Anime Rave: Gakuen Alice

I was supposed to go to the manga store today, since they were offering me a read-all-you-can-for-free deal just for today. I even took a day off from work just for it. But as it turned out, I happened to watch episode three of Gakuen Alice the night before on Animax and straightaway, I was hooked and downloaded the fansubs. By the time I finished the 15 episodes out so far (by Naisho), it was already 5 pm and not worth making the one hour trip to the manga store anymore. So, were 15 episodes of Gakuen Alice better than 10 hours of free manga reading? Of course, this article would not exist otherwise.

I don’t know how popular this series is, as it aired during a time when I was preparing for my A level examinations and it completely slipped under my radar. And it was shoujo. But judging by the fact that it still isn’t completely subbed yet, I would presume that the popularity isn’t as high as it should be.

First, I have to state that I rarely ever watch shoujo anime. In fact, I didn’t even finish Paradise Kiss. I can only remember enjoying Daa! Daa! Daa!, Ultramaniac and now this, Gakuen Alice (henceforth known as GKA. GA is Galaxy Angel). So what attributes does GKA possess, that got me hooked straightaway?

3 main things – Hotaru, comedy and superpowers.

Gakuen Alice’s premise isn’t too original or mind-blowing. Two ten year old girls, Sakura Mikan and Imai Hotaru, go to a village school and are best friends. But one day, the government sends Hotaru to the Alice Academy, where she isn’t allowed contact with the outside world. Mikan, being the single-minded loyal friend, runs off and heads to Tokyo, where the Alice Academy is located, to see her best friend again. Of course, she finds it but is denied entry. Two guys try to kidnap Mikan but she’s saved by one of the teachers of AA, who uses his super power, mind-control pheromones, to defeat the bad guys. As he tries to use the same trick to charm Mikan into going home, he notices that Mikan also possesses an Alice (superpower).

So he enrols Mikan into AA, where she must try to get along with her classmates and uncover sinister schemes by both the school and outside forces. Doesn’t sound too special right? It really isn’t. The strengths of the show lies in the characters, pacing and comedy. Superpowers are also a sure-hit with audiences.

Mikan is to Shoujo what Naruto is to Shounen. She’s loud, genki, a klutz, likes to eat, cute, depends on her best friend a lot and never gives up, always trying to protect her loved ones but is the one needing protection. Sounds familiar? Voiced by Ueda Kana (need I explain? She’s famous.) with her Kansai accent, she owns Arika hands down. I didn’t like her at first but in a few episodes, you cannot help but pity and subsequently start encouraging her. Mikan’s treated badly, deprived of nutrition, discriminated against and physically tortured yet takes it all in her stride thanks to encouragement from friends. There was many a time when she just wanted to pack up and leave but somehow things worked out.
Oh she’s exactly like that girl from Hana Yori Dango. Totally unoriginal, but it’s ok. Her Alice is crap too. I pity her.

Mikan has her highs and lows in her new school. Literally.

Hotaru is my favourite character here. She provides most of the comedy and has great chemistry with Mikan. Hotaru is evil, cold, heartless and as she says, “My best friend is myself.” And she charges money for every single thing. How cute. But deep down, she loves Mikan a lot and always protects the idiot. What’s appealing about Hotaru is that her self-control. It could be considered cruelty from others’ point of view though.

Hotaru is so cute when she’s selfish. She even made a robot of Mikan for “stress relief”.
The touching reunion!

She has the Alice of Invention, so she can create creative and really useful machines. Sometimes, she pauses the show to give us a short brief on the new invention. Her seiyuu is Kugimiya Rie (Shana, Alphonse, Yakitate Japan’s Pastry Bikini Girl etc), who goes with an uber-monotone and calm voice, which fits Hotaru perfectly. Her inventions are really cool, damn I would love to have her Alice.

The fiery, brooding KuroNeko is very angsty.

The male lead is as usual, a strong, silent, cool, brooding handsome bishounen with a dark past. And such brooding adolescent geniuses are always voiced by Park Romi (Edward Elric, Ueki, Hitsugaya Toshirou). Here we have Hyuuga Natsume, who has the power of fire. He’s violent, rough and hates the school. And Mikan. Not too interesting. He comes with his own fanclub too, but Natsume doesn’t even acknowledge their existence

The rest of the characters are very interesting though, each comes with their own unique Alice. Everyone loves a school of Superhumans.

