Aristide Lang does not know how to read music. He doesn’t have formal training on the violin and his teacher is not famous or powerful. So how did he end up as the 101st student accepted into Mondonveille Music Academy? Usually the school only accepts 100 students per year, but occasionally they make an exception. Only in “Alice’s” case it seems like a mistake, rather than an exception. But his fellow students are in for a surprise when Alice is finally allowed to play his violin for them!
Kawai has a lot of things to say about music and how its beauty can move people and about the work that goes into becoming an artist of any kind, but her message falls flat in the face of an unrealistic plot assumption. I was never able to believe that Alice would be accepted into a prestigious music school if he was unable to handle the fundamentals. The basics of reading music are everything, especially to a classical musician. Alice may have a perfect ear and a huge amount of natural talent, but without the foundation he needs, then accepting him at Mondonveille is just cruel. He cannot do the course work. That crucial plot point being wrong derailed much of my enjoyment of this series.
And that is unfortunate, since otherwise Alice the 101st is a cute little shojo….
Alice the 101st, vol. 1-2
Volume 1: ISBN 9781569701669
Volume 2: ISBN 9781569701690
DMP/Doki Doki, 2010