Ryouhei Arisu is a high school student with no ambitions and just wants to escape from what he feels is a meaningless reality. One night when he is with his two friends Daikichi Karube and Chouta Segawa, they see an abnormally large firework shoot into the sky, an event which signals a permanent change in their lives.
Blinded by the incredibly bright explosion, the three find themselves transported to what is known as the Borderland. The only inhabitants of this world are participants of a deadly game where specific tasks must be accomplished if they wish to survive. As the three begin playing to determine how they can get back home, Ryouhei finds himself feeling alive for the very first time in his life.
I was really excited to finally try out Alice in borderland, largely because it was hailed as this really fantastic thrill ride and was even compared to the likes of Danganronpa and Future Diary, and I loved the former and even the latter to a certain extent! So, did it end up delivering on those somewhat lofty expectations? Well, kinda, but not really. While it was quite an exhilarating experience, Alice in Borderland suffered from a multitude of problems that really prevented it from being as good as it could have been. Well, let’s not get carried away here, let me
So, Alice in borderland starts off in an unknown city. The main character is hanging out with his friends, and he being the angsty teenager he is, is complaining about his current life and how he wants to go to some random foreign country. A few minutes later, he and his friends get transported into an empty-looking world! Thinking it’s a dream, the main character conveniently nicknamed Alice and his other friend Segawa Chouta are kinda ecstatic and want to make the most of their time there before they wake up. It’s understandable, since they’re... well... still kids I guess? Well, I mean they are 18 so not really, but it’s not really every day that you get transported into another world, so I kinda get it. Their other friend Karube Daikichi is a lot more level headed and proposes the idea that this isn’t just a dream, and that maybe they were really taken somewhere. Amid the confusion, they hear the sound of fireworks and conclude that they’re probably not alone. One thing leads to another, and they end up arriving in a festival-ish looking area; that’s when it all starts... A robot sounding voice announces that they’re in a game, and this game will be played by 4 players. The main character, both of his friends, and...? They try escaping and the unknown final player stops them and reveals that they can no longer leave after the game commences. The game starts and each player is tasked with getting a card at random and answering the question in that card. If you answer the question correctly then you’re fine! If you don’t, then... with every survival game, there’s obviously some sort of awful twist to it; you can probably make your own conclusions. That’s the whole dynamic of this short series; the characters get into a game with other strangers they’re trapped with and they must find a way out. With each game they win, depending on the difficulty, they’ll get points which will allow them to stay in this mysterious place named the borderland world. If they run out of points, they will die. Now, what’s different here is that whether it’s the true goal of the game, what you need to do in the game, or how you win the game; in every episode, there’s some sort of neat and shocking twist. And It’s as intense and as it sounds, and the ideas behind the games are pretty creative for the most part. The show also doesn’t shy away from killing characters when it’s necessary which only adds to the drama and intensity.
The thing with Alice in borderland is that most of my problems with it mainly stemmed from its measly 3 episode run time. I get that it was mainly made to be an advertisement for the manga, but this was just absolutely ridiculous. It being only 3 episodes meant that we don’t really get any time to connect with the characters or really get to know them. The only character we really know anything about is the main character, Alice. He had a really sad past where his father showed obvious favoritism towards his brother, and he wasn’t really interested in his education nor his future in general. He was miserable with no goals or any passions, and wanted a way out of that. He also felt like he couldn’t get to his true potential until he needed to, and that’s what happens. Whenever he’s in one of these life-threatening games, he’s forced to give it his all which in turn causes him to unlock his full potential. So, he has some depth to him, but the problem is that we barely get interact with the other characters or really showcase his personality. And when he does, he comes off as interesting as wet toilet paper. Now, to the other characters.... Karube suffers from the opposite problem. We barley are told anything about him. The only thing we do know is that Karube’s dad owns the bar Karube works in I guess? Karube’s energetic personality while being cliched is pretty interesting, but lack of information leads to lack of interest. The rest of the characters are so forgettable and uninteresting while lacking any depth that I honestly don’t even want to talk about them. So, these people barley interact with each other, are pretty uninteresting, and we barely know anything about them... So, why should we exactly care if they live or die? It could’ve really benefited from being longer and trying to make us care about the characters and get invested in them. Another problem is that the pacing is too fast. There are barley no downtimes between games WHERE THE CHARACTERS ACTUALLY INTERACT WITH EACH OTHER. Their interactions just last 2-3 minutes, then we move onto the next game. And the games themselves are also surprisingly fast. Or more accurately, the character comes to conclusions a bit too fast since the plot requires it. Games that should’ve probably required 2-3 episodes to complete take 3/4 of an episode instead. Oh yea, and after the 3rd game concludes, we get an unsatisfying cliffhanger ending that basically forces you to read the manga. I’m not the most avid manga reader, so when shows do this it’s just really frustrating.
The art in this show is just... boring. I was utterly baffled when I found out that this came out in 2015 since the visuals while being pretty mature and kinda dark, just looked unimpressive and like they belonged in the early 2000s. The character designs don’t really tell you anything about the characters nor are they visually appealing. They’re not even accurate. I honestly thought Karube was 35 or something until I was proven wrong lol. The animation is fine; the action scenes were alright. The way characters landed punches, ran, walked and just moved, in general, were decent and never really felt off or necessarily half-assed. Since this was only a 3 episode ova, I really feel like they could’ve put in more effort into this than they ended up doing. While nothing here was offensive, it just felt like they took the easy and lazy way out. The voice acting was on point for the most part. The voice actors captured their respective characters through their voices alone, and were probably the most impressive part of the show. The sound design was also pretty darn good, and perfectly exhibited the sound of running, punching, and even flaming arrows falling on the ground!
