Alice & Zoroku is a 12-episode anime adaptation of the manga written by Tetsuya Imai. The director of the series was Katsushi Sakurabi, and the studio that produced it was J.C.Staff.
Alice & Zoroku aired as part of the spring 2017 season of anime, and is available to watch on Crunchyroll.Alice & Zoroku focuses on a girl called Sana who has a power known as a “Dream of Alice”. That power allows her to teleport and create anything that she can imagine. The plot begins with her escape from a research facility, and she soon encounters an old man named Zoroku Kashimura.
Zoroku seems to be a grumpy old man, yet as Sana can tell that he is a good person at heart she asks him for his help.
The story of Alice & Zoroku is split into two acts. Episodes one through five make up the first act, whilst the remainder are the second act. The first act focuses on Sana’s escape from the research facility and the attempts to take her back. The second act focuses on Sana settling into new surroundings, as well as encountering another girl who has a Dream of Alice.
Alice & Zoroku has both action and slice of life elements. The slice of life stuff is more prevalent than the action, which may lead to disappointment for those who aren’t really a fan of anime series where nothing happens. However, there’s plenty of fun stuff there for those who are partial to slice of life series to get stuck into.
Action scenes come from people using different Dreams of Alice against each other, which makes for some rather interesting encounters. The climax of the first act provides such an example of one such encounter. However, the action scenes are few and far between.
Whilst the slice of life genre isn’t for everyone, Alice & Zoroku happens to do it very well. What really helps is the family dynamic between Zoroku, his granddaughter Sanae and Sana herself. Zoroku is a bit gruff, but it is clear that he cares a lot for his family. He doesn’t hesitate to scold them when necessary, though.
Sana’s character works really well, too. She’s a child, and that’s exactly the impression you get from Hitomi Ohwada’s performance. Some might find Sana to be somewhat annoying, particularly with her tendency to say she feels “frazzled”. However, Sana is a child, and that’s the kind of thing children do. Sana doesn’t have a proper grasp on how she should feel in or react to certain situations, and her inability to explain it frustrates her to no end.
Sanae’s a fun addition to the cast as well; she finds Sana absolutely adorable, and she is always upbeat. She has quite an infectious attitude.
There are other characters besides those three, including some who have their own unique Dreams of Alice. Some are better than others, but they all have a purpose to serve.
Alice & Zoroku‘s first act wraps up in the fifth episode, but it feels like certain parts of it are resolved far too conveniently. The story does focus on Sana, so it’s probable that a lot of behind the scenes stuff is happening the audience doesn’t see. It doesn’t really prevent the fifth episode feeling like a sudden finale, though.
The second act is somewhat of an improvement over the first. The slice of life stuff is still very much present, but we also get to see how Sana adjusts to the world around her. The events that follow after Sana meets another girl with a Dream of Alice are more than slightly reminiscent of FLIP FLAPPERS‘s Pure Illusion – of course, both shows happen to have an Alice in Wonderland theme going for them.
Fairly early on, Alice & Zoroku uses CG for things such as cars. Whilst some anime are able to mix CG and traditional animation well (Frame Arms Girl, for example), Alice & Zoroku is not one of them. The CG cars really contrast with the 2D animation, and not in a good way.
Fortunately, that becomes less of an issue as the show continues, but it doesn’t exactly leave a good first impression.
The soundtrack serves its purpose, but nothing really stands out aside from the ending theme. It’s likely that those who enjoyed FLIP FLAPPERS‘ ending theme will also enjoy Alice & Zoroku‘s.
A mix of action and slice-of-life that makes for a rather enjoyable fantasy series. With the slice of life elements being more prevalent, it won’t be for everyone. However, the show is definitely well worth checking out for fans of slice of life.