A video-game-obsessed young man and his two best friends find themselves in a strange version of Tokyo where they must compete in dangerous games to survive in Alice in Borderland, a new live action original series from Netflix. Based on the Japanese manga by Haro Aso, it looks like a hybrid of Alice in Wonderland and Ready Player One, with a dash of the 1997 sci-fi horror film, Cube, thrown in for good measure. The series is directed by Shinsuke Sato, best known for 2001’s The Princess Blade and last year’s Kingdom, and co-written by Haro Aso and Yasuko Kuramitsu.
First serialized in 2010, the manga series ended its run in 2016. It tells the story of Ryōhei Arisu, and his pals Karube and Segawa, a group of bored high schoolers who long for more exciting lives. Arisu’s wish is granted during a fireworks celebration: he and his friends find themselves in a post-apocalyptic parallel world known as Borderland, where they must play a series of dangerous games to survive.
The Netflix adaptation follows the same basic premise, with a few minor tweaks. Per the official synopsis: “Arisu—a listless, jobless and video-game-obsessed young man—suddenly finds himself in a strange, emptied-out version of Tokyo in which he and his friends must compete in dangerous games in order to survive. In this strange world, Arisu meets Usagi, a young woman who’s navigating the games alone. Together, they set out to unravel one mystery after another as they risk their lives and confront what it means to live.”