Manga Quick Information
Not all is wonderful in Wonderland, but Alice Liddell is slowly growing used to the males having animal ears, falling in love with her, and the sudden changes between night and day. But there are some things she cannot get her head around; life itself is seen as a throwaway, firearms are too easily accessible for her liking and why are clocks so important in this world? Many questions are left answered as Alice goes deeper into 'the game' and further away from home.
Compared to the heavy ground that the first volume set down for the story, the following 2 volumes are slightly weaker in terms of exposition. Many of the story elements mentioned in the beginning, such as Wonderland possibly being Alice's creation and the rules of the game she needs to play to go back home, aren't developed considerably further that the regular reader would like in these latest volumes. Alice in the Country of Hearts has a habit of picking up and dropping plot ideas just as easily as they come. Also the story seems to be restricted to the Clock Tower, the forest and the Castle, which takes away the fun aspect of the original novel where Alice wandered from one strange event to the next with no sure sign of when it'll end. However the strength in the books is the newer plot twists that sow the seeds for something potentially very interesting in later volumes. There will be plenty of questions raised during the course of these 2 volumes; what makes Alice so appealing to the Wonderland residents? Why was she chosen for the adventure down the rabbit hole? Why does thinking about her real home and family cause her physical pain? There's potential for a great tale here, and the fact that the books are showing so much but telling so little makes following this tale all the more motivating.
Humour is also a highlight that's delivered in a cutesy way thanks to the character design and the wackiness of Wonderland, but in a different context are actually quite dark. Boris teaching Alice how to fire a gun is portrayed as sweet since Boris sees it as nothing but a regular old toy, but Alice is understandably disturbed just to hold a weapon that could cause lethal damage.
The strong character development also carries well as character impressions from the first volume change considerably in books 2 and 3. Being a manga based upon a romance game based upon an English novel, the writer could've easily taken the route to 'Generic Shoujo Land' by keeping the characters as they are and make them somehow get together in the end, but thankfully we get to see alternative sides to them with every passing chapter. For example Blood Dupree first impression is this cool, handsome, dark-haired guy, but with his dark roots with the Mafia, secret relations with a member of the opposition and knowing more than anyone about Alice's role in Wonderland, there's still plenty to uncover outside of his good looks. Peter's also abrupt perverted nature in the opening chapters of volume 1 are given alternative motives in the opening chapters of book 3, making him a much more likable character.
Speaking of Peter White, his character is a prime example of how carefully the English translation is being handled; he speaks in rhyming couplets, which is difficult to do in your own language let alone following a script set in another tongue all together. Peter's speech never comes across as false and brilliantly plays a part in creating the fascinating world of Wonderland that's hard to replicate outside of the original novel. Sound effects aren't handled with the same amount of love as some are given a translation and others are left in Japanese, but with great characters, beautiful art and wacky antics in Wonderland, it's little to take offence at.
Three volumes in with apparently at least four more to go (as the series recently ended in Japan) and plenty more ground to cover, volumes 2 and 3 continues the wild ride nicely. Although we're not that much the wiser after the first volumes on whether Alice will ever get home or if the Wonderland residence will persuade her to stay, the fun antics and likeable characters will keep you hooked in until that light at the end of the tunnel starts to arrive.
|Score:||8 out of 10|
|Date Published:||Sat, 1 Jan 2011|