Alice in the Country of Hearts, Vol. 1-2
written by QuinRose
illustrated by Hoshino Soumei
Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland has remained popular for more than 150 years. It’s had movies, picture books, and even video games all based on it. So why not a manga version?
Alice in the Country of Hearts opens with a dream, of course. Alice has fallen asleep outside and dreams of a mysterious man who warns her about games. She wakes up when her sister calls her name and the two girls talk for a while. Alice’s age isn’t given, but she appears to be a teenager, not a very young girl. Her older sister is describing a book she has that sounds like Alice in Wonderland itself, and then Alice drifts back off to sleep.
This time she dreams about being visited by a garbed rabbit with a watch. The rabbit turns into a human—though he still has his rabbit ears—and spirits her off to Wonderland.
Alice in the Country of Hearts is not a direct retelling of the Wonderland story in manga form. It’s inspired by Lewis Carroll’s works. In other words, while having a standing point in the main story idea and characters, this manga has many creative differences. The plot line is also not exactly the same. In this version, the white rabbit forces Alice to drink an elixir that makes her part of the “game,” which is surely the game first alluded to at the beginning. Until she finishes the game, she can’t leave Wonderland. But what is this game and what are the rules? War is going on in Wonderland, with guns materializing out of thin air, and inhabitants being killed. This doesn’t appear to be a safe place to live.
Characters like the Queen of Hearts and the Mad Hatter are here, only to be spun as somewhat new creations by Soumei Hoshino and QuinRose. Characters keep falling in love with Alice, who herself has pined after a man she wants. Interestingly, one of the men in Wonderland looks suspiciously like him. Coincidence? Whatever it is, Alice wants out of this dream and back to her own reality.
So while this isn’t exactly a Cliff’s Notes version of Alice in Wonderland, it might get readers interested in the original if they haven’t already read it. In some ways, this is a more mature Alice than the original, in the sense that is has gun violence and bawdy jokes. This series has already shown itself to be strong in sales, revealing a new chapter to Alice Liddell.-- Danica Davidson