Kaoru Yuki’s body of work translated in English is considerably larger than many mangakas’ and it is fascinating to see how the tone of her work has changed over the years. That being said, while there is a greater sense of self-awareness in her more modern works the biggest problem for long-time readers of her works is easily the fact it always comes across as a touch homogenous. The biggest theme in a lot of Kaoru Yuki’s works has always been the dark reality behind fairy tales. A world which once looked like it was rose tinted is actually horrific once given a closer examination.
Alice in Murderland volume 4 follows this long tradition. The heroine becomes more and more aware the Alice in Wonderland influenced world she lives in contains layers upon layers of dark secrets. Everyone in the cast is not who they seem to be at first glance. The heroine herself has an alternate murderous personality. Even her wealthy adoptive mother she once thought to be kind reveals herself to be the cruelest member of the manga’s cast thus far. Alice in Wonderland is the perfect theme for a Kaori Yuki work and Alice in Murderland’s continued descent into madness makes for a fascinating read.
While Alice in Murderland is certainly a nice addition to Kaori Yuki’s body of English translated work there still is very much the issue with the series that it feels like Alice in Murderland is once again just Kaori Yuki simply going through the motions of creating a series. The formula she seems to have developed for creating her work is nevertheless an effective one even if she is once again reusing the themes and issues from her previous work. It still is nice every once in a while to sit down with a Kaori Yuki manga and cleanse the palette from the tropes of shojo manga in general.