For Mikan, there was no better friend than Hotaru (though Hotaru sometimes seems to have other sentiments). They often played together. But Hotaru is a very special child, and she agrees to go to a school in Tokyo which the government reserved only for geniuses. This left a very lonely Mikan at home. When Hotaru fails to keep her promise and come home for holidays, her young friend is very disappointed and rather angry. But upon overhearing a conversation between Hotaru's mother and a teacher, Mikan realizes that her friend's reasons for leaving might not have been what they seemed. So Mikan takes it upon herself to run away and go to Hotaru's school. There she discovers the so-called "genius academy" is actually a school for people gifted with special powers called "alices." Her friend Hotaru is one of these, and after a chance encounter with a teacher, Mikan suddenly finds herself enrolled. Finally, the two friends are reunited, but is Mikan actually one of those so-called Alices?
Friendship is a powerful thing between children, never question it. Promising each others loyalty for the rest of their lives, and doing naive things to protect yet prove the undying love between friends. To be blessed with strong bonds between someone to last a life time is so rare and scarce, it's the truly wonderful element about this manga.
I first encountered Gakuen Alice as an anime. The anime itself was cute, refreshing and sweet which had me yearning for more. I didn't end up reading the manga until a few years later, which I'm pretty glad I did. The manga was a huge contrast to
the anime, it was more dark and had a lot of mature themes within that you couldn't be sure you were reading the same story. The story divulged more into each main character's story, revealing secrets and hidden back story about the school and the people that run it. The mature elements for a supposedly children's manga really made the series such an original one itself, implementing multiple elements and to create a masterpiece of a manga, one that anyone could enjoy really amazes me.
The art itself was plausible, nothing was out of the ordinary. The way it was drawn really helped with the flow of the story rather than stuttering and hindering the story.
Character development within the story is a huge factor as well and well executed as well, you witness characters changing good to bad, apathetic to empathetic and children growing up faster than they really should.
I thoroughly enjoyed this manga which had me wanting for more, I genuinely expected the longer version of the sweet shoujo anime I saw a few years ago, only to be introduced to more of a intricate written story which surpassed my original expectations, the only criticism I have is the rushed and loose ending it had. Overall, it was a fantastic read which had the perfect balance of love, family, hope, power and most importantly, friendship.
At any given point in our lives, there is probably a moment when each of us might think think, "It would be awesome to have superhuman abilities"- or something to that effect. Indeed, everywhere we look, in media, books, music, that wish is reflected- But what might it be like if humans really had special powers?
Often, when people look at something they want, they tend to look only at the positives; "Superpowers? Sure!!" was the way my mind worked before reading Gakuen Alice. But when a person has more, more is required of them… and what if what was given was unwanted?
So starts the story
of Gakuen Alice; an institute set up specifically for kids with special talents, called “Alices”. The possibilities seem endless- teleportation is a common ability. Shadow-charming, mind reading, predicting the future, hallucinations, and flying… are no longer distant dreams. At a glimpse, Gakuen Alice is heaven; what could a kid want more than to spend time with other supernaturals, away from nagging parents and the stress of the outside world?
Yet… as the story progresses, we learn that things are not so simple; beneath the mask of an academy set up for kids who are deemed “special” lurks a shadow.
Though many students who pass through the gates of Gakuen Alice never have any reason to encounter this dark reality, those who do cross paths with it are thrust into a life of unimaginable suffering and terrors. Once inside the shadow, one cannot escape; age does not matter. Young, old... even those who have long since left behind the gates are bound to the Academy, and for one reason only; having seen the academy’s true side, and for their individual talents.
Our main character Sakura Mikan enters the Academy through a set of special circumstances… and they certainly can’t all be by coincidence. As the gears of fate move on, Mikan begins to learn that life really isn’t all “good”. The world of the Alices is a tough world to live in, and as Mikan begins to learn of her past, she realizes further that things are never as they appear- and suddenly, superpowers don’t appear so super anymore.
Yet, in the midst of the darkness and pain brought onto Mikan and her friends, they learn that there are two sides to every coin. As they go through adventures and misadventures together, they learn priceless lessons on love, hope, trust, and above all, “kizuna” (bond). Through these bonds and relationships, Mikan and her friends are able to get through even when the odds come crashing down on them.
Personally, I was amazed at all the twists and turns in what I simply thought of as a school comedy for children. Gakuen Alice is much more, a true masterpiece that will remain in readers' hearts for generations. The tears, laughter, love, and a whirlwind of emotions come right at the reader through the pages of the story. Gakuen Alice is a story to be enjoyed by readers all over the world through the years.
"I haven't love so much a girl until I met you" - Luca/Ruka Nōgi
"I don't like that ugly face, so smile" - Hotaru Imai
This manga was the reason I started with anime & related stuff.
I stopped reading it because in Spain they only released until the volume 20 :(
And now, being nostalgic, I finished the anime and right after, reading it.
I'll try not to make spoilers ~
It starts really simple, Mikan (the main character) only wants to follow her best friend (Hotaru) that leaves from her town to go to an elite academy and discovers that if she wants to
assist the same school as Hotaru she needs to have an "alice" (special power) like her.
However, there's much more behind this. The teachers, the students and even the academy itself has a big secret and darkness inside.
Between the arcs they are very much plot points that'll make you surprise, sad or any other emotion. And Mikan's past/ future story (well, all character in general) has an emotive development until the end. I'm sure that if you aren't a non-sensitive person, you will feel one with the story.
What I kind of dislike a bit is that it's an open plot, the end makes you feel that there is more, but it isn't.
The art is simple, too. I've seen very bad drawings in other anime/manga, but this one is quite nice. I must admit that the facial expressions and actions in general are perfectly drawn, you really get to know how the characters are feeling. And like they said before, every detail in the background is well drawn (for examples in the Christmas event or sport festival), too.
... Sorry but the character design are not my taste in general --- okay, when I discovered it for the first time I found it awesome~ how obvious was that I never saw other drawings :D
Character and development: 10/10
And this one is very obvious. The four main characters (Mikan, Hotaru, Natsume and Luca-pyon), each of them has their own story. Not only these four, every single character that appears has a function there. They're people who at first you will hate but, at the final arc, you will love them.
I don't wanna say so much about this because spoilers, I can only say that Tachibana did a great job with the development of every character.
I laughed, cried, was angry when things doesn't go well.
This anime starts with a lot of comedy, although when the story goes on, comedy is less, but it's still there. The more I continued reading, the most I wanted to read more, I've finished it in three days I think, lol.
Still, I enjoyed it so much, every arc was interesting and a clue to the final arc.
If it wouldn't be because of the art and the final, I'm sure it'd be a masterpiece.
I really recommend to read this, the anime is too short compared how much deeper it is.
Note: This is my first review, I hope I've done it clear and well ;-;
The ending, however, left me feeling empty and unsatisfied.
But besides that, this manga will make you feel happy, sad, etc.. it's that good.
The characters are lovable. The development, just everything, is amazing. Also Mikan and Natsume are so kawaii lol. This manga could have you reading it over and over again and still manage to make you experience the same feels.
It manages to teach you life lessons. It points out important factors in life; friendship, death, love, etc. I love this manga so much..
If you're feeling decisive on reading this or not, give it a shot. Don't let anything
stop you, because trust me, you're missing out on an amazing manga. It's too good that I honestly can't even put it in words.