Alice on Deadlines by Shiro Ihara

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Alice on Deadlines by Shiro Ihara

Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A quite extreme manga, in a way, that fans should appreciate, although the plotting leaves some things to be desired.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 192 Date: November 2007
Publisher: Yen Press
ISBN: 978-0759523517

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If you scoffed at my mention on this site about manga's need for up-skirt pictures of teenage girls, then here's my proof. The postword says there are 47 "panty shots", and I'm glad they had the time to count them, as I didn't. What on earth could be the plot to deserve such an over-used ruse for smut?

Well it begins off-Earth, for one, with a reaver-type creature ordered to remove from the planet a particular spectral nasty. The creature arrives, but in a sort of cosmic soul dodgems coincidence inhabits a beautiful young girl - a chaste (and presumably chased) girl with burgeoning, er, attributes, in a Catholic school. Said young lady's soul, Alice, ends up bumped across to animate a skeleton. Of course.

The relevant evil one despatched, the pair find the visa papers for the reaver's return are missing - the girl and her newly-formed habit of goosing girls, trying to snog them, and just generally being a sex-pest, and the skeleton who still gets party invites but has no body to go with to them (boom boom) are therefore required to stay that way for a whole year.

Thus case two, where we get possession *by* eyeball, and more shenanigans, thankfully getting a bit more domestic. It's a very odd manga, and although I really couldn't like the premise above a certain grudging admiration for the creator's chutzpah (or whatever the Japanese equivalent is), I can recommend it as quite an extreme undertaking for fans of the genre.

There are still flaws - the battle pictures are even more illegible than most, and the plotting has major hiccups of the unexplained. One moment the skeleton cannot move independent of Alice's body's help, the next it can animate itself and defend said body's honour. And if the preview for volume two begins as shown here at the end of this one, there is an even greater leap where relevant continuity just is ignored for whatever inventive twists and turns are next on the schedule.

This then was another flaw in the book for my taste - the need to subvert sexual tropes, types and stereotypes and all domestic arranegements thereof was done a bit cheesily toward the end, and as for how the other three volumes will pan out I don't think I would be at all keen on following - if I could, given the leaps in plausibility and just plain chasms in plotting.

As a result this volume would get a personal rating from me of two stars, but I can't ignore that, as a part-time fan of manga, I am well aware that many would find it a great example, in a warped kind of way. To those (and I really hope they're fifteen or older - this is not flagged as "older teen" by mistake) I can recommend this book, and hand it four shining Bookbag stars.

I would like to thank Yen Press for sending us a copy to sample.

Booklists.jpg Alice on Deadlines by Shiro Ihara is in the Top Ten Beach Reads For Teens.
Buy Alice on Deadlines by Shiro Ihara at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Alice on Deadlines by Shiro Ihara at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Alice on Deadlines by Shiro Ihara at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Alice on Deadlines by Shiro Ihara at Amazon.com.


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