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Alice in the Country of Hearts Vol. #02 Manga Review

3 min read
For all that she's the main character, Alice isn't really involved in the plot--and that's disappointing.

While we do get to see more of Wonderland and the people in it, this installment sees the plot slow to a crawl.

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Quinrose and Soumei Hoshino
Translation: Beni Axia Conrad
Adaptation: Lianne Sentar

What They Say
Alice begins to grow accustomed to the strange world Peter took her to. And everyone wants to get to know Alice better, too. She gets to know the ‘Ones with Duties’ better. She finds out more about the mysteries of the World. One of the biggest mysteries is that the inhabitants have clocks for hearts. When they die, only his or her clock is left. When the clock is repaired by Julius, a new life springs forth from it. This is the reason why the people of the world don’t value their lives. She is told, ‘There’s always a replacement’. But what does this mean for Alice?

The Review:

Alice is adjusting well to Wonderland, even with all of its oddities, which include midnight tea parties and young men with rabbit ears who love carrot dishes, but insist that they aren’t rabbits. Then again, not everything about it is easy, either; perhaps Alice’s most annoying problem is another rabbit–Peter White. His obsession with Alice, which is deeper far more blatant than the interest shown in her by the other characters, is easily the creepiest part of the story so far for me. This is Wonderland, though, so the unsettling edge is appropriate and works well. It also allows for a sharp contrast between the two cunicular individuals, because Elliot, as an incarnation of the White Knight, is probably the most immediately appealing member of the male characters for one main reason: he doesn’t seem to be crazy. Sure, he vehemently denies that he could be anything related to a rabbit, but besides that, he’s the kindest and most normal of the bunch. His attitude towards mortality (one that I won’t spoil here) also sets him up as a foil for Ace, the other character with whom Alice spends a lot of time within this installment.

The exploration of Ace’s intense, but non-romantic, feelings for Alice is carried out when the two of them become lost in the woods and are forced to camp out. Though we don’t know the technicalities of his interest in her, it is clear that it has something to do with her outsider status and the way in which humans like her live and die. Much of the mystery of the clocks, presented in the first volume, is explained during their conversation as well. Ace’s character might not be most appealing for all readers, but I found myself invested in his internal struggles. On the other hand, the final chapter, which focuses on Boris (the Chesire Cat), fell flat. Alice’s uniqueness has already been mentioned; characters have already commented on the fact that she notices things and feels things that others do not, so this chapter was just unnecessary. Boris’s simplicity and childishness don’t endear him to me, either, so I’m hoping that this chapter is all the exploration of his “path” in the game that we’re going to get.

In Summary:
For all that she’s the main character, Alice isn’t really involved in the plot–and that’s disappointing. This made the dating sim origins of the story a bit clearer, as much of this volume was simply her wandering around and interacting with the different characters. There are some nice moments that come out of this, particularly the time that Alice shares with Elliot and Ace, but it also brings the forward progression of the story to a snail’s pace. There are more hints as to Alice’s importance to the residents of Wonderland, and their growing fixation on her is being built up nicely, but there just wasn’t enough happening in this volume, plot-wise or character-wise, to keep my interest for the entire read. However, I’m still looking forward to the next volume; the crazy setting and crazier characters are impossible to resist.

Content Grade: B
Art Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B-
Text/Translation Grade: B

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: TOKYOPOP
Release Date: March 2nd, 2010
MSRP: $10.99

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