Ever Seen Shibuya Crossing Empty? Here's How Alice in Borderland Managed to Do It

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(SPOT.ph) Shibuya Crossing. You've definitely seen the crowded "scramble" crossing at least once in your life, whether when you visited the place or via a movie or anime—always with tons of people making their way through the busy Tokyo crosswalks. But the hit sci-fi-slash-suspense series Alice In Borderland definitely went the other direction when they featured a completely empty version! In case you're wondering how they managed such a feat, well, Netflix has shared some much-needed answers.

Alice in Borderland
The madness before the real madness that is an empty Shibuya Crossing.
PHOTO BY Netflix/Haro Aso, Shogakukan / ROBOT
Alice in Borderland
The deadbeat Ryohei Arisu (Kento Yamazaki) standing between his friends Karube (Keita Machida), and Chota (Yuki Morinaga)—and it looks like they're the only people in the entire Shibuya Crossing.
PHOTO BY Netflix/Haro Aso, Shogakukan / ROBOT
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Empty Shibuya Crossing, Alice in Borderland
And then poof—where did everyone go?
PHOTO BY Netflix/Haro Aso, Shogakukan / ROBOT
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In the first episode, the severely misguided trio—Arisu, Karube, and Chota—meet up near a huge sign at Shibuya and end up causing trouble. They hide from authorities by running into the train station's public bathroom and hiding into a stall. Only when they exit the stall, the entire Shibuya crossing is completely empty. We're keeping mum about why, in case you haven't watched, but best be wary of spoilers in the answers ahead!

Here's How Alice In Borderland Managed to Pull Off An Empty Shibuya Crossing:

So, first things first, they didn't actually film at Shibuya Crossing itself. A massive open set was built in Ashikaga City, Tochigi Prefecture for the sequence. The said set was located over 100 kilometers away from the actual Shibuya Crossing. They built the public restroom of the station, as well as the ticket gate, and the road—practically everything else was added in using CGI!

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Alice in Borderland
Filming at the massive open set in Ashikaga City.
PHOTO Netflix/HARO ASO, SHOGAKUKAN / ROBOT

Plus, did you notice that Starbucks branch in the actual picture of Shibuya? Well, Arisu and friends were originally supposed to meet there but a glass-covered set is complex; instead, they meet by a sign in front of the station.

Alice in Borderland
The bathroom was built on-site for the set.
PHOTO BY Netflix/HARO ASO, SHOGAKUKAN / ROBOT
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Alice in Borderland
And so were the station gates!
PHOTO BY Netflix//HARO ASO, SHOGAKUKAN / ROBOT
Alice in Borderland
Even the roads and some sructures were built for the show.
PHOTO BY Netflix/Kumiko Tsuchiya/HARO ASO, SHOGAKUKAN / ROBOT

The entire sequence of the trio running from the crowded Shibuya Crossing into the station bathroom and then coming back out into the suddenly deserted area was shot in a single take and lasts more than four minutes. So you can imagine the time and effort it took to blend the physical set with all the computer-generated graphics!

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And since the Japanese are known for their attention to detail, they even animated the shadow of the Tokyu Building—one of Shibuya's most-defining structures—on the area. Anyone else even more excited for the second season now?

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