Alice 19th Vol. #02 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, April 05, 2004
Release Date: Monday, December 01, 2003
Translated by:JN Productions
What They Say
Lotis Master Frei explains the power of the Lotis words to Alice. That's fine, she thinks � but when he decides he wants to marry her, much to her chagrin � he tries to seal the deal with a kiss, and Alice is ready to fight.
Rabbit-girl Nyozeka sees that Kyou has the potential to become a Lotis Master himself, if only he would realize it. Meanwhile, Frei and Alice must enter the "inner heart" of her mother to eradicate the evil therein. Complicating matters even more, Mayura has been swallowed by a very powerful demon, and Alice is not at all sure that her magic bracelet or the magic words will help her save her sister.
The volume picks up where the last one leaves off and serves to answer the unexplained premise behind the lotus masters as well as open up a new set of problems.
Packaging: And I thought the cover of the first volume was gorgeous. This cover beats even that one! In a style like the first, it features Kyo drawing his arrow back, ready to shoot. He's set against a gorgeous palate of green leaves and a gray and blue background. The logo features this green/blue gradient that is simply gorgeous. I just drooled over this cover for several minutes when I first saw it.
Artwork: Once again, it's up to Watase standards, which features lush, detailed scenery and characters. If you've seen one of her works, you've seen them all.
Orientation/SFX: Unflipped and mostly untranslated. A glossary is provided in the back for sound effects that were not translated, although there are plenty of panels with translated stuff sprinkled through the book.
Text: Nothing really leaped out at me here with the exception that Frey's name was misspelled on the back cover (they spelled it Frei, but it is Frey in the actual text. So I corrected it in the 'What They Say' above.) It was a very smooth read and a good translation. The Lotus words themselves are kept in Japanese, but English translations are provided underneath the Japanese in small print. The Japanese is written in romanji (like the attacks in Rurouni Kenshin).
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
A man named Frey, who is originally from Northern Europe, comes and claims Alice as his fiancÚ - and also her first kiss. (There's also a very funny second kiss that involves Kyo and Frey that just made me die laughing.) This causes Alice to be completely exaggerated as she's not interested in Frey at all. The interactions between them remind me of the Miroku/Sango encounters in the early Inuyasha volumes, especially whenever Miroku acts like a pervert.
Meanwhile, they all discover that not only is Frey a somewhat experienced Lotis Master, but Kyo is a Lotis Master as well. He's on the same level as Alice is and they seem to grow at approximately the same rate.
This book delves into the darkness that is in people's hearts, as well as a dark secret in Kyo's past. It takes the premise laid out in the first book and expands on it, explaining the history of the Lotus Master somewhat and also what exactly happened to Mayura. You can definitely tell that the series is aiming toward a Alice/Kyo vs. Mayura conflict as the group consisting of Alice, Kyo, Frey and Nyozuka encounter her on several occasions as they explore the darkness of several people's hearts. There's also small hints that Frey could eventually wind up liking Mayura as well.
This series has introduced several typical anime and Watase plot threads into the series. But these elements play out differently for me in this series and it's a large part due to the characters. I am completely enamored with the main cast and find all of them - Alice, Kyo, Frey and Nyozuka - very likeable and human. I keep liking Alice more and more. She is a mixture of Sakura from Card Captor Sakura and Kagome from Inuyasha with a dash of Miaka thrown in. In other words, she's human. And those human qualities shine through again on this volume. She makes mistakes and she learns from them. She's trying her best to be true to herself, but she stumbles and falls along the way. That's very human. You can see her struggling with daily life, dealing with the realistic grief that comes with having a missing family member and her own new duties. If a manga series deserves an anime, this one is it. I'm looking forward to volume 3.
Mania Grade: A+
Art Rating: A+
Packaging Rating: A+
Text/Translatin Rating: A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: Viz Media
Size: Tall B6
Orientation: Right to Left