Have you already streamed your way through Squid Games and are looking for more? Alice in Borderland presents a similar survival scenario with a very different plot.
In season one, Japanese director Shinsuke Sato follows a group of bored delinquents who are transported to a parallel dimension as part of a live-or-die endurance game. Alice in Wonderland’s competitors, though, are playing not against each other, but to merely live. In 2020, the series launched to positive critical and fan reviews in the United States and was the most viewed Japanese drama that year. Though the show’s second season won’t drop until the end of 2022, you can catch the recap and teaser now.
“Watching under-resourced and outgunned heroes overcome the odds is eternally satisfying — and, as Arisu insists, every game has a solution,” Melanie McFarland said on Salon.com.
Alice in Wonderland follows allies trapped in a surreal, abandoned Tokyo — prisoners forced to compete in dangerous games, the type and difficulty of which are determined by playing cards dropped at random intervals and locations. After surviving their first game, players receive “visas,” of which more are extended the more they compete. If the visas expire, however, a red laser shot from the sky executes the unlucky player.
The streaming television series is based on Haro Aso’s manga of the same name. The Japanese survival thriller follows friends Ryōhei, Karube, and Chōta, who find themselves transported to this parallel world devoid of people, are forced to participate in this sick diversion, and who try to find their way back.
Alice in Borderland is an intriguing alternative to standard survival games narratives and linear apocalyptic plots. Instead, the audience finds complex characters caught in a world that’s lost its humanity, eventually asking its protagonists how they want to live if and when they’ve made it through whatever nightmares they face.
This is the existential query that all humans have to face, which becomes especially relevant to young adults. That’s the question posted to Arisu (Kento Yamazaki), this story’s titular Alice. The avid gamer refuses to get a job or contribute to society in any meaningful way.
“What is the answer Arisu is seeking?” Yamazaki asks in the Alice in Borderland teaser, dropped at this fall’s Netflix Festival Japan 2021 event.
Premiering in 2020 in 190 countries, the show was ranked in Netflix’s top 10 in 40 countries and territories worldwide.
Alice in Borderland (Imawa no Kuni no Arisu) season two is currently in production and will air anywhere from mid to late 2022 on Netflix. You can watch the teaser from the festival on YouTube, beginning at 8:11 in the “New Live-Action Japanese Lineup” or check out all of the intriguing action flicks coming up in Japan next year.
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