Review: Alice in the Country of Hearts by Quinrose

alicein the countryAlert: Herbivores beware, rabbit discrimination! Warn your kits!

“These aren’t rabbit ears! They’re just long! I swear I am not a rabbit. I eat carrot cookies, cake, and tea. I like stuff made from carrots but I could never eat a carrot straight, so I’m obviously NOT a rabbit.”

How dare Alice group people together based on the size of their ears! This is just one of the amusing quips in the awesome manga series Alice in the Country of Hearts by Quinrose. This has to be one of my top ten manga series of all time.

The first thing that drew me to these beautiful books was the art. Illustrated by Soumei Hoshino, the detailed display of clocks, sweets, architecture, and fashion is phenomenal.

I think any Alice lover will enjoy the new twists on our most beloved story. First, Alice is not the Alice we know. Instead of being curious and following the white rabbit, he tricks her into falling down the hole and then traps her in wonderland by force-feeding her a potion through a kiss. She finds herself in a land where everyone has a clock for a heart and they are fighting a war based on reincarnation. The characters are so detailed and interesting, I’m not even sure I can pick my favorite one.

Our favorite Mad Hatter in this book is Blood Dupre, a Mafia Don who leads The Hatters in war against the other factions. He is a gothic dandy, more interested in seducing Alice than the battle at hand. In his posse are two young boys dressed in fashionable military outfits and a non-rabbit enforcer named Elliot March. Something this author picked up on from the Lewis Carroll book, that I never thought of, was the possibility of the White Rabbit and the March Hare fighting. I found this storyline beyond amusing.

Another sect of Wonderland is the Amusement Park District where Alice can enjoy all the normal sort of rides while being shuffled around the place by overly peppy park attendants. The owner of the park is Mary Gowland, an older hippie man who takes to drastic mood swings and plays the violin very badly. Gowland and Dupre are in a war because Dupre makes fun of his name, which when said in such a way, sounds like Merry Go Round. The fights between Gowland and Dupre are fun to read. Gowland can turn his violin into a gun and Dupre doesn’t even flinch when his hat gets shot off.

Boris Airay plays the part of the Cheshire cat.  A cosplay kitty boy who loves to get in scrapes. He is often found by Alice, in the woods, sometimes nude, with horrible injuries that heal when he licks them.

The Queen of Hearts is pretty much the same as in the original Alice story so far, not much is known about her yet. The caterpillar is Nightmare, a handsome, eye-patched man dressed in elegant blacks. He mainly just gives more info to Alice, explaining terms the wonderland folk use and adding a sense of foreboding as he hints at dangers unseen.

Two new characters to the Alice tale are perhaps the most interesting to me. Julius Monrey is in charge of the Clock Tower Plaza, a neutral zone in wonderland and the place where all clock hearts are repaired. Ace is a knight from Heart Castle that helps Julius recover the hearts when someone is killed. He seems a double agent, but can’t navigate to save his life. Not too smart, you might think he would fall prey to the Hatters, but he is a pro at sword fighting so that keeps him safe.

Even though this is a manga about the cheery, happy world of wonderland, the author keeps that sinister air about it so that you are just as curious and frightened as Alice. The most chilling part of this retelling is the connection between the shadow people and the servants with no face. I’ll let you unravel that one on your own.

November: Dark Fairytales

Because most fairy tales contain a dark side, the term Dark Fairy Tales is repetitive to me. The term fairy tale is defined as,

A magical and imaginary tale, usually with a happy ending.

However, I think it’s all in the eye of the beholder. A tale like Hansel and Gretel is not a happy ending for the poor little old lady that just wanted kids out of her yard.

1020150903In my opinion, fairy tales are lessons in how to treat people. The modern version of Cinderella is a lesson to stepmothers–treat your new daughter well or you’ll end up a beggar while she lives in a big house in Beverley Hills.

Stories like this have taught us how to treat each other for centuries, but they have also taught us some very dangerous ideas:

  1. The evil always get their comeuppance.
  2.  Wait long enough (or suffer bad enough) and your prince will come.
  3. There are secret pots of gold or riches granted you when you out-smart evil beings.

Well…as we know living in the real world is not so easy.

hellgirlThis month at HorrorAddicts.net, we’ll be exploring the dark side of fairy tales. How they scare us into submission, conjure false hopes, and in some cases scare the bejesus out of us.

