Alice the 101st (Manga)

Title: Alice the 101st 1 and 2
Author/Artist: Chigusa Kawaii
Publisher: DMP
Rating 16+ (YA)
Buy it: (2 issues for $8.99)

Chigusa Kawaii's second series Alice the 101st  is a shoot off of much beloved (by me) La Esperança.  What does this mean?

  • Well, lots of her signature wind-blown art. (Where does that wind come from? Aren't they in a room?) 
  • Lots of  sweet-faced school boys dealing with strange new feelings. 
  • Music. 
  • Elaborate backgrounds and bustling city scenes.
  • Discussions about the future. 
  • Crippling self-doubt.
  • Daddy issues. 
  • Guest appearances by Georges Saphir. 
  • One tiny, miniscule glimpse of Robert Jade. 

Aristide Lang (who would like to be called Aristo, but is instead dubbed Alice) is a new violin student at Mondonvielle Music school. Mononvielle only allows in 100 students a year, yet for some reason they bent the rules and accepted Alice as the 101st. Rumors fly around the school, because apparently school boys are vindictive gossips, and although it is first suspected that Alice got in thank to "connections" his classmates soon realize that this oddly talented, barely taught, country-rough, violinist not only has a strange skill, but that his father was an acclaimed violinist who attended Mondonvielle as (duh-duh-daaaah) a 101st student. Alice is out of his element, his roommate Theo thinks he's embarrassing because he plays by ear and can't read music, he's being pursued by an overly optimistic upperclassman named Vick, and he's being harassed by the substitute violin teacher who thinks he's a waste of time. To top it all off the second seat violinist, whom Alice calls Blondie Diamante (I forget his real name, and I like Alice's nickname for him) is a douche bag snob with an out-of control ego who has it out for Alice.

I like Alice. I think he's cute and sweet and adamant. He's playing for love and to get closer to his deceased father who was a virtuoso named Claude Savatier. How can I not like him? He's a diamond in the rough. A kid with talent and heart, who may not be the smartest cookie in the jar, but is still pretty tasty. He is attending Mondonvielle to "meet" his father. The museum in the school houses his father's violin, the "Margo." And in order to gain access to it, and actually play it, he must become one of the best in the school, a rival to oddly sweet, oblivious, and totally weird first seat violinist Maximillian.

This is a good start to a lighter story from Chigusa Kawaii, and I enjoyed the first two volumes. They don't have the same torturous emotional impact as La Esperanca, but very little does. I like that she decided not to compete with the earlier work and instead took it in a different, far more humorous direction. It was a good choice, and it will keep me reading on into later volumes. Another thing that will keep me reading on is the hopes of seeing a bit more of Georges and Robert.

Like this:
Right there under the "Vick!" is Robert. It's a small panel , but I don't care.
Georges had a recital and Robert was there.

It's cute instead of soul-crushing, but sometimes we all need some levity. I look forward to more of Chigusa Kawaii's work, and think this second series of hers is off to a good start.


The Moon in Autumn said...

So when is volume three coming out?! : ) I'm glad you liked it as much as I did, and I hope others give it a chance and make sure more volumes come our way.

Dr. M said...

@ Moon in Autumn. I don't have a estimated arrival time on volume 3.
Maybe I can send an email and ask if anyone has a heads up at DMP. I'll let you know what I find out.

The Moon in Autumn said...

That would be awesome, M! There are a few series like this one (and In the Walnut and Otodama) where the wait seems very long, and I'm just hoping a next volume will come. :)

Dr. M said...

@Moon in Autumn,
I've been looking for an answer about volume 3 and I have none. Sorry for the delay, I really hope they keep this series going. And I hope to see more Robert and Georges (even if it is the background).

The Moon in Autumn said...

Agreed 101%! Thanks for your tenacity. : )

The Moon in Autumn said...

Volume 3 on RightStuf! January 13th! Oh, joy!