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Familiar Diversions

I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.

Currently reading

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Progress: 103/374 pages
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Jeff Lindsay
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Graphic Medicine Manifesto
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Alice in the Country of Clover: Bloody Twins (manga) story by QuinRose, art by Mamenosuke Fujimaru, translated by Angela Liu

Alice in the Country of Clover: Bloody Twins - Mamenosuke Fujimaru, QuinRose

Wonderland is a strange place where nothing works the way it does in our world. People have clocks for hearts, day and night happen at random, only a select few people have faces, and nearly everyone is armed to the teeth. Alice has become accustomed to it, for the most part, but she's still surprised to wake up and discover that the Country of Hearts has somehow moved and become the Country of Clover. She's relieved that the twins, Dee and Dum, are still around and as happy to spend time with her as ever, but a new ability they've acquired since moving to Clover leaves her feeling disconcerted: they can now instantly transform their kid selves into adults and back again.

Alice felt comfortable around them when they were children. Being around them when they're adults feels weird. She finds herself feeling emotions she doesn't want to, which brings her face to face with her secret fear, that the twins will find someone else they like more and abandon her.

This was similar enough to what I remembered of Alice in the Country of Clover: Twin Lovers that I initially thought I'd read it before. This is part of the reason why I write reviews - I was able to confirm that what I was remembering was a completely different volume and that, yes, their overall storylines were incredibly similar. In both volumes, Alice was embarrassed by her attraction to the twins in their adult forms and worried that they'd ask her to choose between them. If I remember right, Twin Lovers was more focused on the twins vying for Alice's affections. In Bloody Twins, the primary focus was on Alice's internal conflict and the twins were more instantly willing to share Alice.

I'm just not that wild about Dee and Dum as romantic partners for Alice. Yes, they're hot, but they're very childish, and the whole "twins in love with the same person and willing to share" thing is a bit squicky for me. Also, they're not terribly interesting as characters, either on their own or in terms of what they bring out in Alice. I can't imagine Alice choosing between them because there's nothing that sets Dee apart from Dum, aside from their hairstyles when they're in adult form.

Still, there wasn't anything really bad about this, and Fujimaru's artwork was attractive. I love the slightly metallic cover art - the colors look fabulous. Story-wise, I particularly liked the scene where Alice tried to put a stop to the twins' teasing by turning the tables and becoming the more sexually aggressive one for once (as expected, this backfired on her, although the twins' briefly flustered reactions were great).

I was somewhat disappointed and confused when I reached the last third of this volume and the story switched from Alice, Dee, and Dum to four different very short stories featuring Alice and other Wonderland characters. They weren't even all in the Country of Clover.

The first, "I Love You," was set back in the Country of Hearts and featured Alice fretting over Gowland and whether he really saw her and loved her as she was. The second, "Where Are You Going?," was back in Clover and starred Boris and Alice. Boris wanted to live together with Alice, while Alice resisted out of worry that he'd leave her if he really got to know her for who she was (Alice's fear of abandonment and worry that others wouldn't love her if they really knew her crops up a lot in the series). Of all of these shorts, this one was probably my most favorite. Boris was a sweetheart. The third, "Twilight," starred Alice and Vivaldi and was as yuri as this series ever gets, with Alice worrying about Vivaldi and feeling jealous of her king. It's too bad that there are no longer storylines devoted to an Alice x Vivaldi pairing. The fourth, "Egoism," starred Alice and Blood. Blood was his usual heavily flirty self.

All in all, the explanations about how the Country of Hearts and the Country of Clover work would make this a decent starting point for anyone wanting to try a Country of Clover title (if you're entirely new to this franchise, I highly recommend reading Yen Press's Alice in the Country of Hearts omnibus volumes first), and Dee and Dum lovers should definitely check it out, but it's not the best Country of Clover title out there.

Extras:

Four full-color pages at the start of the volume, two one-page bonus comics, an Alice in the County of Clover "fun facts" page that includes some extra info about the characters in Clover, and an 11-page preview of Young Miss Holmes. Also, the back of the volume includes a 4-panel comic.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)