Alice in Borderland

Director Shinsuke Sato meets lead co-stars Kento Yamazaki and Tao Tsuchiya

"Win and survive" – Alice in Borderland, a blockbuster series filled with thrill and excitement, using the latest VFX
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Fight despair
with hope
Alice in Borderland makes you confront what it means to live amid today’s despondency about the meaning of life

Shibuya, Tokyo has suddenly become empty. The Netflix Original Series Alice in Borderland is an incredible work of visual storytelling that subverts viewers' expectations at every turn, unfolding in exciting and chaotic twists.

Ryohei Arisu doesn’t have his dreams and loses any motivation for living and he has grown up by being compared to his talented younger brother. His two best friends since high school, office worker Chota and bartender Karube, also waste away their days in despondency. Unable to find meaning in life, one day Arisu and his two friends are suddenly thrown into the "Borderland." Shocked at finding the Shibuya they know so well completely empty, these three enjoy freedom without the judging eyes of family or annoying bosses. However, when a GAME suddenly begins, one that puts their very survival at stake, they realize that the world has completely changed. It appears that in order to survive in Borderland, they must participate in and win assorted GAMES. Perplexed by these illogical circumstances, Arisu taps into his incredible mastery of games to awaken his skills of observation and judgment and escape this crisis with his friends. Soon they meet mountain climber Yuzuha Usagi, who navigates the GAMES alone. Rather than fight solely for their own survival, they decide to work with others so that everyone can succeed in the GAMES.

Set in an empty dystopian Tokyo, this is a tale of young people who had been unable to find meaning in life, but now grow and confront what it means to live like never before. Events in this series are as unexpected as they are stunning. Experience the thrills of an unknown world that gradually reveals itself. The series offers an all-new experience of GAMES which require players to use their minds and bodies at full power in order to beat, and shows a new world carefully crafted through visual effects, production design and camera work. Human drama unfolds as characters with unique personalities are pushed to their limit in the strange world. All these factors and more will have viewers glued to the screen.
Kento Yamazaki and Tao Tsuchiya star together for the fourth time in this series, which is directed by Shinsuke Sato, a filmmaker always ready to take on new challenges. The series promises an excitement which no movie has yet delivered and an exhilaration that no drama series has yet achieved.

A new drama series presented on a grand scale as a Netflix Original Series from Japan, Alice in Borderland finally arrives. The global release of all eight episodes will boldly revolutionize the history of visual storytelling.

