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Gakuen Alice: Volume 1    by Tachibana Higuchi Amazon.com order for
Gakuen Alice
by Tachibana Higuchi
Order:  USA  Can
TOKYOPOP, 2007 (2007)
Paperback
* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Young fans of Harry Potter and magical girl manga will love Gakuan Alice by Tachibana Higuchi. This fun story is set at a prestigious boarding school where all of the students possess special powers, or alices.

Elementary-student Mikan is devastated when her best friend is accepted into Alice Academy. After six months with almost no contact, Mikan cannot take it any more and decides to journey from her small town to Tokyo to try to attend Alice Academy herself. However, the only way into Alice Academy is to be gifted with a special power. Luckily for Mikan, a young teacher finds her outside the academy's walls and decides that she might just have what it takes. Alas, getting on the academy's grounds is not the hard part getting accepted by her classmates is, especially by bad-boy Natsume, whose fiery temper seems to rule the class.

Higuchi draws a very cute story. All of the elementary school students are big-eyed and smiling (mostly). The teachers also are on the cute side even the handsome male ones are more cute than rugged. This type of artwork draws in younger, female readers, but it not so cutesy that older readers cannot enjoy it, too. Just like the art, the story is also cute. Like many fantasies, Gakuan Alice has its own universe with terms a little different than normal. However, it is obvious that the author has put a lot of thought into the world of Alice Academy, which helps ground what could otherwise turn into a very silly tale.

The world of Gakuan Alice makes for a fun fantasy for younger manga fans. Tachibana Higuchi has both a writing and drawing style that will appeal to pre-teen girls, as well as older readers.

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