Alice in Borderland

Alt title: Imawa no Kuni no Alice

Vol: 18; Ch: 65
2010 - 2016
4.547 out of 5 from 756 votes
Rank #445
Alice in Borderland

Eighteen-year-old Ryohei Arisu is sick of his life. School sucks, his love life is a joke, and his future weighs on him like impending doom. As he struggles to exist in a world that can’t be bothered with him, Ryohei feels like everything would be better if he were anywhere else. When a strange fireworks show transports him and his friends to a parallel world, Ryohei thinks all his wishes have come true. But this new world isn’t an empty paradise, it’s a vicious game. And the only way to survive is to play. The first game starts with a bang, but Ryohei manages to beat the clock and save his friends. It’s a short-lived victory, however, as they discover that winning only earns them a visa worth a few days’ grace period. If they want to get home, they’re going to have to start playing a lot harder.

Source: VIZ Media

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Reviews

RoyalOss
9.5

Story Summary Alice in Borderland is about a group of friends waking up in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo, called the Borderlands, after witnessing some strange firework show in the middle of a night. After their initial joy their adventure quickly turns into a nightmare as they are forced to play deadly sadistic games in order to prolong their visa. Because once their visa expires they are shot by mysterious beams from the sky. Review A simple concept where the main characters have to play games in order to survive all while trying to discover a way back to their normal lives. But following the journey of the main character, Arisu, is anything but simple. It is not only a journey through the borderlands but also a rollercoaster journey through his emotions as he grows from a scared teen into an analytical and mentally mature man. This journey is not without many setbacks as he often is pushed into desperation where is has given up on life but multiple times he will overcome those obstacles to come out of them as a stronger person. One particular chapter I liked a lot was the flashback/recap at the start of chapter 53 where Arisu was rethinking about all the previous events. It showed perfectly the rollercoaster he was on. ''Is it weird I’m excited?'' ''I want to go home'' ''WE ARE ALIVE!'' ''What does it mean to live?" ''It feels amazing to be alive!'' ''I don’t care...what happens anymore''   Beside this character growth the games are also intelligent and every time they become more sadistic and gruesome as the previous games were. Games are split into four categories: spades (physical), hearts (psychological), diamonds (intelligence) and clovers (balanced/teamwork). But even physical games requires you to use your brains and come up with strategies. My favorite are the game of hearts where they destroy your mental health by giving you false hope and crushing it afterwards. The Queen of Hearts was my absolute favorite as it messed even with the reader’s minds. I can't reveal much because of spoilers but the way it gives the readers false information about the plot only turning out to be something else. However that game did make the ending a bit anti-climactic for me personally. The ending was good, but not as interesting as the game Queen of Hearts was, I would have loved any of the Queen of Hearts possible game endings. But instead it had taken a rather abrupt semi-supernatural ending which was not supernatural enough to blow me away and not something ordinary enough so it makes me believe it can happen in everyday normal life. Instead it left me with ''hmm, I guess that’s also possible''. Art The art was nothing special in my opinion, it did improve over the course of the manga but it wasn't mind blowing, good, definitely not bad, but not great either. The only thing that did bother me was the scream of despair Arisu made in the 7 Hearts game where his face, specially mouth, was a bit weird. It reminded me a bit of such cartoonish wolf whistling at a pretty lady like the wolf which was drawn on his headset. Since that scream re-appears in flashbacks in later chapters that particular slightly out of place art style is even more noticeable compared with the better art on the later chapters. Characters The manga puts the main focus on Arisu's growth, there are a bunch of side characters but they never made a strong enough impression to be viewed as major characters. Even Usagi remained in the sidelines even being passed by some of the villains. Usagi could have been a great opportunity but instead she became a forced motivation for Arisu. Tiny spoiler.... their romance felt rushed. I loved when they first met and they could relate with each other because of their similar past, but it felt rushed how it went from a shared past towards ''I will sacrifice my life for you'' in the short period of time.  The side story characters initially not very interesting but the way they re-appeared throughout the story up until the ending where all side stories got tied in and came together, was nicely done. Also, the growth of the villains was rather interesting as you discover along the story they got more in common with Arisu as initially thought with even some villains turning around. Overall  You shouldn't be deterred by violence because this manga has a lot of it. And if you like dark manga filled with despair and gruesome but intelligent/mind breaking games this will be something you will love. This is definitely something I could see myself reading again or even buying because I love play and die situations and dark manga. 9,5 / 10 rating

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