Arisu—a listless, 
jobless and video-game-obsessed 
young man—
can’t find meaning in life 
and is depressed much of the time 
by being compared to 
his talented younger brother.
One day, 
when he and his friends 
Chota and Karube 
set out to go drinking in Shibuya, 
they suddenly find themselves in a strange, 
emptied-out version of Tokyo.
The three young men 
walk through the empty city, 
feeling a strange mixture of 
anxiety and freedom.
After entering a building, 
they are forced to join a mysterious GAME of 
“Life and death” in a locked room, 
but thanks to Arisu's mastery of games, 
they find a way to escape.
An office worker named Shibuki, 
one of the players who survived 
the game with them, 
tells them the rules of this new world 
they find themselves in: 
they must win assorted “GAMES” 
and obtain “VISA”, 
a pass if they hope to survive.
After joining a second GAME “Tag,” 
Arisu meets a mountain climber 
named Usagi.
For reasons of her own, 
she has been playing the GAMES alone, 
rather than team up with a partner.
In time, the two of them aim 
for the “Beach,” 
which holds the key to unlocking 
the secrets of this world.
However, what awaits them 
there is even more shocking.
As they risk their lives together in 
this entirely new experience, 
they are forced to confront 
what it means to live.
Kento Yamazaki
Tao Tsuchiya
Nijiro Murakami
Yuki Morinaga
Keita Machida
Aya Asahina
Dori Sakurada
Ayaka Miyoshi
Shuntaro Yanagi
Last Boss
Nobuaki Kaneko
Sho Aoyagi
Riisa Naka
A 24-year old who lacks any purpose for living, feels like he doesn’t fit in with his family, and wastes his days playing video games. His only close friends are Chota and Karube. He is good at the game of Hearts ♥️.
Kento Yamazaki
Born in 1994, Yamazaki made his acting debut in 2010, and starred in his first film the following year. In 2015, he played the role of the heroine's love interest in the NHK serialized morning drama Mare. He won the Newcomer of the Year prize at the 39th Japan Academy Awards for his role in the 2015 films No Longer Heroine and Orange. He starred in films of assorted genres, including You Lie In April (’16), JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable Chapter I (’17), Psychic Kusuo: The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. (’17), and A Forest of Wool and Steel (’18). He broke new ground with the film Theatre: A Love Story (’20). He is a skilled actor capable of transforming himself to give viewers a new impression with each new role. He collaborated with director Shinsuke Sato for the 2019 mega-hit Kingdom, which will receive a sequel. In 2021, he will star in the film The Door into Summer.
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Mountain climber. Her mountain climber father who she deeply respected has died inexplicably. Using her physical ability forged by steady training, she lives with strength through the most extreme of circumstances. She is good at the game of Spades ♠️.
Tao Tsuchiya
Tsuchiya was born in 1995. After gaining attention in the drama Suzuki Sensei (2011), she was tapped to play the heroine in the NHK serialized morning drama Mare (’15). She has appeared in many films, including the Library Wars series (’13, ’15), Orange (’15), Yell for the Blue Sky (’16), The 8-Year Engagement (’17), and Kasane: Beauty and Fate (’18). In her first play, PLUTO, she also took on her role for a European production. She is active in many fields, having danced in the Japanese music video of SIA's Alive and performed with globally recognized pianist Lang Lang in the music video Classical Music Mashup. Beginning in autumn 2020, she will appear in a number of productions, including the starring role of the musical "Roman Holiday," and in the films Food Luck!, Aishu Cinderella, Rurouni Kenshin: The Final, and Jump!! The Heroes Behind the Gold.
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He pursues answers to the secrets of the Borderland by himself. He becomes interested in Arisu and Usagi when he meets them during the game of Tag (ep2). He is good at the game of Diamonds ♦︎.
Nijiro Murakami
Born in 1997, Murakami made his film debut in Still the Water (2014), which was directed by Naomi Kawase. After gaining attention in Destruction Babies (’16), he was an overwhelming presence in Mukoku (’17), where he co-starred with Go Ayano. In The Gun (’18), he expressed the inner self of the protagonist with nuance. He appeared in The Miracles of the Namiya General Store (’17), Hanalei Bay (’18), They Say Nothing Stays the Same, (’19), and The Promised Land (’19). He starred in the film Soiree, which was released this summer.
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He works for an IT company. He lacks ambition and only really enjoys himself when he spends time with Arisu and Karube. He is good at the game of Clubs ♣️.
Yuki Morinaga
Born in 1996, Morinaga gained attention for his role in the film Talk, Talk, Talk (2007). He appeared in hit films such as Princess Toyotomi (’11) and The Liar and His Lover (’13). He played the role of Tsutomu Komano in all three parts of Chihayafuru (’16, ’18). He starred in Shugoro Yamamoto Drama Sabu (’19). He left a strong impression with his acting in Asahinagu (’17), A Forest of Wool and Steel (’18), We Are (’18), Little Love Song (’19), and Grand Blue (’20).
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He is a bartender, but was fired after he had an affair with the lover of his boss. He is good in a fight. He is good at the game of Spades ♠️.
Keita Machida
Born in 1990, Machida is a member of the stage troupe Gekidan EXILE. He appeared in the NHK Taiga Drama Segodon (2018), Over Drive (’18), Meet Me After School (’18), Guilty: Kono Koi wa Tsumi desu ka?, and other productions. He demonstrated a keen focus playing the roles of unique characters in Project Dream: How to Build Mazinger Z's Hangar (’20), and Wasteful Days of High School Girls (’20). His most recent appearances were in the drama Cherry Magic! Thirty Years of Virginity Can Make You a Wizard?! and the film Your Eyes Tell (’20).
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She sticks with Chishiya due to their shared interests. She is a former clothing shop clerk, and loves her mother. She is good at the game of Spades ♠️.
Aya Asahina
Born in 1993, Asahina debuted as a model, then gained much attention after being picked as a dance club member in the 2018 serialized drama We Are Rockets! She made her acting debut in a prominent role in Runway 24 (2019), where she radiated the bold presence of a heroine. In 2020, she made her film debut in Grand Blue, an adaptation of the popular manga series. She is currently modeling exclusively for the Oggi media brand.
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He is the young leader of the fighting faction of the Beach. He is sullen and aggressive due to his complicated past. He is good at the game of Diamonds ♦︎.