My favorite modern-day fairy tale series is the manga Hell Girl. In it, various stories are told about evil people getting their comeuppance, but as with many of us who try to get justice, there is a catch. The innocent victim who dishes out the justice is also punished.

 

1020150914

What if you had the opportunity to send someone you hated to Hell? In this series, that dream becomes reality. All you have to do is log on to the Hell Correspondence website at precisely midnight, type “Send (insert name) to Hell”, and click send. Hell Girl will then appear and make them meet their bloody end, taking them to Hell to relive it over and over again.

In the series, the bad guys are really bad. There are thieves, child molesters, evil masterminds, twisted teachers who steal students work and claim it as their own, and even killers.

1020150904My favorite story revolves around a vet who charges hefty fees for healthy pets that don’t need anything done. Knowing most of his customers are rich, he milks as much as he can out of them before handing back the pet perfectly well, yet not touched by a needle or knife. He claims to operate, but never does. He claims to give pricey meds, but never does. He makes a fatal mistake with one customer, though, who is not rich. She gives her life savings to the guy so he will cure her puppy. The dog in this case really is sick, but instead of operating, the vet puts it off to go to a high-society party. When the girl goes to check on her dog, he’s passed away because of the vet’s negligence. The girl is devastated, the puppy being all she has in life since her parents are dead. She tries to alert the authorities, but he claims she’s mad and no one listens to her. Heartbroken and unable to stop the vet from killing more animals in the future, she seeks justice from Hell Girl.

1020150904aThe Dr. gets his in one of the scariest scenes I’ve read. Doctors with animal heads try to operate on him!

But, before you call Hell Girl on your worst enemy, know there is a price.

To curse someone is to dig a double grave. In exchange for revenge, after death, your soul will go to Hell too.

This teaches us another lesson. Before we banish our worst enemies to Hell, we need to be sure our judgement is sound. In the case of the vet, I think we’d all agree his death is worth it, but if your just pissed about being cut off in traffic, you might want to just hang back. Chances are, they’ve done a lot worse and Hell Girl will be coming for them on her own.1020150922

What are your favorite dark fairy tales? What lessons do they teach? Share them with us in the comments or by writing to horroraddicts@gmail.com

 

 

 


Manga Review: Muhyo and Roji’s BSI by Yoshiyuki Nishi

mujiThe BSI is an agency consisting of two boys named Muhyo and Roji who at first I found childish and annoying, but they grew on me. Made for the pre-teen shonen-jump market, this manga has it’s scary moments. The boys battle all sorts of creatures from the underworld. There are monsters that look like langoliers, a scary chair that eats your shirt – and then you, and some ghosts that look like giant sorting hats from Harry Potter.

Muhyo and Roji help a host of ghost or demon afflicted clients. If you can get past Muhyo’s pint-sized Napoleon complex, you will enjoy it. Armed with his official magic book of law, Muhyo casts beings into the underworld by yelling out a law such as:

“The laws of magic, article 741- For the crime of unlawful object parasitization, I sentence you to the Night Train.”

After which a whole bunch of chugga, chugga zap happens and the ghosty with the mosty gets sucked into the Night Train to hell.

bsi2I was more impressed with volume two where they travel to the school of magic to try to see if Muhyo’s assistant can pass the magic law test. Once there, they find the school has been taken over by evil and some of the people are infected. The infection makes mouths break out all over their bodies. The artwork of the mouths all over their bodies is done really well. The fact that it starts infecting everyone there, including the main characters makes it an exciting read.

Something annoying to me was the unusual break in words. I know sometimes when the words are translated, the boxes are not sufficient and for this reason they may have to break words unnaturally, but in this case there seemed to be enough room. Words like should-ers, na-gano, prefec-ture were confusing and made me pause in the story to figure them out.

Overall, this is an interesting series and might perhaps be a little scarier for the pre-teens than I found it. Good news is, if you enjoy this series, there are tons more volumes to gobble up.

Get your copy here from amazon: Muhyo & Roji’s Bureau of Supernatural Investigation

Black Bird by Kanoko Sakurakoji

Black_Bird_Vol_1Black Bird by Kanoko Sakurakoji is the story of a young girl named Maiso who is tortured by demons from a very young age. When she was little, a neighborhood boy protected her, but when he moved away, the demons had free reign. Now, she’s sixteen and the demon attacks have increased. Just when the demon attacks are at their worst, the little boy moves back, only now he is a gorgeous man.
Tall, dark, and handsome, Kyo, is her knight in shining armor. What’s more, when he’s around, the demons don’t bother her. It seems like a dream come true, until he tells her he is the head of a demon clan and plans to make her his wife.

