Alice To Zoroku

December 2, 2017

Little girl with strange powers escaping a lab and ends up in the care of an old man. Sounds interesting a premise for Alice To Zoroku. It’s very rare to have an old man who is a grandpa as a main protagonist. Even interesting to see the people from the lab and various secret government agencies trying to get their test subject back and standing in their way is a normal old man? Make that grumpy old man. A grumpy old man with no supernatural powers whatsoever. Just loaded with life’s experience. I guess that’s why old people are so hard to deal with.

Episode 1
In this hour long episode, the Red Queen is seen escaping from the facility. Her movements are being tracked Kouichi Kitou and his team. He is not panicking to capture her in a hurry since this will also be a good chance to collect data. However some of the surveillance team has trouble tracking her. They blame low budget and outdated surveillance equipment… Eventually Red Queen is discovered. Miriam “Minnie C” Tachibana is dispatched to retrieve her. Though Red Queen is exhausted, a maid character pops up to fight Minnie C. She gives Red Queen some nourishment and tells her to visualize the next town and jump there. By the time the fight ends, Red Queen is gone. Kitou orders the continuation of the tracking but since the bridge has collapsed, he orders their return. Zoroku Kashimura is in a shady business with a yakuza. After he gets his payment, he leaves. At the convenience store, the cashier points out this strange girl (Red Queen) who has been staring at the food for 3 hours! So call the police? Can’t do. The owner hates the cops. When Zoroku tries to talk to her, it seems she can read all his personal data. She gets cocky to make a deal with her and she’ll grant him any wish. He doesn’t understand what is going on so this frustrates her as she just vanishes. Actually, she disappears into his car. She is still bugging him to make a deal. However they have to start running since a wrecking ball is coming their way! Literally, it came in like a wrecking ball! Red Queen realizes the sisters, Asahi and Yonaga Hinagiri are after her. It becomes a chaotic and helter-skelter chase with the sisters unleashing their arrow and chain powers in their attempt to get them. And the bystanders? They must be filming a movie! When the car crashes, the girls confront each other. The sisters are adamant to bring her back to the facility but Red Queen doesn’t want to go back there and instead wants to destroy it. The spat ends when Zoroku beats them for misbehaving. They are having their statements taken by the police. The chief finds it hard to believe Zoroku but when he sees a footage how Red Queen just suddenly disappears, what else left is there to say? Zoroku is given his stuffs back and doesn’t know the police does quick car repair service. They don’t. They found it in good condition. Apparently the commotion and damage created by the chase, all effects have been erased. Like as though it never happened. Zoroku remains sceptical so the first thing he does is to sell the car.

As Zoroku eats at his usual place, here comes Red Queen popping back to bug him. So in addition to wanting his food, she wants him to be her servant? WTF? You don’t mess with this old dude! At least he hears her out. She explains there are many others like her. They are called Dreams of Alice. When she escaped, she realized she couldn’t do anything but looking inside his head, she could tell he is a good person. Then they hang out at the park. He asks her name but she doesn’t have any except being called as the Red Queen. Sana is also her name but that was given by the sisters. Zoroku will let her stay at his place but she must help with his work. He warns her not to use that strange power of hers again. Imagine if she does and she ends up killing other people. Furthermore, she can look into his mind and try to make a shady deal. It’s like blackmailing him. He won’t do crooked stuffs like that. First he wants her to fix her twisted temperament and value her friends. That facility thingy is for the adults to solve. Kitou shows to the committee the Wonderland that the Red Queen created. She can materialize anything she imagines. Anything. As they are continuing to study her, letting her remain in the outside world may create a psychological unstable state for her. Losing her who is a very valuable sample means a massive loss for the country. He would like to conduct her capture in secrecy since it would be detrimental if an accident would bring this light to the public. Sana returns to Zoroku’s place. She is amazed with all the beautiful flowers. Zoroku is a florist. So that shady deal he made with the yakuza is because he is nervous in wanting to make a move to court a woman. Zoroku’s home is a short walk from the shop. He prepares the futon and clothes belonging to his granddaughter but Sana is already fast asleep.

