A live-action Netflix series based on the manga of the same name by Haro Aso (Hyde & Closer; Zombie 100: Bucket List Of The Dead), Alice In Borderland is about a young guy called Arisu, as he and his best friends find themselves mysteriously lost in an alternative version of Tokyo, and forced to play dangerous games of various nature in order to survive and hopefully discover a way out. All with a fairly gratitous & superficial Alice In Wonderland theme: a character called Mad Hatter, Arisu being the japanese pronunciation of “Alice”, the importance of game cards, etc.
It’s entertaining and you can tell it’s made for modern audiences, as it mostly throws the viewer into the action and events without explaining much, but i really can’t fault it for that because direction by Shinsuke Sato (Princess Blade, Death Note: Light Up The New World), it’s fairly tight, and the public…. is most likely already QUITE familiar with this type of stories: death games, the alternative Tokyo, elaborate trap scenarios with time limits, etc. The series does a decent job with these elements, even if it may feel a touch too derivative and overly familiare at times.
It doesn’t help the lead character, Arisu is presented as this cautious genius with a gamer past, but he inconsistently goes from being smarter than Light Yagami… to not noticing downright obvious traps, depending on that episode’s script. And don’t expect too much from the other characters.
Even so, it’s still quite fun to see these grisly scenarios unfold, the production values are good, and while the middle part kinda drags itself along, it picks up a lot after that, so overall it makes for a fun watch, leading to a cliffhanger ending… and thankfully a confirmed renewal for a second season.