Unbeknownst to her, Maiso is the Bride of Prophecy. Kyo tells her that all demons search their lives for her and are after her for one of three reasons:

1. To drink her blood and be granted long life.

2. To devour her, which ensures eternal youth.

3. Or to bed her and make her their bride, which makes thier entire clan prosper.

There is a touch of fetish eroticism as Kyo can lick Maiso’s wounds to heal her. He poses as her teacher, so there are several scenes where she has fallen and he “tends” to her wounds by bringing her into the classroom and licking her under her plaid, schoolgirl skirt.

bb4The series is a tale of courtship, demon attacks, and innuendo. You might ask where the title Black Bird comes from? When Kyo is in his demon form, his hair grows long and straight, he has black wings, and wears a mask that looks like a crow’s beak. At no time does he exhibit the “ugliness” of the other sorts of demons that attack Maiso daily. It was interesting to me that there seemed to be “classes” of demons. The kind that constantly flew around her are almost like spirits. They are transparent, can be tiny or huge, and usually bite at her neck or ankles. The other sort (like Kyo) look mostly like humans and are normally beautiful. When they change into their demon forms, they look more like dark angels rather than the scary, ugly, demons we’ve come to expect from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Horror Addicts might find the constant girly blushing of Maiso tiresome, but for those of you who enjoy a little innocent romance in your horror, you’ll love this. Sure, there are demon attacks, clan wars, and some sexy makeout sessions, but for the most part, this is a story about a young girl dealing with her ailment (demon attraction) and the fact that her boyfriend is a powerful demon.

The artwork in this manga is beautifully done and reminds me more of the Bride of the Water God in some places. It has a very traditional side, with men wearing long warrior robes and long hair tied in back, but it also shows these same males in modern street clothes.

news_large_blackbird18Later in the series, Maiso grapples with the decision to become Kyo’s bride and sleep with him, even though it may cause her death. There is big drama in whether they should sleep together or not, and when they finally do, if they should do it again and if she gets pregnant will she die. In fact, every time she experiences a pleasurable event with Kyo, the next thing you know, her life is in danger. It begs the question, is the Bride of Prophecy ever allowed to be happy?

Although this manga series is more romance than horror, I still enjoyed it immensely and thought it might appeal to those of you with more classic macabre tastes.

Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber

vampire_kisses-v1The Vampire Kisses series by Ellen Schreiber has been a staple of the YA horror community for quite some time and now, you can read it in manga form.  Though I have not read the books in this series, the manga can stand on it’s own as a work of art.

Vampire Kisses #1: Blood Relatives is a cute, teenage romance about an adorable goth girl named Raven and her gorgeous vampire boyfriend.  Raven reminds me of a young Death from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comics.  They added just a dash of chibi to make you forget you are reading an American produced manga.  The art, by REM, is gothic and modern with a beauty all it’s own that will have any gloom cookie loving it from cover to the last scene.

This is the first successful book adaptation turned manga I have seen.  The art is well done, the story is edited well, and it accomplishes what it is meant to, which is encourage you to read the book series.  I can say confidently that this team “gets it” and I give them credit because not many trying to break into the manga market do.

We manga fans have come to expect extras in the back and we are not to be disappointed here.  They have included some cool behind the scenes sketches of all the characters.  I adore the goth-loli-punk sketches of Kat.

My only complaint with this little book is that it is too short.  It is a measly 98 pages while most mangas run 150-200.  Considering the novel this manga represents is on the slim size, I suppose they didn’t want to stray from the series format and make it larger.  I am, however, hopeful for an all-encompassing omnibus of these mangas like TokyoPop did with the Princess Ai series.

I have high hopes for this series to continue in like style.  If you’re looking to move from traditional manga into book-inspired manga, this is a great way to start.

 

Alice in the Country of Hearts by Quinrose

alicein the countryAlert: Herbivores beware, rabbit discrimination! Warn your kits!

“These aren’t rabbit ears! They’re just long! I swear I am not a rabbit. I eat carrot cookies, cake, and tea. I like stuff made from carrots but I could never eat a carrot straight, so I’m obviously NOT a rabbit.”

