I’m not mad at all that I watched it. I started watching it with my best friend, Theresa but after the third episode, we had to take a break because OH HELL NO, not the friends! Therese ended up not finishing it out, but I did.
This drama had some serious Hunger and Squid Games vibes with our cast playing deadly games to stay alive. I guess this drama was adapted from a manga that was loosely inspired by Alice in Wonderland. There’s a lot of violence, a lot of gory death, and let’s just say that this one ain’t for the kids. None of that bothered me and I think a lot of it worked well with the story being told. Our main characters, Arisu and Usagi are thrown into a world of deadly games where they have to keep winning games to stay alive. It was crazy that we actually saw the losers get eliminated from each game and that amped up my anxiety but also kept me invested. I needed to see both Arisu and Usagi succeed and take the gamekeepers down. That was where I was interested in from beginning to end.
This is one of the first J-dramas that I watched so everyone was brand spanking new to me. I can’t say that anyone stood out to me. I was more invested in what was going on instead of who was who. I did enjoy Arisu and Usagi though. I also really liked Arisu’s friends from the very beginning but aside from them, nobody else stood out that much to me. I liked seeing Arisu, who I thought wouldn’t really amount to anything when we first meet him but holy cow did show me. With each game that he played, he kept right on impressing me. Same with Usagi, when we first meet her, I knew that she was going to be a big part of the game but I didn’t realize how much I’d come to love her character. She had a huge heart and when she wouldn’t leave that kid, I became a huge fan of hers. She was pretty great. Everyone else kind of reminded me of like a modern, fucked up version of Alice in Wonderland.
Overall, this was a solid drama. It wasn’t my favorite but I did enjoy the Arisu and seeing him battle day in and day out to survive. I don’t think that I could have survived that madness because each game was crazier than the last and I had hella anxiety watching because I had no idea how the hell Arisu was gonna beat the game. Both seasons were crazy and I’m glad that I watched them both. Did I mention how much I hate how Netflix splits up seasons? Cause I hate but lucky for them, I watched this when both series were already out so I didn’t have to wait to see how everything turned out. As solid as this drama was, the effects were pretty awesome but there were episodes that I struggled to get through and there were some characters that I didn’t care about but overall, I’m not mad that I watched it and I would recommend if you were in the mood for something on the crazy side.
3.5 out of 5