When you think of Alice in Wonderland, you think of crazy monarchs, tea parties, rabbits, and smiling cats. But in “Alice to Zouroku”, you think of existential crises, kids with superpowers, and an old man who loves giving a good scolding.
The Spring 2017 anime, Alice to Zouroku, is about a little girl named Sana who possesses special powers. All her life, she was stuck being tested in a research facility. At one point, she couldn't take it anymore and decided to escape. The outside world, however, is not something she was ready for.
To Sana, everything is new. She has no clue how the world works. Fortunately for her, she meets a stubborn yet kind-hearted old man named Zouroku Kashimura who takes her in and helps her adjust to everything unfamiliar.
This anime seems to not be able to make up its mind when it comes to picking genres. The first five episodes are action-packed; the fights are amazing since the powers used by the “Dreams of Alice” (people with the mysterious powers) are unique. From episode six, however, the anime takes a sharp turn and becomes slice of life, which is quite frankly a bit boring. This lasts for a couple of episodes and then it's back to lots of fantasy and action.
The best part about this anime has to be the characters. Strong female leads rule the anime. Because Sana is between 8 to 10 years of age, her relationship with Zouroku, who is old enough to be her grandfather, is quite interesting. They don't get along at first but they soon start bonding. It's beautiful to watch the rude Zouroku soften and the arrogant Sana listen to all his lectures and be scared of him even though she has powers greater than any other being in the universe.
An underlying theme of the entire anime is searching for and accepting oneself. Pretty deep concepts for nine-year olds to explore, but hey, they seem more capable than most.
Alice to Zouroku is a manga adapted into an anime by J.C.Staff and has 12 episodes in total. The opening and ending songs are adorable, fitting perfectly with the aesthetic of most of the characters. The animation work is also praiseworthy. Wonderland, an alternate dimension created by Sana, is an extremely creative and visually-pleasing place in the anime.
The plot can't be called brilliant, per se. The ending of the anime left me with lots of unanswered questions, particularly about who exactly they want to portray as Alice. The sudden switches of genre were also annoying since I was not up for a slice of life anime when I started watching it. However, for only 12 episodes, the character development is amazing. Sana is a tricky character to work with since she's a kid and is immature, yet she has powers that allow her to do anything. The blend of childish behaviour and strong battle mode is perfect in Sana, in my opinion.
I would highly recommend Alice to Zouroku even though it is pretty underrated. Cool fight scenes with kawaii characters – what more can you ask for?
Mayabee Arannya can never say no to a cup of tea or cute doggo pictures. Send the latter at facebook.com/mayabee.arannya