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Gakuen Alice, Vol. 1 (2003)

by Tachibana Higuchi

Series: Gakuen Alice (1)

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1732126,011 (3.99)2
Mikan joins her best friend, Hotaru, at the Alice Academy, a special school for people with an "Alice," or paranormal talent, and she must learn to know and use her own such talent if she hopes to stay.
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Mikan Sakura has a strange relationship with her cold bestfriend Hotaru Imai. Mikan followed Hotaru and learned about the Alice Academy. The academy hosts students with extraordinary abilities called Alice.

The anime has a slower phase and Natsume is meaner here (the panty! omg). ( )
  phoibee | Apr 23, 2017 |
Gakuen Alice is a fantasy tale of friendship and loyalty. To what lengths would you go to keep and maintain your friendship?

Mikan and Hotaru are best friends, or atleast Mikan seems to think so until Hotaru leaves for Alice Academy under rumors that she was paid a lot of money to go. When more rumors surface that the academy is more like a prison, Mikan begins to wonder why her friend left. When she discovers the truth, that Hotaru left giving the money she received to the small village school that she and Mikan had attended, Mikan realizes the extent of Hotaru's sacrifice and friendship, and runs away to join Hotaru at the academy.

The friendship between Mikan and Hotaru seems strange at first as they are complete opposites. Mikan is cheerful and idolizes Hotaru while Hotaru seems detached from everyone and unemotional. This causes the reader and at times, Mikan herself, to question their friendship. However, as the story progresses, we see that Hotaru does care for Mikan just has unusual ways of showing it such as protecting Mikan from the bullying of the other students while announcing that she is the only one allowed to bully Mikan.

Mikan begins to slowly learn the cost of following her best friend when she meets Natsume, a student trying to escape the academy. With the Alice of Fire, Natsume is one of the most dangerous students at the school. He hates the academy and has taken to bullying others with his alice. The reasons behind his frustration with the academy are barely hinted at in this volume, thus making his reasons for acting out seem cruel and heartless. His inability to use his alice on Mikan when he first questions her only adds to his frustration and his desire to destroy her cheerful and optimistic nature.

Natsume's best friend is the gentle, animal loving Luca. Luca's loyalty to Natsume is shown as he tries to defend Natsume's actions when the others claim Natsume is using him. Natsume's reaction to news that Luca has been kidnapped by Mikan and her friends only adds fuel to Natsume's hatred of Mikan. When Mikan's alice is revealed, Luca understands the underlining meaning behind Narumi's words, understanding that Mikan's alice might be able to one day help Natsume.

On its own, this volume is basically a brief intro to Gakuen Alice. Higuchi has created a rich world with complicated characters that can not be completely explained in one volume. There are a lot of hints and secrets going on in the background which are slowly revealed in later volumes, making this volume something you'll want to re-read again as the story progresses.

If you're looking for a really cute, innocent, shoujo series, this isn't it. ( )
1 vote Narumi | Apr 3, 2010 |
Showing 2 of 2
It’s a familiar story, but with lots of cute touches and character-based moments.
 

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I always thought my best friend Hotaru was weird, but it looks like she turned out to be a genius.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Mikan joins her best friend, Hotaru, at the Alice Academy, a special school for people with an "Alice," or paranormal talent, and she must learn to know and use her own such talent if she hopes to stay.

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Young Mikan runs away to Tokyo following her best friend, Hotaru, who has been enrolled in an exclusive, secretive private school for geniuses. But it turns out that Alice Academy is a lot more than meets the eye. If Mikan wants to stay by Hotaru's side, she has to both pass the strange "entrance exam" and face the even greater challenge of befriending her very odd new classmates. Whether it's Hotaru's gift for inventing gadgets, the cranky Natsume's fire-casting ability, or Professor Narumi's control of human pheromones, everyone at the school has some sort of special talent. But what ability, if any, does Mikan possess? Mikan is going to have to rely on her courage and spunk if she's going to stay in school, or even stay alive!
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