‘Alice In Borderland’ Season 1: Recap And Ending – What To Expect From Season Two?

Based on the graphic novel by Haro Aso, “Imawa No Kuni No Arisu,” aka “Alice in Borderland,” is a 2020 sci-fi thriller show on Netflix that revolves around a series of life-threatening games that prohibit an individual from selecting any one option, either “Death” or “Life.” The story surrounds the life of the trio of best friends, Arisu, Karube, and Chota. The three of them are pretty busy with their lives; while Chota and Karube earn their livelihoods by working in an IT company and a bar, respectively, Arisu spends most of his time playing video games in his house. His brother, Hajime, and his father are always worried and annoyed by his actions, but Arisu doesn’t seem to care. Hajime wanted him to work and earn for his own good, but things changed after Arisu’s mother passed away. Well, it was clear that Arisu had blocked the world away. In reality, Arisu is very smart and intelligent, and his abilities allow him to crack any riddle or code within seconds. At the same time, Karube is free-spirited but tends to make multiple bad decisions at once, whereas Chota skipped office and missed out on multiple days. All of them resented some or the other part of their life. The trio decides to meet up with each other and spend their day having fun; they even cause a car crash on the road, wherein the cops follow them, so Arisu, Chota, and Karube hide in a public washroom to avoid any trouble. All of a sudden, the lights go out, and the entire place becomes still as water.

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The trio steps out of the public stall only to find out that the whole population is missing. Well, things were fine until a huge screen was displayed in the nearby building, projecting that a game would commence shortly. An arrow directs them in the opposite direction, where the trio spots red lights flashing in the sky, so they decide to follow the same direction and spot the GM Building. It was the only place that was lit up around their surroundings. The trio entered the building and found a board that read, “The game arena is up ahead.” In the distance, they spotted an arrow again, and they decided to follow it too. Without noticing a laser light, the trio crosses it and finds different phones. For the game to begin, they will have to choose a phone for themselves and move ahead. Luckily, a woman named Shibuki follows them into the game and informs them about the dangers they’ve stepped into, as there is no turning back for them now. Moreover, a high school girl was present at the same location, and the moment she arrived, the registrations for the game were closed. They enter the arena only to find themselves concealed in a room with two doors. Each door had the words’ Die’ or ‘Live’ engraved on it. They had one minute to figure out the right door, and as soon as the deadline came closer, the room emitted a poisonous gas. Without a second guess, the high school girl opened the “Live” door, losing her life instantly. At this moment, everyone realized that playing this game was their only chance to survive.

Spoilers Ahead 

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‘Alice In Borderland’ Season 1 Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Series? 

Season 1 will take you through the game “Dead” or “Alive” only to make you realize that this isn’t a game to win; it is a battle for survival. The high school girl’s death brought tremendous tension to the group, and with four of them left, they had to decide whether the “Dead” door was right or not. Only ten seconds were remaining, and the group immediately headed toward the door, only to find that the previous room would’ve burned them to ashes. Now that every room has the same puzzle, to win, the group will have to choose the right door on every level and step outside. The story took a different turn when Arisu and Karube ended up fighting with each other, as Karube believed that Arisu was the only person who could crack this puzzle. Arisu uses his math skills and manages to get them outside the door every time. Before entering the building, Arisu noticed multiple clues, and every clue subjectively pointed toward the answer to this game. They stepped outside only to confront a stranger who chose to end his life. According to him, the game doesn’t end; there’s no winning in this game, as it will only lead them into more darkness with each passing step. They find a three clubs card near the exit, and their phone instantly notifies them about a three-day visa.

Even though they managed to win this level, Chota was badly injured, but they still managed to fight through it. The next episode begins with the arrival of a girl named Usagi Yuzuha. She stood confidently on the rooftop, determined to win the game, only to find red laser beams falling from the sky, which indicated that many people were losing their lives in the process. The next morning, the trio moves around the convenience stores to find supplies that might be necessary, only to find that all the IC chips are mysteriously destroyed, and there’s no signal in their respective mobile phones. Anything that works with an electronic circuit board will not work. Chota determines that the world is undergoing an electromagnetic pulse attack that is capable of destroying the electronics in an entire city. Meanwhile, the trio understands that Shibuki has a dark past too. Despite having a stable job, she decided to continue an illegitimate relationship with her boss for a promotion. Moreover, as time passed, they were pretty sure that the speed of time in this dimension worked differently than in the normal world.

