This is my first Digital Manga Publishing review, I was rather surprised (and pleased) when I was asked if I wanted to join the reviewers list. Especially since at the time the only thing on my blog was my review of the manga viewers hehe.
So here we are, my first DMP review, and my second manga review!!
Alice the 101st Vol. 1
by Chigusa Kawai
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Shojo
Mondonville Music Academy attracts thousands of elite musician applicants from around the world, but only 100 students are accepted into the program each year. But this year, Alistair Lang-who has no formal music training and is unable to even read a music score-is somehow accepted into the program as the 101st student! His classmates wonder how he even made it into the program, and proceed to treat him like an outcast, calling him, “the 101st”. One day, during a violin lesson, Alistair steps up and begins to play his violin…
I was a bit confused over this volume truthfully. Initially in the email Yoko sent me she said the vast majority of the titles were yaoi, and I was told elsewhere that Doki Doki was DMP’s yaoi imprint. So I just assumed that Alice the 101st was a yaoi title. After reading it though it didn’t feel like a yaoi. Sure it has the potential, but something about the confrontation between the lead and a girl convinced me it was going to be a romance series. So I looked it up, and sure enough it’s listed as a shojo.
Either way the first volume was interesting and kept me interested.
There are several characters of note in this first volume. There’s our lead of course, his room mate, the rival, the love/bully interest, and the pervert 😀
According to the synopsis above the lead is Alistair Lang, but according to the manga itself it’s Aristide Lang.
Aristide is a good character, I liked his design, which reminded me of another character from an other series (whose name I can’t for the life of me remember). I liked his personality and the way he interacted with those around him.
His happy go lucky attitude does go through some changes over the course of the volume and they’re good changes. I loved his range of emotions which really were all across the spectrum.
He has a good well rounded feel which is essential for a lead character. And yeah it helps that he does look sort of cute 😀
Theophile Maier however didn’t really appeal to me. In fact for most of the volume his presence was really weak. I got the impression that Kawai was trying to give Aristide a character that would be both a supporting character, but also one that could grow with him.
Unfortunately he’s just weak, and could honestly have been removed with almost no impact on the story. However I do think if he’s given a stronger personality he could do well.
Richard de Diamant the supposed rival. Richard is a bit flat as far as characters go at the moment. His design is a bit rigid, but it does fit the characters personality. I won’t pretend to like him, because I don’t. Something about him makes me want to beat him to a bloody pulp (and I’m a pacifist lol).
Though I have to admit as the generic ‘bad guy’ of the series he does have potential. And while I got the impression he’ll always be Aristide’s rival, I got the impression they could also become sort of friends later on. I’ll be looking forward to seeing how their relationship progresses.
Maximillien Brant the series pervert 😀 I loved how he was introduced and nearly woke the littleun laughing at it.
Max has the potential to be a huge impact on the series for several reasons. Firstly, he’s a strong forceful personality, and secondly he’s tied to Aristide and Richard.
I do think his personality is a bit to forceful at times, he tends to be a bit smothering, and in the case of Theo this is a really bad thing. Whenever they’re around together Theo is pretty much destroyed by his overwhelming personality.
I also got the impression he knows more about what’s going on than what is revealed, which sort of makes sense when you consider the few things he does let slip this volume.
He also seems to be the force pushing the story along, giving it a nudge by revealing something or setting up characters. I think if his personality is toned down a bit he’ll be a good character.
Finally we have Clair, the cello girl. She is what I believe to be the love interest. While she isn’t in the first volume for much, I thought she was a brilliant character and would be a good match for Aristide. He’s easy going whereas she’s more structured and focused. As such they could complement each other well.
Unfortunately because she doesn’t show up much in this volume there no real ‘feel’ for her, and me calling her the love interest could be totally wrong. But the way she looks at Aristide in the later half of the volume really made me think she was the one.
The story, as far as I can tell, seems to be focusing on Aristide finding his father. He’s (apparently) a genius violin player who gets into a prestigious music school despite sucking at pretty much everything other than playing a single piece of music. That and the recommendation of a teacher.
The first volume focuses on him settling into his new life, and finding out just how little he knows, and getting hit in the face with some truths, and a cello (which I found hilarious).
The volume flows well from the outset with no sticky points. as in it didn’t get bogged down as the volume progressed.
I really liked how the story plays out because it allowed the characters to spread their wings a bit and settle into their rolls.
I was especially pleased with Aristide’s revelation to Max. It took me a bit by surprise, though I was expecting something like it, just not that particular revelation 😀
It’ll be interesting seeing how Aristide’s story plays out, as well as the larger relationships unfolding.
I liked the art initially it was clean, crisp and vibrant. The character designs were nice looking and had a good feel to them. However over the course of the volume I noticed more and more cartoony like versions of the characters. I don’t mind this style of art, but I thought it was overused and didn’t always fit the setting. Overall though I like the art, it has a good feel to it and I’m looking forward to reading the next volume when it’s released.
I was surprised to see this was released by Doki Doki, since I was under the impression that Doki Doki was a yaoi line.
Since this was read on eManga I’m not able to comment on the quality of the paper.
Translation wise I liked this release. The translation was free flowing and made sense. No engrish on even worse, hippy speech, which always makes my teeth hurt.
The editing was great, with good choice of fonts for the text and SFX’s, and good placement. As a result it was easy to read and follow without having to squint or peer.
All told I was impressed with the release
One thing to note is that there seems to have been some sort of mix up in the translation or editing. As a result the main lead has three variations of his name.
On the back cover synopsis he’s named as Alistair Lang, however when he first introduces himself in the actual manga he does so as Aristide Lang, and finally in the manga-ka’s notes he names the character as Alistide.