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Why The Opening Scene Of Alice In Borderland Had To Be Changed

Ever since the first moment that fans of "Alice in Borderland" witnessed Ryōhei Arisu (Kento Yamazaki), Daikichi Karube (Keita Machida), and Chōta Segawa (Yūki Morinaga) emerge from the restroom to find themselves in an abandoned Tokyo doubling as a dystopian arena for the craziest set of card games anyone has ever played, subscribers have enjoyed watching the wild ride the series offers. However, most people don't realize that particular scene almost went down in a completely different manner.

From fiery escape rooms to bullet-ridden games of tag, the events that take place in critically acclaimed Netflix sci-fi thriller (via Rotten Tomatoes) play out like a masterful blend of the haunting endeavors witnessed in titles such as "The Hunger Games" movie or the "Squid Game" series. The Netflix international craze is an adaptation of a manga series created by the talented Haro Aso, and the show follows a group of individuals forced to play a series of deadly challenges, which differ based on a difficulty system represented by a different type of playing card. The result, according to Netflix, is one of the most-watched non-English shows the streamer has ever put out, with the second season making the coveted top ten charts in 90 different countries during its debut week, even securing the top spot in nine of them. When the sophomore run arrived, numbers for the first season also improved, bringing the initial set of entries back to the top of the charts in over 30 markets. While the end of Season 2 was shocking, many may not realize that the opening moments of the well-received series nearly looked a lot different.

A popular coffee destination almost kicked off the mayhem of Alice in Borderland

Many watching at home probably thought the production closed off the famous Shibuya Crossing, but that is the beauty of movie magic at work. Instead, they filmed the opening scene on a large-scale replica set roughly 60 miles from the real-life location. "The first step was the visual effects team creating a huge replica of Shibuya. They even went as far as recreating the dirt and trash that you would see if you were in the real Shibuya," director Shinsuke Sato said while discussing the process of fabricating the facade in a feature presented by Netflix Japan (via YouTube with English captions turned on). "The illusion is completed by combining the Shibuya set with computer graphics." VFX Supervisor Atsushi Doi added, "We made a full virtual Shibuya with different parts of it appearing as they would according to the position of the camera." Kento Yamazaki was "hugely impressed" at what they had accomplished.

But that well-crafted opening moment was supposed to go down a different way. According to a report from ABS-CBN News, Arisu was originally supposed to meet up with his friends in front of a Starbucks. The reason for the change came down to a glass-covered set that made things less than ideal for production, thus causing a need to change the location to what was seen in the series. Starbucks is known for its wide range of coffee-related beverages, and had the trio of unsuspecting contestants been properly caffeinated beforehand; the outcome could have been different. While fans may never know what could have been, they now know that Starbucks was almost a part of the "Alice in Borderland" sensation where it all began.