Netflix has announced the much-anticipated Alice in Borderland season two release date, but unfortunately for fans of the Japanese drama, it's still very far away.
Based on a manga series by Haro Aso, the first season premiered on Netflix in late 2020 and become an international hit, but the title achieved yet more success earlier this year as subscribers searched for something to satisfy their Squid Game fix.
The two shows both have a "death game" premise, following coerced participants as they compete in lethal challenges against a surreal backdrop – for Alice in Borderland, that's an eerily abandoned version of Japan's bustling capital city, Tokyo.
The series was one of many featured in a virtual presentation for Netflix Festival Japan 2021, with Alice in Borderland cast members Kento Yamazaki and Tao Tsuchiya revealing that they are currently filming. Watch below.
Yamazaki outlined some of the key questions that Alice in Borderland has to address in the upcoming episodes, while seemingly alluding to the potential for even more instalments beyond season two.
He said: "What is the purpose of this game? Will they be able to return to the real world? What is the answer Arisu is seeking? We hope to continue to work hard while shooting this series so that you can enjoy this show until the very end."
Read on for everything we know so far about Alice in Borderland season two, including release date, cast and announcement trailer, as well as details on the original books and filming locations.
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Alice in Borderland season 2 release date
CONFIRMED: Alice in Borderland season two is targeting a release date in December 2022, approximately two years on from the launch of the initial batch of episodes, according to an update from Netflix Festival Japan 2021.
That might come as disappointing news to die-hard fans, many of whom had expected the follow-up to arrive considerably earlier, but with any luck the next chapter will be worth the wait.
According to What's on Netflix, filming began in July of this year and isn't set to finish until December, with the late 2022 launch window suggesting the episodes could have a number of visual effects sequences to iron out in post-production.
Alice in Borderland's first season premiered almost a year before Squid Game, but it has popped back into public consciousness recently as Netflix's algorithm recommended it to fans of the South Korean phenomenon.
“We were thrilled to see that many members who discovered and watched Squid Game also started discovering Alice for the first time,” explained Netflix's Michael Smith (via Variety). “Our service picked up on this connection and started recommending Alice to more members who hadn’t already seen the show.”
Upon Alice in Borderland's initial release back in December 2020, the thriller landed in the top 10 series in 40 countries – but this exciting second wind has posted even stronger results.
“It landed back in the top 10 series ranking in more than 50 countries around the world, more than nine months after its initial launch,” added Smith, who hailed a "sizeable uptick in global viewing" for Alice in Borderland particularly.
Alice in Borderland cast
There aren't any specific announcements about the Alice in Borderland cast for season two, but all the surviving players from the first outing are expected to return.
Of course, that includes Kento Yamazaki as main protagonist Ryōhei Arisu and Tao Tsuchiya as his companion in the games, Yuzuha Usagi.
Alice in Borderland creator Haro Aso revealed both characters are partially inspired by himself, reflecting two distinct sides to his personality.
"I remembered how I was when I was around 20 years old and created Arisu based on my own indecisiveness," he said, adding that Usagi is drawn from the part of him that is "independent and doesn't need to rely on others".
Among the supporting cast, we expect to see more from Nijiro Murakami as Chishiya, Aya Asahina as Kuina, Ayaka Miyoshi as An and Riisa Naka as Mira, who was set up as a major new villain in the series finale.
Presumably, the cast of Alice in Borderland will welcome some new additions in the second season, but Netflix is yet to announce who exactly is joining the show – we'll update this page with details as they come in.
Is Alice in Borderland based on a book?
Alice in Borderland is based on a manga series by Haro Aso, which was first published in serial format in the pages of Japan's Shōnen Sunday magazines.
The story was later collected as a series of books spanning 18 volumes, which were published in Japanese across five years between 2011 and 2016.
In exciting news for fans of the series, it has been announced that the Alice in Borderland manga is finally being translated into English, with the first volume currently scheduled for release in March 2022 from Viz Media.
This move is likely driven by the success of the Netflix series stoking up interest in the source material from Western readers, with the show getting a second wave of viewers following the release of Squid Game.
Alice in Borderland season 2 plot
*Warning: Alice in Borderland season one spoilers*
Based on the graphic novels by Haro Aso, the show throws "listless, jobless and video-game obsessed" Arisu into an eerily empty alternate version of Tokyo, where he and his friends are forced to fight for their lives in a series of twisted challenges.
While the unfortunate contestants of Squid Game are competing for a huge cash prize, the residents of Borderland are simply trying to stay alive, with victory granting an extension to their "visas" in this strange new reality.
Tao Tsuchiya co-stars as Usagi, one of the first people he encounters in the games, who has nerves of steel from her days as a mountain climber and becomes an ally in the deadly tournament.
The first season of Alice in Borderland ended on a dark note, with the ominous announcement that Arisu, Usagi and the other surviving players would soon be put through a second round of deadly games.
The news came courtesy of Mira, who was revealed to be a game master – one of the architects behind the whole macabre ordeal – which has already pushed our heroes to their limits.
Arisu lost his two closest friends Chōta and Karube, while he also found himself rocked by the revelation that he had been playing alongside traitors Momoka and Asahi.
Having suffered all this trauma, Arisu will likely be less trusting when it comes to the second round of games, but he does at least still have Usagi by his side for support.
The first eight episodes of Alice in Borderland adapted roughly half of the manga series by Haro Aso, meaning the second season could possibly bring the story to an end.
However, Netflix is known for getting the most of their original shows, so it's possible the streamer could find a way to extend the Alice in Borderland saga even further.
Where is Alice in Borderland filmed?
Netflix invested a lot of time and money into the first season of its Alice in Borderland adaptation, going to great lengths to recreate an authentic Tokyo setting.
Indeed, rather than take on the near-impossible task of completely clearing Shibuya Crossing (one of the busiest in Tokyo), it built a replica on a massive outdoor set in Ashikaga, Tochigi Prefecture – more than 100km away from the real thing.
The ambitious four-minute shot in the first episode, in which Arisu and his friends run from the street to a public restroom, was also filmed on this impressive set, with authentic ticket gates being built from scratch by the design team.
Backgrounds were filled in using CGI, with the visual effects director going into intricate detail to make it feel as real as possible, such as by recreating the shadow of the 109 department store building opposite the station.
Alice in Borderland season 2 trailer
There's no footage available from the upcoming season yet, with filming set to continue until the end of the year, but Netflix did release a very brief teaser to confirm that Alice in Borderland had been renewed.
We expect to get our first full look at Alice in Borderland season two in early 2022, as filming is reportedly set to continue until the end of the year.