I can accept this place as my home like any other (again): Kyousougiga and Alice & Zouroku (and me)

The opening scenes of Alice & Zouroku involve poorly-done computer generated cars, a dramatic escape, and a Tokyo Tower scene that is eerily reminiscent of Sakura Kinomoto in Cardcaptor Sakura.

In fact, many things in the opening scene of Alice & Zouroku reminded me of other anime series — echoes of Cardcaptor Sakura, Madoka Magica, and Elfen Lied.

Yet what I latched onto was the nickname given to our titular Alice (Sana Kashimura): “The Red Queen.” Subsequent references to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There reminded me of another first episode experience — one that is near and dear to my heart — Kyousougiga.

Oh, so this is my problem.

Not-so-coincidentally, I wrote a post while watching Kyousougiga regarding this very thing — how my own media proclivities, memories, and experiences affect viewing something fresh.

While watching Kyousougiga, I worried about how much I brought from my experiences to my own interpretation of the series. Kyousougiga is overflowing with visual imagery. I translated what I could from what I knew and threw myself into researching or learning about what I didn’t. From the first episode, Kyousougiga led me to Through the Looking Glass — something it used as framework throughout the show.

There’s an immediate visual reference to Through the Looking Glass‘ chessboard landscape. In the book, the Red Queen tells Alice that, although she’s a lowly pawn at the start of her adventures, she has the possibility to promote herself if she can make her way across the mirror world of the looking glass. The mirror capital of Kyousougiga — a creation of the priest Myoue — is governed by equally strict rules to that of chess, rules that Koto later smashes as the series’ Alice.

Similarities between Kyousougiga and Alice & Zouroku are primarily surface ones. They both borrow from Through the Looking Glass, which leads to many surface correlations including the creation of other worlds within or alongside what is presumed to be reality.

Like Koto, Sana is the disruptive party. Rather than breaking the laws of the universe to reunite her family — and give her father a well-deserved punch in the face — Sana was raised as a supernatural weapon, seemingly in service of the Japanese government. The first episode makes it a point to show us that she has powers that can warp space, and Sana’s prior captors have already dubbed her creation a “Wonderland.” Supernatural children like Sana are called “dreams of Alice” and Sana herself, the aforementioned Red Queen.

I don’t expect the two series to have much more in common besides their respective references to the Lewis Carroll classic. Alice & Zouroku will indubitably dabble in the ideas of what makes a family, but there’s very little chance that it will tackle something as incisive as Kyousougiga‘s look at parenting. And I shouldn’t expect it to, despite similar trappings.

Yet, it’s telling that all I wanted to do after watching the first episode of Alice & Zouroku was queue up an episode of Kyousougiga. Alice & Zouroku didn’t capture my attention — this also has a lot to do with its visual maladies — as much as I had hoped.

Oddly enough, what did catch my eye was the fact that Zouroku is a florist.

We’re likely to see a lot of overt floral references in Alice & Zouroku, given Zouroku’s career. This might just make me stick around for the next few episodes.

As an aside, Phlox, the flower in the arrangement for yakuza boss Sawaki, mean harmony and a union of souls. Zouroku gave him the perfect flower with which to propose.

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9 comments

  1. Alice has a lot of visual problems, and more than a few oddities.. But is is intriguing. Especially Zouroku, who seems disinclined to take any nonsense.

    1. Once it got into the rapport between Zouroku and Sana I really enjoyed it, especially the little floral nods. However, the intro bored me. Even passable visuals probably wouldn’t have been enough to lift the “magical girl escapes from secret government facility” storyline to where I would have been interested.

    1. Yeah, I didn’t want to touch too much on it here, mainly because every other look at this series has mentioned the incredibly dodgy visuals along with the embarrassing CG car chase, but damn they were rough. T_T

  2. There were some issues visually (particularly with the cars) in this first episode, but I was kind of intrigued about where it is going to go. I don’t know how long intrigued will outweigh bored or frustrated, but I’m definitely keen to check out at least the next episode and see. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    1. As I said above, the visuals definitely jarred me out of caring about what was going on, and even then the premise is rote so it needs something to lift it above other series that have done the same thing. Fortunately the burgeoning relationship between Zouroku and Sana was really charming. If the series focuses more on that and less on super secret government projects trying to get their lab rats back, I’ll stick around.

  3. “Alice & Zouroku didn’t capture my attention — this also has a lot to do with its visual maladies — as much as I had hoped.”

    This is pretty understandable and I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel the same way. A&Z certainly has wrinkles it needs to smooth out both on its visual and storytelling ends which hopefully J.C. Staff will handle in the near future.

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