Reviewby Rebecca Silverman,
Alice in the Country of Hearts: My Fanatic Rabbit
Alice is torn between wanting to return to her own world and wanting to stay in Wonderland with Elliot. She may have feelings for the March Hare, but the everyday violence of life in Wonderland really bothers her. Can true love triumph over cultural differences and a tortured past?
QuinRose's Alice franchise would appear to have a firm hold on English-speaking soil. In this version of the original game/manga series, Alice is living at the Hatter mansion and falling in love with Elliot, the March Hare. While Alice in the Country of Hearts: My Fanatic Rabbit is much more of a simple alternate universe spin on the original series than the other spin-offs, it does still manage to provide a little new information that is unique to Elliot March's storyline, and people with a vested interest in learning as much as they can about the story will be interested in this second and final volume. Fortunately it is better than the first, mostly because it does not rehash the original six volume series. Whereas the first book spent most of its time reminding us what was going on in general, this volume actually focuses on the outcome of Alice's romance with Elliot and some of the obstacles that block its path.
The heart of this volume, and arguably the Elliot storyline, is his past with Julius the Clockmaker. While I do not want to give away just what that is, its discovery is the pivotal moment in Elliot's character development and provides some insight into Blood Dupre as well. For Alice the most important moment is when she realizes that the denizens of Wonderland have clocks for hearts, something nicely emphasized by her listening to Elliot's heartbeat in a later scene and hearing “tick tock.” This discovery bothers her almost as much as the wanton violence of life in Wonderland and is one of the major motivating factors in her drive to return home. Nightmare, here stuck in the realm of dreams, proves a wily character in understanding this and using it to fulfill his purposes, making him one of the more interesting players in the volume.
Unfortunately this book also has one of the more disturbing scenes in the series, and possibly in the franchise to date, although that may be overstating the case. After Alice unwittingly upsets Elliot by being friends with Julius, Elliot seeks to “make her his” in the most primeval way possible – he tries to force himself on her. That he does stop when she stands up for herself is great, but what is troubling is the way that Alice then proceeds to blame herself for Elliot's actions: essentially she says that it is her fault that he tried to rape her because she made him mad. Given the circumstances and her total ignorance of his past, this is dangerous ground to tread upon and it certainly is troubling to the reader, no matter how sweet and romantic the series' ending might be.
Artist Delico Psyche is still the weakest to work within the Alice franchise, but she shows some definite improvement with this volume. Her Alice is much sweeter of face and perhaps a little shorter than some other renditions of the character, and her Elliot looks amusingly childish in places. Feet are still blocky and proportions still off, but she has clearly gotten a grip on things and overall the art in the book makes for much more pleasant reading than previously, even if her characters make the rabbit ears look especially silly.
Since this series has a different English adapter, Peter White does not speak in rhyme, but otherwise things are smooth and read easily. It is worth mentioning for all of the language people out there that the volume correctly uses “bunnies” to refer to baby rabbits, which is frankly not something you see all that often. There are no color pages or translation notes, but by and large the book looks quite good.
If you are a completeist or would have played every single storyline out in the original game, My Fanatic Rabbit is likely already on your to-read list. Otherwise your enjoyment of this will depend on how much you like Elliot as a character. While it does give us some small bits of new information, by and large it is best classified as an alternate ending for the first series and isn't the best the Alice franchise has to offer. It's fun enough and has its sweet moments, but with some disturbing elements and art that isn't as good as the other iterations of the mother series, people who aren't hugely invested in QuinRose' reimagined Alice can probably leave this one alone.
Overall : C
Story : C
Art : C
+ Some new information about Elliot, he makes some adorable faces. Parts are quite sweet.
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