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Arisu was sure that a game master was running the game. Someone came up with this game, and the master keeps track of their movements and fires a laser when they make a wrong move. Moreover, Karube suggested joining the game without Chota because he was in too much pain, they doubted his strength, and there was a possibility that he might not survive. Karube and Arisu come up with a plan to crack the game’s signature. There is a kind of signature that the game master uses, and if Arisu manages to find it, it might help them discover a strategy for the game. With time, the competitors increase, and as Karube and Arisu join in with the thirteen participants for the next game, the duo has to win visas to survive. A stranger named Nitobe provides them with more insights into the game, including the significance of each playing card. If it’s the club card, it indicates a team battle; a diamond card depends on a person’s wits, whereas the heart card is determined to be the worst one. The higher the number on the card, the harder it is. This time, all the participants are greeted with five spades, and the game is a game of tag. There was a time bomb hidden in the building, and within a time limit of 20 minutes, the participants had to touch a hidden symbol to survive.

Within the first few minutes of the game, the tagger is on the move. A masked man followed the participants throughout the building, and whenever he spotted a participant, he shot them with his gun. Every participant stumbled around the building, looking for a safe spot to hide, yet nothing seemed to be working out. Only seven members survived the shootout with eight minutes remaining. Arisu and Karube were quite impressed by Usagi’s skills, as she easily moved through all the different floors before the killer could notice. By this time, each participant was sure that they had to stick together to win this game. Arisu had to face the killer; he managed to press the symbol and leave the building. Moreover, the players realize that there are two taggers, and each one of them has a belt across their neck that explodes when the game ends. 

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Who Survived In The Hide-and-Seek Game? 

The second level was pretty hard for Arisu to deal with. The tagger’s death shocked Arisu, who constantly blamed himself. Usagi confronted him and managed to calm the situation down. She motivates him to fight, as all the survivors are willing to stand against the game masters to survive. Shibuki wanted to survive this game and return to her original life because she worked hard for her promotion. With her visa on the verge of expiring, Shibuki was sure that she had to play and survive to win more. Chota and Shibuki will have to win the game to extend their visas. The following night, the four of them joined up for the next game again. The participants had to wear goggles with sensors and tracking devices attached to them to continue with the game. This time it was seven of hearts card, and the game was hide-and-seek. One person will be the wolf, and the other will be the lamb. A lamb found by the wolf will become the next wolf and must hide so that the wolf does not find them. The player who is the wolf, in the end, will win the game. With a time limit of fifteen minutes, they had a lot to risk since the collars attached to the lambs’ necks would explode. This indicated that only players would survive. Chota becomes the first wolf; he instantly loses his calm and passes it on to Arisu. The moment he locked eyes with Karube, he became the next wolf. So, the main catch to this game is pretty simple. The wolf has to hide to survive.

Karube glances at Shibuki, and she becomes the wolf; without a second thought, she runs away from the garden to hide. He immediately follows her while Chota tries to convince her to find a way. Shibuki is adamant about her decision. Karube attacks her with a knife, but she manages to escape without making any eye contact. Shibuki attacks him and passes on the wolf tag, but that doesn’t stop her from making him scream in pain. Arisu approaches them, and Karube transfers the wolf tag to him. He decides to escape because Shibuki and Karube are planning to kill Arisu to win the game. Arisu wanted more time to figure out a plan to survive. Shibuki was about to hit Arisu with a knife, but Chota pushed her down to the ground, helping Arisu escape. Meanwhile, an injured Karube follows him with the same intent. He tries his best to break the collar with the help of various tools. Despite putting in all the effort, Arisu couldn’t find a way to remove the collar. So he decided to hide to survive the game. Meanwhile, Arisu, Karube, and Chota pass through a series of flashbacks, only reminiscing about their old days together. Arisu decides to leave the game to protect one of his friends. None of them respond to his calls; they hide from Arisu to make him the survivor. Arisu stumbles around the garden to find them, and suddenly Karube responds to his calls, indicating that their friendship will never change. Arisu finds Karube; no one survived the game, making him the winner. 

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Did Arisu Continue To Play The Game? How Did Usagi Help Him? 

