Alice in Borderland season 1 recap and character guide

Alice in Borderland - Credit: Netflix
Alice in Borderland - Credit: Netflix /

Alice in Borderland season 2 is finally on its way! The season will premiere Thursday, Dec. 22 on Netflix.

You wouldn’t be blamed for having forgotten a few key points and names. So, before season 2 premieres, refresh your memory with our Alice in Borderland season 1 recap and character guide.


Alice in Borderland season 1 recap

Alice in Borderland, based on the manga series of the same name, is a dystopian survival series set in a parallel Tokyo.

The protagonist, Arisu (Kento Yamazaki), suddenly finds himself in a deserted Tokyo with his friends Karube and Chota (Keita Machida and Yuki Morinaga) after hiding in a public bathroom from police and emerging to find the city empty.

The friends soon discover a ‘Game Arena’ where, alongside a businesswoman named Shibuki (Ayame Misaki) who shows up, they quickly realize they are taking part in a game of life or death, choosing between doors that will either lead onwards or to a laser through the brain.

Alice in Borderland – Credit: Netflix
Alice in Borderland – Credit: Netflix /

After narrowly completing the game, winning an unexplained playing card, and receiving a temporary ‘visa’ that grants them a few days without playing again, the group attempt to piece things together. With Chota injured in the last game, Arisu and Karube choose to face one by themselves in order to gain intel.

Each game is revealed to have a playing card suit and number attached, demonstrating the type and difficulty. They take part in a brutal version of Hide and Seek where they avoid bullets shot by a masked ‘tagger’, coming across a number of interesting characters. This includes: the silver-haired Chishiya (Nijirô Murakami), the athletic Usagi (Tao Tsuchiya), and the brutal Aguni (Sho Aoyagi). Karube discovers a walkie-talkie where someone mentions ‘The Beach’, sparking interest.

Episode 3 is where things truly take a turn, with the four central characters participating in a notorious ‘Hearts’ game, where emotions are toyed with and people are betrayed.

Set inside a botanical garden, the players are told that (upon wearing collared VR-style headsets) whoever is the ‘wolf’ at the end of the game is the winner, the others will die. The others, the ‘sheep’, must make eye contact to transfer the ‘wolf’ label to themselves.

The episode is full of emotion, betrayal, and nostalgic heartache as Karube and Chota (after initially fighting to win) eventually conclude that it is Arisu who they believe deserves to live on. They hide from Arisu whilst he frantically searches, heartbroken and horrified after realizing the burden of being the lone-surviving wolf.

The two friends, along with Shibuki whom Chota holds captive, are shockingly killed by the end of the episode. Arisu is left traumatized after seeing Karube’s collar explode around his neck right in front of him.

Alice in Borderland Season 2
Alice in Borderland – Credit: Netflix /

After this, things shift; Arisu enters a depressive state before he is collected and nourished by the mountain climber Usagi. They search for the so-called ‘Beach’ together and discover that it is a hotel resort where are hundreds of people are residing. They harmoniously work as a collective to win as many games as possible and gather the full set of playing cards, under the cult-like leadership of a man known as ‘Hatter’ (Nobuaki Kaneko).

He is well-armed and is surrounded by a team of militants that includes Aguni, Chishiya, his friend Kuina (Aya Asahina), the second-in-command, rifle-toting Niragi (Dori Sakurada), the problem-solving Ann (Ayaka Miyoshi), the mysterious Mira (Riisa Naka), and the tattooed, sword-wielding Last Boss (Shuntarô Yanagi).

Arisu and Usagi get to work gathering playing cards, taking part in a deceptive game of endurance where they (unnecessarily) run 10,000 metres to avoid being drowned. Back at the Beach, the utopian illusion begins to crack as bodies are found, tensions rise, and Hatter is brought back from a game dead.

The militants take charge of the Beach as Chishiya and Kuina begin their plan to steal all the playing cards and make a run for it. This involves letting Arisu in on it, then setting him up to be caught snooping so Chishiya can cause a distraction. Arisu is tied up, Usagi is caught and pinned by Niragi, and suddenly the last game of the series begins: the witch hunt.

Alice in Borderland – Credit: Netflix
Alice in Borderland – Credit: Netflix /

One of the Beach dwellers —Momoka— is found dead with a knife in her chest; the game is to figure out who did it and burn their body on a pyre that has appeared outside. On top of this, forensic scientist Ann reveals that (after completing an autopsy) Hatter was not killed in a game but was in fact murdered by a militant.

Chaos ensues, and the Beach becomes the sight of a horrific massacre. The militants gun down anyone and everyone in sight in order to find the witch and also rid themselves of a doubting population. Ann uses her forensic skills to draw fingerprints from the knife in Momoka whilst Kuina faces off with Last Boss in an epic dancefloor fight scene, Chishiya takes on Niragi with a DIY flamethrower, and Usagi rescues the tied up Arisu.

Having had some time to think, Arisu confronts the brutal Aguni in front of everyone still alive. He reveals that it was Aguni that killed Hatter after seeing him become drunk and murderous with power, and the massacre is a way of exacting revenge on those who caused such a power trip. Arisu concludes that Momoka is herself the witch, and Ann confirms this — Momoka turned the knife into her own chest.

Before this however, Momoka’s partner-in-crime Asahi reveals something shocking; she is one of the game ‘dealers’, and revealing this causes a laser to come down and kill her. After some more chaos with Niragi and his rifle (in which Aguni actually sacrifices himself to stop him), the Beach is abandoned to burn and the horror sets in.

Alice in Borderland – Credit: Netflix
Alice in Borderland – Credit: Netflix /

Arisu and Usagi uncover footage from Momoka and Asahi from before the games. Their role as ‘dealers’ was to help set things up, laying out the phones that provide visas and influencing games from within them under the orders of multiple games masters.

After uncovering the games masters’ surveillance room (where all of them mysteriously lie dead), Arisu, Usagi, Chishiya, and Kuina are suddenly greeted onscreen by one of the Beach executives, Mira. She announces that she will be giving a gift of more, ‘face-card’ games to the players that are left.

Key Alice in Borderland characters to remember for season 2

A large portion of the Alice in Borderland season 1 characters were lost throughout the season. But here are the survivors (and potential survivors) that you may need to make a note of:

  • Arisu – Main protagonist, male, shaggy dark hair, gamer, intelligent
  • Usagi – Secondary protagonist, female, cropped dark hair, mountain-climber, athletic
  • Chishiya – Male, long silvery hair, white jacket, trickster, self-preservationist
  • Kuina – Female, long brown hair, dummy cigarette in her mouth, transgender, martial artist
  • Aguni – Male, shaved head, short beard, black tank top/army pants, violent
  • Niragi – Male, long black hair, piercings, burn scars after season 1, misogynistic, violent
  • Mira – Female, long black hair with bangs, all black outfits, mysterious, maniacal after her Queen of Hearts reveal

Now that you’re all caught up, you’re ready to watch Alice in Borderland season 2 on Netflix when it arrives on Dec. 22. You can check out the official poster below!

Alice in Borderland Season 2 key art
Alice in Borderland Season 2 key art /

Next. You Season 4, Part 1 is not coming in Dec. 2022. dark