Reminiscent of a broken toy box, the mystical Abyss is a terrifying realm home to monstrous creatures called "Chains." Most believe it to be only a fairy tale, used to scare children who misbehave. Oz Vessalius, the cheerful and mischievous heir of the noble Vessalius family, is one such individual—until, at his coming-of-age ceremony, the mysterious Baskerville Clan inexplicably arrives and condemns him to the Abyss for a sin he didn't commit, nor knows nothing about. Oz then forms a contract with Alice, a unique Chain who can take on human form, in an attempt to escape from the Abyss.
Pandora Hearts follows the young boy's struggle to unravel the mysteries behind his sin, the Abyss, and a tragedy from one hundred years ago. Soon, Oz and his companions will find themselves confronted by the Baskervilles and ghosts from the past, as he makes his way back home in a journey plagued by relentless despair.
[Written by MAL Rewrite]
Volume 8: Pandora Hearts (pilot)
Pandora Hearts was published in English by Yen Press from December 15, 2009 to March 22, 2016; in German by Carlsen Manga from March 18, 2011 to June 2016; in Polish by Waneko from October 1, 2012 to July 28, 2016; in Italian by Star Comics from November 3, 2012 to March 2, 2016; and in French by Ki Oon from July 1, 2010 to April 14, 2016.
I never expected to like Pandora Hearts. I hate the Victorian era, get easily bored by mysteries, and am typically annoyed by fluffy cuteness. I much prefer violence, blood, and deep, dark storylines. And yet, I love Pandora Hearts to pieces!! I think I experience it from a different angle than many other PH fans, so I want to offer my perspective.
I love all the characters here. Really, I've never loved so many characters so much before. They all have very colorful personalities, representing most of the standard animanga archetypes but elaborating on each in unique ways. I connect with all of them very strongly. There's lots of great chemistry between the characters, ranging from laugh-out-loud funny to depressingly-dark. I love the full spectrum of emotion here. But characters alone do not a good series make.
The plot is incredible. It is complex, but not to the point of confusion. The whole thing so far is about unraveling what happened during a tragedy 100 years ago in order to prevent it from happening again. As such, most of the plot takes place in the past, and is revealed through pieces of characters' memories. Herein lies my favorite philosophical obsession with this series. I love how PH addresses the fact that partial memory is a very dangerous thing. The characters get their memories back gradually, and in very fragmented form. They don't know the whole story, and their assumptions about what happened and about who they are given the limited information they have affects self-image, personality, and actions, even if the assumption they made isn't true.
How do people deal with the idea that there's more to them than the life they know, or that they're essentially more than one person? What if everybody around them expects them to be somebody else? How does this shape their perception of identity? What if you don't remember enough? What if you forgot that you wanted to forget? And what do you do when you remember too much? Or what if the past that made you who you are completely changed? These are the kinds of questions addressed in Pandora Hearts.
There is much re-read value in this series. Many things happen before they are explained, or before a character remembers its significance, so you pick up on a lot of things you missed on your 2nd (or 3rd or 10th) read through.read more
I can't stress how completely amaing this manga is. I started out watching the anime and when the episodes wouldn't come fast enough I began reading the manga...and now I'm waiting for each chapter to come out.
I've always liked interesting spins on Alice in Wonderland and this one tops them all for me. All the characters are interesting, deeper than they look, and keep you guessing as to who they really are and what secrets they are hiding. Where some characters may have come off as cliche in the first few chapters it is revealed later on that they have much darker and deeper pasts than you could ever guess. It's hard for me to write too much without spoiling it, but if you're looking for a good manga to read really should try this one out.
This manga has some of my favorite anime characters and probably one of the best storylines I've ever read. The art work is beautiful and it really lives up to all expectations. I just hope they keep the gore from the manga in the anime. All in all I give it a perfect 10 though I wouldn't reccomend it for younger children... when you get to around chapter 20-25 or so you'll understand what I mean.
This is my first time ever writing a manga review, so please bare with me.
I want to start saying that this manga may not be the easiest reading; the plot is like a puzzle, at first you get to see the big picture, but without getting into the details, you won't reach the end result. I must say that this may be my favorite part about the series, each little detail is relevant either for the main plot or to get some character development and that enriches the story more and more every time you read. There's actually no time to get bored because everything is in constant movement.
The characters development here it's delightful as no one ends the same way they started, they go back and forth in their own individual worlds. The premise here is that there's not one only way to act, but actually a wide range of options where everyone can go at their own pace, and that makes possible for us readers to experience first hand the emotions/thinking that made a character the way they're at the moment or why they decided to change in some point.
