Alice in the Country of Hearts: Junk Box
By by QuinRose, Mamenosuke Fujimaru
Publisher: Seven Seas
The newest Alice installment by the fan-favorite artist of Alice in the Country of Clover: Cheshire Cat Waltz
Seven Seas is pleased to present Alice in the Country of Hearts: Junk Box, a one-shot anthology volume that focuses on the men of Wonderland.
Alice in the Country of Hearts: Junk Box chronicles the further adventures of Alice as she goes deeper down the rabbit hole. Like the other New York Times bestselling books in the Alice in the Country of Clover series, this new volume is an oversized edition that features impressive artwork and color pinups.
The men of Wonderland adore Alice, but she simply can’t make up her mind. Whether it’s Blood, Ace, Joker, Dee and Dum, Pierce, Boris, Elliot, or Gray, each paramour has a claim on Alice’s heart. But whom will she choose?
Alice in the Country of Hearts is one of my very favorite manga series. So why have you not seen it reviewed until now? Simply put, I read the majority of them right before Books, Vertigo and Tea was born. The manga can be confusing for those like myself who prefer to follow series in certain orders. My traditional method would be order of publication date. But I have done a lot of digging and research to attempt to find such a list for this series. The good news is that each volume can actually be read in just about any order from what I have gathered. As long as you have an inkling of understanding regarding the concept, it is a fun read. So what is the concept?
Consider this series a game. A love game to be more specific. Alice has been taken away (more like kidnapped) to the Country of Hearts by Peter (the white rabbit of course) and is unable to return home. The Country of Hearts happens to be a frightful world consisting of 3 domains, each ruled by outlandish and violent characters that you will recognize. Think Wonderland in creep mode but not without a few pleasantries. Now Alice who is convinced this must be a dream has to choose where she will stay and how she will play along. Her biggest challenge will be the fact that everyone in this maddening land seems to be in love or infatuated with her.
I know this sounds so far-fetched from anything I would be caught reading. I agree. It is. But I have no shame when it comes to all things “Wonderland” or manga and picked up the first rather hefty volume at B&N one day with no real working knowledge aside from the fact that it was another retelling. As soon as I realized that this was much fluffier and spicier than my preferred read, I was tempted to put it down. 50% through and I realized it had happened.. I had fallen victim to another guilty pleasure. Hook, line and sinker.. Please sir, may I have some more. Everything about this works for me on all levels it should not. I have no further explanations or valid arguments for this. I just like it.
Junk Box is a collection of short stories. So it is a particularly easy read that compiles a few fun tales in one book, successfully reuniting favorite characters. But it is not the best introduction point (I will make a concerted effort to provide that review in the future). We continue to follow Alice is she battles her own feelings and strives to make sense of her new home. But there is still plenty of bloodshed with Hatter heading up the mafia and the twins Dum and Dee always on the prowl. There is no shortage of action or “romance” to be had. It is true whirlwind at times as each story does end abruptly. But that has been my experience with the entire manga to date. It is a crazy ride that feels confusing and fast until suddenly you just get it. It clicks and you realize it is entertaining.
It is fair to mention that Junk Box involves not only the Country of Hearts, but Clover and Joker as well. Since I have not completed those portions of the manga, I am unable to say whether having done so would enhance my experience. I do not feel that it has been hindered though.
As always, the artist succeeded in beautifully capturing the spirit of the whimsical, crazed characters and lands. There is a brief inclusion of full color illustrations at the front and a teaser for White Rabbit and Some Afternoon Tea. I always love the opportunity to see my favorite manga characters in full color.
This was an appropriately fast paced read that I would recommend to fans of fantasy and romance manga or anime.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