How dare Alice group people together based on the size of their ears! This is just one of the amusing quips in the awesome manga series Alice in the Country of Hearts byQuinrose. This has to be one of my top ten manga series of all time.

The first thing that drew me to these beautiful books was the art. Illustrated by Soumei Hoshino, the detailed display of clocks, sweets, architecture, and fashion is phenomenal.

I think any Alice lover will enjoy the new twists on our most beloved story. First, Alice is not the Alice we know. Instead of being curious and following the white rabbit, he tricks her into falling down the hole and then traps her in wonderland by force-feeding her a potion through a kiss. She finds herself in a land where everyone has a clock for a heart and they are fighting a war based on reincarnation. The characters are so detailed and interesting, I’m not even sure I can pick my favorite one.

Our favorite Mad Hatter in this book is Blood Dupre, a Mafia Don who leads The Hatters in war against the other factions. He is a gothic dandy, more interested in seducing Alice than the battle at hand. In his posse are two young boys dressed in fashionable military outfits and a non-rabbit enforcer named Elliot March. Something this author picked up on from the Lewis Carroll book, that I never thought of, was the possibility of the White Rabbit and the March Hare fighting. I found this storyline beyond amusing.

Another sect of Wonderland is the Amusement Park District where Alice can enjoy all the normal sort of rides while being shuffled around the place by overly peppy park attendants. The owner of the park is Mary Gowland, an older hippie man who takes to drastic mood swings and plays the violin very badly. Gowland and Dupre are in a war because Dupre makes fun of his name, which when said in such a way, sounds like Merry Go Round. The fights between Gowland and Dupre are fun to read. Gowland can turn his violin into a gun and Dupre doesn’t even flinch when his hat gets shot off.

Boris Airay plays the part of the Cheshire cat.  A cosplay kitty boy who loves to get in scrapes. He is often found by Alice, in the woods, sometimes nude, with horrible injuries that heal when he licks them.

The Queen of Hearts is pretty much the same as in the original Alice story so far, not much is known about her yet. The caterpillar is Nightmare, a handsome, eye-patched man dressed in elegant blacks. He mainly just gives more info to Alice, explaining terms the wonderland folk use and adding a sense of foreboding as he hints at dangers unseen.

Two new characters to the Alice tale are perhaps the most interesting to me. Julius Monrey is in charge of the Clock Tower Plaza, a neutral zone in wonderland and the place where all clock hearts are repaired. Ace is a knight from Heart Castle that helps Julius recover the hearts when someone is killed. He seems a double agent, but can’t navigate to save his life. Not too smart, you might think he would fall prey to the Hatters, but he is a pro at sword fighting so that keeps him safe.

Even though this is a manga about the cheery, happy world of wonderland, the author keeps that sinister air about it so that you are just as curious and frightened as Alice. The most chilling part of this retelling is the connection between the shadow people and the servants with no face. I’ll let you unravel that one on your own.

Manga Review -Pandora: A Death Jr. Manga by HAI!

pandoreThis is the story of how Pandora from the Death Jr. comics falls down a hole and uses her magical key to open a gateway to the future.  She appears in the future as a teenager only to find out that all her friends aren’t friends anymore.

Being a fan of Death Jr. and falling for the glossy art on the cover, I purchased this item on faith.  I should have known not to because of the announcement on the cover: “Based on the hit video game.”  I’m not saying books about video games are all bad, but it’s rare they get them right.

A few things bothered me about this tale:

  • She’s using a time machine that also happens to age her the precise number of years she’s traveling into the future?
  • Apparently teenagers in the future all talk like Snoop Dog and I quote:  “Yo the teach got pwned!” “Fo shizzle, dawg!”
  • In the past, Death Jr. and Pandora are a couple.  In the future, Death Jr. is attached to this preppy girl in a school uniform.  The preppy chick says, “Stay away from that crazy goth chick.”  And Pandora says, “It takes one to know one.”  What does that even mean?  The preppy chick is clearly not goth and no goth chick would yell a comeback like that.
  • Later on in the book, we find out that the preppy girl is an evil snake woman.  She says a phrase that I thought was outlawed because it had been over done in 1950’s cartoons.  “I’m gonna teach you meddling kids a lesson you won’t forget.”  Pandora responds by kicking her and saying, “Class dismissed.”

Moral of the story? Don’t be fooled by glossy art work and claims of cool darkness inside. My advice is to pass this one by and purchase more Death Jr. in comic format instead.