Arisu was devastated by the loss of his friends, and days passed; he didn’t move an inch from the sidewalk as he spent all his time lying around on the street. Meanwhile, from the very beginning, Usagi and her father had a strong and loving relationship. Together, they spent their time hiking and experiencing quality time. One day her father went missing, and it was deemed to be suicide. The whole country started blaming him and spreading false rumors about his summit at Mount Everest. The newspapers were filled with articles about his ascent being staged. Later, it was revealed that 550 people from the search party were appointed to find him, yet no whereabouts were found. The officers couldn’t find her father, and she spent days mourning his absence. Arisu’s situation reminded Usagi of her own past, so she decided to save him and make meals for him. Arisu demanded answers from her, but Usagi didn’t respond. He further cleared everything up and told her about his friends. There was a time when Usagi wanted to die too. She knew that everyone was going to die one day, but she still chose to live in the moment, and she motivated Arisu to do the same thing. The next morning, Arisu finished his meal and decided to compete. Usagi warned Arisu about the visas and told him to play. She decided to save him because, during the tag game, Arisu was the one responsible for saving her. He yelled from the second floor and informed all the players about the tagger’s location, giving them a chance to escape and hide.

Soon, the next game began, and Usagi and Arisu found three more people who survived four games together as a team. This time, four of clubs, and the game was “Distance.” They had to endure the trial while striving for the goal within the time limit. With a time limit of 120 minutes, they had to run at a certain distance to attain the goal. Yamane tries to start the bus, but it’s out of gas. Takuma decides to sacrifice himself to help his friends, and all of them start running as soon as possible. Suddenly, the group realizes that a panther is chasing them down. Arisu and Usagi manage to chase it away with a glow stick, but the Panther is quickly distracted by Seizan. Yamane decides to quit, but Arisu manages to convince him, and by this time, the trio manages to clear a distance of 8,000. Arisu finds a motorcycle and decides to go back to save Takuma. All electrical circuits have been destroyed, but analog stuff without these circuits still worked. With only fifteen minutes left, Usagi and Yamane had reached a distance of 12000 while waiting for Takuma and Arisu. Suddenly, the wall behind them exploded, and water started pouring out of it. The whole highway was flooded with water, and Yamane didn’t make it. At the right moment, Arisu and Takuma arrive with the bus and save Usagi. The trio managed to survive the flood only to realize that the bus had the word “goal” engraved on it. All this time, Takuma was at the goal, and they were safe at zero. Takuma decides to leave the duo, and the next day, Usagi and Arisu spend their time cycling and experiencing various activities. 

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What Is The Next Level and How Is It Connected To The Beach? 

Arisu and Usagi had to find the Beach; here, the duo could play the next game and extend their visas to stay alive. They decide to follow a random group of men and stumble upon a hotel that goes by the name of “the beach.” Before they could figure anything out, two random men attacked and took them as captives. Usagi and Arisu meet a powerful man named Hatter dressed in luxurious clothes, and these people have all the answers that are necessary to win the next game. Hatter welcomes them to their oasis, known as “Beach.” He showed them a wall filled with playing cards, and each card was slashed with a cross. Well, here the game begins, and the duo realizes that the only way to survive is to collect all the cards. If all the cards are collected, only one person can go back to the normal world. Hatter built this organization and produced fuel through a fuel-powered generator. He believed that the people of Tokyo didn’t go missing but were instead all transferred to a different country. One of them was going to work alongside the Beach. Soon, the next game will begin, and this time it is four of diamonds. The team members had to figure out which switch turned on the light bulb. 

There were three switches, A, B, and C, and only one of the switches would work. Moreover, everyone had one chance to leave the door open while flipping the switch. When the door is closed, one can flip any switch. Moreover, if a player is in the room when the switch is flipped on, the door will be locked and will not reopen again. Participants have only one chance to answer as a group, as the game will be cleared when the team members determine which switch is connected to the bulb. There are hanging electrical wires attached, and if the water level rises and touches the wire, the player will die. Arisu quickly manages to crack the code; he flips the first switch, and if it doesn’t work, he has two switches left. Suddenly, Arisu advises the team members to close the door, and he flips the switch. Arisu tells Kuina to touch the bulb, and they find out that the bulb is hot, so the answer is to switch A. All the team members are impressed by Arisu’s skills. The night continues with a huge party at the hotel, where Usagi wins her game too, and the duo is happy to have each other back. 

