Hi everyone! Today I’m very excited to review a new manga series that just released volume 1, called Are You Alice? Some of you might know, and some of you might not, but I’m a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland manga and anime spin-offs of the classic tale such as Pandora Hearts and Alice in the Country of Hearts (which I will be reviewing very soon).
“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 where 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.”
The reason I rate this manga with five full stars (something I don’t do very often), is because of the well-rounded themes entrenched in the background of the chaos of the story. In the original Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, everything that happens is crazy and nonsensical; there is no logic behind it. Are You Alice? Presents the world of Wonderland crafted like a game where all the participants have a role that resolves around the character “Alice” who is tasked with killing the white rabbit who lures people into Wonderland.
“What is my name?
The young man that stumbles into Wonderland is nameless. At the start of the story, upon approaching Wonderland he wonders “… Could it be here? What I’ve been looking for?” All of us who wish to sanctuary the real world of stressful exams or a drudging work life or personal troubles long to escape to Wonderland. In a way, the overarching world and its rules that are crafted to aid Alice’s hunt of the white rabbit create a whole new logic and moral system which begs certain questions. “Do the characters possess their own inner moralities despite their roles in the game?” “Who determines the roles of the characters?” The roles, privileges, advantages and disadvantages attached with a name determine each character’s fate.
Just as the main character, Alice, cannot simply decide who to kill and who to protect; he cannot choose to protect the Duchess, who’s role is to undertake excruciating pain as “Alice’s Substitute” to protect the real Alice. Why is the real Alice so important? There have been countless other Alices. Alice is just a name, and there can only be one true Alice; the only “real Alice” is the one that successfully kills the rabbit.
“Girls who have failed to become Alice in Wonderland… and are now nameless. They cling to the name “Alice” and remain confined here in Wonderland.”
What makes this series different is that this Alice is not the embodiment of childlike innocence and curiosity. This Alice, this male Alice, is the exact opposite of the polite and naïve Alice in Lewis Carroll’s story that attempts to speak up for other characters in front of the Queen. This Alice is more passive and reserved, though different, he still embodies the stubborn unyielding part of the original Alice in Wonderland.
Another large overarching theme prevalent in volume 1 is that of regrets. Alice can’t even walk through the streets without turning back to consider the roads or the regrets will come after him.
“The people of wonderland don’t know how to turn back to the past. That which is broken remains broken, and no one knows how to fix it.”
There can only be regret when you realize, looking back that you’ve done something wrong and long to fix it. The characters of Wonderland don’t understand right and wrong which is why they lack the ability to fix “that which is broken.” Their entire existence is based on their roles; their destiny is determined by their connection to Alice and the other key players of the game. Perhaps they have indecision or loneliness at times, some spark of emotion in a rare and fleeting moment, however no one is there to draw it out of them and help them understand. All they know is their names and the power and duties attached to them which allow them to turn a blind eye to the atrocities that may take place. No matter how much the Cheshire cat wants to save the Duchess, his mistress, it cannot.
Volume 1 opens a large can of worms of questions and I’m very excited to continue reading. A male Alice changes things up. At first I was surprised at the quirks of this Alice, but by the end of the volume I’ve grown accustomed to him. I strongly encourage you guys to give this series a try.Alice is an ambiguous character in terms of personality. What kind of person does Alice need to be in order to kill the white rabbit and successfully become the real Alice? What happens when a real Alice is found? The regular townsfolk of the land cannot even see Alice because they do not wish to be involved with her, yet they celebrate the return of the new, 89th Alice because they understand her importance.
The story is just getting curiouser and curiouser… Thank you so much for reading this very long review and analysis. I’m writing new stuff every day! Feel free to like or follow for more!
What are you pondering today?