Guide to Alice’s Countries
October 10, 2015
QuinRose’s “Alice in the Country of” series is daunting. There are four settings, 3 main 6+ volume series, almost 30 volumes of spin-offs, and a novel available. Where do you start? What’s the difference between the settings? Need to know what else is out there for your favorite character? How many books you still need to read in the Clover setting? Here’s a handy list, complete with explanations.
I’ve also listed the volumes that haven’t been translated into English, which isn’t many. As of October ’15, only a few spin-off volumes haven’t been announced. There are a number of novels, and I’ve listed those as well. There are also several fan books and visual guides related to the games and series, and Yen Press did release one of those, but I omitted them from this guide since they aren’t narrative.
The Country of Hearts:
For the uninitiated, the “Alice in the Country of” series is based off an Otome Game (think visual novel/dating sim) by QuinRose. The original game is called Alice in the Country of Hearts. It shares some themes with Alice in Wonderland, except everyone in the Country of Hearts is trying to date Alice, and they are all homicidal. “Role Holders” are the main characters, and include those from the original story (Mad Hatter, March Hare, Queen of Hearts) as well as a few new faces (Mary Gowland of the Amusement Park, and Julius the Clockmaker). Except for Alice and the Role Holders, everyone else is “faceless,” and the Role Holders constantly murder them, as they are easily replaced. Only Alice can tell the difference between Faceless. Alice is trying to get back to her own country by filling a vial with “hearts,” but the plot of the series is more about whether she wants to go back, or stay with her beloved (depending on the series, this can be any one of the Role Holders).
Start Your Journey Here:
Alice in the Country of Hearts (6 volumes) – This is the entire story, beginning to end, all the details. Since we necessarily have to follow one of the love interests, this one takes the Blood Dupree Mad Hatter path in the game. Originally a 6-volume series, you’ll want the 3-volume Omnibus version that Yen Press published in English. There is also a Tokyopop edition floating around, but Tokyopop only published 5 of the 6 volumes in the series, so it is maddeningly incomplete.
More in the Country of Hearts (all manga):
My Fanatic Rabbit (2 volumes) – Elliot, the March Hare. This is the only spin-off published by Yen Press and not Seven Seas.
The Clockmaker’s Story (1 volume) – Julius, the Clockmaker
Love Labyrinth of Thorns (1 volume) – Julius, the Clockmaker
Mad Hatter’s Late Night Tea Party (2 volumes) – Blood Dupree, the Mad Hatter
White Rabbit and Afternoon Tea (2+ volumes) – Peter, the White Rabbit. The second volume is delayed, Seven Seas mentioned the rights to Alice changed and they are re-negotiating some of the licenses.
Twin World: Love, Storms, and Flower Clocks (1 volume) – Julius, the Clockmaker. Delayed due to re-negotiations. Dunno if Twin World belongs in Hearts, I’ll decide when it comes out.
Alice Love Fables: Toy Box (1 volume) – Short stories from both Hearts and Clover, as well as other QuinRose games. The same book is listed a second time in the Clover setting below.
Country of Hearts, not in English:
(beware, some of these translations are offensively bad)
manga (all one-shots, some are Twin World stories):
Alice in the Country of Hearts: Humpty Dumpty, Dee and Dum – Dee and Dum – Ohzora
Alice in the Country of Hearts: Falling in Love with the Cat – Boris – Ohzora
Alice in the Country of Hearts: Guinea Pig and a Slice of the Starry Night – Blood – Ohzora
Alice in the Country of Hearts: Wind of Midnight – Ace – Kodansha
Alice in the Country of Hearts: Memories of the Clock – Julius – Kodansha
Alice in the Country of Hearts: Love Adventure – Ace – Kodansha
Alice in the Country of Hearts: Clockwork Knight – Ace – Ichijinsha
Alice in the Country of Hearts: Rose Tea Party – Blood – Ichijinsha
Alice in the Country of Hearts: Dream Worker – Julius – Ichijinsha
Alice in the Country of Hearts: Riddle of the Cat – Boris – Ichijinsha
Country of Clover:
The sequel setting, Alice in the Country of Clover, features most of the same characters, but the country shifted to eliminate the Amusement Park (no Mary Gowland, but Boris escaped in time) and the Clocktower (no Julius), but added the Clover Tower (featuring Nightmare, who was in the previous game, his assistant Gray, and Pierce, the Doormouse). Clover is the most popular setting for spinoff manga, which advertise it as “Alice starting her relationship as friends, and less of the passionate love from the Country of Hearts.” The Council of Clover event is frequently featured in the Clover spin-offs, but most everything else stays the same. Clover spinoff manga assume familiarity with the plot of the series, and are less likely to re-tell the main story.
Country of Clover Manga:
Cheshire Cat Waltz (7 volumes) – The longest of the Clover manga, and one of the longest spin-offs, period. Goes into the most detail for the Clover setting. Features Boris the Cheshire Cat, and takes its time to develop the relationship with Alice. You may want to start here for your Clover needs.