Episode 2
Zoroku watches the morning news. None reported yesterday’s chase. Sanae, Zoroku’s granddaughter returns and is fascinated to see Sana. Not for Sana. Immediately she goes into defence mode. Sanae isn’t surprised since grandpa told all about her. Sanae thought she could break the ice with some lame pig hand puppet show but Sana materializes real pigs to flood the room! Oink, oink! Yeah, they’re all over Sana. Sanae calls Zoroku to update what happened. It’s like a natural reaction that Sana is scared to hear his name. Sanae plays her big sister by giving her clothes to wear and does her hair. Since she is hungry and can’t wait for Sanae to make pancakes, she materializes a huge one and loses energy. Oh no. The pigs are here! Invasion of bay of pigs? I guess Sana has to now wait. While waiting, she explains her time at the facility. That is as far she can remember. The only thing she knew then was hunger. The researchers put all kinds of things into her body (nothing hentai) and she never understood language as she didn’t need it. One day she was introduced to the sisters and that is when her world starts to change. She realizes how different everyone is and starts opening up to them. The sisters taught her a lot of things. It was fun times. Then one day Sana saw something horrible happen to other subjects in the facility. It was then she got scared and decided to run. There were so many things happening there she didn’t know. Sana then takes Sanae on a whirlwind adventure. Literally teleporting here and there! Wow. Real adventures! Even petting the penguins at South Pole! But they have to go home soon. You know how cranky Zoroku can get if he doesn’t find them home. So when Sana teleports them to the flower shop, she somehow teleports the pigs too! Invasion of bay of pigs again?! So now the pigs stampede all over the place! Zoroku’s old friend, Ryuu Naito and Shizuku Ichijou arrive only to see Sana crying. She got scolded… At least the pigs are under control…

Episode 3
Kitou talks to Minnie C on several stuffs. She loves wearing the kimono as it reminds her of her husband. It calms her down as she could feel his warm arms wrap around her. His big hairy white American arms. Ichijou talks to Sana and calms her down. She notes they have met before but Sana doesn’t remember. Then it’s back to this… Zoroku wants Sana to apologize but she remains stubborn and throwing a tantrum. This is going to take a while. Naito takes over to assure they are here to protect her and can’t let those guys take her back. He gives her a pin which is a tracker. More flashbacks from Minnie C spending her times with her husband. He was in the military and they loved each other very much. Till he died in a bomb diffusing incident. Her world came crashing down. She suffered from insomnia but when dreamt of her husband’s big hairy white American arms embracing her, she calmed down. It was then she became a Dream of Alice. Naito asks Sana if she would like to become a family member of Zoroku. Grandpa doesn’t like it one bit despite Naito will make arrangements for everything to be provided for. Knowing Naito, he knows there is an ulterior motive. If Sana is going to live with him, there is something she has to say to him first. Oh no. Not this again. As usual, Sana won’t say it and gives excuse she needs to go to the toilet. While relieving herself, she is suddenly kidnapped by those big hairy white American arms. The rest realize something is wrong when she is taking too long. Yeah, the toilet is ‘missing’. They detect the tracker moving as Ichijou tries to follow it. However they realize they have been tricked when the toilet ends up somewhere and Sana is not in there. She is tied up in a vehicle with Minnie C. To hide their tracks, they hide inside a trailer. Sana tries to struggle so Minnie C uses those big hair white American arms (I should stop saying this) to pin her down and warn she could easily kill her. She remembers Kitou showing her Wonderland. She was amazed at all the stuffs Red Queen could materialize and there is no end to it. Each Dream of Alice has only a Card and even so, getting the power they want isn’t guaranteed unlike Red Queen who can easily conjure anything. Kitou asks Minnie C if she could get this power, what would she wish for. It should be no surprise she would do anything to see her husband again.

