Alice Ryouhei will leave high school soon, but he's trying to avoid thinking about his future. Late one night, when he's hanging out with his tough friend Karube and his silly, girl-crazy friend Chota, they see fireworks. After one blindingly bright explosion, they find themselves waking up in a different world. In this "Borderland," people are forced to either participate in potentially deadly games or simply die. Will Chota, Karube, and Ryouhei be able to survive this dangerous new world, and is there a way they can get back to their original lives?
Neither the question nor the answer to it might particularly interest you, yet reading this manga's attempts at trying to give you answers to this very question can still be a great investment of your time.
The name might strike you as very odd, "Alice" from Disney and in"the borderlands"? Will there be over-the-top humor and a little girl protagonist or what?
Borderlands primarily targets 2 kinds of audiences.
The first one being people who enjoy to read manga with games of life and death and an abundance of characters that make these sort of games interesting to spectate.
The second one are people
with a very reflective or depressed personality. The manga manages to find a good balance between keeping dark/serious topics with drama and feels at the core and still keeping a very shounen-esque positive, friendly atmosphere that manages to turn heart-tearing stories into heart-warming experiences.
Don't mistaken this with material like One Piece or Naruto, just because it wears the shounen tag. This manga is rich with consequences. You'll see people die for taking wrong steps at every turn.
However, this isn't a Tokyo Ghoul or Re:Zero either. The characters have heart and are relatable to a certain extend. The writer did a good job trying to portray people that you could possibly meet anywhere.
The weakness in the writing for this work shows when characters start to act overly corny or when characters start to emotionally overreact at times. It makes you question whether the story even knows where it wants to go or if it doesn't know which audience it wants to target.
The truth of the matter is that Alice in Borderlands knows exactly where it wants to head with it's story and that it is doing what it is doing almost too well for it's own good, because what it is doing is neither popular nor wanted in most of the anime sub-communities. Alice in Borderlands applies a concept that is alien to most anime watchers and resented amongst many manga readers: The attempt to tell a story with a clear message through a storytelling that let's you look from different camera angles and let's you see the stories of different characters, distancing itself from being too judgemental or imposing and instead allowing readers with a free mind to think for themselves.
The main character, Arisu, is the person you'll be following throughout most of the story. He's not shounen-MC-level of stupid, but he's not a Yagami Light either. If you're into badass main characters, this manga will probably not do for you. The main character's attitude throughout the story fits the atmosphere of the manga very well, which is melancholic. So don't expect some ruthless guy finishing off adversaries in cold blood.
Ever read one of those Battle Royale kind of manga, where a bunch of people are thrown somewhere and expected to kill each other off with certain rules in place? This is basically one of those.
The setting is some unknown, wide open area with certain places marked for games of life and death to be held there. None of the people there are forced to participate in these games. But finishing a game and surviving it extends the time on the victors visas, which will otherwise eventually expire, resulting in certain death.
To make the games more interesting, the manga introduces different game categories and difficulty levels represented through playing card symbols and it attributes characters that are especially suited to a certain kind of game with that category.
There are, for example, games that require intellect to survive or games that require physical fitness.
But it's more than just a myriad of death games following each other. The manga forces characters to face questions that you would typically try to avoid having to deal with. In that sense, you are being shown not only the ugly sides of the reality of the story and those questions, but also the brilliance that lies with all the different possible answers.
That's why the stories of these dozens of characters you'll be following are not just some decentralized, loosely tied one-shot stories to their own, but branches that come together at the end to form a whole tree.
While there are a lot of great characters, there are also some very annoying ones. On top of that, the story burdens you with some very ugly, dislikable character designs for some characters. In the end, nothing I describe about the characters here will be on-point, because it's just too dependant on taste.
However, one thing that can be said about many of the characters is that they act very appropriate considering the circumstances they find themselves in and considering their states of minds.
And, I just have to say it, as if the constant whining of the MC wasn't enough during some chapters, they just had to add the probably most annoying side-character to tag along with him and become his mental and physical support.
At least in that regard this manga is very alike to almost every other manga you might've already read, with it pandering to self-absorbed hikikomori due to the relationship going on between that self-insert of a MC and his on-command make-up doll and inofficial girlfriend.
I enjoyed this a lot, despite not being overly comfortable with many of the early cast and despite the manga sometimes giving you the feeling that it's trying to let the world revolve around that self-centered MC at times, with entire chapters contributed to nothing but whining from Arisu that I gladly skimmed through with a good fast-forward reading technique, called the autopilot. I wanted to read some manga with survival games going on, where there are stakes for the characters and not some illogical happy ends for the sake of letting friendship win. Alice in Borderlands delivered.
