I've been doing Manga Mondays every week since I started my blog 2 and a half years ago. It's always been a personal feature, but now I'm going to try turning it into a meme. There are quite a few people who do Manga Mondays. I don't claim by any means that I owned or created the idea of Manga Mondays - it's an obvious choice given the alliteration. I think a meme would be a good way for everyone to publicize their own Manga Mondays and get a little more publicity.
The linky will be below my review.
Alice 19th vol. 1 by Yu Watase
Alice Seno seems like a normal girl in high school. She's a bit shy, she has a crush on a boy name Kyo, and she has a pretty older sister, Mayura, who is more popular than she is - especially with Kyou. Pretty normal stuff, until one day when, walking down the street, Alice hears strange voices instructing her to save a rabbit from being run over by a car. Alice's brave act almost costs her life, but the handsome Kyo saves her. Meanwhile, it seems the rabbit is no ordinary bunny, but a magical entity with great powers. Before she can figure out what's going on, the rabbit vanishes, only to reappear as a beam of light with a strange message just for Alice. (courtesy of Goodreads)
*Warning: Potential spoilers. My manga reviews tend to be more of a summary than a review. I find it hard to review manga in the same way I do regular books.
I approached Alice 19th mostly blind. I've read a few good reviews of the series, but really knew very little. I was definitely impressed with the first volume. In one sentence, I would summarize the volume and perhaps the whole series (I don't know yet) as one about a girl trying to find her voice framed around a stereotypically shojo silliness.
Alice is a nice girl. I use that bland term, because she comes off as bland to other people. She's so afraid of being hurt or hurting others that she lives to please. She's a wallflower who smiles through life's troubles to avoid getting hit in the face. Poor Alice has a lot of deep-seated resentment towards her pretty, popular, perfect, peppy older sister who gets everything...even the guy Alice is in love with.
Along comes a magical bunny who gives Alice immense power. Bunny tells Alice that she's strong, she's special, that she needs to stick up for herself. It's somewhat ridiculous notion, but it allows the more serious subtext of the volume to come through. Alice begins to find herself in this volume and I assume will do so even more as the volumes to come. Unfortunately, finding her voice comes with some major bumps in the road as we quickly discover.
Another thing I really liked about this volume was the sidebars by the mangaka (the author). They were substantive columns about human nature and the development of the story. A lot more interesting than the typical mangaka sidebars which consist of the author telling everyone what horrible drawers and writers they are and apologizing to the readers for torturing them. The obsession with modesty is a very Japanese girl thing to do, I think, but in my Western mind people tend to go overboard.