Episode 4
Sanae blames herself for bringing Sana here. Naito assures those guys won’t do any harm to Sana as she is precious. Minnie C is disappointed despite Sana’s vast power in Wonderland, she is powerless in the outside world. After all, she isn’t actually human. In fact, she wasn’t even a living thing 13 years ago. Just an unknown being mimicking human stuffs. That is why living outside is impossible and Wonderland is the only place for her. Naito reveals that similar info to Zoroku and Sanae. Of course there are factions that believe they can coexist with humans and others who don’t and just want to confine them. Sana meets a florist who looks like a grownup version of her inside her consciousness. The first thing Sana says is how flat she is and even Sanae is much bigger! The florist hints to her to call out someone’s name. Sana thinks and calls out Zoroku’s name. In a blink of an eye, that old guy is whisked beside her. Minnie C tries to subdue him with those hands but he is stronger! He assures Sana help is on the way. Because they continue to make commotion, Minnie C shoots Sana’s leg! She warns the next one will hit Zoroku. This has Sana blame herself for the troubles she has brought just because she isn’t human. She doesn’t want all this and uses her remaining energy to rewrite the scenario. This means her wound is gone. At that moment, Naito’s team is able to track Sana’s whereabouts for a short while. Minnie C explains this joint research between Japan and America to benefit humanity by researching Dreams of Alice and building an energy base of it. Zoroku doesn’t care about all that. All he sees Sana is a little girl. Even if Sana might be a weapon of mass weapon masquerading as human. Sana still blames herself as a monster and needs to go back to the facility to prevent any more people from getting hurt. Time for Zoroku’s lecture. If Minnie C claims Sana isn’t human, isn’t ironic for her to shoot a child? Who isn’t human? Plus, what defines as human? Sure, Sana might have caused trouble. Everyone does that. She might be a nuisance but she has no malicious intention and has a heart. No matter what she is, in tough times she should be with others. Zoroku has no intention to let her being taken away by these people and doesn’t like shady stuffs. I mean, she left the facility because she wanted to see what is outside, right? End of lecture. Sana, you may cry now. That is short-lived since Ichijou rips open the car’s roof to save the day.

Episode 5
With Minnie C fighting back, Ichijou surprises her by using several different types of Cards. Ichijou hides Sana and Zoroku and gives her a candy to replenish her strength while she fends off Minnie C’s arms. Well, those arms come in mini sizes and invisible as well. Minnie C recognizes Ichijou as that maid who got in her way. When Ichijou is cornered, she is forced to use her trump card. She transforms into that maid outfit and kicks ass. I guess that is why that Card is numbered #1 :-). The more Ichijou fights back, the more desperate Minnie C gets till she eventually loses. Out of energy. Ichijou reveals herself as some walking weapon because her Card absorbed some maid anime on TV that contains 666 weapons and 13 grimoires. Wicked. She arrests Minnie C for several violations. Minnie C can only wallow in regret. Sana tells Zoroku that she might be going to cause troubles but she wants to do a lot of things. She wants to be human. She must be talking for so long that her stomach starts to growl. I guess a candy bar wasn’t enough. Sana takes him for a night flight as thanks. The authorities clamp down and arrest Kitou and all his accomplice. If in real life they were this efficient… Before that happens, he tells them to erase all data on Dream of Alice. In the aftermath, the facility is shut down, the faction opposing Naito quiet down, Minnie C is deported back to US due to some protection agreement and Zoroku and Sanae has an additional family member. Sanae can’t wait to spoil her and Sana just can’t wait to experience all that.

