Alice to Zouroku: Season 1/ Episode 9 “Where The Cheshire Cat Smiles” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

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Sana grabbing onto Zoroku

Alice to Zouroku finally tries to balance its pursuit of being a slice of life anime by establishing a new villain. Just not like the kind we saw earlier in the season.

Never Leave Me Again: Sana, Zoroku

After what Hatori did, Sana has the frazzles much more than normal. Making it when she wakes up and sees Zoroku, she latches on. Something which is a bit surprising to Yonaga and Asashi. If only because the growth between the Sana they knew to this new one is astonishing. I mean, not just how affectionate she is but she is washing herself and doing chores by hand? Who is this person?

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Sana sleeping.
Me sometimes as I watch this series.

I feel like if this had the same episode count as Re: Creators or Shingeki no Bahamut, I would probably drop this. Not because I no longer enjoy the slice of life moments, but because the season has gone downhill. Ever since the facility situation got resolved, I was hoping for peace before a resurgence. Especially since the facility we knew seemed to just be a small piece of the puzzle. Not the whole company that had government funding. One which, as soon as they got found out and rebuked once, suddenly closes shop and says, “Screw it!”

For really, Hatori is making for a terrible replacement.

We Need To Talk About Hatori: Hatori, Ayumu, Yamada, Naito

Hatori

After all that has happened, Hatori has decided to isolate herself at home. With her parents trapped there with her. Naturally, Ayumu doesn’t really support this but she has no choice. Especially since Hatori doesn’t want to see her again out of fears she may hurt her. So while Ayumu walks away, here comes Yamada and Naito.

As before, they are doing their job and investigating Dreams of Alice users. But, being that Hatori is trying to maintain control of her parents and life, she avoids them at whatever costs. She even, so it seems, wipes their memories or leads them to believe they tried, failed, and are fine with it. But, thanks to Naito marking on his hand his attempts, he doesn’t forget. And I can assure you, Sana surely hasn’t forgotten what happened either.

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Hatori

So we go from a bad ass like Minnie C and her battling Ichijo to this. One elementary school kid and a middle school kid eventually facing off. You know, I wish behind those words there was something interesting but there isn’t. For never mind Hatori trapping her parents in the house, but she isn’t even evil. There isn’t a wickedness there. She just doesn’t want her parents to fight, especially since she thinks she is one of the sole reasons.

Yet, despite saying that, I wouldn’t call Hatori complex. I’m sure some may disagree but she is dull as bricks to me. This whole “I don’t want mommy and daddy to fight” thing makes me roll my eyes. For while I get the feeling, we were so rushed into meeting Hatori that it is difficult to feel something for her. Making the would-be complexity of her situation seem like a cheap and quick way to fix the lack of development issue.

Like, to me, this would have gone over better if it was the silver haired boy. I mean, imagine he got back to his real family and with him back, there is nothing holding them together anymore. After a honeymoon period, all they do is fight and so he is trying to keep them together by any means possible. To me, that would have been better than suddenly introducing this girl and throwing one of the most cheap storylines onto her.

Welcome to Wonderland: Ayumu, Sana

Ayumu decides that she is going to find Sana.

Dreams of Alice users aren’t well known to the public. The only one Ayumu knows outside of Hatori is Sana. So, who else can she turn to for help and advice? Problem is, while she is perhaps the only blonde we have seen on the show, no one seems to know her. Luckily for Ayumu though, Sana has been out for revenge. So, using a Chesire Cat head, probably masking her Dreams of Alice floating thing, she draws Ayumu into her world.

Said world being the one we saw way back that the Twins used to play in with Sana. The one when Sana was in the basement of the facility, she could be found in. But now it seems to be a trap or dungeon which shall hold Ayumu. However, it isn’t clear what Sana may do to this girl in revenge for what she and her friend did to Zoroku.

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Sana plotting her revenge

Remember when Minnie C said Sana is dangerous? I’m hoping we see that side to her. For it seems pretty clear that Sana is just learning what emotions are and is struggling a little bit. So if her powers, and her, go reckless, that could bring some interest back to the show. For, again, all the complexity and intrigue the show once had, has been stripped away and not replaced with anything. And while the slice of life vibe has been welcoming, it doesn’t inspire loyalty. It doesn’t inspire the idea that you should tell your friend to watch this either. Even if they like slice of life anime. For while I note how cute it is that Sana has really bonded with Zoroku and Sanae, we haven’t really gotten anywhere from there.

Something which, at this point, isn’t even frustrating. It is more so like that period after finals but before school is over. You only are really showing up because you don’t want to ruin your perfect attendance record.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Still fairly glad I dropped this the episode after Minnie C was done in. I was kind of thinking I’d go back at the end of the season and finish it in one shot but it isn’t sounding like I’ll actually get much further than I have already watched if this is the direction its gone. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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