Gakuen Alice Volume 8 <--BUY FROM AMAZON!
SPOILER Summary/Synopsis: Yuka sees her daughter in the cell and under the guise of treating Mikan roughly (Mikan doesn't know this is her mother), slips Mikan a vial which Mikan assumes is to cure Hotaru. Though Mikan doesn't know why this woman has done this, she knows she has to escape and cons her skeleton guard to escape her cell and she rushes to the control room where her comrades are being held. Using her Nullification Alice helps some but eventually Mikan is caught. When Yuka is ordered to take Natsume's Alice, Mikan prevents it and shuts down the other Alice's as well.
Yuka makes a choice and stabs Mihara, who'd been using his Alice to slowly petrify Mikan's friends. Yuka instructs those who've been petrified to lick the blood in order to be cured. Mihara is furious but there's nothing he can do and with the base's self destruct now activated, the Z people have to flee as to Mikan and her friends, though Mikan wonders why Yuka is helping her. As the base begins to fall apart, Mikan loses the vial for Hotaru which Pengy retrieves but at the cost of his own existence. With that, a tearful Mikan is helped back through the transportation corridor back to the academy.
Once back, Mikan cries for the loss of Pengy and for the fact that she was unable to get Tobita's Alice back. As such, she vows to herself to become stronger in order to protect others.
Meanwhile, Narumi-sensei finds Yuka (his former senpai) and Shiki. Narumi inquires about the children and Narumi states they should have escaped. She acknowledges that she met Mikan and we see a bit of their relationship in high school. Narumi wants the Alices Yuka stole from the children plus something she took from him so many years ago. Even though she was leaving the academy to carry one "sensei's" dream back then, she made Narumi promise to stay at the academy and protect the children. He doesn't know so Yuka leaves a small pouch and departs with Shiki. Inside, Narumi finds the Alice stones that were created when Yuka stole the three student's Alices.
Mikan and classmates are going to see Hotaru when they see Tobita and learn his Alice has come back to him. Hotaru arrives in a car and is reunited with Mikan. Elsewhere, plans are being made by powers on campus to deal with Natsume and Narumi.
Finally, it is nearly Christmas and time for a visit to Central Town. Since recent events caused people to miss Natsume's birthday, Mikan decides to get him something and soon others are in on the act as well, resulting in a surprise birthday party and a contest over who gave the best present.
Thoughts/Review: I realized something with this volume that had kinda been bothering me in some previous volumes but more so starting in volume 7 and certainly continuing into volume 8. Higuchi-sensei is rather sparse when it comes to backgrounds and setting art. She does it a bit but often during these action sequences, all of that is lost and in this flurry of action and dialog, it is easy to lose perspective on things. I think about Negima! and how all action over there is very easy to follow because we have our points of reference with the background art or with a change of perspective to show just how the characters are against each other. Higuchi-sensei's lack of this does not make for a good action anime or story. Her art style is good for lighter moments or even moments of exposition.
I mention this because Mikan's attempts to free her friends and the action that goes on after this becomes quite chaotic and I couldn't understand why. Then it dawned on me as I read volume 23 of Negima! Going back through volume 8 again of Gakuen Alice, it became clear to me as I saw how the Pengy segment of the story was done -- Higuchi-sensei was forced to draw more than just characters with the floor collapsing and the efforts to rescue Pengy completely depending on that additional art for perspective.
With that out of the way, lets go to the story.
Mikan continues to be a spitfire. I can't help but like her determination even if it sometimes stretched credulity a bit. Her power of nullification's use in this volume really gives light to why her ability would be considered a threat. After all, with proper training, Mikan could prevent everyone in a room from using their Alices.
I have to say that I was a little bit surprised that Yuka was revealed to the audience as being Mikan's mother. I think it was pretty clear to us, but for some reason, I didn't expect the answer to be given, even if Mikan has no clue. I wonder what Mikan will say once she realizes that Yuka is her mother. Mikan is pretty smart, enough so that she understood Yuka was helping her even while pretending to be harsh with her.
Higuchi-sensei remarked on how she'd like to be able to do a story about Narumi and Yuka in the past. I wouldn't mind seeing that so maybe sometime down the road, we'll get to see it.
Poor Pengy. 'Nuff said.
I liked the end with Mikan's gift and Natsume's thoughts about it. It is pretty clear that despite everything, Mikan sees that Natsume cares for her and she cares for him back in that innocent, grade school manner. It will be interesting to see where Higuchi-sensei takes this relationship of theirs.
So despite some chaos during the final showdown with Z due to sparce background art, I still enjoyed this manga volume a fair amount, especially with Yuka being confirmed as Mikan's mother. I look forward to reading more. ^_^
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Gakuen Alice Volume 8 <--BUY FROM AMAZON!