Episode 6
Sana is living the peaceful life. However she still tries to use her power and gets a stern reminder by Zoroku. Sana follows him to the florist where he goes to make floral preparations for his client’s engagement party. It’s that yakuza. And his future wife is a high school kid? Long story. Sana learns the meaning of engagement and being married. Something like being a family. As Sana’s hair is too long and she keeps stepping on it, Zoroku suggests cutting it. Sana is excited to go to the beauty salon (I guess a barber isn’t enough). As it will take roughly and hour, Zoroku goes off to do some errands. Sana is delighted with her bob cut. Because Zoroku is running late, she decides to go look for him. Imagine Zoroku’s horror when she isn’t in the beauty salon. Weren’t the staffs keeping an eye on her? So happy Sana sings and walks around. Not sure if she knows where to look but hey, she looks happy. And nobody else cares. She gets distracted by a cat. Zoroku is running around trying to find her. It’s going to be bad for his heart. Sana realizes she is lost. She wants to use her power but remembers Zoroku’s words. Oh no. Time to start crying… Zoroku eventually receives a call from the police. She is there and a passer-by spotted a lost girl and brought her here. Zoroku carries her home and says next time when this happens, call him out like she did before. It is okay to use her power but to use it wisely. Back home, Zoroku shows her the adoption papers he got from Naito. With this, Sana will become part of the Kashimura family. How does that sound? Like getting married, right? Oh Sana…

Episode 7
Ichijou accompanies Zoroku and Sana. Sana learns how to use the train system for the first time. Meanwhile Asahi is on a spree buying up all the food she can get in China Town. Huh?! Yonaga tries to stop her from spending so recklessly but I guess this is what freedom is about. Then they bump into Sana. Instantly they run and Sana gives chase. Oh, how ironic. Not too long ago it was the sisters chasing after her. So in Sana’s attempts to catch them, they materialize all sort funny stuffs. Others must be thinking how cool those special effects. Eventually Ichijou had to intervene and punish the trio. So while the twins join them at a restaurant, Sana is still acting haughty and frazzled. She has never felt like this before. Slowly, the sisters apologize to Sana for all they once did. They missed her ever since she left the facility. It wasn’t the same. Flashback shows the sisters were abused by their father. They couldn’t take it anymore and killed him. They were sent to the facility and never left the place. It was much more fun when they got to know Sana. They never meant her to be their doll since they never taught her about the outside world. When she left, their world changed. Right now they are going to a local American school where they house those from the facility. They are happy with life now. Sana forgives them and they become friends. That night, Sana wakes up in tears and she doesn’t know why. She still has this frazzled feeling. Sanae talks and comforts her but it feels more like teasing. Maybe that is her love to Sana. Sana and the sisters now frequently keep in touch via messaging. Technology. Not even Dreams of Alice can beat that.

Episode 8
Hatori Shikishima is praying to God. She blames herself for not being smart academically since her parents are always arguing and that she is their source of bickering. One day, suddenly they made up and become good parents like she always dreamt of. Talking to her best friend Ayumu Miho, they wonder what this magic is about since they notice Hatori can actually make people stop dead in their tracks and do her bidding. She thought she was bestowed some magic by some witch but was warned if she used it for evil, she will turn into an evil witch. Of course they have some fun with this power until they realize those affected don’t really turn back but become zombies waiting for their next order. Hatori realizes that her parents are just being nice because of her magic. As long as she is here, this house is nothing but lies. So the best friends decide to run far away. In town, they just freeze everybody like that? Meanwhile Sana must have got used to her florist chores when suddenly Zoroku and the rest cannot move. Hatori and Ayumu talk about things when they notice Sana moving among the crowd. She is the only one not affected. They go talk to her as Sana is trying hard catching her breath trying to find an answer to why everyone suddenly cannot move. Ayumu asks Sana if she knows anything to undo Hatori’s magic so that she doesn’t have to run away from home anymore. However Sana upon knowing they are responsible for this freak accident starts to get mad. Her scream nullifies everything and returns everyone to normal. But that’s not enough. Sana is still mad. So she materializes a giant Santa with hammer?! However it soon disappears. Both girls try to battle each other via their power but it keeps nullifying each other. When all else don’t work, girly fist fight time! Man, Sana is weak. Hatori and Ayumu run away as Sana collapses after running out of energy. Hatori views herself at fault for this incident because it shocked Sana’s world. She believes she has become an evil witch.

