An ending that has already been determined. A story that repeats itself endlessly. This is the world that we live in. I didn't know anything. I didn't need to know. And that is... a characteristic of someone living in the world of this story.
Throwing his dreams away, a young man enters "Wonderland", completely stripped of his memories, heritage... and name. As he reacts to the name "Alice", he is forced to participate in the game of killing the White Rabbit as the 89th candidate, in order to legally earn the name "Alice". With the Mad Hatter at his side, he starts his task and gets to know many different characters, all of them having various reasons for existing in Wonderland and for being in favor or against "Alice".But, just like how a tiny rabbit hole hides such a large world, this story has its own secrets. It makes its self very clear early on that it is not another cute "Alice in Wonderland" story, with almost every character's past hidden in scraps of paper, all with their own share of blood. Not quite a case of a lost pen, but bloody enough to seem that way, at least.Are You Alice? started off as a series of drama CDs written by Ninomiya Ai and became her most popular work. It was adapted into manga-form in 2010 by Katagiri Ikumi and as of 2011, a PSP-game was also released. It is obviously based on Alice in Wonderland, but with very individual takes to the original source. The series is remarkable for its complex characters and world as well as for the high amount of well-known voice actors that star on the CDs. It is currently being released in English by Yen Press, with the 6th volume out in September.
Are You Alice? provides examples of:
Alice Allusion: This series is obviously based on Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, though it's extremely different from is source material.
Anyone Can Die: Useless people, as in those who cannot fulfill their purpose, among the titled beings are killed by the Queen. As well, suicide is always an option to escape.
Arc Words: Two: "I don't want to get your clothes dirty" and "For the sake of being born".
Art Shift: Occasionally done, as an omake chapter featured a heavily Shojo-looking 88th Alice. The 89th Alice, meantime, occasionally gets this for his expressions, ranging from heavily detailed to heavily undetailed.
Ascended Extra: An extreme case; in the book, Marianne didn't even physically show up. Here, she's the Big Bad.
Ballroom Blitz: The Premise of most of Volume 7. The Queen hosts a large party where everyone is invited except for Alice, as the day's hosted on an "Alice Fixed Holiday". The Hatter, even, leaves to go to the party despite having avoided participating in the holiday before, as the holiday's revolved around no one wanting to be near Alice. While the current Alice is upset with this, he stays at home regardless, the Hatter leaving him quips about a fairy godmother taking him to the party. Meanwhile, Jack takes up the opportunity to kidnap Alice to exact revenge on the Queen for the ridiculous rule he's been given.
"What kind of Queen of Hearts hates the color red?"
For the Knave, it was speaking over his syllable limit.
Insulting the Mad Hatter as Alice (i.e "Alice hates you!" over "I hate you!").
Being irrational for Alice.
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: The 88th Alice, though not intentionally. Jack had this going on for a moment, but quickly lost it.
Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Done in an extra Drama CD shipped with one of the Limited Editions, Fork It Over. The Queen allows Jack to speak, but only if he tells frequent jokes. Jack, being terribly unfunny, enlists Alice's help and together they form a Boke and Tsukkomi routine. The Mad Hatter later gives them some tips.
Butt Monkey: Alice is sometimes, if not usually, this, but the Knave of Heart's has this on his resume.
Chekhov's Armoury: There's about five or six things in the first two volumes alone that are explained later on, and they're mostly little things; the Cheshire Cat's shoulder injury caused by the Mad Hatter who shot him after the death of the 88th Alice that leads to his close relationship with the Duchess, the Knave of Hearts not speaking which later becomes the focus of his arc, and so on.
Click Hello: Expect this to happen in just about every scene involving the Cheshire Cat and the Mad Hatter; the Cheshire Cat lampshades it once, mentioning that the Mad Hatter usually greets him with "Go away", "I'm going to shoot you", and "I hope you die down to your last cell."
Cry for the Devil: The White Rabbit becomes more of a desperate guy than someone you'd want to shoot after you see how he lost Alice.
