Alice in Borderland season 2 ending explained: Does Arisu return to the real world?

‘Alice in Borderland’ season 2 sees the survivors move forward in the abandoned city to newer, worse, and more perilous games in an attempt to get out while the stakes keep getting higher.

Plot summary

Arisu, Usagi, kuina, and Chishiya await the start of the next stage at the Shibuya crossing in Borderland. After a whole lot of nothing, loads of cars park near them and all the alive beach people come out — they await the next stage as well.

Before Arisu can address the situation, the people begin being killed violently by a tank gun from far away. Chaos erupts and the central team of protagonists splits up.

The King of Spades has arrived and his arrival is marked by a zeppelin hovering along the skyscrapers with the face card flag dangling below it. Then the King of Spades arrives himself, with an assault rifle, dropping players one by one.

Amid the intense bullets galore, Chishiya gets left behind while dodging a grenade, while Kuina, Arisu, and Usagi are picked up by Ann and Tatta in a car and driven away. Later, Ann also gets split up, leaving the other four to survive together.

Arisu plans to take on each of the face cards and eventually confront the Game Master. Usagi, meanwhile, reveals to Arisu that she doesn’t share the same enthusiasm or desire to go back to the real world.

The reason is her father, a mountain climber who went missing during one of his ascents after being alleged of deceit and shamed by the public. Usagi resented everyone and the whole world since the ordeal and now doesn’t share similar sentiments about going back to it.

Anyway, the group continues their survival and progress in the game by avoiding the King of Spades and participating in other games in the meantime. At the port, lies the King of Clubs’ spot and to participate in his game, a total of five players must enter.

Thankfully and unfortunately for the group, Niragi has already signed up for the game and now they must join in as well. The King of Clubs is a Kyuma, an eccentric character who stays naked as he’s big on Nudism.

He reveals that he and his four other friends are citizens of Borderland as well, so they’ll die in the game if they lose as well. It’s a game requiring wits, strategy, attrition, and bravery.

The game reaches a standstill after the rival team seems to be victorious, but with an ultimate sacrifice from Tatta and Arisu’s clever trickery, the player team grabs the win.

The King of Clubs dies, along with the rest of his team, with no remorse as they all gave their all and stuck with each other till the end. Tatta’s sacrifice leads him to his death which plunges Arisu into despair.

Meanwhile, Chishiya finds himself in a game where the Jack of Hearts moonlights as one of the players who all have to successfully weed him out. The difficulty is pinning him down in time, while also relying on each other’s help to stay alive.

In a game that hinges on trust, all players eventually break and give in to the inner turmoil of distrust and fear. At last, Chishiya and two other intellectual equals remain, along with the Jack of Hearts, who’s taken care of by the two men while Chishiya moves on.

Meanwhile, Kuina leaves Usagi and Arisu to go look for Ann and Chishiya. Later, in the search for food, Usagi and Arisu stumble upon a desolate settlement full of dead bodies, and one man who’s on his last breaths.

Before dying, he directs the two to his van wherein he’s kept a film he recorded on his 8mm, about the people in Borderland and also of a woman who claims to remember the day she arrived there.

However, before she can delve more into the nature of the fireworks that everyone saw when they arrived, the King of Spades takes her out, as well as the other settlers.

In the present day, having watched the film, Usagi and Ann are also hunted by the King of Spades. Aguni, who’s still alive, saves Arisu with the help of his new survivor partner who’s an archer with an amputated leg.

Aguni and Akane use Arisu as bait to lure the King of Spades in and kill him, but fail to do so. Arisu ends up falling into a river and the former two end up falling into a ditch, but all survive.

Ann keeps heading further away from Tokyo until she reaches a place where her compass goes haywire. After climbing some rocks, Ann looks on at the valley that lies ahead — a scenery that’s totally alien to the one she knows to be true of the real country.

Meanwhile, Usagi meets two survivors — a middle-aged woman and an orphaned boy of ten years of age. With him, she heads off for the Queen of Spades. Arisu finally meets up with Usagi and the two embrace.

The challenge begins and it entails a chess-like game of tag. Arisu and Usagi struggle to sway the majority of players who’d rather side with the game master’s side and survive, but eventually, they succeed.

Meanwhile, Chishiya challenges the King of Diamonds (Kuruzyu) at the Supreme Court in a moral battle where the game is made in a way that it’s fair to everyone.

Chishiya emerges as the victor after Kuruzyu sacrifices himself the save him. He later reunites with Arisu but Niragi also arrives and shoots him, missing his vital organs. He wants a standoff amidst each other.