Episode 9
Hatori returns home and although mom greets her, she isn’t sure which version of her she is. Sana wakes up one night worried about Zoroku. Nothing has happened to him. In her relief, she starts crying and hugging him. Awkward… Asahi and Yonaga are here to stay over for a night as requested by Zoroku. The little ones have fun as the sisters observe Sana has gotten used in doing daily chores. When Zoroku returns late from work that night, it’s like Sana could sense him coming back and goes to hug him and won’t let go! So now she’s a leech? But the next morning, Zoroku has to go to work to fix some flower arrangements that was messed up yesterday. He is supposed to be off today. So apparently Sana blames this on those evil witches and is going to get them. Wow. She really isn’t letting go of this grudge. Ayumu is shocked to hear Hatori isn’t going to run anymore but stay here forever. She doesn’t mind if it’s a lie as long as her parents get along. Naito and his assistant, Noriko Yamada are outside Hatori’s house wanting to talk to her but her mom answers the call. They leave once they are done. But something is amiss. Naito has been keeping a marker somewhere and realizes they have been had again. This is the fifth time. Hatori seems to have the power to control others and only allows those she approves to go near the house. He thinks perhaps someone close to her might be able to help. Ayumu is going around town asking for people’s help if they have seen Sana. Nada. Ayumu remembers Hatori telling her never to come again for fear she might hurt her. Suddenly Cheshire cat’s face pops up before her and she is sent falling through a rabbit hole (though I would like to think it is a manhole). She ends up in a strange fantasy land whereby Sana as a little queen riding a turtle is going to teach her a lesson. WTF?! What does a turtle have to do with this?!

Episode 10
Sana wants to make Ayumu reflect and apologize. Ayumu will do so but wants her to tell all she knows about this power. Still not satisfied? Sana hears Zoroku calling her. That worried look… She should be. Because she teleported the toilet somewhere else to pull off this crap! Later Sana talks to Ayumu but is confused when she painter Hatori as a good person. Zoroku and Sanae call Sana for dinner but she didn’t answer. When they go check on her, she left a note saying that she went to catch an evil girl. Huh? Hatori is at home when she follows a little rabbit into a magical door and into a magical fantasy world. Hatori is now before Sana (masquerading as some box king). You think Hatori is scared of her? Nope. Starting to panic now, eh? It throws Sana off her pace since Hatori admits she is evil. What’s the use trying to tell her not to do evil stuffs? Didn’t she just say she is evil? Sana is more confused remembering Ayumu’s words about Hatori being nice, kind, smarter, etc. Ayumu is jealous and wished she had those powers. Sana is still bratty but lets it slip she is trying to help her because of her friend. Hatori becomes mad and the tables are now turned as she tries to make Sana spill the beans if Ayumu put her up to this. As she won’t tell, Hatori uses her power to order her. But it clashes with Sana’s. Because of that, the entire world starts crumbling. This also cause some sort of anomaly in the real world. Yamada detects Wonderland expanding. Strange things pop up in reality and certain people start to have Dreams of Alice. Ichijou calls Zoroku to check if Sana is in. It only confirms that she is stuck in Wonderland with somebody else (Hatori and Ayumu’s parents are out looking for her). Zoroku is going to come along because it’s an adult’s job to bring the kids back. Sana is trapped inside a box. She can’t use her power and is too bratty to ask for help. Hatori easily frees her. Awkward moment. Hatori is willing to apologize as long as she is sent home. However Sana can’t do that. They might be stuck here forever.

Episode 11
Zoroku and Sanae are brought to Wonderland. Ichijou goes with them but she is soon plunged into a hole. A rabbit hole? With no leads, I guess they’ll have to follow this little spotted pig to wherever it brings them. This place must be one big abstract memory of Sana as there are many huge monuments of what she did with Zoroku. Sana doesn’t have any power and she is unsure of this parts in Wonderland. Hatori doesn’t give up and tries to follow the path she thinks will lead her back. However the door is nothing but a door. Sana needs to work out as she has been catching her breath for a long time. So resting in a house, they talk about things. Like Hatori believes her mom hates her because of her poor grades and the reason her parents are fighting. She loves her mom but thinks her mom wished she wasn’t her daughter. This talk of existence has Sana reveal she was born from this place and that she has no mom like others. Sana believes after talking to her, she must be some sort of communication device as she is part of Wonderland and humans are curious to know about it. So she ponders about her own existence if it is necessary. That made Hatori cry? Wow. Must be such a sad story. Sana continues she also found joy and happiness and hence there are things she needs. The girls reconcile as Sana messes with her hair (because that’s what Sanae always does) and Hatori hugging her (because that’s what mom always does). Hatori really wants to see mom again and requests Sana help her.