Dori Sakurada
Born in 1991, Sakurada gained attention after he was the prime choice to star in the popular musical Prince of Tennis in 2006. Since then he has worked in various genres. He appeared in many productions, including the films Orange (2015), Let Me Eat Your Pancreas (’17), Even: Kimi ni Okuru Uta (’18), and La (’19). He played in a number of notable dramas, including Scum's Wish (’17), Perfect Crime (’19), Coffee & Vanilla (’19), and Guilty: Kono Koi wa Tsumi desu ka? (’20).
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She can handle any dangerous situation coolly and rationally. She tests Arisu's skills. She is good at the game of Diamonds ♦︎.
Ayaka Miyoshi
Born in 1996, Miyoshi was selected as Miss Seventeen 2010 and debuted as a model exclusive to the fashion magazine Seventeen. As an actress, she has appeared in many hit films, such as G'mor evian! (2012), Leaving on the 15th Spring (’13), Inuyashiki (18), Dance With Me (’19), Howling Village (’20), and Daughters (’20). She will appear in Junihitoe wo Kita Akuma, which will be released on November 6th this year.
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Last Boss
At the pleasure-filled Beach, he is a strange man with tattoos on his face. He rarely speaks. He is good at the game of Spades ♠️.
Shuntaro Yanagi
Born in 1991, Yanagi started his career as a model before making his acting debut. In recent years, he has starred in various productions, including Tremble All You Want (2017), the Tokyo Ghoul series (’17, ’19), LAPSE-SIN- (’19), My Father, the Bride (’19), and Blind Witness (’19). In 2020, he appeared in Yowamushi Pedal, a film starring King & Prince's Ren Nagase. He is appearing in Colorless, which is awaiting release.
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Possessing an intense charisma, he has attracted many people with his image of utopia. He is the founder of the Beach. He is good at the game of Hearts ❤︎.
Nobuaki Kaneko
Born in 1981, Kaneko is both a musician and an actor. In addition to playing in a band, he has done solo performances since 2009 and started the band RED ORCA in 2019. In 2020, he digitally released his first album WILD TOKYO. As an actor, he recently appeared in the film Diner (2019), Netflix's Followers (’20), and the NHK Taiga drama Awaiting Kirin (’20). He performed in Namonaihi, a film directed by Yuichi Hibi, which is awaiting release.
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He is a fighter who exhibits overwhelming strength when participating in GAMES. He meets Arisu during Tag. He is good at the game of Spades ♠️.
Sho Aoyagi
Born in 1985, Aoyagi is a member of the theatre troupe Gekidan EXILE. He made his acting debut on stage in 2009. He gained attention for his performance in the 2012 film Love for Beginners. He starred in Konshin (2013), Tokyo Refugees (’14), Ju-on: The Beginning of the End (’14), Yakuza Apocalypse: The Great War Of The Underworld (’15), and the period piece Tatara Samurai (’17). He appeared back-to-back in director Sabu’s Mr. Long (’17) and Jam (’18).
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She is an elegant and mysterious presence who is always smirking. She is good at the game of Hearts ❤︎.
Riisa Naka
Born in 1989, Naka made many viewers weep with her voice acting in the Mamoru Hosoda-directed animated film The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006). She was an overwhelming screen presence as the star of Cafe Isobe (’08). She exhibited considerable range in Halfway (’09) and Pandora's Box (’09), and starred in the live-action version of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (’10). She also starred in Mitsuko Delivers (’11), A Forest of Wool and Steel (’18), My Dad Is a Heel Wrestler (’18), and Love At Least (’18).
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Director / Writer
Shinsuke Sato
Born in 1970, Sato is from Hiroshima Prefecture. The short film he wrote and directed as a university student, Ryonai Genshuku (1994), won the Grand Prix at the Pia Film Festival. After writing screenplays for director Isao Yukisada and others, he made his own directing debut for full-length productions in Love Song (2001). His direction of major live-action adaptations in such action films as the GANTZ series (’10, ’11), and the Library Wars series (’13, ’15) has been highly lauded. He directed I Am A Hero (’15), which won five awards, including Grand Prix at the Fantastic Film Festival, one of the three largest film festivals in the world. His Inuyashiki (’18) won the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival Grand Prize. In the same year, his BLEACH was released to theaters in Japan and streamed exclusively as a Netflix Original in 190 countries. His Kingdom (released 2019) became a massive hit with a box office of over 5.7 billion yen.
Director of Photography
Taro Kawazu
Kawazu was born in Tokyo in 1969. He has served as the cinematographer for many works, including films, commercials and music videos. He was honored with Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography and Best Cinematography at the 43rd Japan Academy Awards in 2020. His major works include the films Love Song (2001), The Neighbor No. Thirteen (’04), Sinking of Japan (’06), and Last Winter, We Parted (’18). He teamed up with director Shinsuke Sato for many titles, including the GANTZ series (’10, ’11), the Library Wars series (’13, ’15), All-Round Appraiser Q: The Eyes of Mona Lisa (’14), I Am A Hero (’15), Inuyashiki (’18), BLEACH (’18), and Kingdom (’19).
Production Designer
Iwao Saito
Born in 1958, Saito studied under Takeo Kimura, and work with him on the art design of the film Dogura Magura (1987). Beginning in 1996, he was dispatched by Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs as an overseas research artist, and traveled around Europe and the U.S. for one year. His major works include Muno no Hito (’91), Shimanto River (’91), the Ring series (’98, ’99), Warabi No Ko (2003), Josee, the Tiger, and the Fish (’03), The Grudge (’04), and The Grudge 2 (’06). He collaborated with director Shinsuke Sato on films such as the Library Wars series (’13, ’15), I Am A Hero (’15), Inuyashiki (18), and Kingdom (’19).
Yoshiki Watabe
Born in 1976, Watabe is the Representative Director and President of Made in Heaven Inc., which he established in 2017. In 1999, he joined Enix (currently Square Enix). As a game developer, he was involved in the Dragon Quest series and smartphone games. In 2011, he joined DeNA. After serving as President of DeNA Osaka, in 2013 he became an executive officer in charge of game business at that company. He also screenwrote Okuotoko (2018).
Yasuko Kuramitsu