Cute Little Fangs: Cheshire gains these around chapter 22, when Alice and the Hatter go to the Pool of Tears.
Dead to Begin With: The 88th Alice, very possibly Alice Liddel, and technically the 89th Alice.
Deal with the Devil: Kill the White Rabbit, and you win! Fail, and you become some freaky shadow monster forever roaming Wonderland, hopelessly clinging to the name Alice...
Deliberately Monochrome: Several, different examples. Most prominently, The Queen of Hearts wears black and white, has chocolate-colored eyes, and has black hair, as he hates the color red.
The White Knight wears mostly white, including his hair and eye color. The White Rabbit wears mostly black.
Splash of Color: It seems almost like Alice is the only one able to wear bright colors; all three Alices shown in color have, well, color: our protagonist wears a white suit with a blue undershirt and has blonde hair with blue eyes. Marianne wears the classic colors and looks of white and blue in a dress format, and the previous Alice, the 88th, was wearing shades of pink: from pink hair to pink stockings and so on.
Color-Coded for Your Convenience / Faux Symbolism: Everyone wears shades of black, white, and brown; almost to symbolize the Crapsack World Wonderland seems to be. The Alices wear only one or two shades at best, as well as the Duchess who adds pink to black. The March Hare and the Caterpillar wear green to support their neutral state.
Demoted to Extra: In-series. The Duchess is forced to act as Alice's 'replacement' in order to stop the Distortion monster from killing the real Alice. And all the Cheshire Cat can do is watch...
Does Not Like Men: Rare male example, the Queen. He hates them enough to make Jack, his only male Trump Soldier, speak only 10 characters every ten years.
The Dragon: Subverted with the Queen of Hearts. He actually doesn't know where the Rabbit lives, though how he acts seems to indicate he's a dragon. Played straight with the Knave of Hearts to the Queen (although it's forced), the March Hare to the Rabbit, and the White Rabbit's convinced himself to be Marianne's.
Played with for the March Hare. He's voiced by a male in the CDs, but some translated chapters calls him a "she". Apparently, the Japanese translations refer to him as neither gender, since no one can tell what he is. He has a female nickname (Mitsuki), but the Mad Hatter and the White Rabbit call him "that guy" from time to time.
Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Every character's name is a title, which address their role and sometimes how they act, and it shows the work down by the authors. For instance, the Mad Hatter drinks tea, is obsessed with time, and owns a hat store. The Dormouse is very sluggish and sleeps a lot, and is close friends with the Hatter. So on and so fourth. Defied by the Queen and enforced with the Knave; the Queen could be less accurate, and the Knave was actually ordered by the Queen to be quiet.
Identity Amnesia: The White Rabbit, as detailed with the Knave's meeting, even goes as far as to throw away names of everyone's former life, though as shown with the Queen, some can still remember who they were else-wise.
In Name Only: Lewis Carroll. You know, for a guy who had poor health, he sure does like to smoke...
Humpty Dumpty is the human, non-Wonderland resident editor of Alice in Wonderland.
From Bad to Worse: It has a tendency to do this. Shining examples are: the Duke going haywire, the Pool of Tears incident, and until the Queen showed up, the Alice Fixed Holiday fiasco.
Grey and Gray Morality: Unless you say the rules are the true antagonistic force or that Lewis Carroll is the real villain, no one is really good or evil. The Queen kills because it's his job, the Knave and the Cheshire Cat cannot do anything to help the positions they're in and are forced to simply go along with it all, the 89th Alice himself is incredibly sweet despite being self-centered and having very villainous thinking.
Face-Heel Turn / Heel-Face Turn: The Cheshire Cat lampshades the amount of this trope, stating that no one in the game can be trusted. Almost every character does this once or twice if they aren't the genuinely nice characters.
Green-Eyed Monster: Often played for laughs when it comes up, but best seen in the omake "Child Challenge", where Alice, The Duke, and the Fish Footman eat a magic mushroom that turns them into babies. It gets worse when the Queen gets jealous of the Duke's attention, but opts to take care of ita different way.