Episode 12
It has been 10 days a relentless search is put out for Hatori. Ayumu also helps look as she remembers a place they promised to go together. She wonders if she has gone there by herself. Hatori realizes her handphone is missing. They notice it is in the hands of the rabbit. After catching it, Hatori realizes there have been messages left by Ayumu. Earlier on she noticed there was no signal. Having such messages mean the rabbit is somehow connected to the outside world. They continue to chase and follow the rabbit. Is it leading them on a wild goose hunt since they’re traversing dangerously? They finally end up in a place where there is signal. Hatori calls Ayumu and it connects. The friends are glad to hear each other. Ayumu is relieved she thought Hatori hated her and had run away. With the battery running low, Hattori and Sana tell her they can’t use their powers and hence cannot get out. As Wonderland is big, it is hard to find the exit from within unlike in the real world which is ‘smaller’. She has to find the rabbit hole. Ayumu rushes back to town to the spot where Hattori disappeared. A door pops up and she enters. The friends reunite and at the same time the pig leads the grandpa and his granddaughter to them. However the place starts shaking. Something is wrong. It is detected Wonderland is expanding into reality soon. Guess what? Zoroku lectures it to stop this crap and the shaking stops!!! WTF?! The expansion stops and everything stabilizes. The rabbit fears him and gives him a button to press. It releases Ichijou from wherever she was, dropping from the sky. The exit leads them back to Sana’s room. Sana is happy but better take off your shoes before you get another scolding from Zoroku. Zoroku and Sana walk Hatori and Ayumu home. They apologize and know they have a lot to atone for. Ayumu lets Hatori know how her parents searched for her every day. When she returns to them, they instantly hug her. In the aftermath, the government makes an official statement about the Dreams of Alice phenomenon and is planning to make a response office. Ichijou and Yamada wonder what kind of change the world is going to have. Naito doesn’t care as long as the children are happy and healthy. Sana leads a happier life. She now goes to school and is good friends with Hatori and Ayumu.

“What A Strange World We Live In”
And so it leaves with this mind boggling narration about a story of a girl who will continue to search for herself so she can become me. Huh? Yeah, almost forgot about that Sana grownup clone. Don’t tell me that is Zoroku’s daughter trapped in some parts of Wonderland. After all, why was she thanking Zoroku for everything to be alright now? Or is this the future Sana? I don’t care anymore. I’m already bored and I don’t have the energy to be further confused with this ending ‘plot twist’.

Initially, the first half of the series was interesting since a small group of people were trying to take Sana back. It might not be the most exciting of such plots and thrillers but it is certainly better than the second half which was just plain boring. Because ever since Sana is freed from her pursuers and living the normal free life, it might be all peaceful for Sana and that is good for her and those around her. However the plot of the story suffers from that. Like as though there aren’t any more threats to her and the producers feel like they have to fill the remaining episodes of the season and come up with this really boring plot of another conflicted girl. It didn’t really did quite live up to the excitement and drama in the first half although I use those terms loosely. Yeah, maybe it was so that Sana could end up having friends her own age instead of being super clingy to an old guy in which if you think about it is just creepy since they aren’t actually blood related. And to avoid Sanae monopolizing Sana as her plaything…

As for the main characters, Sana and Zoroku, I fail to see how they would capture our hearts. Blame me for expecting something out of it but even if there were some close bonding moments of the duo (if that is what I should call it), at the end of the day it still doesn’t make me feel that they are close enough to be a close knit family. Even with Sanae around, it just fails to drum up another sort of emotional factor that they are a close family unit. Yes, Sana is new to the family and her surroundings. But even by the end of the series I didn’t feel they’re as closely knitted as they should. It’s like they’re just together because now Sana shares the same family name.

