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Kukuru's Alice 19th Manga Review

Alice 19th Alice 19th Screenshot Alice - and a bit of paneling Alice 19th Screenshot Furei Alice 19th Screenshot Lots of detail Alice 19th Screenshot Wakamiya, Alice and Nyozeka

Alice 19th manga Review

Alice Seno, a high school student, saved a rabbit from being run over on a busy intersection, but at the same time her long time crush Kyou Wakamiya also saved her from the dangerous on coming traffic. Safe and sound, the rabbit ran off after the rescue, and when Alice found it again it discovered that it was in fact a rabbit-girl named Nyozeka who revealed to Alice that she is in fact a master of the sacred Lotis words
Alice learns that she can travel into the inner heart and destroy the darkness within other peoples' hearts. She reunites with Kyou after the discovery that he also is a Lotis Master, when he rescued her from being "kidnapped" by Frey, a Norwegian Lotis guide who wished to marry her.
The course of the relationship is further complicated when Alice discovers a darker side to her powers by accidentally sending her sister Mayura to the darkness of her heart during an argument about the revelation that she had dated Kyou. However, Mayura can also cast powerful word spells as she has been possessed by Darva, the leader of darkness and Maram words! Together Kyou, Alice, Frey & other Lotis Guides must master all 24 words of the Lotis and find the "Lost Word" to save the world and Mayura from Darva.

Based on the synopsis by edelriclvr.

Story & Playability

This review is based on the manga written by Yuu Watase who is also the author of Fushigi Yugi and Ayashi No Ceres.

Story
Alice is a quiet girl who lacks confidence in herself, especially since she constantly lives in the shadow of her older sister Mayura who is beautiful, popular and talented in everything she does. Alice is just your regular, run-of-the-mill school girl right - Of course not - for where would the story be in that?

When it turns out that they both happen to have a crush on Kyou Wakamiya, a rather dashing upperclassman, conflicts arise and during an argument with her sister Alice wishes Mayura would disappear.

Alice literally gets her wish. Unknown to Alice at the time, she is a 'Lotis Master 'who has power over words, meaning what shes says can have tangible effects. By saying those words so passionately during a time of anger, Alice accidentally sent her sister to the dark place in her heart. Now, together with Wakamiya, and other Lotis Masters, Alice must learn the ways of Lotis in order for her to bring back her sister.

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Alice is classic Shoujo manga: a magical romantic comedy. The stories told can pretty much be put into two categories:
- Mayura in her jealousy trying to separate the two using Maram - which is like the dark opposite of Lotis - while Alice's and Wakamiya only become closer.
- learning about the darkness in the characters past and how they have to overcome it.
The story starts off a little slow - but towards the end some improvement was shown with more action and deeper development into the main characters' backgrounds. There were some good, life lesson themes present: believing in one's self, the power to change people, and the nice, if not a little cliche theme of fighting the doubt and darkness that lies within all of us.

It was also nice to see that even though Alice has to learn 24 words to become a fully fledged Lotis Master (thereby having the power to save her sister yada yada), the chapters didn't progress in Cardcaptor style with a new word per story. Focus was more on relationships and if a word was learned, it was linked with the situations at hand.

Characters
So the mains, who are likable enough are:
Alice Seno - the heroine of the tale. Despite her lack of confidence in herself, she feels remorse of what she has done ot her sister and is determined to become stronger and braver to save her.
Mayura Seno - Alice's older sister - beautiful, talented but due to her sister's words, Mayura crosses into the darkness of her heart and become consumed by jealousy of her sister's relationship with Wakamiya.
Kyou Wakamiya - has a mysterious past and is also very popular and talented.
Nyozeka - A rabbit girl, who makes Alice become aware of her Lotis powers. <- I suppose she's your 'Kero-sidekick' from Cardcaptors.
Furei Uiruhazen - A Lotis Master. Though talented, he's very flirty and is determined to take Alice as his bride.