Overall, Alice in borderland was a pretty conflicting experience. If you like reading manga, then I advise you to just read the manga instead of watching this. If you don’t, then if you don’t mind boring visuals, really fast pacing, and a garbage cliffhanger ending; then I hope you enjoy.
Think Mirai Nikki, Btooom!, and No Game No life wrapped into a neat package of absolute adrenaline. All with an underlying tone of sweet suspense. Missing an ending.
The Story has elements of suspense and drama, but ultimately is a coming of age type of story. Missing an ending.
Protagonist is definitely one of the most fleshed out characters I have ever seen. His internal conflict is one that many face, and the anime does a great job of detailing his character in such a concise amount of episodes. The supporting characters are memorable, but for the most part cliched.
Art and Sound are good Quality,
with the art being outstanding in terms of direction and audience engagement.
Actually Alice in Borderlands is one or my favorite manga, enjoy reading each chapter, it has been a while since I read the manga, so I wanted to see these 3 ovas to see how, after all for my Alice in Bordelands it was a great and I knew that, despite being 3 ovas, it could be a good thing from there (well I was wrong).
The story does not change much, Arisu Ryohei, tired of his life and with an inferiority complex by his brother, appears in another world with his 2 friends after seeing some fireworks, in the "new world" (which is
equal to the Earth, but without many people) there are some survival games in which Arisu will have to participate to survive, the plot is simple, but it can unleash many possibilities, but the pacing is terrible, the plot rushes so much that we can not get to Psychologically understand the characters or their actions, the ovas only take advantage that they are a game of death to play great and develop them well (that is a good point that the eggs have at least) and then forget everything else, it shows due to the emphasis to make each game fit a game and making their preparations, which does not work because the grace that the games had was to see how the protagonists faced the games in a psychological way and in a way Inamica, while here they only focused on making the game great, leaving a kind of "style over substance", since the reflections and deductions of the characters completely dislodge due to the inconsistency that the ovas had to prioritize and retract the games ( it takes very little time to explain correctly and dynamically).
The last game was the one I gave the most hope, but the flask forward (as opposed to flask back) that were recurrent in the chapter made the majority of the chapter's dialogue meaningless and explicitly let you understand that something wrong It was going to happen (which is a simple way to put tension although with everything, this game was the one that best treated the tension), without the need to resort to psychological immersion, which generates, although all the games are raised in a way correct, the latter in particular could have developed in a great way, but the little immersion with the characters and the fact that we could not get into their mentality makes their deaths do not feel like something emotional or that has weight (although the soundtrack did a good job in general), so, despite the good approach, the development was mediocre.
The characters are where the ovas weakest, in the manga the characters are undoubtedly their best element (especially Arisu), due to the duration of the ovas the characters are very poor, you can not get to emphasize with any due to the emphasis that is only given to the games and in the ingenious way to solve them, it is not at the end of the third game where you can get to understand the feelings of the characters, but that only serves to generate an emotional scene where friends of Arisu die, if not for that reason the characters never managed to express themselves correctly, the exposition of deep themes is very superficial and pretentious (we never really get to know much about Arisu's past or why Chouta feels a loading, they are only vague themes presented in a superficial way), so the exposition of themes is superficial and does not complement the characters due to their poor presentation in the chapters (although I always I talk about character designs in other reviews, here I have nothing to say, it is normal), the characters besides being poor do not get to express their personality well nor can we see great relationships with each other (which is a contradiction taking in mind that they are best friends), so outside the protagonist the other characters become very boring due to their little time on screen (it provides very badly the exhibition of characters, something that did not happen in the manga).
The animation is normal, although the scenarios are very muted and low in color that they use to express more the dark tone of the ovas themselves, outside of that the transitions are mediocre and the facial gestures too, the animation does not help to focus the viewer on certain aspects, at least the animation is not as bad as you might think at the beginning, it just does not meet decent standards.
The end of the ovas only leaves the viewer anxious, forcing him to read the manga, which makes it a concise ending, but with clear intentions, I really find that these ovas were totally wasted, the manga being a work that gives much emphasis to psychological aspects and the ingenuity of the games, the anime only gave emphasis to the "ingenuity" of the games (since the few that appear are not the big deal), well, a short review, if I don't talk about other aspects of the ovas it is because it is irrelevant, I really would not recommend these ovas to anyone, or to someone who would like an anime about people in a survival game because in the end and seeing it in retrospect it is likely that there are not many things either good to get out of this animation
So I love these kinds of animes, the ones where they basically have to play games/solve puzzles. This anime is kind of like No Game No Life but they have to play the games to stay alive. I really love this because it takes those kids that aren't good at anything in the world we are in and place them in a world where they can thrive essentially. Most of the characters are also great, once you get past the initial little freak out. I would recommend this to anyone who liked No Game No Life, or animes about solving puzzles. It also moves fast
so you're not stuck listening to a lot of monologues.