Alice 19th Vol. #05 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, July 01, 2004
Release Date: Tuesday, June 01, 2004
Translated by:JN Productions
What They Say
Alice' sister, Mayura Seno, is under the control of Darva, dark mistress of the Maram Words - and Alice and Kyo Wakamiya are the only two people who have a chance of saving her from the dark side! Can they become masters of the Lotis Words in time to save her? With Mayura's power over the Maram words rapidly growing stronger, it seems almost all hope is lost...until Alice and Kyo meet some powerful new allies!
This cover is a mixture of browns, purples and the same shade of light gray that was on the cover of volume four. The centerpiece this time is Chris, the latest addition to the Lotis Master group, who arrived from England to set up a new headquarters in Tokyo. Chris is serious here, with his swallow perched on his right hand. It's a nice picture and fits in with the somber color setting well. The "Alice 19th" logo is a color gradient of browns and purples, but it's subtle this time. As in the past, the back cover is black with the summary, logo and a smaller version of the front cover picture inside of a white box.
Once again, there is a lot of detail in this volume, making the artwork beautiful to look at. Some of the scenes at the end of the volume, especially one of Mayura, are very creepy. This is a good reproduction of the printed pages, with solid blacks and clear detail on the images themselves. I noticed that a lot of detail is paid to the eyes throughout this volume, representing a range of emotions.
Volume is unflipped and most of the SFX is untranslated. Like the other volumes of the series, this is a good read and appears to be translated well. The Lotis and Maram words continue to have both the romanji pronunciation and English translation provided when they are used. Nyozeka's Mini Lotis Classes return, teaching us two more Lotis Words, bringing the total to nine. One mistake I did notice is that for the intro page to the last part of chapter four, Viz used the title "Unrequited Love," which was the same that they used for volume four of the series. However, inside of volume four, they called the chapter itself "One-Sided Love." Same thing, but still...
Content (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS):
After slowing down in volume four, the pace really picks back up in volume five as we prepare for what looks like what will be the final battle against the Maram Masters.
As Alice tells her family about moving out, she finds that a Maram Master, Samuel, has taken on the guise of Mayura so that she can be represented outside of the Metropolian Building. Meanwhile, Kyo battles his aunt and uncle, whose souls were taken over much like Alice's parents were earlier in the series.
Then, the next day, Kyo and Alice head to school not realizing that Mayura has turned Kazuki, Kyo's friend who followed Mayura to the Metropolian Building, is brainwashed. Mayura uses Kazuki to break Kyo and Alice apart, then Kazuki attempts to rape Alice. While Kyo saves her, this causes problems at school that lead to a fight between Kyo and Kazuki and another confrontation between Alice and Samuel (who is still taking on Mayura's form).
It's through these battles that we are introduced to two more Lotis Masters, Pai Mei Lin, a Lotis Master from China and Billy MacDowell, a Lotis Master from the United States. The school battles caused Kyo to lose a friend, but thanks to knowledge provided by Chris, Kyo and Alice learn that they are about to lose the most important person of all - Mayura.
This was a very nice volume, with some resolutions, some sadness, but a lot of growth. You look at Alice and Kyo's words and actions and compare them back to the beginning of the series and you'll be amazed at the amount of character development these two have gone through. However, they both remain the core people they were at the start of the series, just more mature now. I like Alice even better than at the beginning, and I thought it was hard to improve on that. She maintains her same outlook on life, but she has firmer convictions. She is no longer timid and blossomed into the confident young woman that she had buried inside her.
Even though the method is a harrowing one, I don't think this development for Alice would have occured unless she was seperated from Mayura. She lived in her sister's shadow all of her life, and I think that this provided the necessary push needed for her to realize that while she loves Mayura, she does not have to be her subordinate. One of the most powerful scenes in the series to date is when Alice confronts Mayura and pretty much dares Mayura to shoot her. She still trusts Mayura enough to know that deep down in her heart, Mayura wants her sister to live.
Kyo also realizes that he is an important member of his own family, and things are being set up to find out how his father got killed. It'll be intresting, especially since it seems to be tied into the Maram Masters.
There's not a lot of Billy and Pai Mei Lin, the two newest members of the team, but with the sudden time factor thrown into the plot, I think we'll see more of them in volume six. Billy and Pai Mei Lin seem to round out the party fighting wise. I bet between the two of them and Chris, Frey, Kyo and Alice, that they know most all the words. However, we've yet to see Kyo and Alice tap into the rare words.
It looks like that Watase has brought Kyo and Alice to an understanding about their relationship as he learns the truth. I'm glad that they reached that resolution now, allowing us to focus on the upcoming showdown. This resolution follows the standard Watase "attempted rape" scene, which plays out better than the one in Fushigi Yugi.
This volume was truly exciting, not just from the action stand point, but in that we can see how far Alice and Kyo have come. There's also some new mysteries that I'm looking forward to as well. To date, this is my favorite volume in the series. I'm excited about volume six, and a revelation at the end of volume five has made me sympathetic once more toward Mayura and hope that they will be able to reach her in time.
Mania Grade: A
Art Rating: A+
Packaging Rating: A
Text/Translatin Rating: A-
Age Rating: All
Released By: Viz Media
Size: Tall B6
Orientation: Right to Left