What’s new is old again.
Art: Delico Psyche
Scenario: Owl Shinotsuki
Translation: Ajino Hirami
What They Say:
After being swept down a gaping hole in her garden, Alice Liddell finds herself in the Country of Hearts, an “outsider” among the land’s peculiar inhabitants. Taking up residence at Hatter Mansion, Alice occasionally forgets that her host, Blood, is the head of the Mafia. But she is quickly reminded of that fact by Blood’s violence toward his most loyal follower, the March Hare. Elliott has never known the care and attention Alice shows him, and her ways are as fascinating to him as his rabbit ears are to her. But can love truly blossom between two who are so different?
The front cover here is a rather nice image of Elliott and Alice having a picnic, and it stretches around to the back as well. Paper quality feels nice, and there are no extras. Text reads smoothly, sound effects are kept in their original form and translated, and there are no honorifics. The art here looks very similar to that of the original series, but somehow feels a tad flatter. Mostly, the lines and inking feels a bit less bold, leaving the book with a bit more generic of a look. Still, it doesn’t look terrible and does a good job of displaying emotions, so it’s not all bad.
As the book kicks off, we see a recap of the start of the series, telling quickly how Alice came to the Country of Hearts, her status as an “outsider,” and how she met the Hatters and came to live at their mansion. However, that last part seems like a bit of a change. So yes, it would appear that this book is not a sequel, but a retelling with a bit of a focus on Elliott, bringing with it some minor changes. We then quickly reestablish the value of life in Wonderland when Blood shoots Elliott, and we go back over a number of other minor details in the process. Later on, Alice decides to work at the mansion, helping out by doing chores around the house.
Over the rest of the volume, countless characters are reintroduced, often in such a way that you have to do a double take and start to wonder whether dialogue or even whole pages were simply lifted out of the original work. All the while, Elliott and Alice start to get strangely closer, replacing Alice’s concerns for everyone with a fixation on the March Hare. As the volume closes out, we see Alice visit the castle, only for Peter to lock her up in an attempt to keep her for himself, and the Queen send out an order for the “outsider’s” execution. Will Elliott make it in time to rescue or young heroine, or will heads role in the next volume?
Really, it’s hard to recommend this book to just about anyone, as it doesn’t really seem to have a reason for being. Though it seems to be a retelling of the story centered on Elliott, it doesn’t really bother to change all that much. In fact, it often feels like the book is simply taking words and imagery straight from the original book. And yet, since it throws characters and details so quickly at the reader, many scenes simply feel rushed and underdeveloped. It may even be difficult to understand much of what’s happening without having read the original series, as things are often rather poorly explained. This leaves it in a bit of an awkward position, as it retreads too much ground to act as a supplement to the original, and yet it tries to pack too much in and as such fails as a standalone work. Perhaps if you really loved the original and just need to see a version that focuses more heavily on Elliott (regardless of how much time it spends going over familiar scenes) then it’d be worth a look, but otherwise there’s not really much point to picking this up.
Content Grade: C
Art Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Rating: B+
Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: December 11th, 2012