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What Happened To Hatter? Did Kuina And Chishiya Plot Against Him? 

Hatter wanted to create a utopian society of his own to give people hope of surviving in this world. He took a liking to Arisu, and Usagi wanted him to use this opportunity as a way to find more information on Hatter’s motives. Together, they try to find more details on the games, but none of their tactics work, because each one of the Beach members is just wasting their time around the hotel doing nothing. Usage and Arisu question multiple people, but none of them provide a valid reason or answer to the duo. Things become even more suspicious when Arisu spots a trunk full of dead bodies. Kuina and Chishiya catch him red-handed and warn him about the situation. The Beach had a simple rule: the traitors were killed. They question Arisu, and he simply states that he wants to know more information about the person who made these sick games. He just wanted to survive and go back to the way it used to be! Kuina and Chishiya inform Arisu that he has to win every game and become the next number one player to return. Arisu had the potential to win these games. Meanwhile, Hatter’s making sure that he controls the militant corps; it’s only a matter of time before they retaliate.

If that happens, the hotel will be run by people who can put everyone’s life in grave danger. So, Chishiya explained his plans, which would begin with stealing all the playing cards. Meanwhile, Hatter made his way to the Kabuki district, only to come back dead. Aguni, the leader of the militant corps, is appointed as the next ruler. These men wanted to get their hands on the playing cards, which Hatter stored away inside his safe in the royal suite. He kept them in an envelope and wanted his followers to open it only if the Beach found the next number one. So, Kuina and Chishiya make plans to steal the cards, and Chishiya helps him with the job. To make his plan easier, he framed Usagi and Arisu to kick them out of the picture. Arisu is badly beaten up and left alone in a dark room. Chishiya and Kuina commenced their plan and stole the safe, which was placed behind a photo frame in Hatter’s room, and the other locker that Arisu used was fake. Chishiya and Kuina are about to escape, and the next game begins, and this time it is a ten of hearts. 

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‘Alice In Borderland’ Season 1: Ending Explained – Did Arisu And Usagi Return To The Real World?

With the final episode approaching, it was time for another tough game, this time known as the “Witch Hunt.” Suddenly, the body of a random girl named Momoka is placed in the hotel with a knife across her chest. Players in the hotel will have to find and burn Momoka’s killer to death. The members have two hours to find the culprit, and the players have already started turning against each other, trying to kill anyone in the room to win. One by one, every person had to justify their movements in the past hour. Everyone was pretty scared; they had no option but to question each other. The militant corps killed everyone and burned their bodies to find the witch. All this time, Arisu has been stuck in the room with his hands bound and mouth taped shut. Chishiya and Niragi had a talk with each other; Niragi was the main member of the militant corps and worked directly for Aguni. Chishiya clarified that the person who made the game was using the power from the hotel. It signified that the creator of this game snuck into the hotel and controlled its power from underground. Chishiya’s main purpose in sharing this information was to know if Niragi was the witch. That was not the case, yet Chishiya attacked him and burned him to death.

Chishiya wanted the key to enter the underground level, and to get that key; he would kill all the executives present in the hotel. Back at the hotel, Usagi manages to find Arisu’s location and gets him out quickly. With 20 minutes down the line, Arisu had to crack the game. If the witch clears it, they’ll be the only survivor left, whereas everyone else will get a game over and die. Arisu believed that finding the witch was not the main purpose of this game. A heart game is specifically tough; it requires emotional strength and tactics to win. This game was designed to suit both its location and its players; right after Hatter was killed, Momoka was murdered. It is someone who knew the ins and outs of the game and constructed the game and its timing; the two deaths didn’t happen coincidentally, and Arisu found out the true killer. Arisu tried to communicate with Aguni and tried to resolve the matter, as he wanted everyone to work as a team to discover the witch. Aguni kills everyone because he is the witch, and he accepts that easily. All his subordinates pointed their guns at him, but they couldn’t shoot him down, and the victim was Hatter, not Momoka. In reality, Aguni and Hatter were best friends, and he couldn’t forgive Hatter for turning against him. They only pretended to be enemies to avoid any conflict. Aguni was heartbroken and wanted this to stop, but it was the only way to survive. The militant corps could’ve attacked previously because they had all the sources to do it. But still, Aguni didn’t let this happen.

