This world is broken, so are humans. Shuu is one of them. He's a talented sniper who keeps a broken android, named Alice. Together they live like hermits and make living by exterminating caravan robbers, until one day the woman that Shuu saved invites him to live in a commune.
Alice In Hell. The most interested yet the most uncomfortable I have felt when reading a manga. Filled with non stop action, nudity, mass carnage, twisted characters, and an iconic gritty aura, Alice In Hell is bound to captivate you. Whether it’s from the manga’s sketchy yet refined art style resembling works of Q Hayashida, or the utter chaos and unscrupulous setting the story places in, all I can say is that this manga is genuinely one of a kind in the most barbaric way. Alice In Hell ironically sets up a hellish setting; one that is visibly ravaged by war, scoundrels, and societal instability. Living in this dystopian wasteland that is every man for himself is our main characters Shuu and Alice. Shuu is an expert sniper at the ripe age of fourteen, making a living using his half broken celluloid Alice as bait to lure in scoundrels to kill and then steal from. After saving a woman named Makilda from being sexually assaulted by scoundrels he is offered to go take a visit to her commune to put his sniper skills to good instead of living in the broken down city ruins to which Shuu coined to his liking the “Alamo”. After some hesitation he decides to give in and go to the commune and after he arrives with Alice he is met with an array of interestingly violent characters. From that point on is where the story completely twists and turns from any expectations of normalcy. Before I go any further as a trigger warning there is so much sexual assault portrayed in this manga. While it sort of plays a part in the story it is pretty disgusting to witness so read at your own risk. Anyways, what Alice In Hell does best is diverting the audience’s expectations and perfecting the art debauchery. Not shying away from graphic deptictions of gore or digustingly enough sexual assault, Alice In Hell is not something you should read with your mother. But despite its rough exterior this manga is seriously enjoyable. The action is extremely exhilarating, there is always a dramatic western styled gun fight or cool snipe shots from Shuu or all out wars between the communes. There never fails to have blood or body parts flying around either. It was all something out of Mad Max Fury Road or if the Gorillaz Clint EastWood music video became a manga. It oozed the gritty, dystopic, dirty west, and the grime was practically tangible. Hell, you could see the dirt and caked up dust on the characters faces and ripped up clothes. Their character design was so awesome and especially fitting for the setting too, like I mentioned earlier the artstyle reminded me of Q Hayashida because of the roughness but in character design it seriously reminded me of some of the characters from Dorohedoro. That post apocalyptic fashion jammed with the mixing of mismatched seasonal outfits, layering of clothes, combined textures, weird snow hats, crazy masks, ripped clothing, and unique outfit combinations oozing of urban influences. By the way if you haven't read Dorohedoro then you should. Back to Alice In Hell, speaking about the characters this story has one of my favorite protagonists in manga. Yes I am talking about Shuu. Since reading all the tags and my personal warnings you probably think this manga isn’t going to have a simple good guy, well you’re right and wrong. The characters in Alice In Hell are stray far away from angels or some sort of savior, they all are irrational, hot headed, and violent. This isn’t out of place considering they are all teenagers growing up in that kind of world. They all have had a crooked past filled with blood, sweat, and tears. The character’s backgrounds and character are gone through pretty well, I wouldn’t say greatly because Shuu is the only character whose background and psyche is extremely fleshed out but I can kind of understand why. He is the main character after all, but I would have liked some of the other cast to have some type of depth other than Eliza and Kenji. Though both of them are really cool and lovable characters so I will ignore that con. This manga made me really look at two sides of the coin when it came to morality from these characters and especially Shuu’s past. Despite Alice In Hell’s seemingly simple, violent, shallow, and dark surface there were many important subject matter and themes that were gone over in a good way. We see the cast go through trial and error trying their best to please their parental roles but almost every time they screw up. These failures make the characters who they are and from their screw ups they learn. At least some of them. Okay maybe one person. These failures do push the running motif of parental issues which I thought had really good representation of abusive and toxic parents. It showed the psychological outcome of dealing with certain trauma surprisingly well and showed which characters either push forward or stay in the past. The presentation of some of these themes are dark, surreal, and visually enchanting. I loved the manga panels of when one of the characters starts to hallucinate or has a sudden flashback. This really was the icing on the cake to this manga’s feeling of being unhinged and made it even more interesting to read. I can’t forget the amazing characterization of Shuu because most of the panels were from his mind, he was truly a well written character and an amazing anti hero. If you’re looking at Shuu to be the self proclaimed “hero” of the story then sorry to let you down. I don’t want to elaborate any further than his psychotic outbursts and violent tendencies because I don’t want to spoil anything specific but I’m sure you can stretch your imagination with such an obscene manga like this. But coincidentally that’s what I like about it. Alice In Hell is the definition of unorthodox and vulgar which is really refreshing and stands out amongst the plethora of repetitiveness in plot structure, world building, and cast in manga. Sometimes this vulgarity can get out of hand more times than it should like the whole sexual assault thing and the graphic sex scenes but other times it can be good like the dark humor and crazy antics. Overall I had a great time reading and surprisingly it made me feel a lot of feelings. Some a little bid and some a little good but overall I loved this and the ending. This manga definitely isn’t for everyone but if you’re looking for something different and shocking than you found gold.
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