Alice in the Country of Clover: Bloody Twins

By Quin Rose and Mamenosuke Fujimaru, based on the game by Quin Rose. Released in Japan as “Clover no Kuni no Alice – Bloody Twins” by Ichijinsha, serialized in the magazine Comic Zero-Sum. Released in North America by Seven Seas.

I never did finish Alice in the Country of Hearts, for obvious reasons. Hopefully that will be remedied later this month by Yen Press. That said, it sold pretty well, so I was not surprised that various spinoffs were licensed. There’s certainly twenty million or so of them coming out in Japan right now. This first volume is complete in one, and focuses on the two cute twins, Tweedledee and Tweedledum. The manga (based on the game once more) posits that Alice did not choose a boyfriend in the “Hearts” game, so instead of a love via “passion” it goes for a love via “friendship.”

Unfortunately, there are a few problems with this approach. First of all, the Dee & Dum story takes up barely half the book, so it’s padded out with a few other short stories based on ‘what if Alice chose xxxxx?’ plotlines. Some of these could be interesting (the Vivaldi plotline in particular), but they’re too short to go anywhere. And since most Western readers will have only read the manga rather than played the game, some seem completely out of left field. Gowland? Really? He was barely in the original manga! The purpose of this is straight up ‘give a nice bone to fans of the game who won’t get to see their path animated’.

As for the main plotline, I was never really a big fan of the twins to begin with, but the main reason to read Alice and enjoy it, at least for me, was that this was a twisted, disturbing variation on an otome game. The reason Alice hadn’t chosen a boyfriend is that they all seemed to be psychotic. You can tell that they’re attempting the same thing here (the twins certainly butcher a lot of people), but whether it’s the different artist or something else the fact is it all comes off as too cute and light-hearted. And Alice falters as well, as requiring her to be in love reduces her to the usual shoujo cliches “he cannot love me the way I love him”, “how can I possibly choose between them”, etc. You know it’s bad when the ancillary character bio describes Ace as ‘more unstable’ in Clover World, but he actually seems genteel by comparison.

This ran in a magazine with a slightly older demographic than the original Hearts manga, and the situations are slightly more adult in nature, though mostly in the way of implication. Throughout the Dee & Dum story, everyone is joking about Alice loving both twins being “tough on a girl’s body”, and the Blood Dupre story has similar implications. It’s not actually too bad, but worth noting given that I think the original manga when released by Tokyopop may have had a younger audience.

There are a large number of sequels/side-stories still to go, but this wasn’t exactly a great place to start. At least it’s only one volume. Hopefully better things will come with Cheshire Cat Waltz, a 3-volume sequel featuring Boris.

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  1. Adam Arnold says

    RE: Cheshire Cat Waltz –
    It’s actually 7 volumes.

  2. This article helped me understand big time thanks!

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