Played for drama with the Regrets, who attack Alice out of lust and jealousy for the name.
God Save Us from the Queen!: Played with. The Queen, though once a serial killer, seems laid back and controls Wonderland pretty well. Though you shouldn't really try and defy him...
Knight of Cerebus: Everyone seems to grab this role at some time; the Cheshire Cat being the first to actually show the rather cruel nature of the series, the Queen of Hearts who shows Alice that Anyone Can Die, even the March Hare and his backstory of showing how batshit insane the White Rabbit is.
Out of all the outfits seen so far, only the Cheshire Cat and the Queen have changed their clothing. The Cheshire Cat's outfit was altered slightly near the start, and the Queen changed his clothing from tight sleeves and diamond-patterned pants to wider sleeves and grey pants, including a belt made of circles, after chapters 14 and 15.
The Queen also has multiple outfits, as the Alice Fixed Holiday party had him change outfits five times.
Loads and Loads of Rules: Everyone given a name by the White Rabbit has their own personal rule, job, and who they can or can't kill; while it's possible to harm someone you can/can't kill, it is an injury that they can easily heal. According to the Dormouse, "not being able to kill" is not a rule, but at the same time if they don't have a rule to begin with, they can't kill nor can be killed. The only ways to die are to be killed by the appointed person who's capable of doing it or to kill yourself. Along with this, you can sign contracts with either the White Rabbit or the Queen of Hearts to gain other rules. Here's a list of what known rules there are for the characters:
Alice can kill the White Rabbit and anyone who works with the Rabbit, but is unable to kill anyone else. The Alice who wins the game is called "Alice in Wonderland".
The Mad Hatter can kill anyone who is an "enemy of Alice". However, this only counts if the "enemy" attacks Alice, is a threat to Alice, and regards themselves as a threat. It is highly possible that the Mad Hatter can also kill Alice if he chooses, being hinted at multiple times throughout the story, but it's unknown if it's passive (the Mad Hatter lets it happen) or aggressive (he does it himself).
The Queen of Hearts can kill anyone who disobeys his/her orders or become useless; this includes characters who fail in their job or the character they were linked to dies.
The Knave of Hearts is the only one out of the Trump Soldiers who can kill the Queen of Hearts, this rule coming into play when the Queen attempts to quit their job and run from the game.
The Trump Soldiers are to ensure the Queen does their job, as well as protect the Queen and serve as their servants.
The Duchess is Alice's replacement - she's to take care of the Duke and stop him when he goes on a rampage.
The Duke collects all the regrets of Wonderland, which can relate to cleaning out a trash can.
The Dormouse is the only informant in Wonderland and knows where the White Rabbit is. Due to a contract signed with the Rabbit, the Dormouse can gather information from others who signed contracts with the Rabbit and can transfer that information to Alice and the Mad Hatter.
The Caterpillar is able to show Alice where the Dormouse (and possibly anyone else) is located through the use of Caterpillar Alley's Centipede. The rest of her rules, or exactly what she can do, is unknown.
The Cheshire Cat may not actually be part of the game, but is regardless able to find and converse with the current 89th Alice no matter where he is and is furthermore able to attack and kill Alice. The Cheshire Cat has also shown similar abilities to the White Rabbit, as in being able to lead someone to Wonderland. However, names from him are just that: names.
The March Hare is the White Rabbit's "friend", but besides that has no real rule. Many characters indicate he's possible of doing other things; gaining the White Rabbit's duties once the White Rabbit's killed (however, this action ends the game, making this ability useless), assisting Alice in killing the White Rabbit, or just not having any use at all.
The Tweedles of Looking-Glass Land replace the White Rabbit in a few ways. Though unknown who they can kill, Tweedledee is in charge of the location of regrets where Tweedledum is in charge of giving out and changing names. Dum also has the ability to recall the past thrown away by the White Rabbit, allowing one to remember who they are... It's a shame they're identical twins.