For Sana, even if she isn’t really human and something that has learnt to become one, personally she isn’t that likeable. She may have this strange power learn things but this doesn’t mean she understands them. Because of that, it feels like as though she is a retard but all that is covered up because of her cute factor. She looks so cute in almost anything she does that I’m sure we wouldn’t mind. Another thing why she is unlikeable is how pushy she was. When meeting Zoroku for the first time, she thinks she can boss him around but usually gets owned. It feels like Zoroku’s hand crushing over her face as punishment is like a running joke of the series. This gets even worse in the second half when she starts holding a personal grudge on Hatori. She just couldn’t let go. Sure, it might be traumatic for her to experience that time stopping incident. But does she have to go all her way out to seek her own brand of revenge? She was becoming annoying and borderline hateful. I thought she was going to be the antagonist. Ah well, all part of learning, I guess. One reason why I think Sana was being such an annoying brat towards Hatori is because if you remember the Alice In Wonderland story, the Queen of Hearts was a menacing b*tch, right? Sana is nicknamed the Red Queen, right? See the connection? Does this mean Sana isn’t actually the hero but the antagonist?!

Zoroku isn’t particularly special as I hoped for him to be. At times he might give Sana some advice and put her in her place but there is nothing more to that. He isn’t the flashy kind and with his grumpy exterior, he is like that one grumpy grandpa or uncle that all of us has. Maybe that is the only thing that makes him stand out. As he is calm and doing things his own pace, he isn’t the kind of character who jumps in flashily using his fists to punch away the baddies and then dispenses his great wisdom in a lively passionate voice. Nothing of that sort for Zoroku. Or maybe it is just his ‘scary’ voice that could even make something inanimate as Wonderland obey his command! Imagine if heaven and hell did that then Zoroku must be God! That was really mind blowing but come to think of it, if Wonderland was created by Sana, then Wonderland is part of her so it could be that Wonderland fears Zoroku is because Wonderland is Sana. Think about it. But at least overall he is still more likeable than bratty Sana. He might not show it but he still loves Sana like another part of his family. Imagine if Zoroku starts fawning and blushing over a new granddaughter. Creepy as hell!

As for the other supporting characters, I guess they’re just rather okay. Like Sanae feels like somebody close to Sana as her big sister so that she will not feel lonely and it won’t make this strange family unit look like a pedo type. You know, an old guy with a young girl living alone together… Naito and Ichijou are watching over them just in case and Yamada must be some sort of freaky fan girl of Ichijou whenever she dons her maid outfit. I understand her. I know I would to. Yonaga and Asahi have become irrelevant when the lab has been taken down but even during their hot pursue of Sana, it’s like they were never that prominent either. Now they are so tame like as though they’ve been friends forever. Well, they are. Only when Sana decided to escape, they became temporary enemies.

The thing that boggles my mind is Kitou. Not this guy entirely. He is very calm in cool in his mission to retrieve Sana. And when he was caught, he went meekly. And everything was over the moment that happened. So it made me wonder that if this is a very large secretive experiment done, would he or other research teams just drop this research just like that? This is assuming they are locked up properly and can’t move the slightest. So much effort has been put into the research and data collecting and it is abandoned just like that? For now it looks like Naito’s faction is taking care of the facility but nothing really important happening.

So for the people who were initially trying to take back Sana so badly, they then got defeated and were never heard of again. Like that strange kid with powers to rewrite everything back to normal again with his sketch. Who the heck is he? He was with Kitou and the sisters during Sana’s chase. He doesn’t talk much. Everything else about him is a mystery. So when Kitou is out of the picture for good, we never hear of him again. I thought another sort of antagonist would appear because this experiment had too much potential to leave it be but then like I said, Sana became the annoying ‘antagonist’ for the remainder half. Think about it. Having a little girl with so much potential power be wasted and live a normal life? You think the government would let that slide? Assuming they are the ones funding the research. Now that it has gotten official (I believe thanks to a little threatening and string pulling by Naito), all isn’t lost. Minnie C wasn’t really the villain. She was desperate to have something she wanted back real back. She failed, so does this make her wrong? Just like Sana, she’ll have to learn and accept reality that there are some things that cannot be brought back to life. Not even Sana’s power can do that, right?

