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From Tokyopop: Young Mikan runs away to Tokyo to follow her best friend, Hotaru, who has been enrolled in an exclusive, secretive private school for geniuses. But it turns out that Alice Academy is a lot more than meets the eye. If Mikan wants to stay by Hotaru's side, she has to both pass the strange "entrance exam" and face the even greater challenge of befriending her very odd new classmates. Whether it's Hotaru's gift for inventing gadgets, the cranky Natsume's fire-casting ability, or Professor Narumi's control of human pheromones, everyone at the school has some sort of special talent. But what ability, if any, does Mikan possess? Mikan is going to have to rely on her courage and spunk if she's going to stay in school, or even stay alive!
Академия Алис أكاديمية أليس 学园爱丽丝 学園アリス 愛麗絲學院 爱丽丝学园 爱丽丝学院 วัยซนคนมีพลังจิต 퍼니퍼니 학원 앨리스 Alice Academy Alice: Escuela de magia (Spanish) Học Viện Alice L'Académie Alice (French) Perguruan Alice Skolen Alice
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Nothing says heart tugging than a manga based round children being forced to be trained by the government against their will
Ahhh, we go back to a time, a simpler time, back in 2012 a time when gakuen alice was still frantically being translated by online forums. A time when my baby face at thirteen years old found the manga and fell in love.
Gakuen Alice give every younger female group the shoujo genre is based around what they want, a female protagonist round their age range. It also gives the adult audience a sweet nostalgia trip into childhood, minus all the chaos and MY THAT ONE KISS SCENE THAT WAS TOO MUCH FOR KIDS, You fellow readers know the one I am talking about, not gonna give spoilers here.
But the story starts off charming and sweet, our main female protagonist Mikan wants to be with her friend who had mysteriously been kidnapped by the government and taken to a strange school. Our stubborn and headstrong female Sana (Looking at you kodocha, which by the way, I recommend if you like this manga) decides to follow her rather "cold hearted" friend to the school of wonders, unknowingly walking into a bear trap. She finds herself in a school that defies imagination, kids having powers beyond comprehension and being filled with items that you could only dream of. And she too has a power of her own, letting her too be a part of this special school. Sounds fun and like quite the great adventure right?
The happy go lucky vibe that starts gakuen Alice is one you quickly come to realise is a mask to the various underlying dark tones to it, which become more prominent and serious as the story goes on, to the point, by the end when your heart and mind have been through a bunch of emotional turmoil , the happy days that once started this manga seem like a mere dream. Now I like my bouts of fantasy and fun happy stories, but you mix that dark mystery and undertone then your siree have my heart.
The fact is despite the start being so fun, there is always that underlying darkness in it from the very start, which has you unknowingly questioning many things through the manga. such as, why is the government going out their way to kidnap kids, why is it that certain kids arer punished and restricted in some quite harsh ways, why is it that this school has a ranking system that kind bullies the children into a hierarchy. Many questions but to answer those I would need alot of time and for baka updates to give me their blessing to create the largest review and theory post they had ever recieved. So for now let us stick to the rest of the review.
The characters are fun and diverse. Mikan is a spirited character that stands out from the rest of the shoujo adult crowd... Not so much from the shoujo child crowd, *Cough, sana from kodocha and Amane from Nekota cough* But still makes her character type diverse enough to be liked. The characters surrounding her are equally as interesting. Natsume starts off as your everyday anime edgelord, but in reality he is really just an adult in a child's body, and youngster who has been forced to mentally age beyond the rest of his peers, which to be fair is a trait that can be given to most his other peers too, however it is alot more prominent in him. This fact makes alot of the reasoning behind his actions make alot of sense, I have to commend the mangaka for her characterisation continuity. Hotaru comes off as a cold and rather heartless character, but reading on would show you she probably has the most heart out of most of the characters, however her nature is a result of a past similar to Natsume's, in the fact that she has had to mature alot quicker than the others. Other characters such as Luca, permy as I like to call her and Yu all also have their own interesting character traits, which make it so when you are reading you never think "Oh great we are only reading about this character now" which is quite a cool feat in the mangaka's hands, since it's not often I stumble across a manga where I think "Urgh, I don't want to know about this one character move on with the story". Admittedly, that did happen upon my first read of gakuen alice with Mikan's mother's backstory, but upon re-reads and me not wanting to blast through to see how my ships would go on, Mikan's mother is one of the most interesting characters in the story.
