Manga adapted from games rarely makes for good reading. Fortunately this is not the case with Alice in the Country of Hearts. The series adds a new spin on the Alice mythos, twisting the story motifs to better suit those of a harem comedy with pinches of darkness interspersed throughout.
Volume five finds Alice preparing to attend a ball in which all of Wonderland’s residents set aside their differences for one night. For those who haven’t kept up with the series, Wonderland is divided into different sects ruled by eccentric personalities that are each vying for Alice’s affection. During the ball, Alice once again encounters the leader of the Hatters, Blood Dupre, and soon after the Queen of Hearts, leading to the surprising revelation that Blood may have feelings for Alice.
Since the volume’s setting is mainly the ball, all of Wonderland’s residents make an appearance. The mish-mash of their off the wall personalities make for lighthearted reading though there are plenty of serious scenes involving Blood and the Queen sprinkled in to keep the volume grounded.
Alice in the Country of Hearts is an imaginative take on Lewis Caroll’s classic. While it is akin to a harem series, featuring several handsome men vying for Alice, the story does not rely on the genre’s tropes. While some like the White Rabbit want Alice out of love, others such as Blood and the Queen see her as more of an object to be won, switching up the usual formula. Still, the series is beginning to drag by this point as there hasn’t been much progression of story and Alice, rather than trying to return home appears to be content with sightseeing.