I Am Alice: Body Swap in Wonderland with art by Ayumi Kanou and the story by Visualworks was first published in 2013.
It’s always been really rare for me to read any form of manga but, I bought this series because I found the concept funny and I’ve just finished reading the last book in the trilogy. Rather than just reviewing the first one I’m going to refer to all three books because it didn’t take me very long to read them. I Am Alice is one of two manga trilogies that I own (told you it was rare) and it’s very loosely based around characters from Alice In Wonderland.
The story is about a boy called Makoto who ends up in a twisted version on Wonderland but there is a mix up and he swaps bodies with Alice who comes from another world. It sounded funny when I first heard about it and the series is in some ways but I was surprised by the serious parts of the story.
When the genderswap is revealed by Alice it is met by a ‘so what’ attitude from most of the other characters and none of them are mean or derisive about the matter. Of course there’s a bit of sappy, “I love you for your heart” speeches but I could live with that. There is monsters, mercenary groups and a bit of magic in the trilogy which is good for variety in the plot but, I really kept reading because I liked the happy moments where the characters are getting along.
There are only three books in the series which was appealing (no offense, but some manga series seem to go on forever. Kudos to anyone who puts in the effort to keep up) but there are a few things I would’ve liked to see more of. For example, there are many references to some of the characters knowing each other before the events of the books but only a couple of these references are expanded on. Personally, out of curiosity, I wanted to know more about the friendship between Hatter and the White Rabbit.
There are a lot of interesting (not always morally good) characters in the story such as the Jabberwock but they become sidelined far too quickly. At this point I will point out that the ‘villains’ are generally petty, rash and willing to take advantage of Alice’s short skirt (especially in the third book). Thankfully those moments never went beyond words and malicious intent because I would’ve put the book down and never picked it up again.
I picked I Am Alice because I wanted to read something fun, a little bit cute but it needed to have some plot as well (I would’ve been more impressed with the plot if the king’s reasons for what he did were less like he was having a temper tantrum). Overall, I enjoyed reading them because they were easy to follow, the art was good and the characters were unusual.
According to the end of the book the story is continued in a totally different fashion through an online game but, I haven’t taken a look so far so I don’t know if it’s easily available or if the story reaches an official, final conclusion.
They weren’t the easiest books to get as there seemed to be a limited number available but the staff at my local bookshop were great at indulging my request to find them and I’m happy to say that the books were worth the effort in my opinion.