[REVIEW] Are You Alice?, Vol1

Series: Are You Alice?
Ai Ninomiya | Illustrator: Ikumi Katagiri
manga, mystery, shoujo
Published: May 28, 2013 (first published December 25, 2009)
Publisher: Yen Press
ISBN: 978-0-316-25279-9

Link: goodreads
A disillusioned young man in search of “something” stumbles into the weird and wacky world of Wonderland where, as “Alice,” he is thrust into a murderous game of “Kill the White Rabbit” by command of the ruler of the land, the Queen of Hearts. But while Alice rails against the role that has been forced upon him, he has little choice but to comply. For in Wonderland, not sticking to the script can have deadly consequences…

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“In Wonderland especially, you see. For the more a person foolishly clings to the past… the more they call out the unsightly regrets”

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Are You Alice? instantly absorbed me right off the first chapter. It has a very intriguing story, very attractive art, and very mysterious and fun characters. Perhaps Are You Alice? is the type of manga that I truly enjoy in a sense that it allows me to think a lot about what’s really going on with those very likeable characters.

The world of Are You Alice? does give an impression of Alice in Wonderland (although I’ve yet to read the original book itself, I’ve only seen the Disney cartoon film and the Tim Burton adaptation). It’s quite ridiculous yet at the same time Ai Ninomiya added a captivating dark mystery behind it. It’s nicely sculpted. There are slow and careful explanations of Wonderland throughout this volume. They’re very easy to grasp.

But you see, I think that Are You Alice? can also be a pretty confusing story. At times it makes me wonder, what really is the whole point of its story? The first page opens with a question of “what is my name?” As the story progress, it makes me think that this is all about Alice’s search for his real identity – for his purpose of existence. It seems to tackle one’s search for his purpose in life.

What is this “murderous game of ‘Kill the White Rabbit’” you ask?

‘Alice’ accidentally stumbled upon Wonderland and was called ‘Alice’ by this so-called Cheshire Cat. He was then presented to the Queen of Hearts and was forced upon this game of “Kill the White Rabbit” which was set up by the White Rabbit himself in order to find the ‘real Alice.’ Apparently this ‘Alice’ is the 89th Alice forced upon this game in order to claim the name of Alice and assume the role of Alice in Wonderland and only by killing the White Rabbit will ‘Alice’ be able to claim the role.

In terms of art, in a word, I’d say it’s beautiful. From the appropriate character designs to the paneling to the ‘dark scenes’ to its overall presentation, Katagiri-sensei has done a really wonderful job with Are You Alice?. Perhaps my only complaint here is shrouding darkness of the regrets. At times they look like they were erased in Photoshop but it’s pretty tolerable, really.

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This first volume of Are You Alice? successfully established Wonderland as well as the character of Alice. It is well presented and definitely worth the time. It’s quite easy to get absorbed in the world of Are You Alice?.

intriguing story. very beautiful art. easy to get hooked.
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