Alice in Borderland (Season 2)
Onto the next release of the weekend and I finished watching the new Japanese show, the second season of Alice In Borderland on Netflix. I must admit that if there is that one area that I am lagging behind in, then it is the International shows which are doing the rounds. I have watched just a handful of them and it was in 2020 end that I happened to stumble upon this Japanese show titled Alice In Borderland.
Squid Game is one of the most loved shows on Netflix simply because of its concept on paper. I mean who would have thought that losing some of the childhood games would result in death. On the similar lines and released before Squid Game, was the Japanese show Alice In Borderland that had absolutely blown my mind with its concept and execution. If thrill-a-minute is a show then it surely is Alice In Borderland. And so I was really curious on what the second season had to offer given that season 1 had ended on a bit of a cliffhanger. So then is Alice In Borderland worth your time, stay tuned.
Story & Screenplay
The second season of Alice In Borderland picks up from the same point where season 1 had ended and so you still have a bunch of players in an arena who are playing the game of death. The story here is fascinated but a little more cerebral than the first part. The screenplay standing at 8 episodes ranging from 50 odd minutes to over an hour long was a tad too long for me and surely its length could have been trimmed further. But the proceedings are cerebral and supremely entertaining.
The drama opens with an absolute bang with the group of players running for cover against a nemesis called The King Of Spades. As a viewer, you instantly are sucked into the drama with your adrenaline rushing through. The scenes are gory but this is such a series where gore and blood are fun to witness. This, while you are also rooting for your favourite player to win at the end. There is an undercurrent of the mysterious world that the players are a part of, wherein the question is often thrown in as to the reason behind the entire games. The element of a card game given a fresh concept is also an interesting feature of the drama!
The drama is engrossing and entertaining particularly when the games are on. The games are shot elaborately and lavishly, never taking the intelligence of the audience for granted. The proceedings are outstanding with a roller coaster of emotions. Where the drama slightly slows down in, are the emotional scenes which expects the user to invest in them. While the motive was good but the scenes often overstay their welcome, unlike in season 1 where you could actually feel the emotions of the characters. Here I just wanted to skip them and instead get to the point, which in this case was the different games which were held, one for each face card.
Atleast 4 games standout in this season making it quite an experience of sorts. The twists and turns are brilliant but one difference between the first and the second season was that the stakes were higher in season 1. And by this I mean that many of the principal characters survive game after game here whereas the writing of season 1 was much more bolder, bumping off character whom you have formed an emotional bond with. But nevertheless the drama is exciting and cerebral in many ways leading upto a final act that was quite satisfactory with a possibility of the third season smartly thrown in. So overall, I quite enjoyed the writing here even though it does take a few unnecessary detours and is a tad too overindulgent.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are conversational but supremely impactful. The music and BGM go perfectly with the mood and vibe of the drama. The cinematography particularly of frames capturing the games is brilliant and something that enhances the overall impact of the show even more! Director Shinsuke Kato does a magnificent job here. It did seem to me that he was well aware of the pulse of the audience and what the audience was expecting. And so he manages to create ample moments which could satisfy the souls of the audience that the show was catering to.
The performances are outstanding here. Aya Asahina as Kuina has a stunning presence and does a great job. Dori Sakurada as Niragi is first rate as the ‘bad fish’ within the group. Nijiro Murakami as Chishiya has a sense of ease to his character and he does an incredibly good job. Tao Tsuchiya as Usagi looks so pretty and does a fabulous job particularly in emotional scenes. Kento Yamazaki as Arisu reeks of innocence and is absolutely brilliant to watch here. All other actors manage to impress here as well.
The second season of Alice In Borderland is a thrilling follow up to season one, making the show well worth your time. Available on Netflix and Highly Recommended!