Foreign Friday: Alice 19th

“That is the 19th Lotis word, for courage.” – Alice 19th

This week’s Foreign Friday is Alice 19th by Yu Watase.

The Story

Alice Seno is a seemingly shy and meek girl who always seems to be outshined by her older sister Mayura. One day, Alice has an encounter with a mysterious and magical rabbit girl, and her life is turned upside down. Alice discovers that certain words have power, and that she has the potential to be master of a set of sublimely powerful words called the Lotis Words. But power always comes with a price, and the price may turn out to be Alice’s sister Mayura…

The Characters

Alice is a kind girl whose biggest flaw is that she isn’t confident enough to speak up for herself. Her attitude towards her life and her secret crush on the high school heartthrob both stem from this lack of self-confidence. Kyo, the boy whom both the Seno girls like, is equally kind but is as dense as a block of wood and can have a violent temper. Nyozeka, the rabbit girl, encompasses the role of the wise tutor and advisor.

What I Thought

Being a shojo manga, Alice 19th focuses mostly on the character’s emotions and relationships rather than on action sequences. I thought the story was very interesting and well put together, although the ending felt rushed (possibly due to a sudden cancellation) and not all the side characters were fully developed. Alice herself felt like a believable character, and her interaction with Kyo was good, but it was the whole concept of the Inner Heart and the various uses of the Lotis Words that I found to be the best part of the series. All 7 volumes are available in English in the US.

I like Watase’s art style, because her female figures often tend to be a little on the chubby side (far more believable). She has written multiple series, some far more famous than this one, but this is my favorite because the main characters are easy to identify with.

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