Alice 19th

My opinion of the series

Continuing my march through the letter ‘A’, today I’m looking at Alice 19th. Here’s the blurb:

Alice Seno is a seemingly shy and meek girl who always seems to be outshined by her older sister Mayura. One day, Alice has an encounter with a mysterious and magical rabbit girl, and her life is turned upside down. Alice discovers that certain words have power, and that she has the potential to be master of a set of sublimely powerful words called the Lotis Words. But power always comes with a price, and the price may turn out to be Alice's sister Mayura...

So, what exactly is this? Well, the overall concept doesn’t sound that great when I read it out. Alice and her love interest Kyo have the ability to use emotion-based magic words, and are prophesied to save the world from a great evil. Together with the help of several guides, who gradually turn up as the plot goes on, they [spoiler warning] do eventually save the world in volume 7.

But that awfully cliched framework isn’t really why Alice 19th is about.

At the beginning of the story, there’s a love triangle between sisters Alice and Mayura, and Kyo. A triangle which is all the more heart-wrenching as Alice and Mayura are very close, and Alice doesn’t have the courage to admit that she is in love with her sister’s crush.

Unfortunately for Mayura, magical powers which activate based on your own emotions were probably not the best thing to throw into this mix, and Alice accidentally banishes Mayura to a dark netherworld shortly after obtaining them.

Thus begins Alice’s journey to try and save her sister, which consists partly of emotional bonding, and partly of psychological fights which take place in people’s minds, Pysconauts-style.

The first few volumes in the series are probably the best, as they focus on problems facing Alice and are generally very closely knit.

The series loses it a little bit as it goes on, however. A few new characters come in and with them some more psychological battles which pad the story out for another couple of volumes, however as they’re not really related in any way to the initial cast or the quest to save Mayura it’s a little hard for the reader to feel involved with them.

It’s difficult to feel involved with the fights in volumes 6 and 7 either, as the cast are repeatedly put in danger but then saved via magic; a plot device which is just too cheap to be enjoyable for the reader.

So, is it good despite that? Well, yes it is. Would I recommend it? Well, anyone will probably enjoy the opening, it’s very strong. But I think only fans of shojo are going to make it through to the end, when the clever writing stops is replaced by the usual cliches of the genre.