Alisa of the Silver Hair (Gin'iro no Kami no Arisa) was a short manga series written by Shinji Wada in 1973. The two volume story was serialized in Bessatsu Margaret.
Alisa Honjou was a kind 13 year old girl who had a wonderful life. She was rich, had loving parents, and was blessed with four wonderful friends. Then her life fell apart a few days after her 13th birthday. Her father was killed in a car crash, and three of her so-called friends tried to kill her by throwing her off a cliff. Before she's "killed," Alisa learns her father's death was orchestrated by one his employees in a bid to seize control of his company, and there are plans to kill her mother as well.
Amazingly, Alisa isn't killed, instead finding herself inside an expansive underground cavern. She's nursed back to health by an elderly couple who've been trapped underground for decades. Realizing her mother is as good as dead by now, Alisa spends the next four years driven by her desire to escape back to the world above so she may avenge her family. The elderly couple become Alisa's teachers and surrogate parents, helping her refine her mind and train her body to survive underground. By the time the elderly man and woman pass away due to their age, Alisa has become fast enough and strong enough to escape the cave on her own. However, she learns that her time underground in the dark had robbed her once jet black hair of color, making it appear unnaturally silver. Cursing her new appearance on the people who destroyed her family, Alisa sets forth to enact her long-awaited revenge.
Fans of Wada's later work, Sukeban Deka, noticed Alisa and three of the villains contain many similarities in terms of physical appearance and personality towards Saki Asamiya and the psychotic Mizuchi Sisters, making Alisa of the Silver Hair come across as a possible prototype to the later series.
This work features examples of:
- Always Someone Better: Alisa enacts this trope as part of her revenge on Beniko and the others, seeking to rob them of the things they treasure by outdoing them in the areas within which they shine.
- Alpha Bitch: Beniko Shigaraki.
- Ambiguously Gay: Alisa. She shows no interest towards men, and the only person she does seem to hold any feelings of attraction towards is Mio.
- But Now I Must Go: The story ends with Alisa sailing away, telling Mio she'll return when she can once again call herself "Alisa Honjou."
- Chekhov's Gun:
- The masks Alisa gave to her friends. Alisa uses Beniko's for her revenge.
- The physical training Alisa received and the education given to her by the elderly couple end up being essential not just to her escape, but her revenge plan. The problem solving skills Alisa gained helped her trounce Keiko in their tests, and Alisa's speed and agility allowed her to shatter Masako's track records.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Mr. Shigaraki, Beniko's father, who stole the company established by the Honjous, killed Alisa's father, and had Alisa's mother thrown in a mental hospital.
- Driven to Madness: Masako loses her sanity after learning who Alisa is, and then discovering Keiko's corpse.
- Driven to Suicide: Keiko and Beniko. Keiko hangs herself after Alisa steals her place as the smartest girl in school, and then learns her supposed boyfriend's going to dump her now that they know Alisa's smarter. Beniko lets herself be burned to death inside the theater rather than let the pathogen Alisa infected her with ruin her beauty.
- Evil Mask: Subverted. The masks Alisa gave to her friends may look frightening, but they're supposed to ward off actual evil.
- False Friend: Beniko, Keiko, and Masako all secretly hated Alisa, believing she was haughty and flaunted her wealth and status over them.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Keiko Aoki. Interestingly, Keiko's described as someone who's not terribly intelligent, but knows how to achieve high grades on tests.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Beniko, Keiko, and Masako helped Beniko's father in his plan to destroy the Honjou family thanks to jealousy the three girls had towards Alisa for her status and wealth.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Subverted. Alisa manages to avoid becoming as bad as the people who wrecked her life, pulling off her revenge perfectly without any innocents caught in the crossfire. However, she feels she doesn't have a right to call herself Alisa Honjou anymore, and leaves claiming she'll only be able to return to Mio when she's able to go back to her old self.
- Locked into Strangeness: Alisa's silver hair, which she hides with a black wig and uses to distance herself from her old life.
- Nice Girl: Mio Kyouzaki, the only one of Alisa's original friends who was genuinely nice to her.
- Ojou Ringlets: Beniko.
- Proud Beauty: Beniko. Alisa's revenge on her involves a rare, flesh-eating pathogen she's able to trick Beniko into putting on her face by coating the inside of her mask for the play "The Masked Girl." After learning she's going to lose her beauty, Beniko decides the more pleasurable route to go is to let herself burn to death.
- Rags to Riches: Alisa, who started off rich, then lost everything, then got rich again.
- Self-Made Man: Alisa after escaping the cave. She brought with her chunks of a rare kind of jade which were valuable enough to help her establish a brand new life. But to put this into appropriate context: the jade turned out to be so valuable it allowed Alisa to acquire entry into Beniko's school by donating enough money to fund it for two years. With enough left over to still be insanely rich.
- Terrible Trio: Alisa's three "friends," Beniko Shigaraki, Keiko Aoki, and Masako Kawasaki.
- That Man Is Dead: Alisa's attitude towards her old life as "Alisa Honjou" after escaping the cave.
- Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Beniko, Keiko, and Masako gladly tried to kill Alisa when they were all 13, and eagerly gloated about the death of her father and her mother's impending death as well.