I somehow missed “Gakuen Alice” when it first appeared, so how nice of RightStuf and Nozomi to rectify that for me with its recent re-release.
The show is now available in a five-disc, subtitled set (26 episodes), and four episodes in, it’s a cute spin on the magical girl genre.
It’s not quite magic and, at least in the beginning, elementary schools student Mikan doesn’t even know what her special power is. As far as she knows, she’s just a regular girl who comes to the mysterious Alice Academy to see her best friend, Hotaru, who was forced to transfer there. But when Hotaru doesn’t write or visit on vacation, Mikan travels to Tokyo to see what’s up.
Spotted by one of the teachers, she winds up transferring there herself, and she must learn what her ability (her Alice) is if she wants to stay. Alices can be any kind of special gift, telepathy, telekinesis, super smartness, pyrokinesis, that sort of thing. Kids with these powers are shuttered away from the rest of the world to “protect” them — and the rest of us — from their untamed abilities.
It could be pretty serious, but it’s not, at least not at first. It sounds like there are two central conflicts coming up, and they’re probably related. One involves the mean boy in school, Natsume, who’s smart and powerful and has a chip on his shoulder. The other is a group of students who left some time earlier because they didn’t agree with how the school was run.
Mikan is borderline annoying. She cries — a lot. But her heart is in the right place. She’s totally devoted to Hotaru, who seems a bit of a cold fish, but it all may just be an act.
Throw in a mean teddy bear with an ax and a giant chick, and you’ve got a light, silly series that shows all the hallmarks of a fun time.