I’m back for some more manga thoughts. This time I’ll be talking about Alice the 101st, which I’d been meaning to post about since AX ended (but couldn’t). With this here, I feel like I’m finally finishing my to-do list! （˶′◡‵˶）
So I’ve had the second volume of this series since forever ago but never touched it because I was missing the first volume. When I went to AX I bought the first volume, read it, and then just had to buy all the rest of what they had (which was up to volume 4).
I know the series is still ongoing and currently has 8 volumes (in Japan). It’s written by Chigusa Kawai and published by Shinshokan (DMP in the US). She also has another series called La Esperança, which covers some background information on one of our characters from this series.
Genre: Shoujo – Comedy – School Life – Shounen Ai
I’m not really sure when volume 5 (or if) it’ll be published since it’s been a year since volume 4 (and before that the publishing time between volume 2 and 3 was four years…). More bad news, it’s not scanlated so I can’t even look for that on the internet. Terrible news, there is no fanfiction for this, I know, devastating! （πーπ）
Onto the summary:
At the beginning of the school year there’s rumors of a mysterious 101st student accepted into Mondonville Music Academy, a famous musicians’ school that only accepts 100 students per school year. Enter Alistair Lang, the 101st student who takes everyone by surprise when he confesses he’s never had any formal training and doesn’t know the basics (can’t read music). In fact, the only things that set Alistair apart from the students around him is his uncanny ability to remember and imitate scores perfectly through sound, and his passionate personality that reflects through his music. Noticing his promise, third year honor student Victor De Corteau befriends him and pits him against the top student at Mondonville – Maximilien Brant.
Wow, I think that’s good…!
Ok, I’m going to confess that I really liked this series because I thought it was going to go in the yaoi direction and even though it’s shounen-ai, it’s not the same as full on BL pairings. So I’m kind of down in that aspect (when I saw the shoujo genre on the 4th book my dreams shattered)!
But I still think it’s a good read and I so recommend it! I know nothing about music so I’m not even sure if there’s any accuracy within the series but the characters are just so loveable! Even the ones I don’t particularly like…If I had to comment on something then I’d say that Alistair is a bit whiny at the beginning (and loud), wanting to rely on others for all his assignments (because he can’t do anything) but as the chapters go he starts to realize that he’s got to do things himself. The fourth volume especially places him in a position where he has to grow.
I also have to comment that the art isn’t what I’m used to. The side views look kind of weird because of the mouths but I ended up getting used to it and even think it’s neat now, haha
If I had to give the first 4 books (as a whole) a rating I’d say a 4/5 ☆!
**Spoilers begin here!**
So this book has been teasing me since the first volume where Victor believes Alistair is a girl but then he confirms that he’s indeed a he! Their interaction actually continues at school when Alistair points him out at the opening ceremonies (?) and then it gets crazy. Victor is actually the guy who gives Alistair his nickname of ‘Alice,’ which Alistair had since he was a child but that Victor established at school. There was just so much cute stuff happening and Victor even jumped Alice once when they woke up after a sleepover! And then it’s like no, this isn’t a yaoi…
But let me let go of that for now!
I’ve actually half-watched Your Lie in April and now I kind of want to see what this would be like as an anime because I really want to hear the songs (which I could technically lookup since they’ve named them but still).
There’s actually a variety of characters that I really like. For one, there’s Alice who is extremely hyper and runs all over the place. He hates to study and complains about the amount of work he has to do but then you see his cuter side where he plays for fun and does so for hours! I’m glad for volume 4 though, which is where Alice begins to ‘mature’ and even his to-be-rival seems to acknowledge him then.
Another character that I really like is Alice’s roommate, Theophile Maier (Theo) who I initially felt iffy about. He’s kind of your timid character, the bottom of the food chain, and I was like, hmmm. He’s constantly bullied by the antagonist of the story (Richard De Diamant) and sometimes I just feel for him. I mean, nobody should be bullied (Richard accuses Theo of bribing the school, thinking he was the 101st student)! Luckily we also get some character development when winter break comes along and Theo has to finally man up and perform for an audience again. With Theo what interests me the most is the pressure he receives from his father (who has a rivalry going with Richard’s dad), which makes him doubt his love for the violin.
However, even with all of these characters (there’s actually more but I’ll only mention these for now), there is a duo I am really interested in, Victor and Max. So early on Victor mentions that he wants Alice to improve and to stir something in Max, and thus he pits Alice against Max as rivals. The only reason I see Alice agreeing to this ‘crazy idea’ is that Vic promises to help Alice find ‘Margo,’ a famous violin that a lot of people don’t really know about (and Alice mysteriously does, oooooh).
Of course, that promise is also muddled with possibilities of being expelled since Alice and Vic sneak into the museum that Margo is usually found in (only for it to be gone!). Victor is interesting to me because he’s so nice to everyone and that makes me think he’s got ulterior motives. We see some of that evil directed at Alice when he threatens to tattle.
But then there’s this thing with Vic once being a violin player and now playing the viola (which I believe they say is an instrument that accompanies). Victor claims that he prefers the viola and that it’s way cooler, but there’s a part of me that doesn’t believe it. At moments we see Vic have this hopeless expression and I wonder if his sudden change in instrument has something to do with a previous defeat? A kind of complex? Probably having to do with Max, whose relationship with Vic I’m not really understanding yet.
There’s tension in the air when those two are together!
On multiple occasions the two have crossed paths (especially after Alice became a common acquaintance), and just seeing the friendly Vic turning cool and collected is kind of worrying. Even Max who is usually a clutz and daydreamer turns emotionless in seconds! I get the feeling that Vic is making Alice do something he couldn’t accomplish (which could totally be off the mark but yeah).
But yes! I’m really interested in where this rivalry is going. There’s a part where Alice ‘defies’ Vic in a way I really didn’t expect (thanks to the advice of his cello-girl friend) so I’m curious, wondering if he’s actually going to go with this ‘beat Max at the violin and make him feel fear’ plan that Vic has. Especially considering that Alice is getting to know Max as a teacher and friend.
Apart from this bigger issue, the series also has little romantic subplots woven in, such as how Theo likes Cello-girl and how Cello-girl likes her older brother’s ex-boyfriend (and how he only sees her as a little sister). The way Richard falls in love with a mysterious girl only to find out it’s Alice (HAHAHA). The way Richard’s older brother is a snob and looks down on George (the MC in La Esperança), and how Theo’s family was once connected to Richard’s (romance stuff).