Disney Twisted Wonderland The Manga – Book of Heartslabyul Volume 1 Review

Based on the popular mobile game from Aniplex and Disney, this manga adaptation gives fans of the game a new way to experience the wonder and magic of the Twisted Wonderland series! Stranded in the world of Twisted Wonderland, Yu must brave a magical school filled with ghosts, monsters, and uncooperative students!

Yu is whisked away to Night Raven College, an arcane academy in the world of Twisted Wonderland. Stranded until he can find a way home, Yu is allowed to stay on campus despite having no magic of his own. But when his new friends land him in trouble with the headmage, his future at the school looks bleak. Now Yu’s fate hinges on bringing together a pair of argumentative first-years and a fire-breathing monster cat…

Manga Details

  • Genre: Fantasy | Adventure
  • Original Concept: Yana Toboso | Storyboards: Wakana Hazuki | Art: Sumire Kowono
  • Publisher: VIZ Media
  • Price: $12.99 USD
  • Length: 1 Volume (Ongoing)

Twisted Wonderland The Manga- Book of Heartslabyul Volume 1 Review

I have played enough of Twisted Wonderland to get the gist of the story (the rhythm games were my downfall 😅). But, if this is your first experience with the series, Twisted Wonderland is a fantasy adventure game with characters inspired by various Disney Villains, reimagined as hot boys. You get whisked away to a another world by the magic mirror from Snow White and dropped off at the magical training school, Night Raven College. But, since you don’t have any magical ability, you get relegated to being the school’s janitor (eventually student), taking on odd jobs around the school while you attempt to find your way back home.

First, let me say, that while many fan favorite Twisted Wonderland characters do make an appearance in the manga, this adaptation takes a different approach to the events of the Heartslabyul arc. So, don’t expect a play by play of the events of the game in the manga, it has its own vibe and while there are some similarities, you should treat Twisted Wonderland: The Manga as its own unique story. The manga adaptation even introduces a brand new lead, high school Kendo captain, Yuken Enma. He takes on the original role of the player character in the Twisted Wonderland game.

In the game we know little to nothing about the MC, but the manga establishes Yuken’s life in Japan before he is isekai’d to Twisted Wonderland. Yu is a pretty normal dude, he’s captain of the Kendo club at his school and seems to be well liked by his fellow teammates. In fact, when we meet Yu, he and his team are preparing for an upcoming tournament, so there are some fun Kendo scenes early on that give this adaptation more of a shounen vibe than the game. But, that’s pretty much where Yuken’s normal life ends. After practice, he gets run over by a horse-drawn carriage and isekai’d to Night Raven College, via coffin, right in the middle of the school’s summoning ceremony.

Headmaster, Dire Crowely, decked out in his most regal plague doctor chic appears and offers Yuken admission to Night Raven College—which he promptly refuses. Enter Grim, a tanuki-like beast(?) who demands to be admitted to Night Raven College in his place. And while attempting to display some of their “great” magical ability, they end up causing chaos only to be stopped by the Housewarden of Heartslaybul, Riddle Rosehearts (inspired by the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland). And so begins Yuken’s life in Twisted Wonderland…

The story mostly follows Yuken getting acclimated to his new life at Night Raven College and his run ins with Riddle Rosehearts and other Heartslaybul students. First years, Ace and Deuce pop up a lot in this volume and after a rocky first start that gets them and Yuken almost expelled from Night Raven, they form a fun “friendship” with Yuken and Grim. Riddle is mostly around as an antagonist of sorts, attempting to keep his house in order, though he does have a surprisingly cute side too.

Yuken is an alright protagonist, he’s mostly just taking everything in stride, as he navigates his new life at Night Raven. He’s mostly an unwitting victim of Grim’s schemes, but I gotta give him credit for keeping it together in the face of all the ghosts, monsters, and magical shenanigans. And as a subtle nod to the original game protagonist, they eventually shorten Yuken’s name to just Yu.

Volume one pretty much serves as an introduction to the world of Twisted Wonderland, with the first four chapters covering the first half of the prologue of the game. Most of the “deep lore” is kept to blink and you’ll miss it cameos of the other houses and housewardens, but eagle eyed fans of the series will see some nods to stuff from later on in the game.

As someone who couldn’t be bothered with the gacha mechanics of the mobile game I like the more streamlined narrative of the manga. This adaptation is a nice introduction to the story and the basic concept of the series that adds just enough new elements to make it a unique standalone experience. The first volume ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, so I’m looking forward to see what else this series has in store for us in the next volume.

An advanced copy of this book was provided by VIZ Media for this review.

Where to Read Twisted Wonderland The Manga – Book of Heartslabyul Vol 1

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One thought on “Disney Twisted Wonderland The Manga – Book of Heartslabyul Volume 1 Review

  1. I heard a little bit of of this title. I heard it is based on a gacha game. I think it’s cool that they use Disney villains as inspiration for the characters. It reminds me of Kingdom Hearts, but with handsome young men lol.

Gush about cute otome boys~