Alice in Borderland

  • 02 Jan - 08 Jan, 2021
  • Mag The Weekly

Are we in the mood these days to see dystopian shows taking place in abandoned cities? But that doesn’t mean that shows of this nature, produced pre-pandemic, won’t try to get our attention. Maybe they’ll even break through our ennui with plot or characters that will hold our interest. Is the new Japanese thriller Alice in Borderland one of them? Ryohei Arisu (Kento Yamazaki) is directionless and a little depressed, playing video games and ignoring the efforts of his brother to find him a job. His father decides to kick him out of the house if all he’s going to do is play video games all day. As he walks towards Shibuya station, he asks his buddies to meet him for a drink. His friend Karube (Keita Machida) is about to get fired for punching out his boss. His other friend, Chota (Yuki Morinaga), wants an excuse to blow off work. When they meet they goof around in the middle of the famous intersection in front, causing two cars to collide. To avoid the cops, they hide in a train station bathroom, and then the power goes out. When they come out, all of Tokyo is empty; there are no people as far as they can see. They figure they have the city to themselves, until a disembodied voice directs them to the game they are required to play. In the first game, they are asked to choose a door marked “Live” or one marked “Die” in two minutes. If they don’t move, the room gets set on fire.