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nathandouglasdavis

  • Joined Feb 23, 2019
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Bibliomania

Apr 22, 2023

My 1,800th Review!

I've read through this story twice now, and both times were quite enjoyable. It's a condensed story with little to no fluff and a very smooth unfolding of the narrative. There are essentially two phases to the story.

The first phase (ch. 1-6) is the worldbuilding explanation of how the rooms work within the "manor" (as the synopsis calls it) as well as some examples of the various ways the rooms function as escapist fantasies for their occupants. During this phase, Alice's singleminded drive to get back to the real world comes across like a condemnation of escapism in general and an almost heroic act of self-sacrifice for the sake of what's right and good. That said, Alice's personality during this phase is nebulous at best and feir motives and values are only ever vaguely alluded to. Partially based on feir childish appearance and unperturbed mannerisms, Alice can initially come across as innocent. And even as I started to notice some signs of antisocial disregard for other people and cruelty (such as in chapter 6), which created a sense of dissonance with that "innocent" label, I wasn't sure exactly how to interpret it and largely just let it flow over me. Perhaps this was just the rot affecting Alice somehow.

Speaking of the rot, the rotting flesh and warped physique are absolutely gorgeous. There is quite a bit of body horror imagery and gore throughout, and it's all great. In addition to that stuff and the monstrosities, the artist also does a pretty commendable job of portraying abstract concepts and emotions (like insecurity or fear) visually through the artwork. The art is probably the most impressive and greatest aspect of this manga.

The second phase (ch. 7-8) starts out with one of the most intense and beautiful panel sequences I've ever seen (in chapter seven). I don't want to go into too many details within my analysis of this phase since it basically amounts to a plot twist, so I'll just say that the first few chapters of this phase reveal a mystery and the last few chapters provide an explanation for the mystery, and the explanation was very satisfying. Throughout the first phase, there are brief little flashback-like snippets that serve as foreshadowing to this second phase. It's very well put together and I love it. The overarching theme of this manga could be said to be "happiness" and the story ends with us finally learning why Alice's happiness couldn't occur from the wish-granting provided for the occupants of the rooms.

9/10 story
10/10 art
8/10 characters
9/10 overall
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