A young girl wakes up in the opposite of wonderland.
Yuri Honjo (Haruka Shiraishi/Suzie Yeung) is a high school girl who finds herself suddenly in an alternate world populated by a number of skyscrapers which are connected by suspension bridges. She manages to call her brother, Rika (Junya Enoki/Zeno Robinson), who reveals that he is also trapped in this world. It turns out that the high-rises are populated by mask-wearing people who are compelled to try and drive other humans to suicide. Among them is the Sniper Mask (Yūichirō Umehara/Jonah Scott), a stylish killer with, as the name implies, a sniper rifle. Yuri manages to find a knife-wielding girl named Mayuko Nise (Shiki Aoki/Jennie Kwan) whom she befriends. Eventually, they find other humans, including a woman named Kuon Shinzaki (Akira Sekine/Stephanie Sheh) who is immune from the attacks of the masks. Yuri has to find out the truth behind this world and find a way out.
I’m sure there’s an actual term for this kind of show, but I don’t know it. It’s the genre where a group of people spontaneously are pulled into another world that is almost identical to the regular one and forced to play a game that is, in reality, part of a much bigger plot. The most famous example is probably GANTZ, although I’m sure that’s not the oldest one. The show Alice in Borderland is another one that has recently been on Netflix. The genre tends to be at its best when it focuses more on the characters and the worldbuilding than on the particular game that the participants are forced to play. This show does a good job of focusing mostly on the feelings and the relationships between the characters rather than just on delivering action sequences. Because of that, when you actually do get an action sequence, it’s more impactful.
That’s not to say that the worldbuilding isn’t solid. Even though this season only takes us about 12 episodes in, there are a lot of hints about what is really going on and it is clearly much larger than it seems. It seems to be building up to a more metaphysical second season, but not in a way that invalidates our characters’ actions during the past.
Overall, pretty solid show. Just be aware that it’s pretty gory and a little rapey at times.
If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time, Collection of TV Episodes, Collection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.
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