The streamer announced the renewal of its most popular Japanese original series based on the sci-fi thriller manga of the same name. From director Shinsuke Sato, the adaptation revolves around Arisu, a video-game-obsessed young man and his two friends who find themselves in a strange version of Tokyo where they must compete in dangerous games to survive. In this strange world, Arisu meets Usagi, a young woman who’s navigating the games alone. Together, they set out to unravel one mystery after another as they risk their lives and confront what it means to live.
While we wait for another round of life-and-death games, here are some thrilling facts about season one:
- After the series premiere on December 10, Alice in Borderland gained popularity in Japan and across Asia and made it to the Top 10 in Germany, France, Portugal, Austria, Greece, and among other countries and territories.
- The series is an adaptation of Haro Aso’s hit comic of the same name, which became serialized in Japanese weekly comic books Weekly Shonen Sunday S and Weekly Shonen Sunday from 2010 to 2016.
- Google searches for the manga series Alice in Borderland and its lead actors Kento Yamazaki and Tao Tsuchiya shot up globally when the series launched.
- Aso fashioned the lead characters after himself. “I remembered how I was when I was around 20 years old and created Arisu based on my own indecisiveness,” said Aso. Usagi’s character derived from the part of him that “is independent and doesn’t need to rely on others.”
- How do you film at an empty Shibuya Scramble Crossing — one of the busiest places in the world? The scene featured in the first episode that sees a deserted Shibuya Scramble Crossing was not shot in Shibuya at all, instead, it was filmed on a massive outdoor set in Ashikaga city, Tochigi Prefecture.
- In episode one, Arisu and his friends were initially to meet in front of a Starbucks in Shibuya, but because of the intricacy of a glass-covered set, the location was changed to a sign in front of the station.
- The scene of Arisu and his friends running from a crowded street into the public restroom in Shibuya Station to then come out to see an empty Shibuya was shot in a single take that lasts longer than 4 minutes. As a result, the team had to physically create everything that appears on the screen.
- In the Shibuya scene, everything apart from the ticket gate, the public restroom, and the road was created with CGI, including an authentic recreation of the shadow of the Tokyu Building that normally falls on that precise location.
- The tiger featured in episode 5 was a VFX creation supervised by Dutch animation director Erik-Jan De Boer, who has previously won an Academy Award for creating the tiger in Life of Pi (2012). The production work was done by Indian animation and VFX studio Anibrain and involved teams from Japan, Singapore, the USA (Los Angeles), and India.
- To create the black panther in episode 4, the visual effects team from Japanese VFX company Digital Frontier had to visit the zoo to research the feel and movement of the animal and its fur.
Alice in Borderland season one is available now to stream exclusively on Netflix.