Born in 1983, Kuramitsu studied screenwriting at the Graduate School of Film and Media at the Tokyo University of the Arts. After graduating, she wrote scenarios for mobile games, while working at video production and distribution companies. In 2014, she won the Fuji TV Young Scenario Award and made her television debut writing for the serialized drama Love Song (2016). Since then, she has worked in a variety of genres, from love stories to medical dramas, including Detective Yugami (’17), Queen (’19), and Alive: Dr. Kokoro, the Medical Oncologist (’20).
Sound Recordist
Kazushiko Yokono
Yokono has supervised audio for many of director Shinsuke Sato's films, including the GANTZ series (2010, ’11), the Library Wars series (’13, ’15), All-Round Appraiser Q: The Eyes of Mona Lisa (’14), I Am A Hero (’15), Death Note: Light Up The New World (’16), Inuyashiki (’18), and Kingdom (’19). In addition, he worked on GO! (’01), the NANA series (’05, ’06), Ikigami (’08), and Kaiji 2: The Ultimate Gambler (’11).
Yutaka Yamada
Born in 1989, Yamada debuted as a music composer for the soundtrack of the drama Marumo's Story. He then expanded his scope to include films and anime series. His original soundtrack for the TV anime series Tokyo Ghoul was viewed over 70 million times on YouTube. He gained global attention when Eminem sampled one of those songs. He works on a wide range of projects, including both overseas productions and Japanese films such as Kingdom (2019) and the anime GREAT PRETENDER.
VFX Supervisor
Makoto Kamiya
Born in 1965, Kamiya debuted as a special effects director for the film Whiteout (2000). He did special effects for Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (’01), and directed the fully CG-animated Resident Evil: Degeneration (’06). Since beginning work with director Shinsuke Sato on GANTZ (’11), he has been special effects director and visual effects supervisor for most of Sato’s films. Kamiya’s many other works include Bokoku no Aegis (’05), L change the WorLd (’08), Resident Evil: Damnation (’12), and The Human Trust (’13).
VFX Supervisor
Atsushi Doi
Born in 1973, Doi is the Director of Digital Frontier Inc. He has been active as a visual effects supervisor and CG director. He received an award for Best Special Effects at the 51st SITGES - International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia, for his work in Inuyashiki (2018), a film directed by Shinsuke Sato. He collaborated with Sato on many other productions, including BLEACH (’18), Death Note: Light up the NEW world (’18), and I Am A Hero (’16). He also worked on Resident Evil: Damnation (’12), and The Sun (’16).
Line Producer
Tomoki Takase
Born in Saitama Prefecture in 1979. Being evolved in movie production since 2003, he is an experienced line producer with over 15 years of experience producing number of popular and sensational movies such as: - “20th Century Boys” series (2007-2008), directed by Yukihiko TSUTSUMI, made 11 billion yen at the box-office. - “LIBRARY WARS” series (2013, 2015), directed by Shinsuke SATO. Total box office revenues from the series were 3.5 billion yen. - “Museum” (2015), directed by Keishi ŌTOMO, became a smash hit with box-office profits of 1.5 billion yen. - “Stolen Identity” (2018), directed by Hideo NAKATA, made more than 1.9 billion yen at the box-office and became a smash hit.
Movie Producer
Akira Morii
Born in Nagano Prefecture, 1973. Ever since engaging in movie making in 1995, director Hirokazu KOREEDA’s movie “Maborosi”, he have built his solid career through producing multiple popular movies such as “Kids Return” (1996), directed by Takeshi KITANO. He joined ROBOT COMMUNICATIONS in 2009, and has been producing number of movies and TV dramas including: - “Umizaru4:Brave Hearts” (2012), directed by Eiichiro HASUMI, became the year’s highest-grossing movie with box-office profits of 7.3 billion yen. - “MOZU”, TV drama series jointly created by TBS and WOWOW, was nominated for the Drama Series Awards at the 43rd International Emmy Awards, and gained popularity worldwide. “Alice in Borderland” is the work he submitted a project proposal when Netflix opened a branch in Japan.
Based on
Alice in Borderland
The Alice in Borderland is an adaption of Haro Aso's hit comic of the same name, which was serialized in Weekly Shonen Sunday S and Weekly Shonen Sunday (Shogakukan) from 2010 to 2016. Third-year senior high school student Ryohei Arisu wanders into Borderland with his friends Chota and Karube. They soon meet a female mountain climber named Usagi, and attempt to survive a series of GAMES. The storyline speeds up further when the setting shifts to the Beach, where survivors live in a collective. The vast human tapestry woven in this manga is reminiscent of historical sagas, as it leaves a mark and forces the reader to ponder the ultimate question: "What is the meaning of life?" The awakening that Arisu and Usagi experience, their changing inner selves, the limits they smash against, how they overcome despair — many readers have been overwhelmed by this brilliantly written story, which explores the ultimate choices made by characters thrown into the most extreme of situations.
Haro Aso
Aso studied bioengineering in the Engineering Department of Kansai University. He quit university in his fifth year and decided to become a manga artist. He was chosen by the Shonen Sunday Manga College in 2004. In 2005, he debuted in Weekly Shonen Sunday Cho for his comic YUNGE! In 2008, he published the serial manga Juho Kaikin!! Hyde & Kurosa in Weekly Shonen Sunday. In 2010, he began publishing Alice in Borderland, and completed it in 2016 after a total of 18 volumes. His original Alice on Border Road was featured in Monthly Sunday GX, from September 2015 to March 2018. He is currently writing Zombie 100 -100 Things I Want to Do Before I Become a Zombie- for Monthly Sunday GX.
Production Company
Established in 1986, we embarked on movie making on the occasion of producing director Shunji IWAI’s movie “Love Letter” in 1995. Since then, we have had the privilege of producing remarkable movies such as: - “Umizaru3:The Last Message” (2010), directed by Eiichiro HASUMI, made eight billion yen at the box-office and became the biggest hit of Japanese live-action movies of the year. - “La maison en petits cubes” (2008), directed by Kunio KATO, won the 81st Academy Award for Animated Short Film. - “The Eternal Zero” (2014), directed by Takashi YAMAZAKI, became the year’s biggest hit of Japanese movies with box-office profits of 8.7 billion yen. Moreover, we have a strong track record in drama production through producing number of popular and sensational dramas. For example, director Eiichiro HASUMI’s TV drama series “MOZU”, jointly created by TBS and WOWOW, received the Galaxy Award which is given to excellent Japanese dramas. “MOZU” was also nominated for the Drama Series Awards at the 43rd International Emmy Awards, and gained popularity worldwide. We are Japanese production company producing not just movies and dramas, but various contents such as TV commercials, mobile contents, web, character-development, animation and graphic design.
Production Note