The White Knight serves as a proxy of the Hatter. His mission seems to be to artificially end the round of Alice by having her become the White Queen and rule Looking-Glass Land - in doing so, he offers full protection of Alice and serves as a sort of Knave of Hearts to her when they become the Queen piece.
Lolicon: The Mad Hatter, though downplayed. He seems to like the Duchess and he escorts plus protects the Alices. However, it only becomes really clear when it becomes clear that he is actually Lewis Carroll, who is hinted at having been in love with Alice Liddell, and he shows it.
Motifs: Apart from the allusions to the actual book, the Queen of Hearts frequently makes allusions to cards; apart from having 52 Trump Soldiers and having done 52 murders as a serial killer, he makes off-hand remarks of "not being able to play with a full deck" once he loses 51 "cards", how he used to think he was the Joker card, and so on.
Animal Motifs: Obvious, but other characters get this. In an omake, Alice compared the Queen with a panther, Jack with a dog, and the Mad Hatter with a bear. The Mad Hatter, on the other hand, calls Alice a giraffe.
The Mentally Disturbed: The White Rabbit's insanity makes him Ax-Crazy and the antagonist; however, his almost Yandere-like behavior is random, with bouts of sanity between fits of insanity. Chapter 36, however, makes it horrific.
Mood Whiplash: Played rapidly for both comedy and drama in chapter 39.
No Name Given: Extends to almost all the characters, as the White Rabbit erases the names of those who live in Wonderland (as in, they can recall their past but not their name). Justified with the Cheshire Cat and White Rabbit, who are literally the characters from Alice in Wonderland, and possibly the 89th Alice also being literally named "Alice Liddel". Subverted with the Mad Hatter who is named Lewis Carrol and Marianne Alice Liddel.
Not-So-Harmless Villain: The White Rabbit, The Cheshire Cat, and the March Hare all have shown they aren't as "neutral" as they seem. The White Rabbit is incredibly deadly with a sword, and his insanity fuels him to become increasingly violent. The Cheshire Cat manages to kill the 88th Alice and nearly did the same to the 89th if he didn't lose an arm for it. The March Hare, meantime, knows how to use a gun, and drifts to and fro from wanting to kill Alice himself.
Off with His Head!: Characters that don't play by the rules the White Rabbit gave them, or that aren't needed anymore (most prominently the Duchess) are erased from the story this way. The Queen of Hearts does the deeds himself with his Sinister Scythe. However, it isn't his usual way of killing them, as seen with the Duchess' friends.
The Queen says this to the Hatter as an order to help Alice kill the rabbit and to kill the Dormouse.
Oh, Crap: Alice, being Alice, gets this a lot on his face.
The Queen of Hearts ends up giving consecutive moments in chapters 27 to 29.
One-Man Army: A lot of characters can hold on their own, but the Dormouse gets first place; he kills 51 Trump Soldiers, and ends up wounding the 52nd, the first 51 all offscreen.
Out, Damned Spot!: The Queen of Hearts fully regrets his actions, including killing both the Duchess and the three children, Rodge, Coco, and Bebe. However, he rarely shows it.
Petting Zoo People: The Cheshire Cat, the White Rabbit, and the March Hare. Where there's a reason for the first two, the March Hare doesn't seem to have one...
Precision F-Strike: Alice gives two in chapter 26, and after that he starts sprinkling in tiny curse words as the scene goes on.
Bowdlerised in Chuang Yi's translation, though the Hatter isn't above calling Alice a "dumbass".
Quest for Identity: Subverted, but gradually evolves into being played straight. 'Alice' doesn't seem even slightly interested in getting his memories back and simply wants to live in Wonderland, but he slowly becomes more fond of the name as the story of the original CDs goes on.
But because of this, him getting attached to the name becomes the main topic to probably one of the most mindscrewy CDs of the whole series.
