[REVIEW] Are You Alice?, vol2

Series: Are You Alice? #2 | Prequel: #1
Ai Ninomiya | Illustrator: Ikumi Katagiri
manga, shoujo, mystery
September 24, 2013 (first published July 24, 2010)
Yen Press
Are You Alice?, Vol. 2

The Duke – a warped mass that collects the scraps of Wonderland – goes berserk in the town square, not far from where Alice and Hatter have traveled on an errand. In his frenzied state, the Duke wants nothing more than to have Alice all to himself. But when an overconfident Alice decided to ignore Hatter’s commands and give the Duke what he wants, little does Alice expect to wind up in the belly of the beast!

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For what purpose was I born?
Alone in such a dull story, without dreams, or hopes, or even a name… living like a useless scrap of paper – I’m sick of it.
But what can I do to escape here?
I don’t know.
Tell me.
I’ll do anything. I can do anything, as long as there’s someone who needs me.
So please, acknowledge my existence! Someone, please… call my – please… call my name!

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[did I mentioned this before? All spoilers are in white font color (there are hints if a text is hidden such us space gaps, parenthesis, or colons). Highlight the white texts to read the spoilers if you want to or if you’ve already read this volume]

I wanted to continue reading Are You Alice? because (1) it’s confusing, (2) it has really beautiful characters, (3) it’s pretty entertaining, and (4) I want to decipher the whole point of this story.

Confusing stories tend to pull me into them. I know that I’m not exactly the type of person who can explain what these stories mean. Heck! I don’t even know if I can fully understand a deep or confusing story. But you see, I just want to continue this because I want to see how this will end and what the whole point of this story really is.

This second volume of Are You Alice? literally just made things a lot more confusing. Well sure I’m enjoying it – I mean there’s nothing more amusing than bishounen guys being serious, funny, and mysterious all at the same time when it comes to shoujo manga. This volume didn’t exactly introduced a lot of things in terms of the world but it did tried to incorporate a few more things in the story such as the dream Alice had in here (I don’t think mentioning this is so much of a spoiler) and the mention of ‘sensei’ (just who is this sensei? Of course I think it’s Lewis Caroll but then what? Why include him here?).

But setting aside all my story confusions, this volume opens up some of the most interesting things in the story: Alice coming to Wonderland all on his own volition and questioning the Mad Hatter’s reason for wandering off to Wonderland. This opened up more character developments for the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat, and the 88th Alice. And maybe perhaps as well as the Duchess… There was this moment of connection between Duchess and Cheshire Cat and it was quite lovely. But I’d really hope that there was more to it… But I guess this is how manga writes their stories. Let me tell you something: the Duchess isn’t exactly an important character. She’s Alice’s substitute. She’s assigned to take that huge glob of regret away from Alice so that he won’t succumb into the regrets (or something, at least that’s what I think). Anyway, if she fails to do this task, she goes bye-bye to Wonderland. AND THIS, I think, will play a role later on as the story progress.

I wish I had shown my jealousy. I wish I had fought with him and thrown a tantrum like a child. That is my regret.

There is still this huge fog in my mind at who really is Alice (the 89th Alice). Of course unraveling his character is perhaps one of this story’s biggest mysteries but can we like get a few glimpse other than his continues rambling on how he doesn’t have a name or his need of a reason for existence or such? I mean there has to be more of him, right? RIGHT? But I guess his dream did had something in there… but literally just made me ask MORE questions!

I’m sick of it. Sick of no one calling my name, or acknowledging my existence… living like a scrap of paper… I’m sick of it.

One of the things that I really commend in this manga is the consistency of the art (unlike JUDGE). It’s beautiful – from the paneling to the character designs to the chibi-fied and moments of amusement to all the seriousness. There really is just something so lovely about Katagiri-sensei’s characters that make me want to stare at them all day. His paneling also makes Are You Alice? more engaging to read although it’s a bit disappointing how less thrilling this is as compared to the first volume but it is as intriguing.

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What I like: (1) THAT BEAUTIFUL ART!, (2) Alice’s continuous search for his ‘reason for existence’, (3) the new things this volume entered, (4) Alice dressing as a girl! HAHA!, (5) 88th Alice, (6) Mad Hatter’s and Cheshire Cat’s parts of the story, (7) the White Rabbit’s statement on 89th Alice

What I didn’t like: (1) once again, it was confusing (heck this is more confusing than volume 1), (2) so much confusion!, (3) what else? Ummm… confusion?

[and you know what? Maybe I should go read Alice in Wonderland

confusing story. character developments. more intriguing things to ponder on.

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