Alice in Borderland Volume 3, written by Haro Aso with translations by John Werry and lettering by Joanna Estep, continues the adventures of Arisu in this Battle Royale-esque world. The group on the beach soon winds up in a free-for-all, similar to that film; people devolve to their most primal in their desperate bid to survive. Syndicated in English from Viz Media, this manga is perfect if you like action, drama, and psychological torment. With strong characters trapped in a terrifying world, Alice in Borderland Volume 3 ratchets up the violence yet delves into backstory between players in this game with a perfect pace. 

For context, Alice in Borderland focuses on Arisu, who winds up in a world exactly like ours, except the population is gone. The few present, like him, have to play life and death games to get a visa to extend their life. Clear a game, and you have time to relax. But you have to play again before your visa expires or face execution.

Suits in a deck of cards determine game types—psychological, physical, intellectual. The number on the card relates to the difficulty level. So they can choose which game, you say? Nope. Details are not disclosed before the game. That is what makes the story so terrifying. No one knows whether the game allows you to work with friends or compete against them until it is too late to leave. 

Like Battle Royale Meets Another

Alice in Borderland Volume 3 covers Chapters 20 – 22 along with an interesting side story. We start Alice in Borderland Volume 3 with Arisu, beaten and still bound on the fourth floor at The Beach. If he does not clear a game today, he will die. Niragi has Usagi, but fortunately, well-timed events unfold that no one at the beach foresees. As Chishiya is collecting all the cards and tries to leave, an explosion alerts him and others that The Beach, their haven is now an arena.

No one can leave. They must play the game for the missing 10 of hearts card. In the lobby of the hotel Momoka is dead, stabbed in the chest. The game, “Witch Hunt”, gives them two hours to find the killer and burn them on a bonfire. 

Alice in Borderland Volume 3 cover art
Alice in Borderland Volume 3 cover art

Needless to say, the guys in Alice in Borderland who thrive on lawlessness and violence come up with a simple solution; kill everyone else. Since most people do not have weapons, it is easy pickings. People scatter, hiding in hotel rooms on various floors as the armed men make their rounds. Despite the gravity of the situation, the horrific game saved Usagi from assault and now Arisu can play the game before his visa expires. Still, a lot of people die in Alice in Borderland Volume 3, perhaps even more than any other because there are 66 people in the game. 

Alice in Borderland Volume 3 Explores Backstory

Alice in Borderland Volume 3 gives backstory on various side characters, including the villains. The series includes a gorgeous trans woman, Hikari Kuina, with a don’t-you-dare-cross-me air. I love and hope to see a lot more of her in future volumes. Hikari is my MVP after seeing her square up against tattoo-riddled Last Boss, who just enjoys killing people. The stand out for the series is always the games, because no matter what kind, they tap into humanity’s survival instincts. It asks, how far would you go to live another day? Similar to The Walking Dead, some thrive, unhindered by laws, while others lose pieces of themselves over time.

Bonus Side Story Is Stellar

I loved the side story, “Four of Hearts.” The story takes place during the four days when Arisu first arrives at The Beach, but the viewpoint is from Hayato Dodo, a 15-year-old high-schooler. His best friend offers to talk to his crush but winds up dating her instead. After that, they cannot even talk to each other, so Dodo wishes he could go to another world and winds up in Borderland. I doubt that was the world he had in mind. He wanders into an arena and has to play a game before knowing what is going on. 

Alice in Bordlerland Volume 3 captures how crises bring out people’s true nature. The games are imaginative, often with a twist that makes the players suffer more, heart games in particular. Feeling awe or intimidation by the craftiness of these life-or-death games is a coin toss. Haru Aso created an inventive story that tugs at the heart while making you wonder what you would do if trapped in this world. 

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