Alice 19th – Yuu Watase: Series Review

Alice 19th first ran in Shōjo Comic from 2001-2003. It was published by Viz Media in 2007, after Watase’s other works of Fushigi Yugi and Ceres, Celestial Legend had been released. A magical fantasy that occurs in a high school setting, Alice 19th emphasizes the power of words, and the danger of crushing on your sister’s beau!

Alice 19th Main Cast

T to B: Alice, Kyo, Frey, Nyozeka, Mayura

The Gist: Fifteen year old Alice Seno is overshadowed by her older sister Mayura. Her meek and timid personality make her an easy target for bullying, and she resists fighting back. She harbors a secret crush for upperclassman Kyo Wakamiya, a member of the archery club alongside her sister. When Alice is given the power of the “Lotis Words” from a white rabbit, she soon discovers how potent they are when she has a disagreement with her sister over Kyo, and Mayura disappears. Mayura becomes the vessel of darkness for the Maram Masters, the opposite of the Lotis Masters. Along with Alice, Kyo has been granted the power of a Lotis Master, and soon Frey of the Lotis Masters arrives to assist the two newbies in gaining all of the Lotis Words. In order to overcome the Maram darkness and save Mayura, Alice and Kyo must become the Neo-Masters of prophecy and discover the “Lost Word” joining both Lotis and Maram.

The Characters/Romance: I resisted this story for quite a while because I believed it to be another Lewis Carroll “Alice in Wonderland” adaptation.  Actually, the only elements taken from Carroll’s work are the name Alice and the white rabbit. Alice Seno is Watase’s original character, and the white rabbit actually transforms into a being named Nyozeka whose task it is to find the legendary Lotis Masters.

The story takes more elements from Nordic history. Watase chose to use Nordic runes as the symbols for the Lotis Words. Bacause of this, her characters like Frey and his chapter of Great Lotis Masters are from Norway.  The “19th” part of the title was confusing at first as well, but Watase explains it comes from Alice learning the 19th rune or Lotis Word first.

The relations between Alice, Kyo, and Mayura follow a cliche high school love triangle. You think it’s bad in a regular love story? Well, Watase gives Mayura some nasty dark powers. When she finds out that Kyo really likes her sister, she gets furious on their cases and Kyo gets some really dark curses for scorning her. Of course it’s obvious that Kyo and Alice are just “destined” to be together since they are the two legendary Neo-Masters of prophecy. Only their love can find the “Lost Words” of Lotis. *sigh*

Koki of Imadoki / Kyo of Alice 19th

Koki of Imadoki / Kyo of Alice 19th

The Art: The art of Alice 19th follows typical shoujo tropes of toning, and plenty of bishies. I keep complaining about Watase rehashing character designs. I think she does well when it comes to the girls, but her boys always tend to look very similar. There are a good variety of action sequences balanced with more sentimental moments. The colored pieces for this series are nice, and I especially like the wallpapers Watase made of Alice by herself or with the bunny.

The Audience: Alice 19th would be fine for teens and up. It has action, fantasy, and cuddly romance.

The Media: Alice 19th is available in North America in 7 volumes from Viz Media.

Heart of Manga Rating: ♥♥♥

A short run at 7 volumes, but an entertaining adventure!

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Super mom and teacher until the kids go to bed, then romance manga addict and writer until the caffeine wears out! Specializes in the shoujo and josei genre of manga and anime.
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