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Manga Review: Alice in the Country of Hearts by Quinrose

Alert: Herbivores beware, rabbit discrimination! Warn your kits!

“These aren’t rabbit ears! They’re just long! I swear I am not a rabbit. I eat carrot cookies, cake, and tea. I like stuff made from carrots but I could never eat a carrot straight, so I’m obviously NOT a rabbit.”

How dare Alice, group people together based on the size of their ears! This is just one of the amusing quips in an awesome new manga series Alice in the Country of Hearts by Quinrose.

The first thing that drew me to these beautiful books was the art. Illustrated by Soumei Hoshino, the detailed display of clocks, sweets, architecture, and fashion is phenomenal.

I think any Alice lover will enjoy the new twists on our most beloved story. First, Alice is not the Alice we know. Instead of being curious and following the white rabbit, he tricks her into falling down the hole and then traps her in wonderland by force-feeding her a potion through a kiss. She finds herself in a land where everyone has a clock for a heart and they are fighting a war based on reincarnation. The characters are so detailed and interesting, I’m not even sure I can pick my favorite one.

Our favorite Mad Hatter in this book is Blood Dupre, a Mafia Don who leads The Hatters in war against the other factions. He is a gothic dandy, more interested in seducing Alice than the battle at hand. In his posse are two young boys dressed in fashionable military outfits and a non-rabbit enforcer named Elliot March. Something this author picked up on from the Lewis Carroll book, that I never thought of was the possibility of the White Rabbit and the March Hare fighting. I found this storyline beyond amusing.

Another sect of Wonderland is the Amusement Park District where Alice can enjoy all the normal sort of rides while being shuffled around the place by overly peppy park attendants. The owner of the park is Mary Gowland, an older hippie man who takes to drastic mood swings and plays the violin very badly. Gowland and Dupre are in a war because Dupre makes fun of his name, which when said in such a way, sounds like Merry Go Round. The fights between Gowland and Dupre are fun to read. Gowland can turn his violin into a gun and Dupre doesn’t even flinch when his hat gets shot off.

Boris Airay plays the part of the Cheshire cat.  A cosplay kitty boy who loves to get in scrapes. He is often found by Alice, in the woods, sometimes nude, with horrible injuries that heal when he licks them.

The Queen of Hearts is pretty much the same as in the original Alice story so far, not much is known about her yet. The caterpillar is Nightmare, a handsome, eye-patched man dressed in elegant blacks. He mainly just gives more info to Alice, explaining terms the wonderland folk use and adding a sense of foreboding as he hints at dangers unseen.

Two new characters to the Alice tale are perhaps the most interesting. Julius Monrey is in charge of the Clock Tower Plaza, a neutral zone in wonderland and the place where all clock hearts are repaired. Ace is a knight from Heart Castle that helps Julius recover the hearts when someone is killed. He seems a double agent, but can’t navigate to save his life. Not too smart, you might think he would fall prey to the Hatters, but he is a pro at sword fighting so that keeps him safe.

Even though this is a manga about the cheery, happy world of wonderland, the author keeps that sinister air about it so that you are just as curious and frightened as Alice. The most chilling part of this retelling is the connection between the shadow people and the servants with no face. I’ll let you unravel that one on your own.

I’m excited to tell you that the third book in the series is coming out on June 1st, just in time for my birthday! Volume four should release in August.

Check out these awesome books at Amazon.com.

The Stigma of Fandom

Let's face it, Speculative Fiction fandom has a stigma attached to it that no other fans base does.  Music and sports fans are celebrated, while SF fans are often ridiculed for engaging in the same activities.

Rise of Anti-intellectualism

I blame the rise of the anti-intellectual movements which began to organize in 1972, and the culture of ignorant bliss they promulgated for the stigma.  They pushed the image of a good American as a one more interested in might than dialogue.  Following the leader and the trends those leaders established were seen as more valuable than free thought.  Questions were not encouraged.

Civics classes were dropped from the curriculum in the 1970s, and science education suffered soon there after.

This new culture held instinct and feeling as a higher source of insight than rationalism and education.

