Gauken Alice Anime Review

gakuen aliceTitle: Gauken Alice

U. S. Publisher: Nozomi/Lucky Penny

U. S. Release Date: 4/5/16

Format: DVD (Subtitled English) 26 Episodes

Genre: Super Natural Fantasy

Age Rating: 14+

Overall Personal Rating: B


Mikan is a grade school girl who lives in the country. Her best friend is Hotaru,a  girl who is usually sullen, emotionless and blunt. Unexpectedly one day, Horary transfers to a new school in the city.  Milan is really depressed about all of this so she heads out to find her friend. It turns out the school is an elite campus housing grade school through high school. All of the students have been brought there by the government because of special abilities, referred to as “Alices”. Mikan is caught by a teacher as she tries to get in, and as it turns out, he says she also has an “Alice”, but it is mysterious as to what her ability really is. She is allowed to join the school but as a clueless outsider, she is often looked down upon. However, she is one of the happy go lucky people with a can do attitude. She puts up  with it all so she can be close to her best friend.

The school is a secretive and controling place. The “Alices” the students possess are widely varied and their attitudes toward their situations span kindness to evil. Things seem to take a darker turn and Mikan finds herself in situations that she just can’t understand. But she never gives up.


Gakuen Alice has a lot of story. It seems to try to start at base of cute, but that’s the part of the anime I don’t like. I think my bias against the series is because of the animation style. It is dated looking with the pointy chins and heart shaped faces. So, “cute” never really reaches cute, and “good-looking” never gets there.

So, back to the story part. The anime and manga has its differences, with the anime being milder and better for more ages.  Mikan is a really good choice for the  main character from which the story is presented to us. She is personable, where most of the other characters are not very good with other, especially ordinary, people. The prevalence of self-importance and superiority are rampant in the student population. Sure, there are some nice kids and Mikan even makes some friends, but is sure is tough going. She always swings back to happy and determined. It keeps the events from getting unpleasantly hopeless. The stories and plots really resided and are created in the mysteries of the school. I don’t think even the teachers really know all of what is going on.  There are the regular school life events, like exams, sports and festivals. But with the “Alices” thrown in, regular events can end up going anywhere.

The audience is always led through the story, and foretelling what comes next or what even we may want to happen is nearly impossible. This ability to be different and unpredictable is one of the things that I think makes anime so interesting to an American viewer. Gakuen Alice does this well.

It is often listed as a comedy, and though there is some silliness, there is never any really clever times to make me laugh. Without any real extremes, I think this anime is for the person looking for an interesting story. Not too deep, not too dark, not too cute, not to clever,  but a good dose of mystery.


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