On June 19, Netflix confirmed that the live-action manga adaptation Alice in Borderland will return with its second season in December 2022. Continuing the Death Game genre from the first season, the show will feature six new faces joining into the cast. 

A Look into the First Season

Alice In Borderland, released in December 2020, is a Japanese live-action adaptation of the popular manga by Haro Aso. The show is a modern contribution to the death game genre. It tells the story of a game-obsessed young man—Arisu (Alice), played by Kento Yamazaki—and his group of friends. They find themselves in a desolate Tokyo, sucked into a parallel universe where they must play dangerous games and toe the line of death to survive. Survivors of the games are granted extension on their “visa.” The moment a player’s visa expires, they are executed by a red laser shot from the sky. As the game proceeds, Arisu and his friends come across Tao Tsuchiya’s character, Yuzuha Usagi (rabbit). Together, they compete in a series of life-threatening games in hopes of staying alive.

Death Game: the Genre

Traditionally, Death Game is a horror-thriller subgenre in which people are forced to participate in a game. Inability to achieve the game’s objectives will result in severe punishment, or even death in some cases. This genre has been a staple for decades, whether it be in movies, tv shows, games, or books.

Initially, Death Game was known for its horror and gore elements, and thus had a niche following. However, there have been some recent contributions to the genre that are less gory and have become world-famous. These have redefined the reach of the genre, and can be seen in films like the Hunger Games series, and TV shows such as Squid Game (2021).

We’ve curated a list of Death Game films and TV shows to watch if Alice in Borderland has caught your attention. Check out EnVi’s recommendations below!

Danganronpa: The Animation (2013)

Danganronpa: The Animation is an anime series based on the game Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc. It follows the story of Makoto Naegi and 14 other students who have been newly accepted into a prestigious private academy. Soon after joining, the students learn that things are not as it seems. Turns out that the academy was a front, and they are now forced to participate in a game where they must kill each other until only one remains. However, unlike the typical death game trope, the participants must also try and solve the murders through investigation and trial. To spice it up, if the participants correctly guess the murderer, then the murderer is executed. However, if their guess is wrong, the murderer gets to live while the remaining participants are executed.  

Cube (1997)

Cube is a Canadian film released in 1997 and directed by Vincenzo Natali. It follows the wild journey of a group of 6 people who find themselves trapped in a room with no knowledge of how they ended up there. They must solve puzzle games to escape the elaborate maze consisting of several rooms. The catch? These rooms are also booby-trapped. After failing to find a way out of imprisonment, they begin to turn on each other.

The Platform (2019)

The Platform, directed by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia, is a Spanish film that premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). The film is set in a large vertical prison dubbed “The Pit.” Prisoners are housed in cells that have a hollow opening in the middle. Each day, food is served via a platform that descends through the hollowed space—starting from the topmost floor and making its way down. The decadent feast stops at each level for only a few minutes, and prisoners are free to eat as they please. However, this always results in the prisoners on the upper floors feeling satiated and well-fed, while the lower floor struggle and fight for leftovers.

Tag (2015)

Tag is a Japanese film directed by Sion Sono released in 2015. The film is based on the book Riaru Onigokko by Yusuke Yamada. An all-girls school field trip kick starts a series of tragic events that follow our protagonist, Mitsuko. Despite its gruesome nature, the film also explores feminism–this is a fascinating approach, considering its genre. In fact, the majority of Tag’s runtime is populated by female actresses.

Sword Art Online (2012)

Sword Art Online is an anime series adapted from Reki Kawahara’s novel series of the same name. The series revolves around a popular game called “Sword Art Online (SAO).” Thousands of players are drawn to the game due to their curiosity and the game’s popularity. However, logged in players soon learn that they are not allowed to log off. Anyone who leaves the game will die in the real world. Players are met with the terrifying idea that the only way to escape the game is to win it.

Death Game cult favourite special mentions: Battle Royale (2000) and Bruce Lee’s Game of Death (1978).

While We Wait

These are only a handful of Death Game films and TV shows to delve into while looking forward to the upcoming return of Netflix shows like Alice in Borderland and Squid Game. Using both violence-filled games as well as mind-related ones, Alice in Borderland has been a great modern day contribution to the Death Game Genre. We can’t wait to see what this new season has in store for us!

Interested in the Death Games genre? For more recommendations, check this out!