The entire Alice In Borderland series revolves around Arisu and a lot of other people getting trapped in a parallel version of Tokyo called the Borderlands, where they are forced to play life-and-death games so that they could continue living and find a way to get out of that world. Of course, we know that this world was not the real world and that Arisu and the others were simply placed there due to something that happened in the real world. So, how did Arisu get to the Borderlands?
Arisu and the other players got to the Borderlands when they got injured by a meteorite that crashed in Shibuya in the real world. The Borderlands are seemingly the place between life and death where people on the verge of death are given a chance to wake up in the real world and continue their lives.
The fact that the Borderlands was a place that allowed the victims of a meteorite crash to determine their own fate was quite a shock to those who never read the manga, as it was clear that this wasn’t a normal world from the very beginning. Of course, we can’t say for certain whether or not the Borderlands are real or were just a figment of the collective consciousness of the people who were on the verge of death. Now, with that said, let’s look at how Arisu got to the Borderlands.
What Are The Borderlands?
Throughout the entire Alice In Borderland series, the one thing that all of the players were wondering about was the nature of the place they were in. That’s because they all found themselves in a world where the majority of the population had gone missing and the only ones that were in that world were forced to play different games that determine whether they live or die. In that regard, Arisu had to continue clearing the games in the place called the Borderlands as he was collecting cards that could possibly give him the answers he was looking for.
Of course, while he wasn’t able to find the answers at the end of season 1, he thought in season 2 that the Face cards could be the key to solving the entire mystery surrounding the Borderlands. In fact, he and a lot of other players tried questioning the Face cards during and after the Face card games. Some players also tried to find the truth behind the Borderlands.
There was a filmmaker that stumbled upon a girl that seemingly remembered what happened to them and how they were brought to that world. However, she was killed by the King of Spades before she could say anything more. Meanwhile, Ann observed that time didn’t move the same way in the Borderlands as it did in the real world due to how fast the plants grew.
But it was only when Arisu and Usagi faced the Queen of Hearts, named Mira, that they were finally able to get some answers to their questions. However, Mira wasn’t exactly honest with her answers, as she gave different versions of what the Borderlands could be.
At first, she said that they were in a futuristic simulation and that all of them live in the future. Another answer she gave was that all of them were simply toys that aliens used for sport after they conquered the planet. But what nearly convinced Arisu was when Mira said that all of the things that happened in the Borderlands were merely imagined by him because he was a psychiatric patient.
Of course, Mira simply wanted to make Arisu retire from the Croquet game so that she could beat him. She also drugged him with a powerful hallucinogenic compound to make him hallucinate things. In that regard, none of the things that Mira said were true.
However, it was after Mira’s defeat that we were able to understand what the Borderlands are. When all of the Face cards were cleared, the players were given a choice to accept permanent residency in that world. Those who declined were sent back to the real world, as they all woke up in hospitals after experiencing a life-threatening event. None of them had memories of their experiences in the Borderlands.
In that regard, we can make the assumption that the Borderlands is a place where people who are on the verge of death are sent to by some sort of a higher being. This place serves as a world where the dying are allowed to choose their own fate so that they could either truly die or keep on living. In a way, while Arisu and the others were fighting for their lives in the hospital in the real world, their consciousness was sent to the Borderlands so that they could fight for their right to live and wake up in the real world.
How Did Arisu Get To The Borderlands?
It was after Arisu and Usagi defeated the Queen of Hearts that we actually saw what happened to him and his friends. Back in episode 1, Arisu, Chōta, and Karube were seen toying around Shibuya. And the last thing they all saw before they were transported to the Borderlands was fireworks.
However, those were not fireworks. What Arisu, his friends, and the other players saw was a meteorite that crashed in Shibuya. This event killed and injured a lot of different people who were there in Shibuya.
As such, those who were on the verge of death probably made their way to the Borderlands, where they could find a way to return to the real world by fighting for their right to live. Such people included Arisu, who was a victim of that meteor crash but managed to come out of it almost unscathed, albeit unconscious and dead for only one minute in the real world.
Is The Borderlands Real?
While we did see that Arisu and the other people that were victims of the meteorite were playing for their lives in the Borderlands, that doesn’t really mean that the Borderlands was actually real, especially considering that Arisu and the others had no memory of what happened.
It is possible that the Borderlands is simply a metaphor for how much a person on the verge of death is willing to fight for their life. In this case, we saw how hard Arisu fought for his own life during the events of Alice In Borderland. On top of that, he also fought for the lives of the people around him.
This could suggest that the Borderlands could be a manifestation of the thoughts of the people that were dying or had died due to the meteorite crash. Of course, considering that the series is a supernatural fantasy storyline, it is possible that the author of Alice In Borderland truly meant to create the Borderlands as a parallel world that actually existed in the universe of his manga. But we can’t say for sure whether or not this is something that truly existed in that universe or was just something that happened to represent how willing Arisu and the others were to keep on fighting for their lives.