Alice in Borderland Season 1 Through 8 Synopsis
The new Japanese series ‘Alice in Borderland’ has taken the world by storm since it was released on Netflix last December 10, 2020. Written by Yoshiki Watabe, Yasuko Kuramitsu and Shinsuke Sato, this
manga-based, science fiction, thriller and drama was rated 96% on Rotten Tomatoes’ by the audience and a 7.8 over 10 stars on IMDb.
The story follows Airsu, a video-game-obsessed, unmotivated boy, who one day realizes Tokyo was left abandoned with only him and his friends left. As they search for other civilians, they soon find out that they are stuck in a real live game where they are forced to finish dangerous tasks and missions which may cause them their lives. In this retelling of Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’, these new-found friends are mandated to find various ways to survive as they push through their emotional and physical boundaries.
Joel Keller, a writer for Decider, a website which writes about the best movies and TV series’, has stated that although there are numerous shows that incorporate an apocalyptic setting in their stories, “none of them are as grim as Alice in Borderland.” He further goes on to say that this Netflix Original live-action adaptation is worth streaming: “We’re recommending Alice in Borderland because, despite what seems like a depressing, dystopian set up, it shows flashes of having a sense of humor. Let’s hope that the show has more of it in later episodes.”
Detailed Index in Borderland
Genre: Science fiction, Suspense-thriller, Drama
Written By: Yoshiki Watabe, Yasuko Kuramitsu & Shinsuke Sato
Directed By: Shinsuke Sato
Country of Origin: Japan
Available Platforms: Netflix
Total Seasons: 1
Total Episodes: 8
Running Period: 41-52 minutes
Original Release Date: December 10, 2020
- Kento Yamazaki as Ryōhei Arisu
- Tao Tsychiya as Yuzuha Usagi
- Yûki Morinaga as Chōta Segawa
- Keita Machida as Daikichi Karube
- Nijirô Murakami as Shuntarō Chishiya
- Sho Aoyagi as Morizono Aguni
- Ayaka Miyoshi as Rizuna Ann
- Dori Sakurada as Suguru Niragi
- Aya Asahina as Hikari Kuina
- Shuntarô Yanagi as the Last Boss
- Nobuaki Kaneko as Boshiya Hatter
- Riisa Naka as Kano Mira
- Ayame Misaki as Saori Shibuki
- Yutaro Watanabe as Kōdai Tatta
- Mizuki Yoshida as Asahi Kujō
- Kina Yazaki as Momoka Inoue
- Tsuyoshi Abe as Keiichi Kuzuryū
Breakdown per episode
The first episode of Alice in Borderland was released on the 10th of December 2020. The opening scene showed Arisu at home playing video games. The next couple of scenes involved Arisu’s family pushing him to find a job. When his family starts to get on his nerves, he goes out and texts his friends, Chota and Karube, to hang out. As his two friends were also having a bad day, they decided to meet up. After sharing about what happened with their day, they decided to cheer each other up by dancing in the streets of Japan’s famous Shibuya Crossing. Because of their noise and demeanor, the three friends caught the attention of policemen and were chased.
Arisu, Chota and Karube hid in the subway’s bathroom as the lights began to flicker. As the room was filled with an eerie type of quiet, the friends emerged to find Tokyo completely empty. When the night came, a billboard in front of them lit up with the words “game area” written on it.
The trio followed the signs that led them to an abandoned building where a number of phones were placed on a table. They soon would find out that these phones show the kind of game they would be playing and its difficulty. Arisu, Chota and Karube were joined with a high school girl and another woman named Shibuki.
All their phones lit up with a three of club card that showed its difficulty over 10. With the game entitled “Dead or Alive”, they were all forced to pick which door to enter. One would lead to another room as the other would cause their immediate death. Luckily, the three friends along with Shibuki made it out alive. The episode ended with the characters finding out they had individual “visas” which are considered as rest days. Within those days, they must join another game before their visa expires or else they’ll be killed.
Wanting to find a way to escape, the group soon found out that Tokyo did not have electricity and the internet. Two days into their visas, Arisu and Karube decide to participate in another game to find out more about their current situation. Given that Chota was injured during their first game, he was left behind with Shibuki tending to him. Arisu and Karube headed to the nearest game area where they were met with a large group of players. One of the players was able to explain to Arisu what the cards meant: Spades meant a game that involved strength, Clubs were for team battles, Diamonds were for battle of wits and the Hearts were games that involved betrayal.
As soon as this was explained, their phones lit up showing a Five of Spades card for the game called “Tag.” It was explained that the players had to find a “safe room” before being “tagged” by an assigned person. Knowing that they would get killed if they get seen, Arisu and Karube found themselves working with other players like Aguni, Usagi and Chishiya to find the safe room. After completing the task, most of the players were able to escape before having to witness the killing of one of the “taggers.” They, then, realized that even the taggers were forced to play games in order to survive. Arisu felt guilty after witnessing someone’s death as him and Karube leave the apartment building. The episode ends with Karube finding a walkie-talkie telling him to return to the Beach.
Coming back to where Chota and Shibuki was left, Arisu and Karube return safely to their hiding place. Karube shows his friends the walkie-talkie he found and explains what he heard. Chota and Shibuki then remind the group that they have one day left of their visa before it expires. The group agrees to join another game that same night.
As the new-found friends enter the new game held in a botanical garden, they realize that they are the only players. Their phones light up with the Seven of Hearts card on the screen for the game entitled “Hide and Seek.” Their nervousness started to build up as the mechanics of the game was explained. The players were assigned to different animals. Three would be sheep and one would be the wolf. Every time a player makes eye contact with another, their roles would be switched. Whoever ends up as the wolf character in the end, wins the task.
