Alice in the Country of Joker: Circus and Liar’s Game Vol 1

I enjoyed the first series in this franchise, Alice in the Country of Hearts, but didn’t care for Alice in the Country of Clover at all. Fortunately this variation seems much closer to the original series in tone and execution. It is the unstable April season in the Country of Hearts and a circus headed by a new character named Joker has just arrived.

Alice seems to be having issues with both her memory and perception, aided by some mental meddling from Nightmare. Her occasional fugue states and general confusion serve to give this manga a hint of the sinister and mysterious atmosphere that I enjoyed so much in Alice in the Country of Hearts. Plotwise, there isn’t much going on as Alice goes around during April season saying hello to all the handsome male residents of Wonderland. We do get some world building bits when we see that Alice’s desires are creating a situation where there are more people with “roles” for her to interact with and there’s some nice back story filled in where we see glimpses of Alice’s life before Wonderland. There’s even a glimpse of the man from Alice’s past who is strikingly similar to the Mad Hatter but in some ways the flashback to Alice’s real life seems just as surreal as her dream world. Even though this volume is mostly exposition and getting reacquainted with most of the characters, I was curious to see how this version of the story would play out. After reading the first volume of Alice in the Country of Clover, I was wondering if any of the sequel series would appeal to me at all, but I am now wavering. Recommended for people who enjoyed the first series in this franchise.

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  1. Yes, there is certainly a lot of exposition in this first volume. It feels like every time we are about to move on with the plot, a little more exposition gets slipped in.
    However I personally enjoy watching the gradual change in the relationship between Peter and Alice. In ‘Alice in the Country of Hearts’ Peter couldn’t seem to control himself around Alice at all, and Alice understandably was very intolerant of him. In ‘Alice in the Country of Clover’ Alice seems to understand that Peter doesn’t mean any harm and bears with him, but there is still quite a bit of friction. By the time we read ‘Alice in the Country of Joker’ Alice and Peter have come to a much better understanding of one another. Peter is able to remain much more calm around Alice, and hold conversations with her. In return, Alice has come to the point where she doesn’t dread his presence, and she even seems to enjoy his company from time to time. They hold conversations that actually go both ways instead of being one-sided. I think they may have had the most development of all.
    The circus appears to be quite an interesting return to the more psychological aspect of the series, and I’m excited to watch how the story will progress. It was interesting to me when Nightmare spoke about how Alice blocked out the time that Julius and Gowland were gone, revealing that despite her levelheaded appearance, there are some serious issues beneath the surface.
    I’m happy that this manga gets back into exploring the mysterious nature of Wonderland and Alice’s connection with it, instead of solely being about one of many possible love interests for her. Hopefully the manga will continue to get better now that the first volume went through all the exposition.

  2. That’s interesting – I don’t think I’m ever going to pick up the rest of Clover because I just didn’t care for it all that much, but it was good to get a summary of what happened!


  1. […] second volume of the series continues with many of the things I enjoyed about the first. There are flashbacks to Alice’s previous life that hint at the psychological issues that […]

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