Alice in Borderland (Japanese: 今際の国のアリス, Hepburn: Imawa no Kuni no Arisu) is a 2020 Japanese science fiction thriller drama streaming television series based on the manga by Haro Aso. The series was directed by Shinsuke Sato. It stars Kento Yamazaki and Tao Tsuchiya as allies trapped in an abandoned Tokyo forced to compete in dangerous games, the type and difficulty represented by playing cards, to extend “visas” that, if expired, result in the player’s execution by lasers being shot from the sky.
The series’ first season was announced in July 2019 and filmed from August to December 2019. Set locations included Shibuya districts and a green screen studio replica of Shibuya Crossing. The show’s visual effects were produced in an international collaboration between Japan’s Digital Frontier and teams from Singapore, the United States, and India. The musical score was composed by Yutaka Yamada, who had collaborated with Sato.
The first season premiered on the Netflix streaming service on December 10, 2020, and received positive reviews from critics, who praised the action sequences, direction, and acting. They compared the show to many entries in the survival genre, including the films Battle Royale (2000) and Cube (1997). The first season’s strong performance and high viewership in many countries resulted in Netflix renewing the series two weeks after its premiere; the second season was released on December 22, 2022.
- Kento Yamazaki as Ryōhei Arisu:
A video game-obsessed man who “doesn’t fit in with his family”. He teams up with Usagi while in the Borderlands and later develops romantic feelings for her.
- Tao Tsuchiya as Yuzuha Usagi:
A mountain climber who was transported into the empty city of Tokyo shortly after the death of her father, whom she deeply respected. She teams up with Arisu while in the Borderlands and later develops romantic feelings for him.
- Nijirō Murakami as Shuntarō Chishiya:
A mysterious, quiet, and sly player who teams up with Kuina to steal Hatter’s deck of cards, believing that a full deck would transport them out of the empty city. He later becomes interested in Arisu and Usagi after helping them escape a game of “tag”. Before arriving in the Borderlands, he was a medical student.
- Ayaka Miyoshi as Ann Rizuna:
An executive member of “the Beach” who wins difficult games through rational thinking, later becoming an important ally and friend to Arisu and his group. Before arriving in the Borderlands, she was a forensic scientist for the police.
- Dori Sakurada as Suguru Niragi:
A young yet dangerous member of “the Beach”. He is described as being “aggressive due to his complicated past” and is part of “the Militants”. Before arriving in the Borderlands, he was often bullied by other students at his high school.
- Aya Asahina as Hikari Kuina:
A close friend of Chishiya, whom she helps steal Hatter’s deck of cards. A former clothing shop clerk, Kuina is revealed to be transgender in a flashback in episode 7, in which she was disowned by her father.
On July 16, 2019, Netflix announced that they were creating a live-action adaptation of the manga Alice in Borderland, with Yoshiki Watabe, Yasuko Kuramitsu, and Shinsuke Sato writing the scripts for each episode, and Sato directing in an attempt to make the show appear as “one very, very long film”. A few months later, on August 4, Kento Yamazaki and Tao Tsuchiya were cast as the main characters of the series, with the pair appearing as Ryōhei Arisu and Yuzuha Usagi, respectively.
December 22, 2022
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