English Title: Alice Academy
Author: Higuchi Tachibana
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Mystery, Psychological, Romance, School Life, Shoujo, Supernatural & Tragedy
Themes: Friendship, Boarding School, First Love, Loss, Suffering, Broken Families, Magic, Special Powers & Loneliness
Format: Manga & Anime
Mikan Sakura grew up with her grandfather on the countryside of Japan. When her best friend, Hotaru, transfers to a prestigious school in Tokyo, Mikan follows her. The school is actually an elite Academy for gifted people with “Alices,” an ability that is unique depending on the individual being. Once Mikan arrives to the gates of the school, she encounters an Alice teacher named Narumi, gets enrolled due to a series of events, and is told that she possesses a rare Alice. Despite her initial view of the so-called greatness to the school, Mikan slowly discovers that beneath the grand facade of the Academy, there is a never-ending stream of lies and buried secrets. The school’s increasingly manipulative and sinister actions towards her make it a dangerous place to be. Little does Mikan know that her enrollment in Alice Academy set the gears in motion to an even greater tragedy.
I started to read this manga several years ago and just read the conclusion to this saga. This manga was quite simple at the start – A story about a girl Mikan who missed her best friend when she mysteriously moved away; however the story matured over the years as did the characters as they faced some very dark issues for 10 year olds including murder, abandonment, betrayal and corruption.
I feel that the young age of the characters and the overwhelming dark themes of the story (when it gets to it’s main plotline) are a fantastic combination as it made me as the reader not favour any particular character but instead just want to protect them all for the grim situation they were all in – as they are innocent children just looking for a place to belong.
I was so hooked on this title, it had me in stitches one minute and crying uncontrollably the next. It is truly a title that anyone could enjoy – and the love story that develops over time is definitely something that all the ladies in the audience will squeal over as it’s almost too cute.