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Gakuen Alice. Volume 1
Higuchi, Tachibana
Teen Fiction HIGUCHI

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Higuchi's odd mashup of superhumans and cruel prep school antics (think X-Men meet Harry Potter) continues in this second volume of the popular Japanese series. Ten-year-old Heroine Mikan has just received a disastrous "no-star" rating at the Alice Academy. As a result, she's been demoted--she has to move to the "no-star" dorm rooms, her allowance has been cut, and most of her school privileges have been revoked. Devastating? It would be if the rest of the volume addressed those consequences. Instead, Mikan immediately joins the maverick "Special Class," participates in an out-of-control game of dodgeball and tries to get in touch with the grandfather she left behind. Higuchi has created a detailed world, with lots of rules and backstories, but the continued focus on school story tropes means that the world is revealed almost arbitrarily, making it hard to keep track of. Higuchi's art is more than competent. Consistently thin lines leave characters appearing consistently vulnerable, and once every several pages there is a lovingly rendered detailed background. If one can get past a few unintentionally creepy moments (like Mikan climbing into bed with a teacher and asking if she can call him grandfather), this manga is an acceptable entry in the vast school story category. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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