Thursday, September 02, 2010

Alice in the Country of Hearts, vols. 1-3

Art by Soumei Hoshino and Story by Quinrose
Published in the US by TokyoPop

Slugline:  Where being in love and wanting to kill the person makes perfect sense.

Alice is resting in her garden with her sister when she is taken by a man with rabbit ears to Wonderland.  She arrives at the clock tower which is at the center of Wonderland’s three feuding territories.  They are the Mad Hatter’s mafia based out of his mansion, the Queen’s castle surrounded a garden maze and the amusement park run by Mary Gowland.  The conflict seems to be mostly between the Queen and the Mad Hatter but none of them really like each other or the clock tower’s master who is traditionally neutral.  Alice is forced into this world, with her unique status of an outsider that making her interact with others to return home.  She learns that a difference between her and Wonderland’s is that she had a heart while everyone else has a clock.  This difference and what it means along with everyone loving her continually surprises Alice as she gradually forgets about escaping Wonderland.

In many manga it seems that every male character that sticks around for more than a couple of panels falls in love with the female lead character.  Here, they take that and make it a plot point!  Everyone in Wonderland is supposed to love Alice, it is part of being an outsider.  But because the Wonderland natives are already fighting this just gives them one more reason to it to continue and get even worse.  The characters reflect their roots from the source material which means they can be very odd making into them both charming and disturbing at turns.  Alice’s shuttling between factions can feel a bit repetitive but every time Alice visits someone the question is whether or not this will be the time the character will stop being charming and become deranged.

Alice in the Country of Hearts, vol. 1, vol. 2 and vol. 3 are all available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.

- Ferdinand

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