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Alice 19th
Synopsis | Review

Yet another one of Watase Yu's creations, Alice 19th is a personal favorite. If you liked Yuuhi in Ayashi no Ceres and wished he and Aya ended up together, then this is definitely for you :D

This manga had a mascot that actually broke the Tama-Poplar-Chichiri mold *gasp* A rabbit named Nyozeka harassed Alice all the time for not being gutsier. Her personality was already adorable to begin with (okay, she adorably harasses Alice), but she looked adorable to boot. Her true form would be a cross between a little girl and a rabbit, resulting in a cute little girl with long hair, long ears, paws, and a cute little rabbit face. Very kawaii. Sure, she's kind of weird when you think about it, but kawaii.

Synopsis
Seno Alice was perfectly content with text messages and living a quiet life in the shadow of her older sister, Mayura. Sometimes she would get tormented by other people, but she was so nice and sweet and patient that she would come off as a doormat. This was definitely something that Mayura wouldn't stand for. Unlike her younger sister, Mayura was more outgoing and more outspoken. She was in the archery club and was known as one of the school beauties. She was also close friends with the school hottie, Kyou.

One morning, Alice found a rabbit in the middle of a busy intersection. She decided to make a run for it and save the rabbit. Just as she was doing so, a car came speeding towards them. The next thing Alice knew, she found herself lying by the side of the street underneath Kyou-senpai. Apparently, he had lunged forward and shoved her to safety. Alice was abashed at this. She never admitted it to anyone, but she had a big crush on Kyou-senpai. He stayed with her and the rabbit, but suddenly, the rabbit bounded off and disappeared.

The following day was Kyou's birthday. When Alice ran into him at school, he told her that he had been looking for the rabbit all night for her. This raised her hopes, and she tried to tell him how she felt about him then and there. Unfortunately, she started faltering, during which Mayura appeared. While Alice was beating a hasty retreat, she heard Mayura present a gift to Kyou and tell him that she had feelings for him! This plummeted Alice into the pits of despair. She was so close!

Just as Alice was mentally kicking herself, the rabbit fromo the other day appeared, this time in form of a girl who looked like a rabbit. Her name was Nyozeka, and she proceeded to call Alice a Lotis Master. And berate her for not being gutsy enough to say what she felt.

Later that evening, Mayura shared to Alice that Kyou had not given her an answer yet. Nyozeka decided to take matters in her own paws by running away. Alice frantically looked for her and eventually found her with Kyou, who was actually still looking for that rabbit they found the day before. Soon, the three of them were in Kyou's family restaurant. Alice decided to give it a try again and tried to tell him what she felt. And again, she started fumbling around and began talking about courage. In the middle of it, her phone rang. It was Mayura, looking for her. Kyou then asked to speak to Mayura and told her that yes, he would go out with her. Then he thanked Alice for giving him the courage to accept Mayura. Strike two!

So Alice decided to get over Kyou because he was now her sister's boyfriend. But one day, she and Mayura got into a fight. In her anger, Alice said she wished her sister would go away. And suddenly, Mayura disappeared. This was when Alice truly realized what Nyozeka meant about being a Lotis Master. Her words actually had the power to banish her sister to another world.

Thus Alice's quest to get her sister back began. In the process, Kyou realized he was a Lotis Master also and joined Alice to save Mayura. They were soon joined by a fourth, and more experienced, Lotis Master named Frei. Together, they forged into the darkness of people's hearts to battle evil and restore good. And in-between, Alice had to put up with Nyozeka's harassments, fight off her attraction to Kyou, and avoid Frei's advances.

Review
Like I said before, this manga is a personal favorite. One of those titles where everybody and everything in it is cute. Alice looks like a younger Aya with short hair and bangs. Though she looks like a little girl, she grows on you (hmm, no pun intended over there). Naturally, she's kawaii. And of course, Nyozeka's kawaii. And Kyou's a total bishounen. Definitely one of the cutest manga characters out there. He was the perfect gentleman and was always nice towards Alice. This was a nice change from goofy heroes who would initially have a love-hate relationship with the heroines. The I-can't-be-with-you relationship is a variant of this. Actually, this story had it the other way around. For the most part, Kyou was sweet, serious, and affectionate *sigh* And Frei's actually hot too, in an irreverent, devil-may-care way. Never thought a guy could get away with pigtails, but he showed it was possible. Rather, Watase showed it was possible.

Yep, Alice 19th simply overflows with cuteness. Their school uniforms are cute. Their Lotis Master sashes (or whatever they're called) are cute too. Even Mayura's cute. She resembles Chidori with her wavy hair. Guess she's supposed to be cute. After all, she's the perfect older sister.

Alice 19th is definitely more lighthearted than Ayashi no Ceres (oh, a far cry) but a little more intense than Imadoki. Mayura just kept on getting worse, and Alice had to confront her inner fears. Literally. She and her posse had to go into the Seno household's dark, alternate dimension. There was a considerable number of battles throughout the story. Oh yes, and a curse was placed on Kyou. By the way, the 19th in the title refers to the 19th Lotis word, which is courage. It was the first word Alice learned as a Lotis Master. It was also the one that helped her try and tell Kyou what she felt. The whole thing with the Lotis words was actually kind of weird, but since Kyou's so hot, I'm willing to let it slide.

This manga was already licensed by Viz Communications, which started releasing them in English. Slowly. Very slowly. Yet another one of those titles that I knew I shouldn't have started reading until all its volumes are available. And yes, I would check Amazon.com everyday to see if they decided to release the upcoming volumes at that very second instead of two months into the future as listed *checks Amazon.com again. Just in case*

I highly recommend this manga. 'Nuff said.

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