Monday, February 1, 2021

Manga Review: Imawa No Kuni No Alice (Alice In Borderlands)

Title: Imawa No Kuni No Alice (Alice in Borderlands) 
Author: Haro Aso 
Volumes: 18
Chapters: 87
Status: Completed 
Tags: Action, Shonen, Horror 


"To be released from the dull routine, escapism, 8th grade disease, peter pan syndrome, it doesn't matter what you call it...It doesn't mater where. Have you ever wanted to go somewhere else? An unknown place" 

And so begins the story of Arisu Ryouhei who, while hanging out with his friends Chota and Karube, notices a flash of light that transports him into the "borderlands." A barren land whose citizens are forced into life or death games based on strength, brains and just a pinch of luck. 

Wdebo's Review: As I have noted numerous times before on this blog I am a sucker for the a good horror story so when I saw the Alice in Borderlands Netflix series I voraciously engulfed it in a few days. Unfortunately, the series ended on a large cliff ending. However, as an impatient person who noticed there was a completed manga it was based on, I knew I had to finish the manga to fill in all of the holes from the show. 

For those (like me) who were scouring the internet trying to figure out where to start in the manga after finishing the Netflix series, I would highly suggest just starting from the first chapter. There are some scenes that are shown in the show as well as many series of events, character utilization and games that are different so you would just get the best understanding of the story by starting from the very beginning. 

I love a good survival game story which we can just blame on my old Battle Royale obsession. Alice in Borderlands thoroughly fulfills that quota. It presents many games and deaths which is sometimes all you need to read after a long hard day of work. I loved the set up of every single game. There were so many loopholes and twists to guess and work out strategies for. Arisu's logic thorough every game was very interesting to see laid out and I just throughly enjoyed reading how he figures out all of the games. 

The characters are interesting as well. You really start cheering for all of them. Additionally, certain situations really surprised me when I realized how expendable some of the characters were. I definitely thought some people would not have been killed off that quickly. 

I also feel like the story helped to tie up all of its strings with a very satisfying conclusion. 

All in all, a highly enjoyable manga for those who love a good survival game story with highly colorful characters to both hate and cheer on. 

Grade: A-

Wdebo :) 

Book Review: Once And For All By: Sarah Dessen

"It was like I'd waited all my life to have something like this, and I knew even then, at the start, that it would be hard, so hard to lose. The big stuff always is" (93)

Book Title: Once and For All 
Author: Sarah Dessen
Amount of Pages: 357
Release Date: June 6, 2017 
Publisher: Penguin 
From: Bought 
I was not paid for this review

Summary (From the back of the book): Louna has seen every sort of wedding, from informal on the beach to elegant in historic mansions, all because of her mother's wedding planning business. And working these events every summer means she has also seen every kind of outcome to that "perfect" day.

Maybe that's why she's deeply cynical about happily ever after endings. Or is there something else that has caused her to lock away her heart? When handsome, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose enters her life, Louna doesn't want to take him seriously. He is sure he can change; Louna is betting that he can't. But Ambrose knows that Louna is the girl he's always been waiting for-the question is, can he convince her to feel the same? 

Wdebo's Review: I, like many others in this community, grew up reading Sarah Dessen novels and falling in love with the simple, sweet love stories they present. Once and For All is no different. 

The story's structure runs as a typical romance YA novel with hints of previous trauma from a lost relationship hurt in a topical way. Due to what happened to her, it is understandable why Louna struggles to open herself up to another relationship and I enjoy seeing her growth into accepting more love from those around her. However, the way the topic was handled only seemed to scratch the surface. There was a lot of potential for it to be deeper but it just never reached it yet. However, since this novel is more about Louna and Ambrose's connection it makes sense that it was only surface level but it would have added much more depth to the story. 

Additionally, it may just be because I am older now and have been on way more first dates to count but the concept of having a player fall head over heels in love with you is just too unbelievable. However, maybe to enjoy the story more I just needed to tap into my innocent romantic high school side and not read it from my slightly jaded adult point of view. Heh 

Cafe Cover Chit Chat: Aww cute cover that really ties the wedding theme together (B+) 

All in all, a sweet, cheesy story. Another Sarah Dessen novel to check out if you're a fan of her work. 

Grade: B

Wdebo :)