Kento Yamazaki and Tao Tsuchiya co-star in this dramatic series illustrating the characters who are driven by an intense desire to live amidst the most extreme of circumstances. After working with director Shinsuke Sato on the film Kingdom (2019), Yamazaki teams up with him again, bringing life to the role of Arisu by tapping into the many acting skills he has cultivated across varied performances. Arisu wasted away his days without any goal in life until he is forced into a dire situation in a strange world, where his latent observational and decision-making skills blossom. “Together (with Yamazaki), we were able to create a character who is nothing filled with an emptiness that everyone has surely felt at some time,” says Sato. Yamazaki's charisma helped create a character who all viewers will identify with at some level. Performing with Yamazaki for the fourth time, Tsuchiya was tapped to play the role of Usagi, a young woman who at first took on “GAMES” alone. Her silent strength supports Arisu, who is overly sensitive and tends to lose direction. Exhibiting her incredible athletic abilities for this role, Tsuchiya projects Usagi’s will to continue searching for the meaning of life in any dire situation. As Sato says, “the true strength which comes from not minding to show weakness” is expressed through Tsuchiya’s supple passion.

The mysterious Chishiya (Nijiro Murakami) quickly notices the unusual skills Arisu and Usagi possess. He is an intellectual who emits an aura of calm, in stark contrast to Arisu. Office worker Chota (Yuki Morinaga) and bartender Karube (Keita Machida) have been friends with Arisu since high school. “Arisu, Chota and Karube seem to be three equal parts of myself,” says Haro Aso, the original graphic novel artist of the series. Indeed, these three characters have a chemistry and ability to complement one another, as though they share the same mind.