Tensions run high as they realize only one will survive. Shibuki runs off and betrays the trio before being found. After an intense argument, Arisu ends up as the wolf and hides from the others. As Arisu, Karube and Chota talk about their friendship, Arisu wishes to be one of the three who dies. Because of all the hardships and baggage his other friends have as well, they decide to not let Arisu find them so he can go on living instead. The episode ends with only Arisu leaving the game.
Usagi and Arisu star in the fourth episode of Alice in Wonderland as the opening scene shows Usagi looking for food and eventually runs into Arisu. Because of what happened during the last game, Arisu is shown to be depressed as he is lying on the streets. Usagi then helps him get back up and they both decide to work together to find the beach Karube was talking about.
The two join the game called “Distance” with a Four of Clubs reference for its difficulty. The game was held in a bus with three other people. The only instructions given to them was to reach the goal. Thinking that the goal was to run all the way to the end of the tunnel, all players except for the one who was injured, make their way to the end. Almost reaching the goal, the group were met by a big panther who chases them and kills one of the players.
Wanting to help save the other player who was injured and left at the bus, they soon realize the bus has the word “GOAL” on its side, pertaining to where they were supposed to be. Arisu finds diesel gas to fuel the bus they were in. As they are met with tons of water being released inside the tunnel, only Arisu, Usagi and the other player who was injured woke up alive.
Looking for other people who had the same wristbands as them, they followed these other players to a large hotel. Before they were able to explore this new surrounding, the pair was kidnapped by Hatter, the owner of the hotel. The hatter explains that they were indeed at the Beach. He then explains that he, along with a big group of players, aims to collect all the playing cards, besides the face cards, at the end of each game. Hatter continues to say that he believes that once all cards are collected, they will be able to leave Tokyo.
Arisu and Usagi stay at the hotel and promise to help gather as many playing cards as they can. The pair were sent to play different games where both returned alive and safe. After a long day, Arisu was invited to a meeting, along with the Hatter and the executive members of the Beach, as they discussed the only card they have left to achieve, the Ten of Hearts.
The 6th episode of Alice in Borderland focuses on the Hatter’s death after participating in a game. His henchmen declared that the cause of his death was because of a gunshot. Seeing that the Beach was in need of a new leader, Aguni was voted to replace the Hatter. As this was happening, Arisu helps Chishiya and Kuina create a plan to steal all the playing cards, unknowing that the two would betray him. Soon enough, Arisu gets caught stealing the cards and is tied up.
Before Chishiya and Kuina could get the chance to leave, lasers appeared around the Beach. The pair, along with other Beach members, realized that they were standing in the game arena for that night. Everyone meets at the hotel lobby to find out more information about the game called “Witch Hunt”, which in the end would give them the Ten of Hearts card.
Members of the Beach soon discovered a dead body on the floor of the hotel lobby. The mechanics given to the players were simple, they had to work together to find the assigned “witch” among them. After this, they have to throw the witch’s body into a bonfire. As soon as Aguni and his henchmen heard this, they decided to kill everyone at the Beach and throw them into the bonfire to attain the final playing card, the Ten of Hearts.
As everyone tries to escape from Aguni and his military men, Usagi, along with a few other members of the Beach, search for Arisu. After they find him, they decide to decipher the game’s purpose and logistics in order to find the witch. Throughout the episode, Ann, one of the executive members, investigates the victim’s death and later finds the fingerprints of the witch on her. The episode ends with someone hitting Ann on the head that causes her to become unconscious.
In the last episode of Alice in Borderland, a flashback of Momoka, the witch’s victim in the last episode, was seen wandering around the empty Tokyo on her first day. One of her friends, Asahi, records their journey on her phone. Going back to the present time, Arisu explains to the whole group that Aguni is the witch. He further says that Aguni’s victim was not Momoka, but was the Hatter, who was actually his best friend in real life. A flashback of the Hatter and Aguni’s friendship revealed what truly happened.
Still feeling uneasy, Arisu changes his mind and concludes that Momoka was actually the witch. Given that the game had a difficulty of the Ten of Hearts, Arisu believes that Aguni had to be alive to live with the guilt of killing his best friend. The rest of the Beach trusts Arisu with his conclusion and throws Momoka into a bonfire. As the fire spread, the hotel was soon affected. Before leaving the Beach, Chishiya attains the final card to his collection.
The following day, Arisu and Usagi watch all the videos on Asahi’s phone who died from the game. The pair soon find out that she, along with Momoka, were “dealers”. Dealers were assigned to organize games and make sure people join in order to extend their visa. Arisu and Usagi come across a video of where an underground lair was seen. The two find their way to the lair only to find everyone dead. Chishiya and Kuina appear and explain that these were “gamemasters”, and even they were players.
As they were about to leave disappointed, a woman named Mira appears on every screen in Tokyo and explains that she has new games in store for everyone. Their prize? The face cards.
Sneak Peak into Alice in Borderland: Season 2
With just two weeks after its initial release, Netflix has given the avid fans of Alice in Borderland what they have been waiting for. On December 24th, Netflix Malaysia, along with various Netflix platforms all over the world, tweeted what seems like an early Christmas present for AIB lovers saying: “Stay tuned on the second season of Alice in Borderland!” This comes to no surprise as this thriller-drama series has been trending non-stop for two weeks as it is part of the top 10 titles of Netflix worldwide, performing exceptionally well in Europe and Asia.
With just 8 episodes, the first season of the show only covered around 31 chapters of the manga series. With this, you can surely expect the remaining 33 chapters to be incorporated in the next season given that there are still a lot more games and challenges Arisu has to face alongside Usagi, his new-found friend who he meets in the simulation.