Film, TV, and Popular Culture

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Down a rabbit hole with Alice in Borderland

Warning: contains minor spoilers

If you’re expecting talking rabbits, a shrinking girl and walking playing cards, you’re probably looking for a different show. There are, however, playing cards in Alice in Borderland, and they are quite significant. Arisu (Kento Yamazaki) finds himself and his friends transported into a bizarre parallel world after bright lights explode over their city, Tokyo. Arisu is the Alice of the story in this retelling of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. He later teams up with Usagi, whose name means rabbit in Japanese so we do have a rabbit of sorts.

Life in the Borderland is just as surreal as the original tale, as Arisu and his friends have to participate in games where they will either walk out alive or die. The difficulty level of each game is decided by the playing card assigned to the game, which also determines the type of game. If they choose not to participate in the games, their ‘visa’, which they receive at the beginning, will expire, which means they expire by means of a big red laser beam from somewhere above. It’s safe to say, unlike the original story, this is not one for kids.

The games bring out the best and worse in the participants and are, quite frankly, brutal. Everyone is trying to survive in this strange world with no clue as to what is going on or how to get home. Everything that happens has Arisu and friends questioning everything about their lives and existence.

The show is dark and pretty gripping. Season two finally provides the answers, and I can honestly say I didn’t predict the truth. Alice in Borderland is anything but predictable. If you liked Squid Game, then you’ll probably love this.

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