When I was young, I loved the story of Alice in wonderland because it was a strange storyline that grabbed my attention. Over the years, I loved almost every rendition of the story that came out. The darker the story, the better in my mind for instance, I liked American McGee’s Alice game where Alice was in asylum after her family was killed in a fire. I’m not sure why but when things are rather demented like that; it gives a really nice spin to an already overused story. This one, well, its what you would expect from a manga version of Alice with a Reverse- harem element. All the guys are beautiful men and the girl believes she isn’t work anything.
We start out with Alice waking up from her ‘dream’ and seeing her sister there, reading a book. Ironically, it’s the book Alice in wonderland and so of course Alice believed wonderland to be nothing more then a dream. Even though she only had a dream about a game, she seems to be bothered by a game of cards that her sister asks about. This is where the manga gets a little hairy in continuity or just plain explaining what the hell is going on. We wouldn’t know just why Alice is so jumpy since all we get is a very small bit of her dreaming about a game. Now even more problematic is that she also talks about how her sister was probably a girl all the men would love but when she thinks of an image, we have nothing that would tell us who it is. We can suspect though that it’s a guy she likes. I have a feeling that those that might of played the games this manga was based off of would understand but as of now, I do not believe they have actually come to America and are probably not in English.
As her sister leaves, we get Alice drifting off again to sleep and then she sees a normal white rabbit with clothing on. The story of Alice in Wonderland almost always had her following the rabbit on her own accord, but this one, the rabbit tells her she needs to follow him, then when he picks her up to force her to come with, he turns into a really hot white haired man with glasses! And not only that, but he forces her to drink a strange liquid as well. He calls himself Peter White…. I believe it is a play off of Peter Rabbit and this is when I facepalm because in only about 35 pages, we have a rather ‘erotic’ scene with a name pulled as a spinoff of something else. And yet, this is what Alice in wonderland was made for.
The story goes really fast and really doesn’t have much time to explain what exactly is going on. This is not for people who want things explained right off the back but then again, you wouldn’t like the normal Alice in Wonderland then. Now, there are a lot of things I like about this manga though, including the little touches that the ‘Hatters’ are a family of mafia with the main Hatter as our representative love interest. (Those that seem to ship Alice and Hatter will love this manga.)
I have to say this story reminds me a lot of Kobato where the main character must collect something in a bottle to get back to where she wants to go, STOP THINKING IT PERVERTS! We also have a rather interesting staker who seems to have fallen for her and wants her to stay in the world of Wonderland with him. Of course, in a harem, all the men and some women it seems want to be with Alice including an incubus that creates nightmares. I get the feeling this manga should be a hentai but it never really comes to that. Instead, we have a rather fun and witty dialog between all of the characters. Seriously, a lot of the dialog actually made me laugh at times because it was stuff that I should of figured would happen but I was not expecting it. All the characters turned into loveable characters (Even Peter White in a way) in their childish nature and fun loving self.
In the end, there really isn’t an end and so it keeps on going on about the same. This sometimes bothers me but there are luckily hints that something will be changing at some point in time.
The artwork is actually rather good though pretty standard for the beautiful harem boy. If you consider it against all the other Reverse-harem mangas, then the artwork is just standard. Every once in a while, a character may stand out but it’s hard for them to stand out when they look like many other characters in other mangas. As for in the manga, you can tell the characters apart except for Dee and Dum at times but they are twins. The other characters around them don’t have faces and so it really helps the main characters stand out. It was a interesting way of playing it off.
There's a trick to adapting dating sims into ANY form of media; choosing which storyline for the protagonist to follow. This will inevitably lead to some displeased fans who may have preferred a different story, but they would have to accept that it would be the most popular storyline with the token suitor of the series that would be adapted. Alice in the Country of Hearts, while otome games aren't nearly as adapted as the typical sims, has no excuse to ignore this staple of adaption. Yet it does, and it leads to an unpredictable mess of a manga with characters that just HAPPEN to be named after Alice in Wonderland characters.
