Gakuen Alice Manga Volume 6

Gakuen Alice Manga Volume 6

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SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

Gakuen Alice Manga Volume 6School life continues but a new threat comes to the attention of the students — someone or something is stealing Alice’s from people. Because the school leaders are concerned over this, they’ve banned off-campus missions which means that Mikan finally gets to meet another student in her special class — TONOUCHI Akira, who’s considered a playboy and causes Tsubasa to have a negative reaction to Akira’s attention payed to Mikan.

Meanwhile, Mikan’s class rep Tobita wins the 1-week trip home thanks to his excellent grades. On his way back to school, he meets a woman who falls over in front of his car and who reminds him of someone. Upon returning to class and handing out souvenirs, Tobita discovers that his Alice is no longer working. This causes quite a stir in the class thanks to the rumors of Alice abilities disappearing from people and his isolation causes more rumors. Narume-sensei tries to calm their fears but the class won’t be allowed to see Tobita. Hotaru arranges things so that she and Mikan can see Tobita. Eventually he is released when it is learned that he does not have a virus and he relays what little he can remember about the woman who is now suspected of stealing his Alice and the mysterious organization known as “Z.”

Intruders are detected on the campus and believed to be from “Z.” Despite Natsume’s warning, Hotaru and Mikan are off to check this out, determined to get Tobita’s Alice back. Hotaru uses an eavesdropping invention of hers to listen to the teachers and tells Mikan how she and Tobita became friends when Hotaru first arrived. Meanwhile the intruders are getting away and one appears to have several Alice abilities, which is unheard of. Hearing this, Hotaru decides they need to get away but its too late — they are found by the Z people. The Z folks are more interested in escape until Mikan’s name is mentioned, at which point the woman who took Tobita’s Alice approaches Mikan. Campus security arrives and opens fire, hitting Hotaru as she tries to protect Mikan.

Hotaru is taken to the hospital where it is learned that she’s been infected with some unknown virus. An emergency meeting of those with dangerous Alice abilities is called as Hotaru tries to reassure Mikan that she’ll be OK. During the special abilities class, Akira remembers a legend of someone who had an Alice to make wormhole tunnel in time and space and that in the high school division, such a tunnel supposedly still existed, the entrance to which was hidden with a special notebook containing instructions on how to uncover the tunnel’s entrance. Akira doesn’t know if it is true or not, but it would explain how the Z team got onto the campus and off the campus so easily.

Mikan wants to find these Z people so that Tobita and Hotaru can be helped. Natsume, having returned from his meeting, scoffs at the idea of looking for something that might not exist, but in the end, he agrees to help along with many other students Mikan knows. Using age-modification candy, Mikan, Luca, and Natsume will appear to be high school students and to cover for their absence from the elementary school, some students in the special class will appear younger and pretend to be Mikan and the others. Unfortunately, the plan to infiltrate the high school quickly goes wrong when they encounter traps, including an anti-gravity trap that causes Mikan to lose her age candy. This causes a commotion in the school, forcing the group to flee to the Newspaper Club room. There, the club president (Hayami) reveals that the tunnel they are looking for does indeed exist. He gives the location but warns of ghosts there, seen carrying an old notebook. One of the ghosts looks like the student body president.

Thoughts/Review: Well, the lighthearted fun of the earlier manga volumes is certainly missing from this volume as Higuchi-sensei pours everything into this new story-arc’s plot. That’s not a complaint, but there is a lot of exposition given in this volume and a couple of readings might be in order to make sure I didn’t miss anything, especially given the layout of the manga (which to me is a bit more chaotic than most manga titles I’ve read).

Mikan continues to be a force of nature and somehow manages to continue to convince others to help her, even more so than normal for this volume (considering the wide age-range of students involved and the serious nature of the mission she wants to undertake). The thing that stood out to me is that this came about in part thanks to Akira, who has the Alice of Amplification. So in some strange way, could Akira be amplifying Mikan’s natural powers of persuasion? That seems unlikely since his Alice affects other Alice’s AND Mikan’s Alice is Nullification. So that would seem to suggest that there might be some canceling effect on his powers, but we’ve seen that Mikan’s abilities don’t just shut people down.

A second thing that struck me is that at least one of the “Z” people had more than three Alices, which we learn is impossible. Since Mikan is the heroine and she seems to have this gift that causes people to go her way, could she also have a 2nd Alice that no one knows about, one so powerful and possibly kept in check by the Alice of Nullification? That’s wild speculation on my part, but the writer in me tries to look at things in different ways. Sometimes I guess right and sometimes not. It will be most interesting to follow Mikan’s growth though.

The third item that struck me is the mystery woman with the ability to steal Alice’s. I tell you, Higuchi-sensei seems to be creating a giant neon sign that says, “CLUE HERE!” For starters, she had Tobita reflect on how the woman seemed familiar to him after their hands touched. Then when the woman and her two compatriots are attempting to escape the campus and come upon Hotaru and Mikan, the woman only reacts when Mikan’s name is spoken, and then she comes for Mikan with a hand reached out to touch Mikan. She wasn’t interested in Hotaru, who was closer. Why?

I would say that this woman has a connection of some sort to Mikan. Part of me thinks that this might be Mikan who’s traveled back in time (all possible since Nodacchi-sensei’s Alice is Time Travel and if someone has more than one Alice, then maybe they have a time travel Alice too). That seems a might complicated at this point but the other idea that hit me is that this might be Mikan’s mother. I’m going to have to re-read the earlier volumes because I can’t remember if Mikan’s mother is simply missing or confirmed dead (come to think of it, her father too).

Granted this too is wild speculation on my part and it may well be that Higuchi-sensei is throwing out a red herring. However, as with other aspects of this manga, I will enjoy seeing were things go.

One more thing before I forget it — I am amused by the use of age-altering candy in this volume. I know this kind of magic candy goes back some years as a concept in Japan and the manga Negima! has been using a similar kind of candy (though exactly how much control over the number of years they age either way is unknown) for quite some time now. Just an observation on my part.

So a good volume with a lot of activity going on (including Hotaru getting shot — yikes) and ANB’s imagination sent into overdrive. To me, that’s a mark of pretty good writing.

 

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