GKA’s students are divided into four main ability types: Activated Abilities, Skill Abilities, Bodily Abilities and Special Abilities.

Activated Abilities include the usual X-ray vision, levitation, clairvoyance, mind-reading. It encompasses all the abilities that can be turned on or off.

Teleportation, X-Ray Vision and Hallucinations are some of the Activated Abilities

Skill Abilities are like Hotaru’s. It involves being very good at something. Like Nonako’s super chemistry skillz, Anna’s dancing cookies and so on.

Inventions, Dancing Cookies and l33t Chemistry

Bodily Abilities are basically physical attributes, like running fast and pheromones. The teacher, Narumi, is under this category.

Super speed and Animal Pheromones
Special Abilities are just those that cannot be classified since they are either too different or useless. Guess who’s in this group? But some of these guys really have awesome powers. The people here are considered outcasts and losers though.
Doppelganger, Golden Dust and Instant Rain. The first is quite awesome really.

Finally, we have a secret group of abilities, the Dangerous Ability. Natsume belongs here.

In spite of the comedic and seemingly childish nature, this show actually explores a few mature subjects, namely, segregation of gifted children, their roles in society and how adults make use of these children. A few factions are constantly trying to gain control of the more powerful Alice Users like Natsume, who are treated like weapons.

The AA is a very callous and ruthless place with lots of rules and rankings that determine how well a student’s life there is. Mikan is probably the lowest ranked student, so she gets just a bowl of rice a day, a spider webbed attic room, and has to do all the chores.

GKA scores big in the comedy department thanks to the antics of Hotaru. She makes even the most serious of characters get involved in funny situations. Mikan contributes with her self-deprecating humour too.

Character Design and Animation
The character designs are typically shoujo manga converted to anime. Guys are always bishounen unless they are background characters. But the girls are cute too, in an adorable way. This isn’t loli, but a tad moe. There is zero fanservice, no panty or cleavage shots, no unclean body contact.

The animation is pretty average to good, there is no point in discussing it since this type of show doesn’t need excellent animation so it falls into the average but good enough category.

The OP is a rather typical cute anime song. With a title like Pika Pika no Taiyou (Shiny Sun), it’s hard to expect otherwise. Mikan’s seiyuu sang it but the credits list Mikan herself. The opening sequence is sugary cute.

The ED, by Kugimiya Rie and Ueda Kana, is a slow, sweet duet. The ending sequence is also a typical one, with animation sketches of the characters.

I didn’t find the music special at all, but it does fit the series well.

This is a great series to watch. Unfortunately, the subs are not fully out yet. I’ll probably be catching on Animax though. GKA provides comedy, lovable characters, action, some food for thought and superpowers in a compact, easy to watch package.

35 Responses to “Anime Rave: Gakuen Alice”  

  1. 1 kwok

    you know what. i actually watched the first episode of this. please pass me the rest onegaikudasaishimase

  2. 2 TP

    Guess you were late in watching this. Then again so am I… XD

    It’s not surprising you have Naisho fansubs (THE fansub that does Ojamojo Doremi?), but my “moralistic uptight values” will hold me back, at least temporarily. For now, sticking to cable-TV shows (and the horrible local accent(?)/Aussie-accented(?) dubs.)

  3. 3 Os

    Gakuen Alice was one of my ‘I-cant-wait-until-the-next-sub’ kind of shows for a while… until Naisho decided to give each episode a three month gap. I almost forgot about it… Dont get me wrong, I still think its a good show… just easily forgotten. Sorta like AniYoko.

  4. 4 Xak

    I actually went and downloaded the 15 episodes subbed by Naisho when i happened to notice it on baka-updates and read it up on animenfo but haven’t gotten down to watching it…so your news relieves me since it seems my hunch was justified…

  5. 5 fan of HOTARU

    I like to have hotaru’s too you know!!!! I want to be her.

