Haro Aso, the creator and author of Alice in Borderland, has seen a huge surge in popularity recently. This was thanks to a number of his most popular works getting adaptations on Netflix simultaneously, serving as a testament to the cinematic style of his stories that translates so well to live-action.
Aso’s talent doesn’t just end with terrifying death-game stories based around fairytales, though. Aso is also the creator of the increasingly popular new series, Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead. Despite his increasingly high profile, Aso prefers to remain as private as he can, making the details of his personal life all the more scarce for fans to seek out.
Death games have become increasingly popular on TV in recent years, with many being almost too brutal to handle.
10 Haro Aso Incorporated Hollywood Elements Into His Works
According to Aso, he was always more of a fan of Western movies than Japanese, even as a child. Because of this, he never had an issue adding action set-pieces and dramatic moments inspired by Hollywood movies in his works. With the 2023 summer hit Zom 100, however, Aso wasn’t just trying to make another big zombie series, whether of Eastern or Western influence.
Instead, he set out to create something different and unique that served as a commentary on the state of modern Japan as he saw it. This only added to the series’ popularity, as this social commentary has not fallen on deaf ears. In fact, Aso’s commentary was so biting yet heartfelt that it also resonated with people who have never lived in Japan.
9 Haro Aso’s Latest Works Are NSFW Series
Haro Aso and Tatsunari Iota
Haro Aso’s two latest series, Noyu Girl and Sex-chan, have ventured away from the more widely accessible stories of his earlier, action-oriented works to be more adult-oriented than ever. Both Noyu Girl and Sex-chan are decidedly NSFW series that center around sexuality as their main talking point.
Noyu Girl chronicled the escapades of a woman who loved bathing in hot springs, and didn’t mind the ensuing public nudity. Sex-Chan followed a woman who was addicted to sex and struggled to find real happiness. Sex-Chan, in particular, garnered enough of a following to get a Netflix live-action adaptation, though its title was understandably changed to the slightly less provocative Girl XX.
8 Haro Aso Briefly Retired From Illustrating After Finishing Alice in Borderland
Death games are a common premise in anime and are very likely to leave their participants at death’s door, like in Sword Art Online and Future Diary.
After completing Alice in Borderland, Haro Aso decided to retire from drawing manga completely. He still writes new stories, but he wanted to leave his illustrating career in the past. However, following the release of the live action adaptation of Alice in Borderland on Netflix, Aso decided to return to drawing.
Aso did this by writing and drawing Alice in Borderland’s direct sequel, Alice in Borderland Retry. After having not drawn anything for five years following the ending of the original Alice in Borderland manga, Aso noted that his art style seemed to take on an entirely new style of its own that differed noticeably from the original.
7 Haro Aso Finds Zombies More Awe-Inspiring Than Scary
Zom 100 has a blast exploring zombie movie clichés, like excessive gore and thick plot armor for the main characters, all in the name of comedy.
In a fun promotional interview that Aso and illustrator Kotara Takada did to promote Zom 100, the two shared their true feelings about zombies. The pair of manga authors were given a set of zombie related scenarios and asked to give their opinions and ratings on the level of fear they would feel in that situation.
Apparently, working on a zombie-themed series for so long makes one desensitized to the concept of the undead, as the two rarely found the situations scary at all. Aso even stated that looking out at a huge mob of zombies in a city would be more likely to inspire shock and awe in him than fear.
6 Haro Aso Never Had an Office Job
Unlike Akira Tendo, the acclaimed Zom 100’s main character, Aso has no experience working in a large corporate setting. This was ironic, given how Akira was so well-written that fans assumed he was created by someone who suffered in an unethical workplace for years. In truth, Aso had to do outside research to understand what that kind of work was like to make Akira believable.
To do this, Aso interviewed a friend who worked in an office. He emerged from the conversation concluding that a corporate worker can potentially be just as much of a zombie as any of the monsters he wrote about. Despite never working in an office before, Aso perfectly captured the corporate workplace’s inherent banality and emptiness.
5 Haro Aso Cameoed in Alice in Borderland
Haro Aso isn’t just a writer anymore: he can also add acting credits to his resume. In the live-action adaptation of the hit death game story Alice in Borderland, Aso actually appeared in two separate episodes as an extra. Specifically, he can be found in Episode 6 of Season 1, and Episode 1 of Season 2.
Aso showed up as the same character: a man who lived at The Beach who wore a black tank top with a luchador mask printed on the front. This was a great Easter egg for fans of the manga and anime series to point out. Understandably, more casual viewers were unlikely to realize that they were looking at the creator of the series.
4 Haro Aso Started Out as an Assistant to Makoto Raiku
Before he was a world-renowned artist, Haro Aso worked as an assistant under Makoto Raiku, creator of Zatch Bell!!. This was clearly a great experience to have as an artist still getting his footing, as Zatch Bell!! went on to become one of the best-selling manga of all time.
Zatch Bell!! is a much more decidedly shonen series than Aso’s most popular works, which lean more towards the seinen demographic. However, Aso’s first serialized manga, Hyde and Closer, seemed to take much more inspiration from his time working under Raiku than his later, more daring works.
3 Kotaro Takata & Haro Aso Were Friends Before Working on Zom 100
Before Kotaro Takata and Haro Aso worked together on Zom 100, the two were already friends who regularly went on camping trips together. On one such trip, Takata expressed his dissatisfaction with a current project he was working on. This sentiment fit perfectly with Aso’s own character and concept he was writing at the time.
Aso asked Takata to work with him on the project that would become Zom 100, and he ended up becoming the perfect artist for the job. Takata even mentioned that he has his own bucket list just like Akira does in the series, and that Aso’s message that life was too short to avoid taking risks was what made the series so alluring.
2 Half of Haro Aso’s Works Have Been Adapted To Live-Action
Zom 100 has strong elements of a slice-of-life anime, albeit a bizarre, hilarious, and bloody one. That makes it even more resonant for anime viewers.
Aso’s works have become increasingly popular thanks to the unprecedented success of Alice in Borderland. Zom 100 took the world by storm with its anime as well, and even warranted its own live-action film. Now, with the newfound popularity of his latest work, Sex-Chan, Aso will have yet another Netflix adaptation on his hands.
At this point, nearly half of his works have been adapted into live-action, making for an impressive resume that not many manga artists can even dream of matching. There seems to be something unique about Aso’s stories that make them particularly well-suited to live action, whereas many anime have notoriously had trouble making the leap.
1 Haro Aso Based the Main Characters of Alice in Borderland on Himself
While the main characters of Alice in Borderland were clearly named and often modeled after the characters of Lewis Carroll’s literary classic Alice in Wonderland, Aso also had another much more personal source of inspiration for their personalities in mind. As Aso put it: “Arisu, Chota and Karube seem to be three equal parts of myself.”
He has even reportedly said “I looked back on what I was like around age 20 and created [Ryohei] Arisu based on my own lack of direction at the time.” Even though Arisu might be something of a delinquent at first, he later demonstrates just how creative and clever he was. These were both characteristics that Aso displayed throughout his own work across the years.
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