East Asian Series Score Global Audiences on Netflix (EXCLUSIVE)

Patrick Frater
·2 min read

Two East Asian drama series — Japanese sci-fi thriller “Alice in Borderland,” and Korean fantasy horror “Sweet Home” — have been lapped up by international audiences on Netflix.

“Borderland” has been viewed by 18 million member households and has already been renewed for a second season. Meanwhile, in its first four weeks on Netflix, 22 million have watched “Sweet Home” on the platform.

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Adapted from a popular manga, “Borderland” is an eight-episode sci-fi story about a dissatisfied unemployed man (played by Yamazaki Kento) who follows a mysterious light source and finds that the population of Tokyo has seemingly disappeared except for himself and two friends. The trio eventually discover they are at the center of a deadly survival game.

Netflix reports that the show has appeared in its Top 10 rankings in nearly 40 countries, with notable success in Germany, France, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.

The company has already made significant inroads into Japanese anime. Now it says that by the end of 2022, it also expects to have available 15 live action originals from leading Nippon filmmakers. Live action feature movie “Ride or Die” is scheduled to make its debut in 2021.

“Borderland” was directed by Sato Shinsuke, consistently one of Japan’s most commercially successful filmmakers with a track record that includes the movies “Gantz” and “Death Note: Light Up The New World,” and TV credits that include a “Death Note” mini-series and Netflix’s hit Korean series “Kingdom.”

“Sweet Home” similarly has comic book roots. It debuted as a Korean webtoon by Kim Kan-bi and Hwang Young-chan, and enjoyed some 1.2 billion views on Naver before being adapted for the screen.

The story features a loner who moves into an apartment where people turn into monsters who take the form of their hidden desires. Delivered by star director Lee Eung-bok, “Sweet Home” has appeared in the Netflix top 10 in more than 70 countries including Australia, France, Germany, Spain, India, the U.K and the U.S.

“I am excited to hear ‘Sweet Home’s’ unique storytelling entertained millions of audiences around the world. I would like to thank Netflix, which empowered our vision to create a Korean series about a bizarre world of monsters, as well as (local producer) Studio Dragon and every member of the casts and crew who partnered together for creating this show. Our efforts to create more meaningful works will continue,” Lee told Variety in an emailed statement.

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