Artbook Spotlight: Alice Addict

December 9, 2011

Mitsukazu Mihara – 2003 – 103 pgs – ISBN 4-86048-068-6

Here’s a more unusual book. Mitsukazu Mihara might be more well-known for her illustrations than she is her manga series. She was the main illustrator for the Gothic & Lolita Bible, a fashion publication that focused on those two styles and was primarily photos and articles, with some of Mihara’s illustrations featured.

Tokyopop published 4 issues of Gothic & Lolita Bible in English, but I’ve never seen one myself. Tokyopop also published about a dozen volumes of Mitsukazu Mihara’s manga, and those are all worth checking out. All of them are josei, as far as I can tell, so are of interest for that reason alone since very little josei work has been published in English. Her most famous manga is probably Doll, a 6-volume series that examines the relationships between humans and very sophisticated robot servants in a somewhat more grown-up way than, say, Chobits.

This book, published only in Japan, is a collection of the illustrations that appeared in The Gothic & Lolita Bible and Doll (in Feel Young Magazine), with illustrations from a manga called Happy Family and a few other sources (mostly fashion magazines) spread throughout. Alice Addict is only 100 pages long, it doesn’t really tie into the content of any of her series, and I’m no fashion expert. All I offer is a look at a very strange fashion/josei hybrid artbook.

Some of these illustrations are NSFW.

Now, the reason you’d be buying this book is not necessarily because you enjoy Mihara’s color illustrations (though you can do that too), but because you appreciate her fashion sense. Of the 100 pages of illustrations, only a few have backgrounds, and maybe a dozen have more than one person in them.

Most of them are just a girl posing in what is probably a gothic or lolita outfit. Most of them are lolita-ish, with lots of ruffly dresses, tights, lace, ribbons, bows, and the whole deal. Less of them are gothic, though there is a section of illustrations called “Death Addict” that has some bandages, bondage, blood, bones, and what have you.

Jolly the Skeleton is actually from a poster in the front of the book. He loves Alice the Vamp, another paper doll on the same poster.

There are pages and pages and pages of different outfits. The only other artbook I have that is this fashion-focused is Welcome to the Gokinjo World, which has all of Mikako’s outfits from the fashion-themed series Neighborhood Story as individual illustrations. But as I mentioned, almost everything in Alice Addict comes from a fashion magazine or Doll, and Doll is a very character-centric series running in a women’s magazine. It’s also not the type of series that would feature images of the characters hanging out at the beach with their friends, so what else are you going to do except dress the characters up for the covers?

The “Death Addict” section has some pretty strange bondage images in it. Nothing too intense, but one or two are a little more risque than this one. One of the more puzzling ones was a woman in a teddy straddling a man wearing a horsehead, beating him with a riding crop. The horsehead was very cute.

I don’t really have anything to say about the illustrations, as I know nothing about gothic and lolita fashions outside general facts, and only a little more than that about Mitsukazu Mihara. I was fascinated by her figure work and fashion illustrations in Doll, which is why I picked this book up despite not being a huge fan of the series. Her females are a lot more… broad than you normally see in fashion illustrations. They’re very unusual-looking, and it makes the outfits stand out even more.

There are very few male models. Actually, I think the male illustrations are from the other series represented here (Happy Family, maybe one from R.I.P.).

I suspect the name “Alice Addict” is somehow tied into the fact that many of the illustrations seem to be Alice in Wonderland-themed. I’m not sure if that’s just a favorite theme, or if it’s somehow tied into gothic lolita fashion, or if maybe all the Alice in Wonderland images are somehow from the same place.

The end of the book has a few pages of these very nice 9-panel illustration pages.

The book has four sections, called Angel Addict, Doll Addict, Happy Family Addict, and Death Addict. Doll and Happy Family are illustrations from those two series. I have no idea what Happy Family is about, but the illustrations seem to be of the same characters, so I’m guessing the subject matter is more cohesive and less the one-shot stories that make up the bulk of Doll. I think Angel Addict is the more lolita-themed illustrations, and the Death Addict is the more gothic-themed illustrations, but they also appear to come from two different sources (Death Addict comes from 2-3 different publications), so I could be wrong about that.

And that’s about all I can offer for this book. It’s a curiosity, especially since so much of Mihara’s work has been published in English, but I suspect it may be of more interest to those looking for the fashion illustrations rather than a manga artbook.

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