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Arisu is badly beaten up by Aguni, but Arisu was sure that Aguni accidentally shot Hatter to save himself. The game master was using Aguni’s painful feelings to set the game. Well, Arisu cracked the game and found out that Momoka was the witch all this time. She stabbed herself in the chest, and Momoka’s friend Asahi stepped forward and cleared that she was one of the dealers in this game; even her fingerprints were found on the knife. Suddenly, the game takes a different turn when Niragi steps in and burns the whole hotel down trying to kill everyone around him. He wanted to use the fire of judgment to kill people. Aguni sacrifices himself to save other people, and the whole place burns down to ashes. Arisu takes this opportunity to burn Momoka’s body to win the game. Arisu and Usagi embrace each other, looking forward to comforting their pain. Amidst all this, Chishiya and Kuina take the opportunity to steal the ten of hearts card. Moreover, Arisu goes through Momoka’s phone and finds their videos in the gallery. Through this, it is easily determined that there is a group of people residing under the subway with thousands of CCTV cameras to overlook all the people who are playing the game. This confirms that there is a game master in this world who is responsible for controlling the people who are participating in the game. All the people present in the room were enjoying the deaths of the players, establishing the fact that there are multiple game masters and not one.

The video continues with a confession from Asahi and Momoka, where they reveal their true motives as they are responsible for the deaths of many people. The game masters gave them a condition to keep the game working as per their requirement, and they kill the people, win the game and earn the visa days. Arisu and Usagi visit the subway and enter the room, but all the game masters have been shot dead. Before they could find out anything, Arisu realizes that Chishiya and Kuina were already present. Chishiya found this place through a piece of paper that was stored in the tagger’s pocket in the second game. All the game masters are normal humans, and a person is controlling them. Suddenly, the whole room lit up and displayed a special urgent broadcast. The screen shows Mira, the queen of hearts, who was the game master all along. Arisu and Usagi first met her at the Beach. She congratulates them for winning or surviving all the games, only to provide them with a new set of games. It was pretty clear that Mira was a psychopath, and she loved to watch people die. The series ended on a challenging note, wherein Arisu, Usagi, Chishiya, and Kuina will return in the next season! 

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What We Can Expect From The Second Season?

The second season of this show is all set to release on December 22, 2022. This time, viewers are waiting to experience new challenges since the series has already introduced the game master, who is the main antagonist of this show. Mira is surely plotting dangerous games to fulfill psychopathic desires, and although the first season didn’t allow the players to return home, this season might give them a narrow chance of escaping this cruel place. There’s no guarantee, still, and the players will have to keep on playing. With four players down the line, it is pretty sure that the challenges are going to be tricky. Looking at the series closely, every other player has a dark past, and maybe Mira liked to feed on their pain and mistakes. She used it as a weapon against them to break their will, and Mira enjoyed watching them suffer. In the finale of season 1, Mira was delighted to announce the arrival of new games, only to increase their suffering even more. The upcoming one might be a tough one to watch, indeed, as any player might have to sacrifice significant others to win the game and survive. This dimension has surely changed a lot of things for the players present in the game. As many of them realized the importance of their normal and happy lives, it led them to feel guilty about their actions in the past. Winning this game is their only chance to survive, or maybe it is just an illusion made to fool them.

The trailer depicted some complex scenarios where the world has turned into biophilic architecture. Arisu and Usagi are in for dangerous games where there are going to be random shootouts and bombings. There are several hints throughout the series that point out the fact that Arisu and Usagi will have to defeat all the card players to get back to their normal world. This time the games are very tough; they even meet new survivors who claim to be a part of this land. But Usagi still wanted to escape this place with the people she loved the most. This season will give a clearer insight into Arisu and Usagi’s relationship, providing a new romance angle to the show. There are massive fights and impressive scenes that might intrigue the audience to watch all the episodes at once. Moreover, apart from Mira, the show will introduce new antagonists to complicate the levels. Until then, Arisu and the team will have to keep on fighting since this is a game of betrayal, and the players can’t trust anyone around them. The only person on whom they can rely will be themselves.

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Raschi Acharya
Raschi Acharya
Raschi Acharya is a Mass Media graduate and she is currently working and living in Mumbai. From a very young age, Raschi was heavily interested in reading and writing. She prefers to write everything that her mind nurtures her to do as shaping up her imagination is her forte!

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