And it also made for a story with some depth to it, which I gladly took as the icing on the cake. It's far from perfect. There are just too many annoying and unnecessary scenes in this manga for a 10/10 and there are in fact so many of those that if you are either just enjoying to read for the brutality going on or just enjoy the story, but don't get enough enjoyment out of the action that a 7 or 8 out of 10 would be a fair rating. For me it's a 9/10.
The manga is based on a high school student who is about to face the tomorrow of independance,he makes a wish that brings him in a world of joy at the start,but good things may not last long.
He and his friends face the cruel reality of this dreamy world...a place where the strongest survive.The manga is well written with a great variety of characters and some quiet cunning thinking,I really love it so far I am looking forward finishing it.Whoever looks into it and they are in for survival they are not going to regret it!
Although everything good has it's cons as well.There is
not much character development overall or it might be predictable to see how they are going to change.The manga does not tire you but as a psychological-survival it contains some explicit content so I advise you to read it if you are mature enough *smiles*.
That was all from me have a good day!
This is the best survival manga and overall manga I've ever read. I'm not the type of writing reviews, and I don't even know if someone will read this, but I just wanted to put in words my thoughts about this work.
If you like survival games, this is for you. If you like reflecting, this is for you. If you want a mix of happiness, surprise, anger, sadness and greatness, this is for you. Everyone has different tastes, but I don't know a person I wouldn't recommend this work to. This is truly a masterpiece that, beyonds giving you pleasure, changes the way you view
the life (atleast, it did to me).
Well, I still think these words don't express what this manga is, and if I can even express it with words, so READ it. I swear you won't regret it, really.
For an author in the modern age, there is perhaps no greater accomplishment than being able to craft a captivating story that no one has ever seen before, but there is something to be said about authors who are able to revisit old, overdone ideas while still managing to innovate them in new ways. Asou Haro’s **Imawa no Kuno no Alice** is an excellent representation of the latter, finding success in the Battle Royale subgenre normally tainted by mediocre writing.
The most immediate draw of **Imawa no Kuno no Alice** is simply how creative some of the individual games can be. Other titles such as **Kakegurui**
or **Kamisama no Iutoori** often have games that, while unique, are either far too simple or complicated for their own good, while others are too fundamentally similar without much twist. While **Imawa no Kuno no Alice** does occasionally have moments like that, the majority of games presented are either completely unique or have an added twist to them to make them more interesting. Both the King of Diamonds and Jack of Hearts events are excellent examples, constructing unique games with simple rules but a wide room for story telling and strategy. The Six of Diamonds is a good example of a game where it completely borrows from another (Blackjack) but still manages to make it narratively interesting by exploring the many different ways the game can be approached. Asou Haro also seems to understand that the task doesn’t end at creating the game but seeing it to its completion; many games are well-thought out and crafted, but they also end in clever ways that don’t betray the entire concept of them to begin with. Even the Five of Spades uses a layer of strategy that could’ve easily be written as something far lazier such as the use of raw strength.
To reiterate, it’s impressive when authors can still come up with new ideas in previously explored subgenres, and even moreso when it’s done in an area where it isn’t required. In that regard, **Imawa no Kuno no Alice’s** card system should be considered as a stroke of genius. Upon sight, each card immediately conveys to the reader two vital pieces of information of what the implications of the game are. A higher number means a harder game, and the specific suite hints at what kind of game it’s going to be. A lot of titles that involve having different trials and events like **Gantz** and the aforementioned **Kamisama no Iutoori** either don’t offer the consistency or variety that there events have between them, nor arguably do they need to. Regardless, the suite provides that little knot that adds the sense of a greater systematic and nebulous theme to the wider picture while also grounding the games within some degree of reality without going too off the rails. It can even add a more psychological dimension to it as effectively demonstrated in the Four of Clubs side story. In addition, the difference in games allows characters to specialize in some games more than others, giving them uniquely individual flairs and specialties while at the same time giving them harsh weaknesses. Even simply revealing that the game is one of "Hearts" is enough to strike fear in both the characters and the reader. The overall point is that the card system is a brutally efficient idea that eloquently ties many of the elements of the story together while also providing an easy thrill and sense of understanding for the readers. Even the numbers on the card have a dual function as they also explain how many more days are added to a player’s visa.
The card system is only one example of how effective Asou Haro is at executing simple ideas to add to the narrative. The laser beams that come from the sky to eliminate players are fantastic; not only is the execution visually simple, but it also demonstrates an ability to reach the player no matter where they’re hiding, adding to the claustrophobic setting provided by the story. Not only that, but its visually simplistic design allows it to be drawn at a macro scale that immediately conveys to the reader what each laser implies without having to show what each individual one directly resulted in. It is a far more eloquent solution for **Imawa no Kuni no Alice’s** setting than the often used “brain bomb” trope.