Character development is pretty good: Most of the characters introduced do have their own purposes, and a little of their past is delved into so we can see why they turned out they way they are. I say most because there were two introduced later on that seemed to serve no real story purpose except to rescue the mains out of one little sticky situation and then to provide morale support during the 'final battle'.
Alice's character was developed the best, and it was nice to see her grow and become a heroine you could somewhat relate to.
As for the 'baddies'- apart from a few people being taken over by the dark in the hearts (who are later saved as they realized their mistakes), the real bad people seemed to lack any original motive other than turning people to the dark side...

Rating: 7

Graphics

Layout
Rather than just using the conventional rectangles as panels following one after another, Watase makes use of irregular panels and overlap in her design. It's an interesting set up, and different to what I'm used to, but sometimes I was a little confused as to what followed next.

Characters
I have to admit, Alice 19th reminds me a little bit of Clamp - which is actually one of the reasons I picked it up. The characters are styled well and each can claim their own personality. There is nice attention to detail especially in their expressions and hair.

Presentation
There is a much use of contrast in her work and while the art is appealing enough, sometimes I felt the pages to be a little cluttered. Also, sometimes I was a little lost about what the artwork was trying to portray. When it comes to manga, while I like detail - I also like working on the concept where 'Less is more'.

Note: The credits for the images go to Eternal Blue whose scans I found on the net :)

Rating: 8

Sound

It could be just a language barrier, but there were some parts in the story I was not clear on: such as some character introductions and what the lost words of the actual Lotis were...

Writing wise: The story was easy enough to follow, and a few mediocre comic scenes were thrown in there to lighten the mood.

This was probably the first manga I wanted to pick up and read, but it was around the time that only fansubs were available on the net. In this case, all I as able to find was translations of the texts - but no pictures to accompany it. So with an idea of what characters looked like from random scans, I pretty much had to picture all the scenes myself, with the help of some panel descriptions provided by the translator.
I suppose if a manga can keep a reader reading without the use of pictures, then something must have been done right. ;)

While I don't feel this category deserves a full blown 7, because of lack of a partial scoring system I am rounding up.

Rating: 7

Fun

I became interested in this manga around the time I was heartily obsessed with anime like Cardcaptors and Sailor Moon, which was a good few years ago. Then just recently, I decided to finish reading it.

The idea of 'words containing power', Lotis Masters and people learning to deal with bad things in the past were nice story concepts, but the romance, though nice to see develop, had me a little restless and edgy; and while I do quite like the art, there was perhaps a few little over detailed parts. The humor was nothing more than a smile jerker and while there was also a bit of action with Lotis and Maram words conflicting against each other, it did not have me on the edge of my seat.

That being said, I really did like the 'believing in one's self' theme that was strongly portrayed throughout the manga. I feel it was a nice sentiment and a message that readers should take merit in.

I think I would have appreciated this manga more a couple of years ago back when I was very much into that genre. It's still a lovely story of believing in one's self and growing as a person I recommend this story to lovers of romance and who enjoy shows such as Cardcaptors, Sailor Moon or Yuu Watase's works.

Rating: 6

Final Verdict

6.83 (above average)

Reviewed by Kukuru, Dec 30, 2007

Comments

  1. shoujoboy Jan 04, 2008

    Normally I say something like "I think I'll pick this one up" or "I'll pass", but I don't have to say that this time. I don't read manga. Ha Ha! Yea I know, but unless a property just really grabs me by the... well you know, I just don't read 'em. But your review... well what can I say, its what I expect of you. At this point you have set a high bar for yourself. The second you fail to reach that bar, I will be the first one there to light you up. For now you escape that scrutiny since you did come through once again.

    Still not reading it though.

  2. Fanatik007 Jul 12, 2009

    not bad

  3. lordryo Jul 28, 2009

    Good review.

  4. SchRita Aug 24, 2009

    Thanks for the review!

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