Therefore it is convenient that not much of this Dreams of Alice power is explained. We do not know where they came from all how it all started. Not even why Wonderland is always expanding. Like as though it is some mini universe within Earth but expanding infinitely. Damn, I’m confused. We are also unsure why some people manifest such powers. How it really works and what are its characters are also a big question mark. So we just accept it for now that it is part of the plot device. Well, doesn’t sound like a good one. Heck, I believe there are other specimens in Wonderland, each with their own unique Dreams of Alice power. I mean, Sana and the sisters (and that other kid too) can’t be the only ones, right? With Sana being the most powerful, I figure the rest aren’t as exciting or intriguing and would be more or less like Asahi and Yonaga or worse. So my only conspiracy theory that I can think off why Sana clicks with Zoroku so well instead of any other old guys other than the fact he was there at the wrong place and wrong time, well, you know this anime’s title, Alice To Zoroku? If you take its initials, it sounds like A To Z. From A to Z. The alpha and the omega. They are the ones with the power to destroy and create a new world! They are the gods! That is why Sana could manifest anything and Zoroku ends it all with his hand crush and his voice telling off others! Haha! Just kidding. Maybe.

The art and animation aren’t the best. For one thing, the character designs have this very simplistic look. I thought the characters were taken after Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica. Heck, I thought I could see some similarities from both series despite both being written by different authors and animated by different studios. Because of that, at first glance the series looks more like a bit like a children’s cartoon. Then there is the use of CGI especially in the first episode. It really feels odd like that car chase sequence. It makes it feel unreal. So dreamy. Like Wonderland. Like as though some game creator amateur wannabe used this as a testing ground and the producers okayed it because what the heck, it looks passable. Not by today’s standards.

Voice acting, needless to say that Mamiko Noto still owns it as Minnie C. Maybe she is the reason why I prefer the first half of the story. And the reason why the second half sucks… Maybe. Just maybe. Although her character didn’t die, I do feel bad for her character. Other recognizable seiyuus include Ami Koshimizu as Ichijou, Aki Toyosaki as Sanae and Houchu Ohtsuka as Naito. The rest of the casts are Hitomi Oowada as Sana (Tsubame in New Game), Akio Ohtsuka as Zoroku (titular character in Black Jack series), Akari Kitou as Yonaga (Aryabhata in Taboo Tatoo), Natsumi Fujiwara as Asahi (Chihiro in Shonen Maid), Masaya Matsukaze as Kitou (Ren in Jigoku Shoujo), Yuuki Hirose as Yamada (Tomoe in Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-Bu), Shuu Uchida as Hatori and Minami Takahashi as Ayumu (Megumi in Shokugeki No Souma). The opening theme is Wonder Drive by Oresama. Lots of synthesizers used to make it sound as lively as it should. The ending theme is Chant by Toi Toy Toi. Heck, I thought it was Mamiko Noto singing it! This song has this fantasy fairytale-like feel and that dreamy singer’s voice gives off that similar feel of that ending theme in Flip Flappers.

Overall, this series had its potential to be more interesting but falters where it needed to become better. Some heart-warming scenes to tug the heart strings but ultimately it’s like they are masquerading a show about a grandpa and a granddaughter with some supernatural stuffs. And if you want to watch a show with some old people bonding with their younger child, they are better shows out there. Like Usagi Drop. Okay, the parent isn’t an old guy but you get the point if you want to see a good parent and child story. I read Tokyo Godfathers is also good but I didn’t see that movie. If there is a sequel, let’s hope the Dreams of Alice could do something to fix it. Or we’ll never hear the end of it from old people b*tching about those good ol’ days and how it was supposedly done.

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