The top-level cast has come together to tell this tale of young people who were previously unable to find meaning in life, but are now forced to confront what it means to live like never before, help one another, overcome themselves, and grow in order to survive.


The series opens with an overwhelmingly bizarre setting where people have disappeared from Shibuya and the characters must now participate in mysterious GAMES in a completely changed world. From the very start, viewers are drawn in by their own fear of everyday life being turned on its head, and the idea that such a thing could actually happen.

The rules of the GAMES seem simple at first glance: you will either Live or Die, and that outcome will be determined by games everyone has played as children, such as Tag and Hide and Seek. The GAMES test the instinctive survival skills we all have. Viewers end up asking themselves what they would do in the same situation. They are drawn into a realistic game world, playing one massive game. This truly is a realistic puzzle-solving drama.

Sato says the series is “a tale of people struggling with the question of how to live in an unpredictable world.” At the same time, he also constantly kept in mind why the characters must play these GAMES. He sought to create a series where “each GAME exposes and intertwines emotions, conflicts, and the past.”

Constantly compared to his talented little brother, the protagonist Arisu is unable to find meaning in life and spends much of his time despondent. Without any ambition or advantages, this video-game-obsessed young man was filled with a sense of emptiness that many of his contemporaries can identify with. But then, using his one unique skill, he is able to unlock his unexpected strengths in the GAMES.

Each time Arisu wins a GAME, he exposes his own weakness and the past he had ignored, and grows as he learns to accept himself. This is also true of the other protagonist, Usagi who takes on the GAMES alone at first. She rediscovers the meaning of life through Arisu's actions. In this world of extremes, bonds form between all the players, and as a result they change and grow. Winning a GAME means getting to know oneself, overcoming the difficulty of accepting others as they are.

One important theme rooted in the core of the original graphic novel is the fear that everyday life could be stolen away. The comic is 10 years old, but the story remains incredibly timely, particularly now. What is the point of living when we may die tomorrow? What desires drive us to fight for survival? Viewers will come up with their own answers as the characters confront these questions.


