The girly but bloody otome game re-imagining of Lewis Carroll's classic fantasy novel Alice's Adventures in Wonderland with bishounen characters and added romance.
A parody of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland where Alice is smart and non-doormatlike.
In this story, Alice is not all what she seems. She is practical, strong, yet darkly cynical. Instead of the tradition story, Alice is kidnapped unwillingly by a mysterious (yet somewhat bishie-looking) man with bunny ears into a place call Heartland. Stuck in Heartland due to a trick by the mysterious bunny eared man, she meets the residents of this world. Along the way, Alice meets Blood, handsome mafia leader; Ace, the psycho yet charming knight and more... What should Alice do in such a world!?
I am a big fan of just about anything Alice in Wonderland related. I throughly enjoyed reading the Heart no Kuni no Alice magna, and was very excited to watch the movie adaptation. However, I was throughly disappointed.
There is essentially no plot whatsoever throughout the course of this film. The scenes jump quickly and offer little explanation to the events going on. There is also absolutely no character development, so if someone unfamiliar with the series were to watch, they would be utterly lost.
Also, the film wastes a lot of time on pointless scenes. For example, in the opening, they continually showed cards
turning over on themselves, or in one particular scene, characters were in an elevator for ten minutes with little to no dialogue between them. Although these scenes may have been an attempt at artistic effect, they fell flat, particularly considering the rushed nature of the film (the pointless scenes easily could have been replaced with more plot-filled ones).
The art itself was quite nice, but cheesy music and cut scenes (such as the changing from day to night) ruined this for me slightly.
Overall, I did not find the Heart no Kuni no Alice film enjoyable to watch. Although it had a lot of potential, it did not deliver.
Heart no Kuni no Alice or Alice in the Country of Hearts originally began as a
series of Otomegames, a manga and most recently the movie this rewiew covers.
As you already might or might not have guessed, the source material of the story is Lewis Carroll´s famous novel Alice´s Adventures in Wonderland, a fact which is rather unimportant as the shared points can be counted with one hand.
But now to the actual movie and be warned [SPOILERS AHEAD].
It starts out with Alice (obviously) getting thrown into wonderland, but that´s
where the flick decides that a chronological approach of telling the story is way to simple
and starts switching back and forth in the timeline via transitions that leave people who don´t know the general story already dumbfounded.
After this mess the viewer is finally given some exposition (15 MINUTES ALREADY WASTED!)Where we´re shown the most important fractions and the people behind it, well at least parts of it as THIS MOVIE DOESN´T EXPLAIN THAT 3 Of 4 FRACTIONS ARE SWORN ENEMIES AND THE 4. ( = the clocktower) IS NEUTRAL.
Furthermore manages to completely omit the relation between the cast which gets most obvious further into the flick as they then try to relate the Queen to the Hatter which is of course done badly which then RENDERS ANOTHER PART OF THE MOVIE MEANINGLESS.
But there are more issues:
As this originally was an otomegame, Alice could basically have a reversed harem, but in this movie some men outright tell her to get lost which makes her internal struggle of leaving Wonderland and staying there pointless.
At some points this flick actually manages to waste time!
The elevator sequences are way to long and, aside from some plot, just show how characters change the level they are currently on.
Somehow was the manga way better. It wasn´t that inconsistant.
[Funfact: This was supposed to be a OVA, which makes me wonder how messed up that would have been]
To sum it up:
- the visuals are okay but seem outdated
- the manga was way, way better and you should read it instead
- it is totally confusing for newcommers, (and everyone else)
+ all-star cast of Seiyuu, as you have probably heard all of them at some point
So, techniquely we have.. Alice, this Kingdom of hearts (whatever it's called –her dream world), absurdity (a lot of it) and yes a bunch of handsome men and rabbits surrounding the girl. Pretty funny for start.
Funny and crazy.. There is, I think, ONE phrase in the film that probably describes it perfectly. "This is a circus", a faceless says. A circus indeed.
If you are already familiar with the concept of Alice in Wonderland, then you already know that the story Lewis Carol fantasized, is quite ABSURD. Having read the original script and seen the
animated and live-action films featuring his story I have to admit there was not even one as close to craziness as this one..
