Hi guys, I know I’ve been gone for a few days now. The reason is because of my schedule during the school year. When I’m not running to classes or commuting home, I’m doing readings and assignments and it all really sucks because I keep reminding myself to write reviews but at 2 in the morning at the end of my day, sleep seems like a wiser choice. However, today I am here to introduce you to the second review of Are You Alice volume 2 which I have (and I know you have) been looking forward to you for quite some time. I actually had to go back and re-read volume 1 because it was released so long ago. Volume 2 picks up with the Mad Hatter and the 89th new Alice who are looking for the Doormouse, the informant of Wonderland in order to find leads on the White Rabbit.
In the first volume, we were introduced to the Duke and Duchess of Wonderland. The Duke is basically made up of scraps of regrets and negative emotions that follow those who have turned back and those who have lost their roles. The Duke and its entire being desires to possess Alice therefore the role of the Duchess is to be Alice’s substitute. Since the Duke has no eyes or any other senses besides perhaps hearing, it’s easily tricked into believing that the little Duchess is in fact Alice. This has worked out many times on the Duchess’s part and in this way, events follow the rules of the game. What happens when the substitute’s not enough?
The Duke goes on a rampage down the market square in search for his precious Alice. The Duchess, in all her efforts to calm him down has seemed to exhaust her role. The most touching moment of the series must be when the Duke strikes the Duchess and the Cheshire cat jumps in to save his master. Unlike many of the role-holders in Wonderland, the Cheshire cat is the most openly happy and unhappy with his. He seems like a really carefree kitty who roams where he wants. He pretends not to see the atrocities that befall his master time and time again but it’s this last attack on the Duchess that spurs him into her defence. The White Rabbit finally appears to slay the monster.
By the end of the ordeal, the Duchess can no longer hold her role and is escorted to the palace where she is beheaded for her lack of ability. A new Duchess appears to take on the job and the Cheshire cat is once again left all alone. As much as he gets attached to his master, he knows that he can’t and yet he does which makes me curious as to the semantics of his role. What is he suppose to do? And what duties does he shirk?
In a world where your fate is determined by your role and your role is determined by the rules of the game, the characters all seem to be plagued with a sense of hopelessness when it comes to their lives. This is seen more prominently throughout the Cheshire cat, but also in bits and pieces of the Mad Hatter. He, whose role allows him to feel the passage of time within Wonderland, asked the Queen of Hearts to stop the flow of his time. As a result, the hands on his pocket watch are perpetually at 6.
“In order to spin the perfect tale… we must cast aside our unnecessary pasts and live pretending they don’t exist. I am reminded of it all over again. That wonderland is simply a “wastepaper basket.”
The title of the series, “Are you Alice?” and the main question of the story, “What is your name?” are both asked again and again in the weird flashbacks and dreams that happen to Alice and the other characters. In fact, it was the Cheshire cat that originally led this Alice to Wonderland, leading the White Rabbit to dismiss him as an Alice in the game. It’s usually the White Rabbit who leads Alices to Wonderland. In the last game, the Cheshire cat broke the rules and murdered the last Alice. The Cheshire cat says that Alice is his ultimate weapon but the 88th Alice claims that she still has the power to kill the White Rabbit. This hotly contested title for the name “Alice.” What does it mean? And why is the world so set on an Alice?
Names are a bit theme in the story. Without a name, you’re pretty much a nobody which is why all the past Alices, who have had their names taken from them, descended into mad entities called Regrets. What’s in a name? For the players of Wonderland, your name encompasses your identity, your capabilities, your social rank and your significance in the game. Everyone has a name and every name comes with a role. Trying to defy these duties that come with these roles will definitely shake things up when the other role-holders discover his mischief.
I rate this volume 4 out of 5 curiously excited clouds because it’s a good continuation of the story that we started off with him volume 2. Nothing new was thrown in our faces, rather, we were eased smoothly into the discrepancies that may arise in the game (i.e. the Duke throwing a fit). As well, the antagonist, both internal and external is starting to emerge. For Alice, the antagonist encompasses all the regrets that are out to get him, as well as the glimpses of another ghostly Alice who seems to fade in and out of reality and Alice’s dreams.
I hope you guys liked this review. Are You Alice is slowly becoming one of my favourite manga series. I love the dark twist on Lewis Carroll’s original story. The art is great and the layout is easy to follow. If you haven’t read this series but generally enjoy Alice in Wonderland spin-offs, give this one a try! Thank you all so much for reading and I will talk to you guys soon!