Key Princess Story: Eternal Alice Rondo Vol. #03 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Release Date: Saturday, April 28, 2007
Translated by:Gretchen Kern
Adapted by:Ailen Lujo
What They Say
The stalemate of the higher ranking Alice-powered girls finally ends as the top-ranking Lidel makes the move. Now, Aruto and his friends must face increasingly skillful girls as they progress in the Alice Royal. All girls keep their troubled past in their heart, and perhaps that's what makes them so strong. And they will do anything to protect their secrets. But that's nothing compared to the threats they face when they get too close to figuring out the secret of Never-Ending Alice.
This may be the pinnacle volume for this series. The story moves right along with perhaps the most character development/background information I've ever seen in a single volume of manga. More shoujo-ai, betrayal, death, and the introduction of yuri made this volume a worthwhile read.
All the Key Princesses have been summoned to a battle royale, or Alice Royale. Ultimately the Alice Master plans to use this to weed out all the girls so his servant, the number 1 elite Princess, can capture all the books at once. Unaware of the tournaments inner workings, Aruto and the other girls enter the fight with high hopes. Using Aruto and the other girls, Suwa believes this may be her best chance to defeat the higher ranking Princesses. However, once the battle begins, all hell breaks loose and Aruto's group is split up. This leads to a plethora of battle-induced flashbacks for Aruto, Kiraha, Arisu, Kirika, and Suwa. Yeah, copious amounts of background information, even for a couple of girls only just introduced in this battle.
On the surface, this series seems to be about magical girl fanservice. But the background on all these girls explaining why they do what they do is pure gold. Sure, most of the characters childhood events are rather dastardly; molestation, accidental murder, innocence stolen, etc. As bad as these events are, for me they managed to turn a convoluted world full of magical girls into a story full of deep characters with real life fears and dreams. Moreover, not everything in this volume is about flashbacks. One jealous character tries to choke to death her 'friend' and perceived rival. Another takes the horrible aspect of her youth and does the exact same thing to Aruto with the pure desire to use him as frivolously as an ink pen.
Now, for those of you on the fence. There is no detailed nudity, even the yuri is PG-13 (well, borderline R). The story can be quite convoluted at times, don't read these books while your watching TV. With volume 3 came a great 'Who's Who' appendix, making the story much easier to follow. My suggestion, pick up volume 1. Depending on how much you like the art, great packaging, future shoujo-ai and yuri, and the idea of cute girls with dark pasts killing each other for a book, you may want to keep going with the series. Sorry I can't be any more specific, but I can't give a glowing recommendation for this series (but neither can I do that for most series I read). However, I will say that with volume 3 my interest in this series is much higher and I'm really curious to see how everything ends in the fourth and last volume.
Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: B
Packaging Rating: A-
Text/Translatin Rating: B
Age Rating: 15 & Up
Released By: DrMaster
Orientation: Right to Left