  6. 6 fan of HOTARU

    I wish to the alice of Hotaru and I want to be like just her……………………………….

  7. 7 holly

    im sooo in love with alice academy… its my siblings’ fault… now all 3 of us are soo hooked… i cant find a good site where they have the complete episode guide…

  8. 8 Aoyagi Rizuka_Natsume Holic

    i like so much this anime. actualy hyuuga natsume. he’s so cool!!!!!!!!!!!!! i become to natsume holic now!!!!

  9. 9 tj_han

    I have finally finished the anime t hrough the use of Chinese subs and the episode 25 and 26 were a shambles and ruined an otherwise great show. Pfft. The manga still goes on I think but I’m sort of allergic to shoujo art. What a pity.

  10. 10 T_T|||

    No worries. You can go Shounenify it.

  11. 11 zera Estrada

    i luv dis anime! it’s d best! i rily njoy watching it wit my budss!

  12. 12 Jenefa Faith Mayol

    I really love this anime!!!! Im so addicted to it. If I have to rank it from top 20 animes, id say this is number one!!!
    I love mikan sakura and natsume hyuuga, they are so meant for each other and its so romantic!!!
    I also think that hotaru and ruka must be a loveteam coz they are so wonderful. I saw the whole 26 episodes and i was so sad when it ended coz i wasnt fully satisfied by the ending. I wish there’s a part two of this anime.

  13. 13 Xt Aguinaldo

    At first, i find it unattractive so i really didn’t watch it. But after watching a certain episode, im deliberately hooked up with it. And i just can’t stop thinking and waiting on the next episode … I also find mikan and natsume cute during their fights. (very cute!) ;p

  14. 14 Mickey puu

    OMG! I absolutely LOVE this series!!!! (>_

  15. 15 chrissy-chan

    when my sister told me about GKA, i didn’t, at first, actually acknowledged it as a possible good anime candidate since the preview of it on animax was too childish, then one my friends(manga expert) told me to try and read the manga instead. so yeah , etc. etc. i basically got hooked and tried the anime itself..what can i say? i was totally wrong for judging it rapidly. i’m currenlty the owner of GKA manga 4-10 (getting volume 9 tomorrow!!) and have already watch all 26 anime episodes (youtube)..
    sad though since they stopped continuing it..STill hoping for another season in which natsume and mikan would surely end up together(i hope)!!!!!!!!
    my advise for those people who are still itching for more gakuen alice, buy the manga,,it’s worth it

  16. 16 chocolate

    I suppose it would be inappropriate to go into fangirl-mode over Natsume here? No matter how much I’m absolutely bursting to do so? XD

    Episode 25 and 26 WERE horrible. They were rushed, and incomplete, and Natsume was so damn out of character… But that doesn’t change the fact that I enjoyed the rest of the show. Still enjoy. =3 (I’ve been rewatching select scenes over and over and over… ^_^; )

    I confess that I actually didn’t much like this anime at first. I had all 15 episodes downloaded, but had only watched to episode 4 before deciding that I really didn’t like Mikan all that much; I. Hate. Useless. Whiny. Girls. ^_^

    Luckily, I have lots of free time right now, so in a fit of desperation, I decided to continue it. (Yes, I’m a packrat who can’t bear to delete something I’d decided against watching, despite it taking up a goodly portion of my very limited harddrive.) And then I rediscovered my inability to resist bishounen with an angsty past, a cool exterior, and a gentle interior. *smacks forehead*

    And, miracle of miracles, I also discovered that Mikan isn’t as irritating as she was in the beginning! ^_^ So all is well. I really like the characters of this anime, and Mikan’s seiyuu is starting to grow on me. The Osakan dialect is pure music.

    I could probably continue this post for a long, long time, as I expound on the various characters… But I think I’ll just end this here. ^^;

    Does anybody know what the manga is called in Chinese? (Please, let it BE in chinese! T_T)

  17. 17 Kim Chui

    Alice Academy is really cute and funny! I just love MiKan and Natsumi! I wasn’t satisfied with the ending. I really hope there’s a Season 2 of this anime!

  18. 18 Marichi

    waah!i love gakuen alice!

