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Gakuen Alice (Episodes 1-2) PDF Print E-mail
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Now in Japan
Monday, 20 December 2004 04:23
Gakuen Alice - Episode 1I'll admit, this sounded kinda dumb when I was reading up on it - but then I watched it, and realised that it is dumb, in an endearing kind of way. Getting a shoe-in for the 'cutest comedy of the season' award, Gakuen Alice treads the same sort of ground as Ultra Maniac, but manages to be more appealing in the way it does it...

1 - The School's Going to be Shut Down
Mikan's best friend at school was always Hotaru (although Hotaru may have seen their relationship somewhat differently... ^^;), so when Hotaru transfers away to a school in Tokyo, Mikan's naturally upset - even more so when it takes 9 months to even get a postcard from her. Seems there's more to Mikan's transfer than meets the eye, though, so Mikan eventually sets off for Tokyo to find out what's really happened to her friend...

2 - Welcome to Alice Academy
Seems Hotaru's new school is for the magically gifted - and even more surprising, Mikan may have the talents needed to be admitted herself. While Mikan's trying to get in, though, other students are trying to get out - and Mikan finds herself caught up in an escape attempt. From there, her day just keeps getting worse - until she finally gets to see Hotaru. Then things starts to get really strange...

Hotaru pretty much makes this show - for droll characters, she's hard to beat, and you just have to love her 'invention of the week' slot. Throw in some cute shoujo moments (starting with cheerleader Mikan in the OP and getting better from there) and some good SD humour moments, and you know you're on to a winner. The only problem I can see is that comparison with Ultra Maniac, which was also cute, SD fun for the first few episodes until it got itself into a rut. There are enough differences in the setup of the two shows to make me hopeful that won't happen, though - for a start, Gakuen Alice has a larger cast to play with, most of whom have their own abilities. Add it all together and there's more scope to do things with.

Two episodes isn't always enough to really judge a show with, but these two certainly brightened up my day. Hopefully good use is made of the potential the show has - I'll be watching for a while yet to see where this goes.