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Alice In Borderline Review

One of the best manga adaptations

By Ford KiddPublished 6 months ago 5 min read

Screen adaptations of manga and/or anime with live actors rarely go outside of Japan - this product is very specific, not resonating with Western viewers. But it seems that Netflix managed to find the key to this genre as well - the two seasons of the Alice in Borderland manga series turned out to be quite good.

Stories about powerful forces, be it gods, aliens, or omnipotent corporations, interfering in the lives of ordinary mortals, transferring them to another world or another place, and putting them in extreme conditions in which they must show their best qualities, are far from new. It is on this plot that most of the epics of the peoples of the world are built, and if we talk about examples closer to our time, then we can recall at least Philip Farmer's Riverworld, at least the recent not very successful film trilogy The Maze Runner. The manga Alice in Borderland and its serial adaptation have a similar plot.

Three young friends - a loser gamer who does not want to study or look for a job; a bartender who lost his job due to an affair with an employee; and a petty office clerk, suffering because of a mother who has gone into some strange sect - running away from the police, they hide in a toilet cubicle at Shibuya station, and when they leave it, they find themselves in Tokyo, in which almost all the inhabitants have disappeared. Some powerful force either removed all the Tokyo residents or transferred only a small part of them to a parallel reality, where they must take part in deadly games to survive. If you refuse to play, you will die very quickly. If you agree - most likely you will also die but after a while.

The games are constantly changing, their difficulty and themes are indicated by playing cards that survivors receive, along with additional days of life, upon completion of the challenges. The most terrible games are with "hearts", in which invisible organizers play with the hearts of their victims, forcing them to oppose their friends and commit unimaginable cruelties and meanness. The characters are forced to take part in the games, and at the same time, they are trying to figure out who is behind all this inhuman fun and how to stop them.

Filming of Alice in Borderland was directed by Japanese director Shinsuke Sato, who is a master of A class in live screenings of the manga. He made a film based on the zombie manga I Am a Hero, the Japanese version of Death Note: Light Up the New World, Bleach fantasy, films Inuyashiki and Kingdom, and is currently working on Kingdom 2. Interestingly, Sato is also involved in the gaming industry, he helped design Tekken 4 characters and was involved in Red Ninja: End of Honor.

By and large, Alice in Borderland is a mix of Saw, Lord of the Flies, and Battle Royale. And, as in the case of the original Battle Royale, don't rush to get attached to the characters, the mortality rate in the series is not lower than in any Game of Thrones. However, some of the characters will live to see the finale of the first season, which, unfortunately, is a bit predictable. Did anyone think that getting to the exit would be so easy?

Perhaps one of the most impressive things in Alice in Borderland is not even the cruel puzzles that the main characters must “solve” at the cost of others and their lives, but the completely empty Tokyo, in which the series takes place. Incredibly, the authors managed to temporarily remove all passers-by from one of the busiest pedestrian crossings in the world - the diagonal Shibuya Crossing. Not without green screens and CGI, but it looks great. Yes, we are well aware that many shots of the series were filmed in the early morning or not at all in Tokyo (part of the filming locations were in Yokohama and Kobo), but still, the empty capital of Japan just blows your mind.

As for other special effects, the budget of Alice in Borderland, of course, cannot be compared with the budget of Marvel films. Wild animals appearing in several shots, of course, spoil the overall picture, but not too much.

Despite the general simplicity of the idea, the predictability of the finale, and some increased emotionality of the characters, typical for Asian series, Alice in Borderland looks very good. The series, of course, falls short of the original Battle Royale, but in general, this is the best adaptation of a manga with live actors to date

The other day, the second season of the show was released, which took place with no less scope than the first. Cruelty has become more, as well as entertainment.

The heroes completed the first stage of the games with varying degrees of success, advancing to the second and reaching the finish line. This gave the creators of the series even more scope for fantasy. The conditions for games and survival have become tougher and more uncompromising.

In general, the director managed to convey the most important thing - the freedom of choice of each person. And if during the series they did not have this choice, then at the end the viewer understands that there is always a choice. Even when choosing between life and death.

If you are not a big fan of The Squid Game, then you will like Alice in the Borderlands much more because of the spectacle. And this show is one of the few where every viewer can recognize himself in the reflection of any character.


About the Creator

Ford Kidd

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