I Am Alice: Body Swap in Wonderland, Vol. 1

By Visualworks and Ayumi Kanou. Released in Japan by Media Factory, serialized in the magazine Comic Gene. Released in North America by Seven Seas.

I have noted in the past how this seems to be the age of the Alice in Wonderland manga, much as we have also had the age of vampire manga and ninja manga. This has its drawbacks, however. At least with vampire or ninja manga, there are a variety of different situations to put them in, and you can create your own characters. Alice in Wonderland kind of requires the Wonderland folks, and even if you make them bishonen, you still have a few series with many common elements. Thus I can perhaps be forgiven for constantly wondering, throughout this entire first volume, why the Hatter or the White Rabbit weren’t acting like their counterparts in the Country of Hearts Alice series, also based on an otome game.


The artist behind this actually is the one who was responsible for Dictatorial Grimoire, a series I enjoyed more than I thought I would, mostly as it was filled with snarky people being verbally abusive. There’s some of that here, and it’s where the storyline really comes into its own. The premise, which is glossed very swiftly in the first few pages, is that a boy grabbed the Alice in Wonderland book in the library and fell into the book – and has now swapped bodies (you knew that subtitle would be explained at some point) with Alice herself, who is trapped in his body. Alice is the loud tomboy type, and Makoto quite reserved, so it’s not as jarring as you’d expect. As they travel through Wonderland, meeting the White Rabbit, Mad Hatter, etc., all of whom are handsome young men, they realize that to get back to their world and bodies, they have to defeat the… King of Hearts.

So Alice isn’t the only genderswap we’re dealing with. I was sort of hoping to see a Queen of Hearts – in the Country of Hearts series, Vivaldi helps to be a big sister to Alice and not make the series entirely about one girl and her many men. This Alice doesn’t have that luxury – we do find out the March Hare was a woman, but we find this out right about the time she’s fridged to give motivation to the Dormouse. As for the Alice in Makoto’s body, she’s more of a hindrance than anything else, though her love of huge guns is at least mildly amusing.

For the otome manga fan, there’s not much that’s objectionable here. Makoto in Alice’s body is a nice person, and therefore makes it easy for all the other guys to fall for her. There are a couple of “but wait, she’s a boy!” characters, but most simply don’t care, which clearly is a tease to BL fans. And as I said, Kanou has a way with snarky dialogue, so I smiled a few times throughout. That said, I honestly only have room for one Alice series at the moment, and this one falls short next to Country of Hearts’ psychological deconstruction of Alice’s tragic backstory. It’s an OK book, but in the end I’d only read it if you’ve played the game it’s based on.

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