When Niragi calls them selfish and only doing what keeps them alive, Arisu confronts him head-on, dropping his gun, only to pick it back up when Usagi arrives and Niragi aims his gun at her.

However, Chishiya shields Usagi and takes the bullet instead, while Niragi gets one too. Later on, Ann and Kuina reunite with Usagi and Arisu as the King of Spades arrives and slaughters many people within seconds.

Akane arrives and so does Aguni, and together, the team confronts the King of Spades who was a mercenary in the real world his deadly skills prove too much for the players, who all drop dead one by one until it’s only the central team that’s left.

Ann dies fighting the King of Spades, who manages to horribly injure Kuina, Usagi, Aguni, and Akane. At last, however, Aguni and Arisu work together and blow up the King of Spades.

Arisu and Usagi move on to the final game where Mira awaits them for a game of croquet, a task that seems pretty simple at first, but when Mira manipulates Arisu’s emotions by scratching into his trauma, the game seems far from conquered.

However, Usagi manages to bring Arisu back to his conscious self and he stands up to finish the game successfully. All the surviving members are given two choices — to live permanently in the Borderlands, or decline and return to their world.

Alice in Borderland ending explained in detail:

Does Chishiya survive?

Chishiya survives the Borderlands and the games and returns to the real world along with Arisu, Usagi, and other survivors.

In the real world, he’s one of the recovering patients at the hospital who were all victims of a meteorite crash.

Beside Chishiya is the bed on which Niragi lies, covered in bandages and recovering from his injuries, with the two talking to each other for the first time, as strangers.

What happens to Tatta?

In the game against the King of Clubs, Arisu and the team employ some great strategies against the enemies. They also execute those strategies with immediate and significant success.

However, the King of Clubs and his teammates proved to be stronger than Arisu and his team had anticipated. Tatta remains a wimp throughout the game, falling into pessimism and despair when the situation seems unsalvageable.

However, when Arisu thanks him for always being so positive before heading off to make his final attack, Tatta is moved and compelled to do something on his own.

To trick the enemy, he needs to give Arisu the watch that’s on his wrist. To get that watch out of his wrist, he needs to deglove his hand, which he manages to do with the help of Arisu.

The team wins because of his daring and bloody sacrifice but Tatta bleeds out too much in the end and succumbs to death from blood loss.

What is the Borderland?

The ‘Borderland’ ultimately acts as a metaphor for the characters’ fight for survival after they suffer fatal injuries from the meteorite crash.

Although not explicitly mentioned in the show, one explanation entails that their souls/consciousnesses got transported to this limbo or Borderland after the crash.

And when they did, they were actually fighting for their lives in the real world, which is confirmed by the last scenes of the show.

In real life, Arisu learns from his brother that he was dead for almost a minute when the rescuers pulled him from the rubble.

His heart had stopped for what was a minute in real life, but months in purgatory due to a possible time-dilation of this realm.

At the end of ‘Alice in Borderland’, the real-life versions of all those who survived the games are shown to be patients who fought their way (some still fighting, like Aguni), out of their injuries and possible comatose states.

The various games in the Borderland, then, become the inner doubts and challenges that the characters’ psyche posed to themselves, in a dramatic exercise in introspection while their lives hang in balance.

Many tussled in this limbo with whether they deserved to even live anymore, like Arisu who despised having survived when his friends didn’t.

In the end, many end up fighting hard to survive and make it to the world where they’re slowly recovering while those who accepted permanent residence in Borderland might be stuck in this in-between afterlife, and coma in the real life.

Does Ann make it out alive?

Yes, she does. Ann is seemingly dead in Borderland during the battle with the King of Spades. When Kuina lies beside her, Ann seems to take her last breaths and die.

However, there was still some fight left in her and she wanted to survive. In the real world, Ann’s fight for survival is aided by the pacemakers, and after a couple of shocks, Ann’s pulse rate becomes normal, following which she opens her eyes.

Do Usagi and Arisu get together?

Usagi and Arisu clear the last game together and choose to leave Borderland for the real world.

Back at the hospital, they stumble upon each other, and although they don’t recognise each other (like other survivors who can’t recognise each other in the real life), they do share a mutual Deja Vu moment.

Arisu is more convinced than Usagi that they have met somewhere before. Usagi is not so sure and asks in jest if he’s flirting with her.

Arisu refuses and after an awkward moment that ends with Arisu walking away, Usagi turns back and indulges him in a cheeky follow-up to his half-flirtatious, half-genuine question.

The two hit it off rather well, and go on a walk together, with Arisu even lending a limping Usagi his shoulder for support. While not exactly a firm happy-ever-after for a married couple, Usagi and Arisu’s real-world relationship does kick off well and with an undeniably romantic start.

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