Alice In Borderland Season 3 Risks Ruining Netflix’s Perfect Manga Adaptation


Alice In Borderland Season 3 Risks Ruining Netflix’s Perfect Manga Adaptation

While it is great news Alice in Borderland is returning with season 3, the live-action manga adaptation could risk ruining itself with the new season.


  • Alice in Borderland season 2 had a perfect ending that resolved major plot points and provided a satisfying explanation for the characters’ predicament.
  • Season 3 won’t have the manga to adapt, leading to a risk of inconsistencies and a departure from the original storyline.
  • Despite the lack of source material, season 3 can still succeed by maintaining interesting games, creative storytelling, and strong emotional hooks, while reinstating its social commentary.



Alice in Borderland is returning with season 3, but it risks ruining season 2’s perfect ending. Based on Haro Aso’s manga of the same name, Alice in Borderland unfolds in a dystopian Tokyo, where a bunch of selected individuals have to compete in a series of battle royale games to survive. While the manga adaptation’s season 1 showed promise by giving audiences a glimpse of its well-thought-out games and real-world allegories, season 2 presented an intriguing take on the survival genre with its depiction of Arisu and Usagi’s search for answers.

Although Alice in Borderland season 2 had a conclusive ending, it left viewers with a cliffhanger that seemingly paved the way for season 3. Using season 2’s success and cliffhanger setup as a cue, Netflix has now renewed the manga adaptation for another season. However, despite being an exciting prospect, Alice in Borderland season 3 could potentially ruin everything that made season 2 incredibly entertaining — here is how.

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Alice In Borderland Season 2’s Ending Was Perfect (& Closed The Manga)

Alice in Borderland season 1 ended on an ambiguous note, where the show did not even get close to answering its biggest mystery: how were the citizens of Borderland transported to an empty version of Tokyo? Season 2, however, contrasted this by not only resolving all primary character beats but also giving a well-rounded explanation for how Arisu, Usagi, and others ended up in the mysterious Borderland. This made Alice in Borderland’s season 2 ending almost perfect because it defied all expectations. Following season 1’s ending, many theories suggested that Arisu and the other players were merely trapped in a computer simulation.

The theory made sense, given the show’s parallels with video games and the applicability of Arisu’s gaming forte in the central games. However, it seemed like a cliché narrative device to explain all the mysterious events that unfolded in season 1. Instead of taking the obvious storytelling route, season 2 took a massive risk by portraying that all players in Borderland were in a liminal space between life and death, fighting to survive and return to the real world. This risk worked wonders and kept the show’s storyline and conclusion refreshing without stretching its suspension of disbelief too far. What made season 2’s closing moments even more satisfying is that, like the original manga, it restarted Arisu and Usagi’s romantic journey.

Alice In Borderland Season 3 Won’t Have The Manga To Adapt

Alice in Borderland season 2's Joker card and Arisu

Since Alice in Borderland season 2 closes exactly where the original manga ends, the live-action Netflix series has run out of source material content to adapt in season 3. The Netflix series made some room for a follow-up season by introducing a Joker card in its closing scene. This new mystery in Alice in Borderland season 2’s ending hinted that Arisu and Usagi may have to encounter another game master before they free themselves from Borderland’s lethal games. However, given how the Joker card has a different meaning in the original manga, season 3 will adopt a completely original storyline that has nothing to do with the original manga.

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In the manga, the Joker serves as a mysterious Ferryman who takes Arisu, Usagi, and all the other survivors back to the real world after they choose to leave the games. On the other hand, the show suggests that Arisu, Usagi, and the others are yet to face another game master, the Joker, before they can leave Borderland for good. While this brings some intriguing developments to the show’s overarching narrative, it risks creating inconsistencies and redundancies to the original storyline written by Mangaka Haro Aso. Not to mention, it also stretches the show’s storyline beyond what seems necessary.

Why Alice In Borderland Season 3 Can Still Work

Alice in Borderland season 2 ending explained Usagi and Arisu

Despite having no source material content left to adapt, Alice in Borderland season 3 can still work if, like season 2, it keeps its games interesting, stays creative with its story elements instead of conforming to narrative conventions, and makes room for its characters to progress in a new positive direction. In addition to having new game designs and refreshing story arcs, Alice in Borderland must have a strong emotional hook like season 2 to avoid being touted as a high-concept but narratively flat fantasy series. More than anything else, Alice in Borderland season 3 should also reinstate the show’s social commentary on grief, capitalism, social isolation, and morality to work since these thematic elements made the first two seasons more relatable and grounded.

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