Never left High School

The tension between nerds and jocks in American High Schools is a schism that has probably always been with us, but in the 1970's and '80's this conflict was moved into the popular culture through movies, music, and television.  These shows portrayed the jock as the hero and the nerd as the misfit who should be mocked and left out.

Dialogue and debate were stripped from our public dialogue, replaced by televised shouting matches.  Pop culture's development was stunted.  Adherents never matured out of the the high school mindset because there was no need.  Pop Culture lowered itself so it would remain accessible to this new class of permanent high schoolers.

The Consumer Culture

There is a financial reason to stunt the growth of Pop Culture.  The less discerning your audience is, the less expensive content is to make, the more people are likely to buy it.

Despite the pleas for better content, the financial benefit of keeping people from maturing and developing opinions is just too high to dissuade them from their present course.

Revenge of the Nerds

In the 1980's and '90's, the misfits started to fight back.  Movies like Revenge of the Nerds, The Goonies, and Mallrats became touchstones for outcasts to rally behind, but the damage had already been done.

The culture had been damaged, and fans were charactured as annoyances.  The misfits, now nothing more than the punchline of a poorly written joke, had to fend for themselves.  We orginized into tighter groups.

The Heart's Ache

Through it all, the fans persevered, because through it all, we knew something the pop culture never will.  We know what it is to find meaning.

The music, books, series, and movies we love gave us meaning.  It is different for every fan, but it is still there.  In our hearts, we know why we are in the world and what we have to do.

Kahless the Unforgettable
Image via Wikipedia

I found my meaning in the Klingons from Star Trek.  While I wouldn't say my life has been a hard on, I still had to fight for everything that I have.  I had to fight for my identity, my life, and my very mind and soul.  Through the Klingons, I learned that life is about the struggle.  It is about the fight not the outcome.

I used to cosplay as a Klingon at the conventions (when I wasn't a vampire).  I took their idea of honor, and made it my own.  It helped me to reign in my temper, and enjoy the struggles of my life.  I am a better person for rejecting the popular culture and embracing fandom.

Unlike so many that I meet, my heart doesn't ache from a lack of meaning.

Laugh if you want to

So laugh at me if you want to.  Tell me that I am taking these silly books, songs, series, and movies too seriously.  That's ok, I am used to it.  My only hope is that if my words can find their way to that one kid who is ashamed of who they are, how they see the world, and how they want to live, it is all worth it.

Fandom quite literally saved my life.  Suicide is all too common among people who don't feel like they belong.  Fandom is the only culture and community that asks so little of its members.

Do you love something so much you want to keep it with you always?  Has there ever been a song that you felt told your story so perfectly you had to love it?  Have you ever seen a show that drew you in so deeply you saw yourself in it?  Have you ever read a book that changed you, and made you better?

I feel sorry for the people who cannot answer yes to those questions, and I hope they will open their hearts and let something in.

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What Costume Will You Wear For Halloween?

Neo With Halloween fast approaching are you still looking for that knock out costume?  Rotten Tomatoes would like to help.  They put together a great costume guide on 16 different movie characters.  Each character or set of characters is set on their own page but they put a nice thumbnail navigation at the bottom of each page making this a pleasant experience.  The 16 characters to choose from are Jay & Silent Bob, Indiana Jones, Juno MacGuff, The Fox, Carrie, John Rambo, Marty Mcfly, Zohan, Nurse Joker, Neo, The Dude, Goo Yubari & the Crazy 88, Margot, & Richie Tenenbaum, The Grady Twins, and Toshio and Kayako. The guides are great and include a nice picture of the character, a huge plus when trying to get the costume right.  A list of things that you will need for the costume which is a helpful reference.  For instance if you want to dress up like Jay you would need long blonde hair.  A list of movies they appear in so if you really want to get into the character you can watch them in action and pick up their nuances taking that cosplay to the next level.  They also include a classic line which can be used to better act out the character, a nice feature but too short for best cosplay.  For instance on the Jay and Silent Bob page they include the line “Snoochie Boochies” a classic Jay line but for Bob they should have included Bob’s classic line which would be “______ *shrug*.”

Joker_Dark_Knight

Now all I have to do is decide which one to go as