My most recent manga order was just delivered yesterday: “Alice in the Country of Joker: The Nightmare Trilogy” (volumes 1-3). I was soooo excited to read this!
Alice in the Country of Joker: The Nightmare Trilogy Review – Art
The first thing I took note of is the sucky art. Wow, it wasn’t super bad or anything but it is a step down from the other Alice manga volumes that have good art. The Nightmare trilogy’s art seems rather crudely drawn by comparison.
I’ve seen worse, but if you are thinking of buying this then you should know that the art isn’t that great.
Alice in the Country of ____ series: Chronology
This trilogy is set in the Alice in the Country of Joker otome game which is generally considered chronologically the third game in the series. It’s actually kinda complicated because there are a lot of spin-offs but the main series goes like this through internal chronology:
- Alice in the Country of Hearts – the original and first game
- Alice in the Country of Clover – this is the second and a sequel to the first game, the premise is that Alice did not find love in the Country of Hearts
- Alice in the Country of Joker – the third, this follows after Clover and the premise of this one is that Alice already knows all of the characters from the previous games but has not found love (yet)
Theoretically one could pick up the “Alice in the Country of Joker: The Nightmare Trilogy” (I will start calling it Nightmare trilogy now) manga without having read the other series but I recommend that the first time reader start with the “Alice in the Country of Hearts” manga. It was originally six volumes but the English publisher has combined them into just three volumes.
If you read that and liked Nightmare then you can read “Alice in the Country of Clover: Nightmare.” That is the actual first Nightmare + Alice manga. The Nightmare Trilogy is chronologically after that one.
Alice in the Country of Joker: The Nightmare Trilogy Review – Characters
At the start of the Nightmare trilogy, Alice has gotten somewhat used to Wonderland and is no longer startled by the random time changes or violence. She is currently living in the Tower of Clover and works as the assistant to Gray Ringmarc. Nightmare is the leader of the tower.
Julius has also reappeared (he was gone in Clover) and is looking particularly yummy in his various outfits so yay for all Julius fans! The military style outfit was to die for, wow! *drools*
The main characters are:
- Alice – an ordinary but strong-willed girl, she is stubborn and won’t be pushed around
- Gray – he acts as the loyal subordinate of Nightmare but he is actually a much better fighter
- Nightmare – Alice’s love interest, he is a sickly, lazy, boastful, man with pale skin and white hair. He has power over dreams and actually has pretty OP powers such as flying, mind reading, control over dreams (and minds), as well as the usual powers of a domain leader (he is super powerful inside his own domain).
Important note: You may have noticed from the description above, but in case you didn’t, this particular story is rather humorous. I really find it hard to take Nightmare seriously since he is always vomiting blood or running away from work. The charm of the character is in his being a supremely lovable dofus. So, if you prefer a less comedic love story then I suggest you read the other Alice manga that have more normal romance. I personally love Nightmare because he is such a funny character but that might not be to your taste.
- Julius – the clockmaker, he has a fatherly role over Alice in this manga. Alice spends a lot of time with him.
- Joker – the ringleader of the circus. Wears a clown outfit. Uses normal/polite language.
- Joker – same name as above, same appearance, too. He normally appears as a mask that the circus clown Joker has attached to his belt. Uses rude language.
Fans often call the two Jokers by the names Black Joker (the mask one) and White Joker (the clown one) just to differentiate them but in the manga they are just both called Joker.
Alice in the Country of Joker: The Nightmare Trilogy Review – Story
The story is where this manga shines. I absolutely loved every single page. It was that good.
In the Nightmare trilogy it already starts off with two people in love. They just haven’t confessed to each other. The story is not the two of them falling in love but rather the two of them trying to find a way to progress their romance. As I mentioned, there were two previous games so Alice and Nightmare have known each other for some time.
The story is very cute! Nightmare is a gentle and pure soul but this kinda frustrates Alice since he is too timid to even ask her out on a date or introduce her to people as his girlfriend. He tries hard in his own way but he almost never makes a move, poor Alice!
There is also some action and all of the other characters make an appearance but 99% of the pages are focused on the Alice x Nightmare romance, which is exactly what I wanted.
All in all, I would rate this 4 out of 5 stars. I took off a star because of the art, but the characters, setting, and story are all excellent.