Bloody Twins (1 volume) – Dee and Dum, but they transform into adults in Clover
Twin Lovers (1 volume) – Dee and Dum as adults again
Knights Knowledge (3 volumes) – Ace, the Knight of Hearts
Knight of Hearts (1 volume) – Ace, the Knight of Hearts
Black Lizard and Bitter Taste (3 volumes) – Gray, the Lizard. Delayed by license re-negotiations.
The Lizard Aide (1 volume) – Gray, the Lizard
Nightmare (1 volume) – Nightmare, the Caterpillar
The White Rabbit and the Clockwork Trap (3 volumes) – Peter, the White Rabbit. Delayed by license re-negotiations.
March Hare (1 volume) – Elliot, the March Hare
March Hare’s Revolution (1 volume) – Elliot, the March Hare
Junk Box Stories (1 volume) – short stories. There is a second volume of “Junk Box” stories that takes place in the Diamond setting.
Alice Love Fables: Toy Box (1 volume) – Short stories from both Hearts and Clover, as well as other QuinRose games. The same book is listed a second time in the Hearts setting above.
Country of Clover, not in English:
manga (all one-shots):
Alice in the Country of Clover: Goodbye Future – Gray – Ohzora
Alice in the Country of Clover: Sweet Pain, Bitter Love – Gray – Kodansha
Alice in the Country of Clover: Daydream Lover – Nightmare – Kodansha
Alice in the Country of Clover: White Calling – Peter – Ichijinsha
Country of Joker:
The Country of Joker setting has more to do with the plot than the places, as the Hearts and Clover settings do. All the characters are present (Julius, Mary, Gray, Pierce, et cetera), and in order to travel between the Role Holder realms, Alice must win a game with Joker, who is two characters. There’s also a circus realm, which has something to do with Alice’s memories and the reasons she stays with the Role Holders.
Country of Joker Manga:
Circus and Liar’s Game (7 volumes) – Blood Dupree, the Mad Hatter. Also the story to read if you want to know the details of the Joker setting, this has the most about the Joker characters and their circus. Also one of the longest and most involved of the Alice stories.
Nightmare Trilogy (3 volumes) – Nightmare, the Caterpillar. One of the best Alice stories, period. Much more like a regular romance than some of the others. In Japan, this was three one-shots called Daydream, Afternoon Dream, and Dream Before Dawn.
Country of Joker, not in English:
Alice in the Country of Joker: Rose Season – Blood – Ichijinsha
Alice in the Country of Joker: Second Love – Gray – Kodansha
Country of Diamond:
The Country of Diamond is mostly featured in novels. This is a setting that takes place before the Country of Hearts, where the characters are younger, more violent, and not in love with Alice. Unlike the other setting shifts, where the characters maintain their friendship/passion for Alice, none of the same characters have memories of Alice in the Country of Diamond (implying Alice made the shift alone). The Hatters and Boris are the only characters that are in Diamond from the Country of Hearts. Heart Castle is replaced by Diamond Castle, the Queen of Diamonds, and a Black Rabbit named Sidney. Nightmare and Gray are there (in much altered forms), and there is a new mafia organization, headed by the Gravedigger Jericho, to oppose the Hatters.
Country of Diamond Manga:
Junk Box Stories (1 volume) – Short stories. This is the second volume in the “Toy Box/Junk Box” series. It’s release is delayed by license negotiations.
Country of Diamond Novel:
Bet on My Heart (1 volume) – Blood Dupree, the Mad Hatter. Explains the country of Diamonds and its inhabitants. This setting is very different, so don’t expect it to re-tell the same old story.
Country of Diamond, not in English:
Alice in the Country of Diamond: Black or Sweets – Sidney – Kodansha
Alice in the Country of Diamond: Sweet Pink Chess Love – Boris – Kodansha
Alice in the Country of Diamond: Piece of My Wish – Jericho – Kodansha
You have to forgive my translations of some of those Japanese titles. Most aren’t difficult to translate, but some have weird, lyrical names that don’t sound right in English.
The untranslated manga were published within the last year, and it’s likely Seven Seas will license/announce them when they’re done with their current batch. A few they’ve announced previously have been delayed/taken off the schedule, but they mentioned in late Summer ’15 that they were re-negotiating the licenses. They will likely be added back soon, along with the last few that have come out in Japan. The Japanese releases have mostly dried up, so we have nearly all the manga in English.
The novels are a gray area. Seven Seas has access to the Ichijinsha novels, but isn’t very likely to release them. They released one, the Diamond novel, which is good news, and the rest are relatively low-risk (none are part of a series, all are one-shots), but translating novels is expensive, and usually nobody buys them. It’s likely future novel releases will depend on how well the Diamond novel did.
The Kodansha novels are, sadly, likely off limits. Kodansha has their own English-language operation, so any Kodansha titles have to come from them, and they don’t publish novels. There is one exception to this rule, the Attack on Titan novels that Vertical is releasing. So it may be possible to get them… but Attack on Titan makes a lot more money than Alice, and there are a lot of other novels Seven Seas could release without touching the Kodansha titles.