STORY: Once Alice arrives in Wonderland, it completely departs from the Wonderland story and simply focuses on her encounters with the various men (+ 1 woman) who will all inevitably fall in love with her in SOME shape or form. Each chapter will most likely involve Alice getting abused in some certain fashion and her responding in mostly unrealistic ways. Case-in-point, when Ace pushes Alice down to hear her heartbeat, her ONLY reaction is 'Oh God, his face is hitting my chest-!'..no crap, Sherlock now push the pervert off you like a REAL person! And did we mention that EVERY person is in love with her? There's little actual LOVE in this manga as all the characters show their feelings for Alice in aggressive ways.
Perhaps the BIGGEST offender in Hearts' story is the amount of whiplash you will get while reading this. Aggressive "Romantic" scenes from the moment they start can become comedic or heartfelt with the flip of a page. ANY type of action the series attempts to have are quickly extinguished by Alice either yelling at the offenders for being idiots or crying about their lack of values for life (no joke, this ALWAYS happens!).
ART: Though I personally dislike shojo art, I tried to be as unbiased as I could here. At SOME angles the characters look pretty attractive. As the characters get older, they EASILY get more beautiful. (Compare the Dum twins to Julius~) At other angles, though, they look a tad chunky and have huge noses. Wide-eyed characters are also subject to becoming very serious in a short amount of time (there's that whiplash again.) The actual setting of Wonderland rarely gets any drawings unfortunately since this is a character-driven "story". It's a bit of a shame really.
CHARACTERS: FACT:REFERENCES TO ALICE IN WONDERLAND ARE BY NAME ONLY. Aside from that and few similar designs, the characters and setting of Hearts possess little in common with the characters they're named after. Peter White, for example, is the white rabbit. Besides bringing Alice to Wonderland, he has no obsession with time and isn't late for anything.
The characters themselves are all a mystery to Alice. Their methods of showing her affection are limited to aggression or ignoring her. Perhaps the only NICE people here are the two rabbits Elliot and Peter, who also get pretty low amounts of lovely-dovey time with her, compared to everyone else who literally can't keep their hands off her.
There are also these faceless folks in Wonderland, and rather than just letting them be unimportant people with no reason to be named, the main characters address them as "Those without Duties". Seriously, they're just unimportant people. No need to rub salt in the wounds.
There's also this semi-relevant plot point that all the people in Wonderland have clocks instead of hearts beating inside them and that when they die, the clocks are sent to a clock maker to be repaired and they're reborn, just without their memories. This is used to explain why Wonderlanders care so little about their lives, but it seems more like a reason for the characters to fight each other so Alice can cry and yell at them.
OVERALL: In regards to the staple of adaptation, what Alice in the Country of Hearts does wrong is that there is no CENTRAL storyline that's being followed. Every character we meet shows affection for Alice in some way so it's impossible to tell which character's storyline we're following. Alice's lack of development makes it even more challenging to figure out who she loves back. The "finale" of the series seems like a name was just drawn out of hat. Not only did this character show little feelings for Alice in the first place, but they played a big part in Alice's real life that she hated with a burning passion.
Overall, this whole series was a mismatched pile of Fanfiction fodder. The story was impossible to follow, the characters were bipolar, and the actual ROMANCE this series was meant to be was delivered via forms of cliche physical/psychological abuse. All wrapped up in an Alice in Wonderland bow. Why they believe Otome gamers love this kind of stuff is beyond me.
This is a review for Soumei Hoshino's reverse harem manga called "Alice in the Country of Smexy Bishounen." The Japanese name is "Smexy Bishounen no Kuni no Alice." It's supposed to be based off of Lewis Carroll's classic tale. I've read the original book and, well, this isn't very similar.
Story: The story of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" has been retold many times and in many media. The animated Disney® movie is fantastical and lovable and probably one of my favorite movies (and is pretty faithful to the book). The one with Johnny Depp is a total letdown, and it's nothing like the original story. Somewhere in the middle of these two extremes is this manga. It follows Alice, a young girl, down the rabbit hole where she finds a bunch of hot guys. For an example of what happens, think of "Ouran High School Host Club" or "Vampire Knight:" Bishounen are practically created here. Alice learns that all the men of Wonderland will love her, and that, to get back home, she must interact with them until her cute little vial is full of... some liquid. So she goes on her merry way, meeting bishies and the occasional pretty woman along the way. Some bishies are more important than others, but they all seem to love Alice to some extent, even though a certain one seems to not care for her.
