I predict there will be disagreements about this season finale, which doubles as a series finale by adapting the second half of Haro Aso’s manga. Conclusions are inevitably. There are now sharply defined edges that might prevent some viewers’ subjective choices from being taken into consideration where there was once an infinite amount of room for ideas, speculation, and imagination. I adore how Alice in Borderland ended, but I understand some who will unavoidably be disappointed with it. I hope you still liked the experience even if you went into season two of Alice in Borderland expecting a brutal, action-packed conclusion instead of something lot more psychological and contemplative.
Of course, Mira takes us on a voyage before the conclusion provides us with clear-cut solutions. The Queen of Hearts game seems to be really straightforward. Three rounds of “the croquet with the mallets” must be played by Arisu and Mira. He merely needs to complete; he doesn’t have to defeat her. The problem? Arisu’s will to live will be suppressed to the best of Mira’s ability, and she is capable of some serious emotional manipulation.
She first laughs and lies, telling Arisu and Usagi—who just abandoned their friends who were in various stages of dying to play this game—that Borderland is run by aliens, is a VR game being played by bored, essentially immortal humans in the future, and is Arisu’s traumatised attempts to process Karube and Chota’s deaths. Arisu and Usagi are desperate for answers. That final explanation—that Arisu has spent the entire time in a mental health hospital and that Borderland is a creation of his imagination—almost succeeds in making Arisu feel better about his situation since he is unable to accept the deaths of the people he cares about most. It succeeds so well because it supports a myth that Arisu has accepted: that he was to blame for Karube and Chota’s deaths and that he didn’t deserve to survive when they did.
It’s gruesome and convincing, and Mira made me question if this would also be how the series ends. What a downbeat conclusion that would have been! Since he initially lost Karube and Chota in the third episode, Arisu has spent the last two seasons thinking about his pals. It has typically been a memory or projection of Karube and Chota that has entered his mind when he has been pleased or sad, when he has sought advice, or when he has become mired in a depressed cycle. He has battled to find the strength to live without Chota and Karube because he loved them so much.
Usagi is the one who saves him. She slashes her wrist and begs him to come and help her. His desire to assist others, namely Usagi, has always kept Arisu from going over the brink. When Usagi and Arisu are lying side by side in the woods, in the gaming arenas, in the crossroads, at the beach, or in the tunnel, Usagi says, “Remember what you said: you said you’d risk your life to save me.” Regardless of what Mira claims, I am unquestionably present with you. I have life. She explains what she and they both learned while at Borderland. Arisu has been frantically trying to figure out if there is a purpose to life. Every citizen he has encountered has been asked whether there is a way to return to the outside world, but what he is really asking is: Why should we continue in the face of such anguish and pain? Will something come along to make it worthwhile?
But nobody else can respond to those queries on Arisu’s behalf. Instead, the residents have repeatedly assured him that he won’t know the solution until he completes the game. Even if Arisu is having trouble seeing it through the fog of Mira’s lies, Usagi will nonetheless share her conclusion because it was something she and he discovered together. Usagi, who is reluctant to abandon Arisu, tells him, “The answer is different for everyone.” It doesn’t matter if you have a cause to live or not. We had been actively looking for the entire time. Just that was plenty. You were the one who helped me recognise that.
The turn, which was Arisu’s decision, is so nicely photographed. He reaches for Usagi’s hand when you assume he is reaching for the drugs Mira has offered. “I’d like to hold your hand once more. I want to take another stroll with you. He says, “I want to eat with you,” and Usagi accepts. “Me too. Tomorrow, Arisu, I want to greet you again in the morning. In essence, they exchange vows of marriage, and why not? They had already given each other so many promises.
Finding another person to play the games with has proven to be sufficient in the end. Mira enjoys a nice time, and Arisu wins the game. As Borderland’s sun sets, she wins two of the three rounds, but is killed by a laser. She ends with an oddly encouraging, “Life is like a game,” statement. Enjoy it even more. The remaining players can decide whether to become citizens of Borderland or not. Although the video billboards don’t explicitly explain what “don’t” involves, most players can make decisions based on the information provided. Even Niragi, Aguni, Heiya, Kuina, and Chishiya refuse the offer of citizenship. Usagi and Arisu follow suit. No matter what, they want out of Borderland. The sky is lit up with fireworks.
Arisu has dreams about Karube and Chota before he wakes up. They are giggling about nose hair together in Karube’s tavern. Then Arisu breaks down and expresses regret for their demise. They gently tease him. Karube speculates, “I bet you believe you are alive because you are exceptional and a chosen one, right?” There was not a single game that you won solely via your own efforts. It is a denial of Arisu’s attempts to claim responsibility for the decisions Chota and Karube made. Chota continues, “Even if you thanked us forever, it would never be enough. “Live your life to the fullest till the very end,” says Karube, grabbing Arisu by the collar of his shirt and leaning in close so he can be heard clearly.
Back at Shibuya Crossing, before Borderland, when things appeared to be more straightforward. Chota and Karube are alongside Arisu, but there are also other recognisable faces. Chishiya, Kuina, and Ann cross the street together. Tatta is seated close by in a truck. Niragi stretches his neck while sitting on a bench. Usagi looks off into the horizon, perhaps contemplating or waiting for someone. Alongside one other, Aguni and Hatter are also present. With her high school classmates, Heiya enjoys a boba. It’s a silly, typical, lovely day right now. Everyone is looking up towards the sky because those fireworks—the ones we were hearing about in Borderland—are there. But now that we know it, they’re not fireworks. A meteorite explosion above Tokyo has instantly transformed Shibuya City into a nightmare.
As Arisu and the others heal at a hospital, we rejoin them. Along with everyone else we saw perish in Borderland, Karube and Chota perished in the catastrophe. What seemed like weeks to the players and us watching was only a matter of minutes in reality. The individuals who travelled to Borderland were those whose hearts had momentarily stopped during the explosion and who had been taken to a place of transition between life and death. The victims who were able to return to life were the players who survived and made the decision to leave Borderland. Without being aware of their time in Borderland, they were revived by first responders in the real world.
It’s an intriguing explanation for everything that occurred in Borderland, which had genuine stakes but yet seemed bizarre in terms of the game’s actual mechanics: People surviving wounds that should have killed them for a long time, aerial lasers, and huge stadiums built solely for gaming. Everyone’s obsession with finding or losing the will to live was the main indicator. Some people might find it disheartening to learn that Borderland is not a “actual” location created by aliens or future tech bros, but I don’t think I could have ever accepted that explanation.
In a way, borderland is genuine. This is apparent even though the characters are unaware of the reason why they feel some sort of connection to one another. As hospital roommates, Niragi and Chishiya quarrel. Aguni’s room draws Heiya in. At a vending machine, Usagi and Arisu cross paths and instantly click. Even if their experiences in Borderland may not have occurred on this plane of existence, they did happen and they were important. That is plenty for me.
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