Complete realism was the most important goal when creating the “Borderland”. This carefully crafted visual world was made possible thanks to Sato's team of visual effects and production design artists. “The director was committed to using Shibuya Scramble Crossing (in Tokyo), Japan’s most famous intersection,” says art design director Iwao Saito. Since the plan was to film Arisu and his friends running into the train station and seeing an empty Shibuya in a single cut, the team had to create everything that would appear on-screen. The filming took place on a massive open set in Ashikaga city, Tochigi Prefecture. The set was constructed in conjunction with the Chinese film Detective Chinatown 3, which was filmed during the same time period.

The visual effects team and the production design team discussed the details in depth beforehand, to decide the division of their roles. Originally, Arisu and his friends were to meet in front of a Starbucks in Shibuya, but because of the high cost involved in a glass-covered set the location was changed to a sign in front of the station. In the end, everything but the road and the ticket gate at the east entrance was produced with computer graphics (CG) through green screen compositing.

“The director of photography was worried at first because that location would normally be under the shadow of the Tokyu Building. We ended up using compositing to match the visuals,” reveals visual effects supervisor Atsushi Doi. Concerned that an urban scene devoid of people would only look like an illustration, the production design team used the tree leaves in CG to show movement, and scattered litter and dirt on the ground to give the set a sense of reality. In this way, the teams created the empty, dark Shibuya of the “Borderland.”

Pragmatically accounting for budget and time, they sometimes had to make sudden on-site adjustments. This was the fifth production Sato's visual effects and production design teams worked on together, following Death Note: Light up the NEW world (2016), I Am A Hero (’16), BLEACH (’18), and Inuyashiki (’18). In the scenes at the apartment building which becomes the setting for the game Tag, the team revised the script to match the building layout. Responding flexibly to circumstances is one strength possessed by Sato's team, led by the director himself. Their relationship of trust has been forged by many years of working together.

As a new experiment in this project, the team created previsualizations (simulation visuals) using only CG in a virtual studio. There is a scene that water pushes forward in Episode 4. By simulating the water volume and movement, inserting a CG background and vehicles, and reflecting images shot by the director of photography in a capture studio, all staff members were able to share the same definitive image of the scene before shooting, allowing them to experiment with different elements before the actual shoot. Doi was determined to achieve a certain look for the water: “We added a violence to the water by slamming it into cars and walls, maximizing movement in a limited space.”

The stunning visual effects created by Sato's team are spread across the entire episodes. The black panther that appears in a tunnel in Episode 4 was a deliverable of the visual effects team visiting zoos beforehand and researching the feel and movement of the creature’s fur. In the wire work scene where Usagi jumps onto a bus, the team focused on the details and shot the moving bus and the actress separately, to give flexibility to the camera work and realism to the scene. Across the entire series, the visual effects were led by Japan's Digital Frontier, which collaborated with Netflix's Tokyo and Singapore VFX teams. The director also joined their meetings. Erik-Jan De Boer, who won an Academy Award for creating the tiger in Life of Pi (2012), supervised the production of the tiger in Episode 5 by India's Anibrain. Four countries came together to produce these visual effects, involving teams from Japan, Singapore, the United States (Los Angeles), and India. Doi says it was his first time to work with overseas partners during post-production.

The visual effects and production design teams shared a desire to “produce the highest-quality visuals because it will be released across the world.” The result is a series with a quality seen in feature-length films.

The original soundtrack of the Netflix original series "Alice in Borderland" will be released on December 10!
The music was composed by Yutaka Yamada, who also worked on the TV anime Tokyo Ghoul, GREAT PRETENDER, and the movie Kingdom, in a gorgeous 2-hour, 28-minute set.
  • LUNE
  • FILM OF TIME (Alt. Ver.)
Original Graphic Novel: Alice in Borderland, by Haro Aso(published by Shogakukan's Shonen Sunday Comics)
Director: Shinsuke Sato
Kento Yamazaki
Tao Tsuchiya
Nijiro Murakami
Yuki Morinaga
Keita Machida
Ayaka Miyoshi
Dori Sakurada
Aya Asahina
Shuntaro Yanagi
Yutaro Watanabe
Ayame Misaki
Mizuki Yoshida
Tsuyoshi Abe
Nobuaki Kaneko
Sho Aoyagi
Riisa Naka
Production: NETFLIX
Executive Producer: Kazutaka Sakamoto
Movie Producer: Akira Morii
Line Producer: Tomoki Takase
© Haro Aso, Shogakukan / ROBOT