Red Eyes, Take Warning: Although the White Rabbit's eyes are described as pink in both the English original and the Japanese translation of Alice in Wonderland, subverted as official art shows he has brown eyes. Though he's still quite a Killer Rabbit.
Sort of a unique version with the eye art; when a character is beyond angry or scared, their eyes gain a white circle to separate their pupil and iris, giving off a nice effect.
Revenge Before Reason: The Knave kidnapped Alice to help break his contract of "10 Characters every 10 Years", threatening him with a gun several times during such.
Revolvers Are Just Better: The residents of Wonderland use similar-looking Revolvers for all their killing-spree needs. Alice, the Mad Hatter, the Dormouse, and the Knave of Hearts all wield revolvers. Defied by the White Knight who uses a double-barrel flintlock.
Servant Race: The Trump Soldiers; 51 are entirely female and serve no purpose other than to be this. The 52nd, the Knave of Hearts, averts this, as he's more of a friend (albeit often badly treated) to the Queen than an actual servant.
He is the Queen: Running Gag. First used by the Mad Hatter through the use of never using pronouns, then later again when Jack is about to meet "her". As members of Wonderland apparently get kicks from it, you can probably bet every Alice got this treatment.
It's implied that the current male Queen is also the first Queen, as the castle was devoid of servants and Jack was the first of the Trump Cards to arrive.
Shown Their Work: Even going as far as to incorporate 'minor' elements of the original story, such as Dinah the cat and the whole 'Mad Hatter killing time' thing.
"Rodge", "Coco", and "Bebe", the Duchess' friends, have their names taken from the Frog Footman, the Cook, and the Baby respectively.
Spell My Name with an "S": An interesting version. On some CD-booklets and merchandise, the main character's name is written with an additional question mark to his name (resulting in "Alice?") to tell him apart from 'other' Alices. Of course, it also hints at the fact that he is still in the process of gaining this name or not.
Talking with Signs: Jack's only way of communication, thanks to the Queen giving him a rule.
The Mad Hatter: He doesn't seem to be as mad as other versions, though, except for his obsession with his precious tea time. Later, it is revealed that he is actually Lewis Carroll, author of the original story.
Tone Shift: Chapter 24 onward is much darker than before.
Trapped in Another World: "Alice?" ends up in Wonderland without knowing how exactly he got there or how to get away from it (he gets around with this after a while, though). Later in the story of the CDs, he is also in Looking Glass Land without any real clue.
Turns out all the people of Wonderland are trapped. Some want to escape, others don't mind.
Tragic Villain: Both the White Rabbit and The Cheshire Cat want the original Alice back. The Dormouse only wants to free the Mad Hatter from Wonderland. The March Hare wants a saner White Rabbit.
Unusual Ears: Both the White Rabbit and the March Hare have long rabbit ears. The Cheshire Cat has cat ears.
Unproblematic Prostitution: The Cheshire Cat is, apparently, one of these in a male version. Though unpopular in Wonderland, he goes out and sleeps with women instead of going home. At first, this seems to be the other way around, but in the Pool of Tears chapters, he makes an offhand comment that he gets a night of boarding in exchange for "different services".
Verbal Tic: The Mad Hatter often adds a 'Maa' at the start of some of his sentences and the Duchess's fish-butler uses 'gyo' at the end of his.
The Knave has a habit of yelling "tonikaku!", usually when he begins a sentence, which means "anyway".
The 89th Alice, at times, states he actually doesn't want to kill the White Rabbit, but he still will to get his name.
Almost everyone is stuck playing the game, but many, if not all of the named characters, dream of escaping from Wonderland.
The White Rabbit believes that, only by dying, Alice will be found and Wonderland will be fixed. The March Hare wants to Screw Destiny to protect the White Rabbit as a result.
You Know Who Said That: The Dormouse uses quotes from Alice in Wonderland's Chapter 8, "The Queen's Croquet-Ground", to trigger the Mad Hatter's memories in chapter 27. To be more exact, the cards talking about painting the roses red.