Finally, the art. The main points are it's beautiful settings, a great amount of details, and a unique way of expressing emotions. In this last point I want to emphasize, because Mochizuki Jun is not only great with words (like those white/black pages that made me cry with dialogue solely), but the way she can make a few pages or even with just a single smile to overflow with emotion makes this manga a master piece.
Hope this would help you if you're still not sure about reading it, but give it a try.read more
“Who in the world am I? Ah, that's the great puzzle.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
What would you think when someone just told you that your existence is a sin? That’s practically saying that you should never have been born. Certainly, that isn’t a very nice thing to say, but when people actually start to persecute and throw you into a jail for it, it begs the question: What did I do?!
Paralleling the themes of identity crisis makes a wonderful comeback from Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” into this manga “Pandora Hearts” by Jun Mochizuki, where we have a young 15-year-old noble that stumbles upon the mystery of his sinful existence and the dreadful truth behind his name.
The story starts off happily-hearted with Oz Vessalius preparing for his coming-of-age ceremony at the age of 15, and that is when things go… mad. Upon the last moments of his ceremony, red-hooded adversaries usurp the mansion and throw Oz Vessalius into the Abyss, a prison that hosts blood-thirsty entities called Chains. His crime: The crime of existing!
With no other means of escape, Oz is forced into a contract with a resident Chain, an estranged girl named Alice, so that she may escape from the Abyss along with her newfound contractor.
And so it begins with Oz searching for the truth behind his conviction and with Alice searching for her own missing memories.
But ignorance is bliss when it begins.
The story is somewhat engrossing in which the reader will attempt to uncover the mysteries that encircle these characters. The many shocking truths that I’ve learned from reading this are pretty overwhelming, and it really just beckons you to continue more. This premise of truth-seeking isn’t really original, but the amount of shocking and thrilling content in this manga surely tops off the number of times that a novel or movie would have. Plus, the importance of these vital bits of info that Oz and Alice find all tie into the grandest scheme of all things—something far more sinister then ever imagined.
And along the ride, we come to find that bliss is ignorance.
Aside from that synopsis, the plot is engaging in this way as we come to learn what actions characters will do as they struggle from the eye-opening truths and revelations that should never be mentioned at all. Because the way the story is set up, truths and memories are learned in fragments—and almost never in the same order. This way proves itself well in grasping in readers once they’ve stared into the Abyss far too long that it starts to stare back. Not only that, the enjoyment stems off on the way Oz and Alice’s little journey gets them involved in some very serious events. Would they better be off not knowing? Or can they still smile now that they know?
But that is all the plot can muster. These bits of info that they are looking for aren’t in every chapter, because characters still need to adjust and react to the newfound truths that they acquired. However, this does not make the story boring mind you, because the characters themselves give you quite a good show.
There are characters that are nearly representative of the “Alice in Wonderland” cast if not for the actual Chains themselves. Characters aren’t as mad as they seem, but they conjure an elegant air of shrewdness and mystery. Even the most despicable characters are lovable to an extent; because their personalities are borderline mad, if not everyone’s. It’s also interesting to see the schemers come into play as they encourage and even interfere with the motives of Oz and Alice along with Pandora, an organization that is interested in the affairs regarding the Abyss.
By themselves, every character falls flat, but coupled with shrewd intentions, every character works wonders in driving the plot of the story. And that is when their true personas emerge. Characters are all certainly deep, justified, and even downright cruel and sadistic. This common twist for many “Alice in Wonderland” renditions and spin-offs plays out well in Pandora Hearts. It’s a mad world out there, and it’s rendered just as eloquently as the art.
Speaking of the art style, all I can say is that for a Shonen manga, every single character is beautifully drawn. Period (except for one god-awful nobleman). I meant that in the most aesthetic sense of “human beauty”; characters are NOT “ugly” per se, but Mochizuki promotes an admirable side to beauty without erotica. Nevertheless, landscapes are detailed and portray a Victorianesque scene which really fits in the theme and urban context of “Alice in Wonderland.” I can vouch for the art to be very acceptable here, and when things get hectic, expect blood as a permanent stain to this beauty. Very tragic.
Yet, those words that describe the art can sum up Pandora Hearts.
Pandora Hearts has left a good impression on me. It’s a tragic story associated with dark themes and psychotic obsessions rendered beautifully in a very twisted romantic sense. And the theme of identity and existence is still made clear.
What more can you expect from an “Alice in Wonderland” deviant? It’s classy, dark, thematic, beautiful and tragic. But the compelling storytelling is also superb with all the pieces falling into play, and just when you think it starts to get mad… trust me, the madness has even yet to begin. read more