What first caught my eye with Key Princess Story: Eternal Alice Rondo was the black and white diamond pattern on the back cover. The golden filigree border and picture of an Alice-like anime girl with rabbit ears on the front furthered my interest. However, I have to say, as an avid key collector, that the title Key Princess Story sealed the deal. Story / Plot: Young Aruto Kirihara is a student who is writing an Alice story sequel. He is so in love with Alice, it’s practically all he can think about. One night as he's sitting at his desk, he sees a bunny girl fall from the sky. He follows her to a library where he learns there are a band of girls searching for the “Never-ending Alice” story. These doll-like beauties fight with giant sword keys. When the key is thrust into the middle of these girls, their story flies out in pages to be collected in a book. Eventually, the pages (they think) will lead them to the “Never-ending Alice”. Not only are they fighting against themselves, but they have a common enemy who fights with a giant match sword and attempts to burn girl pages as well as any books in sight.
Warning: Those of you buying for your young family members, this book has a 15+ warning. There are several breast shots and for such an innocent story of girls trying to find an everlasting Alice in Wonderland story, this manga has some sexual themes that are not entirely comfortable. Aruto is seduced by the rabbit girl, his teacher, and his younger sister who reminds him that they used to bathe together. In the back, there is a page on Lewis Carroll, the original author of Alice in Wonderland. It explains how the manga does not mention him because of his alleged pedophile tendencies, yet this manga tale has pedophile and incestuous themes itself. Is this a contradiction the author did not realize, or is it on purpose?
Whatever the case, I still enjoyed this tale and would read more. The art tends to be bubbly and Sailor Moonish, but the backgrounds and buildings are very detailed. The artistic feeling of the book is old English with dusty libraries, three story estates, and rooftops that would make the chimney sweeps in Mary Poppins jealous. Chibi content is average.
Extras you will find in this volume:
- Full glossy pic in front.
- Lewis Carroll info page.
- Preview of the next volume.
- Manga reader/honorific guide.