There is quite a bit of violence and people dying, but very little gore or even blood, and the manga-ka seems to dislike drawing dead bishies. However, it may catch some readers off-guard. (But, on the other hand, it cannot be as scary as seeing Johnny Depp!)
It's an interesting (and fanservice-laden) twist on the original story, but isn't original enough. Plus, it doesn't really follow the book. (For example, no Mock Turtle here!)
Art: There is some damn good artwork here. Soumei Hoshino knows how to draw incredibly good-looking men. Every guy looks 100% f*ckable (to put it not-so-lightly), which could either work or not work. Of course, catering to girls' fantasies can be viewed as the intention of all shoujo, but I didn't mind. (Though it did seem a little odd when, say, the Cheshire Cat is a hot young man instead of a creepy smiling cat.) The character designs didn't remind me of animals or Carroll's creatures, save for some animal ears and whatnot. Alice, on the other hand, looks like my mind's eye's view of Alice--short, pretty, blonde and wears a simplistic dress. (Thank you, animated movie.) The Queen is disturbingly gorgeous.
Background art is pretty, as it should be for such a tale, but most scenes aren't very detailed. The violence isn't too gory or, um, violent. (Think something more along the lines of "Vampire Knight" instead of "Higurashi.") Guns look fine, but I'm no gun otaku. The fantasy isn't really here, though. One of my favorite scenes from the animated movie is when Alice falls down the rabbit hole and is surrounded by rocking chairs, books and towers. In this, Alice falls down the rabbit hole... and ends up in Wonderland. No trippy visuals at all.
Characters: Expect little-to-no resemblance to their classical counterparts.
(I had a damn good time looking up pictures for this.) Characters: Blonde girl: Alice Liddel; man with silver hair and bunny ears: Peter White; man with black hair and teacup: Blood Dupre; man with black hair and eye patch: Nightmare; man with black hair in background: Julius Monrey; man with blonde hair and bunny ears: Elliot March; man with red coat: Ace; woman with black hair: Vivaldi (Queen of Hearts); man with violin: Merry Gowland; man with pink hair and cat ears: Boris; identical twin boys with black hair: Dee and Dum.
Alice Liddel: She certainly got on my nerves. I have an automatic hate for all "Mary Sue" characters, so of course I'm going to dislike her. She seems to be pretty unfazed by the fact that she is in one weird-ass land, but that's fine. At some point, one of the faceless cards (read: We, the inhabitants of Wonderland, don't give a f*ck about you) is about to be killed. Alice jumps in, and everyone is confused. He's worthless, so why would you care for him, Alice? She responds by saying that no life is worth nothing--everyone is important. Okay, that's kind of you... but are you seriously fine with the fact that THEY MIGHT KILL YOU?!? (They didn't, obviously, but that's not the point.) Later on, a bunch of servants are killed right in front of her. Now, a few things could happen because of this.
A.) You lose your sanity and start killing with reckless abandon.
B.) You feel bad for the people, but run away in fear.
C.) You puke. How disgusting it is to see dead bodies!
D.) You turn around and stab the killer.
E.) You faint.
Sure, sure, many things could happen. What does little Alice-chan do? Why, the only logical thing: She sits down and cries for those who have died, because she TOTALLY sees people being murdered every day. It's as normal as reading a book for her. Sheesh. Realistic? I've never encountered this situation, but I don't think so. It'd be more likely she'd scream bloody murder.
Peter White: In the immortal words of Ayuzawa Misaki, "Perverted alien stalker!" He follows her around like a second shadow and proclaims (multiple times!) that he loves her. Yeah, everyone here does. That's the freaking point. When he realizes that Alice is irritated by him, he turns into his (effing adorable) bunny form. When the screams of "OMG KAWAII!!" by fangirls die down, Alice deflates and does everything he wants. I guess this makes him a bit of a douche.
