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Review: Alice on Deadlines (Vol. 04)

Manga-ka: Shirō Ihara
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: November 2008

Synopsis: “Siblings! Brainwashing! True love?! It’s Christmas Eve, but Lapan has nothing saintly in mind for Alice and company! When back-to-back battles cut his pervy party short and members of Tsurukame descend upon the scene, will Lapan finally repent his skirt-chasing ways? And as Alice tries to come to grips with a revelation about Lapan’s past, will she be able to break out of her shell (with the help of Lapan’s groping hands)?”

The first thing you do when you find out that your organization is very-possibly sending someone to kill you is have a sexy Christmas party (obviously). Forget that we all might die in less then twenty-four hours, let’s get the shopping done and whip out the too short, too tight, overly revealing festive costumes! I mean seriously you name three better ways you could spend your quite-possibly final hours.

The grotesque lack of plot has faithfully remained a grotesque lack of plot. They give up perfectly good explanation time for far too many half naked, not-quite-requiring-an-R-rating, shots. There’s no flow, no foreshadowing and at times feels like a page must have been completely removed from the book because there is no connection from one scene to the next. The only positive thing I have to say is that the major plot points were explained more clearly through one several page long smut-free flashback, and that in the last few pages of the book these details were actually called into relevance instead of being completely discarded like everything else. I give the plot ten points out of a possible one hundred.

Forgetting all the problems with the partial plot, the art style is oddly consistent and clean. The backgrounds are nice, there’s a decent amount of tones being used to add some depth to the imagery, and at the very least, I can tell the characters apart at a glance. In a frantic attempt to jam pack this last issue with as much storyline and smut (mostly smut) as possible, the pages become overcrowded. Imagine the climatic battle of an entire series being shown to you in a single text-less picture. Now spread this picture over two pages. If you’ve managed to grasp this so far, open up volume four of Alice on Deadlines and find out how it shouldn’t be done. Someone needs to tell Shiro Ihara the rules of quality over quantity. Just because you put all the pictures on the page doesn’t mean anyone is going to be able to follow them.

Ultimately, Alice on Deadlines is a test to see how fast some little boy’s mother can get on the phone and sue the pants off someone for putting porn in her child’s hands. I knew that series like this existed in those countries where our anime and manga come from, but I never once dreamed we would actually bring any of them here. As a female I find this series offensive, as a human being I find it disturbing, as an anime/manga fan I find it worrisome. Hopefully it is the first and last of its kind to be brought over here and put on our shelves. The last thing we need is to give the anime haters fuel for their protesting fire.

Review written May 15, 2009 by Marsha Reid
Book provided by Yen Press for review purposes

Marsha Reid

About the Author:

Marsha Reid is a self-proclaimed manhwa nut – "It’s my not so guilty pleasure and my one true love." She has a group called Anime@ Large, which has become much like a full time job to go along with her full time job at a local theater. Marsha likes fluffy animals (even though she's allergic), manga/manhwa, anime, and make Lolita costumes in her spare time.

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