Speaking of efficient, **Imawa no Kuno no Alice’s** art deserves extremely high praise. It’s not impressive in the same way such titles like **Vagabond** and *One Punch-Man** are; while there are some aesthetically pleasing moments, there aren’t many moments where the reader is completely blown away by the art. Rather, the art is impressive not in depth but in breadth. Bluntly speaking, art in manga at the end of the day is just another tool, and a tool is only as useful as the skill of its user. Takehiko Inoue, the author **Vagabond**, didn’t even know how to draw a foot when going into one of his first works, the ever-popular **Slam Dunk**. The reason why this is relevant for Asou Haro in particular is that his style is incredibly flexible. The reason why games can have venues like exploding water geysers, courtrooms, traditional festivals, zoos, and more is because the mangaka is able to draw literally all of them. It isn’t easy at all to draw animals like leopards and crocodiles, nor is it easy to draw cities, much less in a dilapidated state, but Haro is able to do all of them effectively. To put it in another way, the story of **Imawa no Kuno no Alice** is only made possible because Haro is able to draw it. However, the most important result of Haro’s high breadth in his art is not that he’s able to draw so many different individual objects, but rather the character design’s themselves. Many authors fall victim in making their characters look too similar, and it can often be hard to remember characters because their designs are too redundant. In **Imawa no Kuni no Alice**, almost every single character in the manga is drawn in a different and unique way, whether it be through posture, structure, facial expression, or clothing. No two characters have very similar designs, even minor characters that don’t appear for very long. For a manga that pumps out side characters like it’s nothing, this is an extremely impressive accomplishment in the scale of the story.
I’ve been mostly talking about the more superficial dimensions of **Imawa no Kuni no Alice**, so you might be wondering what there is to say about its more central, thematic ideas that drive the story forward. Unfortunately, this is where the story falters a little bit since the main character and the end goal of the story is a little cliché. The main character fulfills his role as main character should quite well, in that he becomes the blank canvas that becomes more detailed the more he interacts with the world around him. Arguably however, the story paints on him a little too much, and the colors often muddle and overlap with each other. While a main character should go through development, his ideology changes a little too frequently and reactively based on what just happened. Thankfully, the author beautifully executes side stories, creating a healthy amount of different characters to distract readers from the main one. Not only does this provide somewhat of a fresh state and perspective while undermining plot armor, but it also allows the world to build more and not revolve solely around the actions of the main character. While all of this does serve another purpose, for better or worse they also serve as a band-aid for how frivolously the narrative addresses the main character’s perspective.
That being said, the important thing is consistency, and despite how cliché some of the narrative can sound, it’s impressive that the central theme of “What does it mean to live” is effectively addressed throughout the entirety of **Imawa no Kuni no Alice**. While the theme itself isn’t exactly original nor can I personally admit it’s particularly that evocative, Haro is fairly effective on addressing the different types of ways people can answer this question while also making sure it stays as a central focus for the main character. However, perhaps the biggest saving grace for **Imawa no Kuni no Alice**’s less original themes is how creatively Haro implements them as plot points. One of the biggest mystery’s in the entire manga is the explanation of why the world they’re in exists in the first place. The reader understands that to answer that question also inevitably explains how the characters can escape, which is the implicit end goal for the wider story. However, the story hints many times that there might not actually be an escape to their world, which fundamentally changes how the central theme is asked. Why did we play the games? Are our opponents just mirrors of our future selves? Will we still have the will to live? The condition that there might not be anything left even after everything’s all said and done is a harrowing thought that by itself already distills a sense of dread and wonder that allows the atmosphere to prosper. But if added with the overarching question of the meaning of life, the once cliché theme is given a level of tangibility that requires it be addressed before the story reaches its conclusion rather than allowing it to exist as a more fundamental idea. As stated before, consistency is key, and Haro does an impressive job in still tying everything together without superficially adding too many elements. In comparison, titles like **Gantz** and **Kamisama no Iutoori** have comparatively sloppier executions with very little or no consistency in what they want their overarching theme to be, which is often why titles like those have unsatisfying endings that don’t serve as proper conclusions.
Upon reading **Imawa no Kuni no Alice** for the first time, it’s easy to brush it off as just another generic title based on its first few chapters. After all, the beginning doesn’t really hint to anything that other titles haven’t already offered. However, most people who have read this story will tell you that the journey is worth it if you keep sticking with it until the end. As time goes on and more stories are created, truly original content will only become rarer and rarer, and it’ll all become that much more worth it once we all find that title that grants us that new perspective. But **Imawa no Kuno no Alice** is a fantastic example of how perfecting old ideas can be as equally as satisfying as the real thing and shows that the solution to stagnation doesn’t always have to involve relying on that unlikely chance.