Blood Dupre: He looks like the man from, ahem, non-Wonderland on whom Alice has a crush. So she loves him from square one. He doesn't care and shoos away her advances. Poor girl. Crush on someone who cares! Also, his name gets a little confusing. Are these people saying "blood" as in the red liquid running through our arteries and veins, or "Blood" as in this guy?
Nightmare: No, he is not scary; rather, he's a sickly young man. Evidently, he is... something, the explanation of whom he is puzzled me.
Julius Monrey: The man who fixes the clocks (if I continue on this subject, I will reveal a minor spoiler). He houses Alice, but it's not sexual, if you catch my drift.
Elliot March: He looks like Peter in some scenes, so watch out for that. He's an unmemorable character. (And I'm not kidding about that. I can't remember him. >.>)
Ace: The ONLY guy who doesn't love Alice. (Unless he's lying. The sly bastard.) He provides most of the gore of the manga, and might be my favorite character, for some reason.
Vivaldi: The drop-dead gorgeous queen of the land is much kinder than the queen of the original. Sure, she beheads her servants, but it isn't shown and is said only in passing. Mostly, she's a sort of sisterly figure to Alice, which makes her seem like a replacement for Alice's real sister. That really sucks.
Merry Gowland: A very cheesy pun makes up his name. He runs the amusement park, and I'm sure some people find him to be annoying.
Boris: Our scantily-clad version of the Cheshire Cat, he loves Alice and is on good terms with her. Not much to say here.
Dee and Dum: What is wrong with them? They say they like Alice (and view her as a sister), but they also try to kill her? LOL what? Come again?
No depth, no development and no backstories make for flat and bland characters. Some are unlikable, while others are simply boring.
Overall: A mediocre take on the "Alice in Wonderland" genre. Better than the live-action crap, but oh-so-inferior to the animated movie. Maybe it's due to the lack of whimsy (isn't that kind of the whole point of the story?!).
SPOILERS AHEAD DUE TO RANTING
I read the whole thing. I can't believe I read the whole thing. I had some serious issues with the series and I'm just going to toss out my biggest WTF moments as they occur to me because I don't think I can set my frustration aside long enough to write the sort of review this manga probably deserves (in someone else's opinion).
Hints of some mystery about her sister - never resolved.
Brought to Wonderland by Peter yet her relationship to him is almost nonexistent.
Antagonism with Blood yet HE'S the guy she loves? What?
Period costumes yet she wants to work in publishing?
Were the characters all supposed to be the hours on a clock?
WTF!!! was that ending?! Seriously! There was more closure from the Sopranos!
Alice: Temperamental, whinging, dull, uninteresting. Her one and only attraction is the fact that she isn't from wonderland. I thought there would be more development because she could tell the NPC/Cards apart, but there was nothing to that end. It served only as a device to show she was "caring" and different from the Wonderlanders, but was never used again. On the whole she wandered around aimlessly, completely ignoring/forgetting the reason she was even trying to meet people (to go home) and when she did finally reach her world there was no resolution of her real world problems!
The artwork was standard for the genre, rarely captivating and on the whole nothing too exciting. That said, it was still well done and never seemed to drop in quality. The greatest problem I had was the way the script made the setting and the clothing seem anachronistic.
I know I have a type when it comes to bishie men (and I love me some pretty boys) and anyone who knows me won't be surprised by this preference. So it comes as no great shock that I was angered that she didn't choose Julius or Peter (or even Elliot), but to pick Blood after less contact than she had with Peter was a load of bull! Bullhockey I say!
In any event, it was a decent read and drawn well enough that I never felt cheated on the scenery, but the story left A LOT to be desired and while I can't exactly recommend this series to anyone I am well aware that there is an audience for this tale and they will not be disappointed.
Alice in the country of hearts.
This manga has a very good story, it's is full of surpizes and romance.this manga is very different and i find pleaseing. Right whan you think something will hapen... it becomes diffeent. the characters are very uniqunk. the art is happy and nice. with the main characy=ter alice learning and growing to love all of the other male chacters