Gakuen Alice Manga Volume 2

Gakuen Alice Volume 2
学園アリス Volume 2

SPOILER Summary: Mikan is now an official student of Gakuen Alice but things aren’t looking so well as her “arch-enemy” Natsume is assigned to be Mikan’s partner to assist her in adjusting to life at school. Mikan learns of the star-ranking system where high-ranking students get lots of privileges and low-ranking ones get nothing. Some of her new classmates refuse to accept her, so when the strict Jinno-sensei is teaching class, they make it seem like she’s causing a disturbance and when they telekenetically try to dump a trashcan on her, Mikan instinctively uses her Alice to deflect the can where it dumps on Jinno-sensei, who punishes her by making her a no-star ranking. That means that she gets a horrible room and very little food.

Mikan decides to accept her harsh treatment and punishment as things can only go up, but Jinno-sensei doesn’t like Mikan and uses his Thunder Alice to further punish her, forcing Hotaru to save her with one of her mirror creations. Mikan decides to write letters to her grandfather in a positive light and has Narumi-sensei send these letters for her. Mikan learns that due to her Nullification Alice, she’s assigned to the Special Class for Alice training, which she doesn’t like. On her way to class, she runs into Natsume. Some other students try to use Mikan to get to Natsume, but he doesn’t care and she ends up being saved by the upperclassman Tsubasa.

Since Tsubasa is also a special-type Alice, they are in the same class and he escorts Mikan there. Mikan is excited to have a senpai and relieved to find the Special Class is full of pretty normal people, though for the school, they are considered weird. Mikan is excited to introduce Tsubasa-senpai to her friends and at his encouragement to create a channel for her regular classmates to channel their energies into (rather than cause trouble), she manages to organize a volleyball game, goading those who are reluctant to join. The game ends in a draw, but it does appear to have the desired effect.

Mikan isn’t received letters back from her grandfather and is concerned about that. She consults with fellow classmate Otonashi, who’s Alice is fortune telling. She learns her grandfather has been outside the school gates trying to see Mikan but is being refused access. This is confirmed with one of Hotaru’s inventions (where Mikan’s grandfather appears ill) and Mikan is reminded that the teachers cannot be trusted. So, she puts Narumi-sensei to the test by giving him another letter with a couple of Hotaru’s special stickers on it. She learns that Narumi-sensei is burning her letters rather than send them and so confronts Narumi-sensei about it, leading to her being harshly punished.

Desperate to make contact with her grandfather, Mikan enlists the help of Hotaru, the class president, and even Natsume’s friend Luca to make a daring breakout of the school. This sets off an alarm for the teachers but unfortunately for Mikan, instead of running into her grandfather, she runs into a couple of thugs who realize she’s from Gakuen Alice and as such, worth a ton of money. They try to kidnap her, but she manages to get away briefly before having to be rescued by Narumi-sensei, who’s injured in the process. Returning to the school, Narumi-sensei has Mikan stay with him for the night, where he tells her he can’t answer her questions on why he burns her letters, why she can’t contact her grandfather, or why the school is watching her so closely. However, he wants to improve things and asks her to trust him. She decides to so much so that she asks for permission to sleep in his bed and even calls Narumi-sensei father (as “Grandpa” is too much for him) before falling asleep.

Thoughts: I am completely sold on this manga. While I enjoyed the first manga well enough, my forthcoming move (as of this posting, in 8-days) had me ready to just pack volume 2 and read it after my move. However, since I wanted some light reading for the hotel at Starfest and I had some major insomnia on the first night of the convention, I blew through the first volume fairly quickly.

So, why am I sold on this after two volumes? For start, I like the way Higuchi-sensei is presenting the story and drawing it. Mikan-chan is a force of nature and just fun to follow. So there is a fun aspect but at the same time, there’s this dark and ugly aspect with the Alice Academy not allowing students to contact their family or the like. Higuchi-sensei often throws mini-flashbacks of comments stated while presenting a situation in the present to confront Mikan. While I don’t need to be spoon fed, I liked these flashbacks because it shows that while Mikan is quick to act first and think later, she is listening to the warnings being issued to her. Basically, I love Mikan’s “can do” spirit and how no matter how tough things get, she’s going to press on.

I really look forward to reading more of this manga, especially since TP continues to keep the Japanese honorifics in the adaptation.

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