I sometimes have a problem with shows where the main character and others possess supernatural powers, while the rest of us have to bumble through life with not much more that a bag of potpourri and some nuts. This show tries to transcend that trope. It doesn’t always succeed, but it does an admirable job of it, which brings us to “Alice & Zouroku” (“Arisu to Zōroku”), an interesting tale of government intrigue and harnessing special abilities.
Sana Kashimura (the little girl) has special powers and manages to escape the research facility, where all kinds of diabolical experiments are performed on her, in order to release the power of ‘Alice’s Dream’. (And, yes, you had best be up for a metric tonne of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ references.) In the midst of her escape, she runs into grumpy florist Zouroku Kashimura (the old dude), who does not wish to engage in any troubles, although it seems to find him like a child and an Easter egg.
She tries to cut a deal with him, when they are attacked by other people from the facility, bent on her return. But Zouroku (sometimes seen as ‘Zoroku’, depending on who is doing the subs), puts them in their place. This does garner the scrutiny of a special division of the police, interested in seeing if Alice’s Dreams (or ‘Dreams of Alice’, again, depending on who is doing the subs) can work, so they offer a small degree of protection. The show covers how Zokuru tries to give Sana a normal life, but how both circumstance and external forces make that an impossibility.
I am also not really certain the extent of the powers these people have. It’s one thing to make a giant pair of hands, but how well can you control them to do your bidding? And what does the government know about all of this? The ending seems a bit too perfect, as though it is a requirement to have a happy ending, and that these powers could easily be used for evil or selfishness, creating a different reality than what we see.
It just felt like they didn’t go far enough, preferring to keep things in a safe zone to tell a kind of safe story. There is a strong indication that Zouroku has dealings with the underworld, but all he does is provide floral arrangements and doesn’t interact with them in any other manner. Yet, it is played up, as though HE has something to hide as well. We are not getting the full story on everyone, and much is left to speculation and rumor. The ever-lurking second season is hinted at, but let’s see how well the rest of the public goes after this, eh?
Yes, this is another strong candidate to binging, as the stories play out in something closer to real-time when really chained together and a lot of the motivation come into sharper focus, although certain sequences may come off as being more ridiculous than menacing.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (Seems a bit skint in areas)
Plot 8 (Opportunities missed)
Pacing 7 (Feels like things are intentionally set up)
Effectiveness 8 (Good use of side tales)
Conclusion 7 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Bingeability 8 (It can take the pressure quite well)
Overall 7 (Ending came off as too pat)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. I hate crooked stuff.