  19. 19 razellibabz

    ahhh… i really hope there’s a season 2!
    i wasn’t so shocked at the fact many people likes
    natsume (i mean, who wouldn’t? he has the attitude, brains and the perfect looks!)

    and yes, i do admit i hated (not really hated as in H-A-T-E-D) gakuen alice when i saw its commercial on animax…

    yeah… and i changed my mind.
    it was fate that forced me to see the 1st and 2nd episode…
    and thank you for that..

    i was never really fond of mikan cuz she’s such an idiot dullard freakishly moronic dumbhead…

    but hey..

    you can only find a few who has all that..
    and even if mikan’s kinda annoying…
    i really miss watching her!!!
    and i miss calumniating her!!!

    waaa!!!natsumikan is baffling me…
    how will their love story end? (ehem.. it never started– well slightly, but not too formal… i mean, natsume didn’t even tell his feelings towards that coconut-head!)
    and hotaru-ruka too!:)

    ugh… i hate times like this…
    when you already know you love the anime,
    that’s the time it’ll end and get you all hopeful for the new season!
    PETITION for season 2, anyone???

  20. 20 MOMOSHIRO

    i dont like to what’s happening, i just can’t for the season TWO of Alice academy.

  21. 21 AliceAnimeLover

    Aahhh…… I hope there’s a season 2 for Gakuen Alice. In fact, I’m disaapointed because it has only 26 episodes. Whoever made this or someone… Could you please make a season 2 for this anime. It’s really great, you know. In fact, many people love this so much. Mikan and Natsume forever! I like Hotaru’s invention. I wish I also have a Baka gun to shot from stupid persons around me. Gee… Thanks riuva for having this. It’s really great. Let’s support this anime, ok.

  22. 22 Xaliazzx

    Am I the only one here from the U.S.? And who doesn’t have access to animax? Or the manga? And can’t read or understand Japanese OR Chinese? But still loves this anime? >>;
    Anyways, Viz should definently license this anime/manga so that I can enjoy it without having to screw around with mega upload or Naisho’s super slow subbing. =D
    Definently petition to have Viz license Gakuen Alice! Also, if anyone could tell me what episode 23-26 are about that would be great.

  23. 23 Ice_princess

    I think that Ruka should be whith Mikan.

  24. 24 Libra


  25. 25 briana

    i love the show because it has so much suspense it love it!!!! i cant wait to see the second season if there is one!!!!!

  26. 26 hymnia

    I really like this show (I’m on episode 11 now), but I don’t want to be disappointed by yet another anime that has a wierd/silly tacked on ending, because the manga continues and the anime writers didn’t know how to end it. I want the manga! But I don’t really like having to download scanlations, which is all I can seem to find right now. So I’m wondering, does anyone know where to find *summaries* of the manga, instead of scanlations?

  27. 27 fan of MIKAN_NATSUME

    I really really like alice academy
    especially the characters MIKAN and NATSUME

  28. 28 fan of MIKAN_NATSUME

    I hope there’s still alice academy season 2
    coz i really like this show

  29. 29 natsume`s girl

    does anyone knows where we can download the manga for free? i`d like to download it very much. by the way, i love the characters in this anime, especially NATSUME MIKAN RUKA !!

  30. 30 alessia-chan

    well natsume and mikan are a couple, and there is no doubt but i think ruka and hotaru might be a couple too! she would use him to recover money XD by selling his photos XDDDD and also they are a so funny couple if ya think about it :)

  31. 31 Pangya_ _ ??

    I really love Ruka. He’s so cute!!
    Ruka should be with Mikan more than Nutsume you know?!

    U U
    R K R K
    R A R

  32. 32 someone..

    wil there be season 2???
    some places say there is
    some places say there isnt..-_-
    which one is it??

  33. 33 Vicky

    i just wondering does natsume and sakura liked each other? i heard that they did kiss and hug, but it not on anime. Me want to know their will be seccond season of gakuen alice?

  34. 34 Nique

    I LOVE gakuen alice. natsume is so cool!!! can’t believe the fansubbed stopped at 15. i wish they will work faster with it.

  1. 1 Mangazon Blog

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