And I thought I've seen quite a few in the anime world already.. I was probably wrong. :P
As soon as the film started I found myself wondering what the hell was going on and at the same time laughing my ass off. I was lost. xD Admittedly, the story is a lot different from the original Alice in Wonderland, staying close only to the visual novel and manga (as I learned after some research), creating a whole new story and maintaining only the Therefore, we have: Alice who seems to be perfectly sane (in comparison to the original Alice whose imagination runs wilder that it should xD), the Hatter named Bloody Dupre who is more mysterious than mad (and very hot I have to confess), the Chesire cat Boris Airey who is like a visual kei singer, quite absurd (as he has to be) and quite fond of guns. On his first appearance we see him shine and admire his Kalashnikov automatic AK- 47.
Oookay.. Imagine a little girl having to deal with that. Thank God, our Alice is not a little girl. She is old enough to deal with him. She is actually old enough to have an impact on men. What can I say... White Rabbit, Peter White, is to blame for everything. She didn't actually follow him into a hole and fell. He is the one that dragged her in?! He has an obvious likeness towards her. The moment she enters this crazy world he confesses his love for her and kisses her. (Go Usagi-san)
Following them, a bunch of other characters appear. Nightmare Gottshalk who is based on the Caterpillar and is quite the devil's advocate, the Queen of this world named Vivaldi, a beautiful woman that also has a habit of ordering the beheading of others for ridiculous reasons and Julius Monrey a clockmaker and a very charming but cynical man who is supposed to represent Time. We also have the March Hare on the game, Elliot March, the Knave of Hearts, Ace as well as Tweedle Dee and Dum who suddenly grow up at some point and then return to being youngsters. (WTF xD :P)
In general the film is pretty interesting. It gradually builds up the story and the background while the biggest question one may have is not why everything is so absurd, but who the bad guy is. Vivaldi seems to be kind deep inside since she cares for her little brother. Ace drops out of the game when he realizes he plays the ‘bad guy’ act. So.. who is the bad guy?
This answer was given to me quite unexpectedly. Who would have imagined? And what exactly does it mean? It’s probably up to us to interpret it. Following the heart. Following the mind. What path should one choose? Decide between dream and reality. A huge decision. Gottshalk sarcastically says that it’s only a choice that will determine whether Alice lives or dies. Monrey, on the other hand, advises her not to rush it, because even if she doesn’t decide on her own, life will. No matter what the real answer is, Alice is attached to a vial… Her vial. Throughout the film this seems to be an important item. An item that will help her decide if she stays or not. In the end she loses it… Or not?
What path should one choose?
What does your heart say?
We all know the original story: Alice falls into a bunny hole and finds herself in Wonderland...
There are hundreds of stories based on 'Alice in Wonderland', but from what I saw is Heart no Kuni no Alice (together with Pandora Hearts) the best. That was what I thought while reading the manga. I was pretty exited when I find out that they're making an anime-movie. But perhaps my enthusiasm caused disappointment.
Let me say this: if you didn't read the manga or didn't play the game you're not going to understand the movie. There's almost no story at all in it. You don't get to
see how Alice got to Wonderland and her relationships with other characters aren't shown. And if you didn't read the manga you it is hard to get the goal of the anime.
That is really a shame....
Because the characters are actually pretty awesome! But most of them hardly have any lines! For example Boris, Elliot and the Bloody Twins. In the manga they make me laugh all the time, but in the anime you're lucky if you see them just twice. This is really a shame. I really missed the plot and explanation in this anime.
Then why is my rating still 8?
Well...I loved to see these characters animated, especially Blood Dupre (I love him!). The art was just beautiful! The music was also pretty nice.
And actually I did enjoy this anime (even thought it was pretty chaotic). But don't expect too much from it and please read the manga before you watch the anime.
Some queens are benevolent while others are malicious and they tend to rule in the absence of a king. Even when a king is present, sometimes the queen can be the true power behind the throne. Whatever the case, any queen worth her merit is a powerful mix of beauty, power, and resolve.