So I have spoken about the tones and characters, what else? Art? I love the art of gakuen alice. Some may argue, but to me, alot of it is done wonderfully. There were very few mistakes to find, and for a shoujo style of it's era, it was great. You have to remember that though gakuen alice only really became published online and in small countries like mine (The uk is not gracious in it's manga trades) in the later 2000's, it's manga was actually started in the early 2000's, the anime which gave a lot to behold being released in 2004. Though anime and manga is heading in a slightly more realistic direction, in the early 2000' up until 2012 really, larger eyes and the traditional anime look was still all the rage. So as somebody who came from before the 2012 era, I do have a soft spot for the style, despite it not being everyone's cup of tea (Looking at you new age fans)
The last thing we need to talk about it *Grabs spectacles and looks at list* lets se... Oh the ending...
You want me to actually talk about that? You sure...? ... really....?
Despite me re-reading gakuen alice so many times that I can recite the dialogue of the most significant chapters from the top of my head, the ending... It leaves alot to be desired... As in, you will be biting on your pillow in frustration at your many unanswered questions sort of desired. It's one of the manga's when the story is so good but then the mangaka must either feel like that it needs a sequel or are too afraid to end it in case they might offend the one fan or two so they leave it kind of unfinished. E.g, an open ending. Open endings are great, but only if you have the necessary requirements to pull one off. a big requirement in this is having enough answers towards the end to be able to dictate your own ending when that one last question is flung your way... Gakuen Alice is one of the many manga's that failed to fill this requirement. You are left with many questions left unanswered and the undying hope of a sequel to the series. Maybe that is the mangaka's plan however so far, nothing has been officially announced, in fact, the magaka herself has slightly gone under the radar, I haven't seen any new updates from her recently. She did question going back to M to N no shonzou, but that is another story.
In any case, do I reccomend Gakuen Alice, despite it's confusing ending? Yes, yes and YES! It is a must read for new comer shoujo fans and older shoujo fans alike, simply because it is one of the very few shoujo's to break the mould in it's story telling. It's interesting and has many twists, with likeable characters and engaging main plot and sub plot lines. It is an example of shoujo done right (apart from the ending) From when I was younger to an older reader who has quite a hand in the shoujo genre by this point, it is a manga that doesn't get old. And a good manga, is a timeless one. So if you find yourself looking for an interesting new manga to read, to do with kids with strange magical powers, twisted government plots and a rather sweet romance, then this is for you.
Thank you for reading the wall of text for my personal opinion, and happy reading!!
... Last updated on June 9th, 2017, 7:35am
The manga was great, still a bit messy and unorganize with the drawings, but the storyline was good. Then we get to the part after the whole elementary school principal shenanigans and the whole thing flops. I still like the manga regardless but the ending did not make a whole lot of sense to me and it definitely dragged on longer than it should. Even though it was a happy ending I didn't like it and would've expect something better.
... Last updated on May 25th, 2017, 9:05pm
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
This manga was much better than I thought it would be based on the description and the first chapter. The setting is dark and convoluted: you have innocent kids who are removed forcefully from their families and trapped within a compound, their letters to their families are burned, and some are forced to perform unscrupulous missions outside the compound to the detriment of their health. Some of the teachers care about the students (yet mostly turn a blind eye to the school's policies) while others simply use them for personal gain. Meanwhile, the students are plied with bread and circuses and given advantages and better food based on their obedience. They only have other students to depend on, so they form strong bonds that in essence keep them trapped to the school in a kind of stockholm syndrome type of way. The author does a great job at depicting this creepy atmosphere, and the innocence and gradual loss thereof of Mikan.
The romantic development between the two leads is one of my favourites of any manga as it portrays so well the way in which their conflicting personalities and experiences eventually reconcile. My favourite parts are when they're sitting in awkward silences and Mikan is feeling stifled and confused, because I don't think I've ever seen this type of experience portrayed so seriously and so well in manga before. As for the rest of the romance though, I really disliked it. You get two instances of grown men impregnating teenage girls, and two instances of a man being hopelessly in love with a female for a ridiculous period of time and then becoming a replacement when her boyfriend dies. I kept wanting to say, 'IT'S BEEN EIGHT YEARS, GET OVER IT' or 'YOU'RE ELEVEN, GET OVER IT'. But when you fall in love in this manga, you're never allowed to fall out of love NOT EVER.
There were a ton of characters, which I don't mind, but some definitely got forgotten in the later half. This may have been because their alices weren't condusive to the plot (it seems like the class rep would have been awfully useful during the fighting) or just because there were too many others to keep track of. I wanted more about the 'dangerous' class too, I felt like it could have been more interesting than it was.
I didn't mind the ending as much as many of the other reviewers did, though I didn't like the last image (because of what it implies). It was a sad ending IMO (again, because of the implication) and the manga was also pretty depressing, which is to be expected from this kind of setting. I got teary through most of the second half, probably like 50+ chapters. I'm an easy crier, but yeah, don't read this manga if you're just looking for a nice romantic comedy. There's some good comedy, but overall the story is a serious one.
NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART
It seems like there were at least 5 bad things for every good thing, the main characters were screwed the whole time, and the icing on the cake is that they were little kids. I added the Tragedy tag because for some stupid reason it wasnt there before I read it, and trust me, it shouldve been. It was great but this was like Titanic but it was the ship sinking scene put in loop. Wish i never touched it, its like the most tragic of all Tragedys. Only thing i got to say, you lookin for something thats gonna make you have tissues by you everytime you try to read it and you feel like challengin this post, please be my guest and leave your feedback please😊😉
I loved it (mainly)
So this one had a great start with great ideas and a fun plot that just takes you along and makes you laugh. However, for me who read it while it was still ongoing, it was incredibly hard to keep track of all the characters and their abilities and relationships to other characters...Overall that just made me steadily lose interest in the plot. Another point is that I found the ending and the ending arc overly dramatic and quite a drag to read, I liked Gakuen Alice for it's touching moments, funny moments and the interaction between characters which were all beautifully executed at the start. Unfortunately, near the end everything was just plain frustrating to read and the ending felt almost axed with all the things leading up to it and then bam it's over and time skip and the end... I suppose if you want to read this, be prepared to fall in love with it at first sight and then be eternally disappointed at how it ends
wonderful but went downhill.
This series started off so so wonderfully and started to go downhill a little around chapter 70~80 I think. I love dark, twisted stories, I just don't think Higuchi had the capacity for putting together the complicated interlaced past relationships of students/teachers/organizations/etc. AND at the same time manage the storyline that is happening in the present. I think Higuchi used the 'New mystery character -> Secret Past Revealed-> Surprises/Shocks -> But it isn't what they think it was! -> Make up' type of repertory way too many times, it got old after a while. Another con to that is how there were so many characters introduced using that method, I lost track of some characters and I think the author sort of.. forgot about them as well after a while when they were put in the back burner. Because of so many intertwined pasts and present shoved to the readers back and forth 24/7, the story got really messy. The ending was so terrible, I was not satisfied and it felt too quickly wrapped up and unfinished. Sometimes it was hard to understand the characters, like the things they did/said were so extreme or the complete opposite and out of character's original personalities.
Those were the things I wasn't too happy with this series, but there's a lot of good things too. I really loved the chemistry between Mikan and Natsume, I always will. They're one of my favorite couples. My favorite scenes were the 'School Festival' and 'rapunzel' scene. Individual characters had a life into them, I felt that Higuchi put interesting characteristics in everyone and that's really hard to do since there are SO many characters. It was easy to relate to them and love them. The setting and the storyline is so creative, so fresh. It's so interesting. It makes you want to read more of that. It has the lighthearted and dark element to it. I really like that it started out lighthearted and gradually mixed the dark element in, so that all types of audiences (young or mature) could enjoy. A lot of character growth, beautiful friendships.
... Last updated on August 20th, 2015, 9:30pm
The manga gets depressing later
So the manga starts off lighthearted and fun but gets darker and darker. Characters get killed off and bad things just keep happening. The ending feels only half finished, almost like there should be more chapters or a sequel series, but there isn't. I personally don't recommend reading this as it just gets too dark/depressing towards the end and finishes with a lackluster ending.
... Last updated on June 12th, 2015, 9:33pm
I feel that the author rushed the ending. The way the plot was put together could have been better but overall it was decent. It was funny but at the same time some of the stories was dragged on to create more chapters.....
Used to really love it...
To make it short, I totally agree with Childofsecrets, I used to really love this manga but it just didn't feel right for the second and last arc. It's too dark and depressing I'm not a fan of lovey-doovey innocent or typical cliche shoujo manga. I even am a fan of dark kind of stories. However, this story is just too depressing. The strength of this manga, as can be found in many manga of Tachibana's sensei, is that the plot is fun to read, funny, and the main character's bright and never-give-up personality that can get through any hardship. But at around the last arc, the stories became too dark, so much different from the plot half way before. It contains hardship, troubles, sadness, and many more (too much) dark feeling. So the manga lost its original charm. This doesn't even count the fact that all characters are just elementary school kids! ( I mean, come on, even in realistic, kids don't have so many dark n depressing things in their life)
Regardless of all said, I still recommend new readers to give this manga a try It's character, plot, and setting overall is still good to read. It just is not my top fav manga like it used to be at the beginning as when I read
I have been addicted to this series for so many years and there were times I wondered if the end would live up to my expectations. I'm hoping for an extra chapter but after the many tears in the last few volumes it was satisfying to read such a story and love its characters.