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.
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.
“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.
“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn't be. And what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?”
― Lewis Carroll
Reading Pandora Hearts is like untangling Christmas tree lights, at first glance it seems like a simple and mundane task, but once you really get into it you discover just how tangled it really is. When you are finally done you can't help but to look back and reflect on how much has changed throughout the process and just how much
effort and planning must have been put into tangling it up like that in the first place.
The story beings by introducing us to our protagonist, Oz, a young boy and member of the prestigious Vessalius family. Shortly after meeting Oz as well as some minor characters and getting a sense of normalcy we see Oz accused of committing a grave sin that neither he nor the readers are aware of and then thrown into an alternate dimension called the abyss, full of darkness, ruins, and monstrosities known as chains, luckily he is saved by a chain named Alice and returns back to the normal world, however many things have changed since Oz was banished into the abyss, Oz is introduced to an organization called Pandora, which is responsible for studying the abyss and stopping chains from wreaking havoc in the human world.
Pandora Hearts beings very vague, concealing a lot of information from the reader, we have a large cast of characters but just about everyone’s motivations are unknown, the information we are given about the world is also limited, this lack of information left me very disengaged during the early segments of the manga, the only thing that kept me reading was Oz’s character, which I found to be very strong. Oz deals with a lot of stress throughout the story and constantly suffers, yet we see him always putting on a light hearted façade to hide his true feelings. I found myself wanting to know why he acted this way and to see what the implications of his personality would have later on. However as the story progressed I was left very impressed with much more than just Oz. Character motivations and details about the world and the way it functioned were given in small fragments slowly throughout the manga and each new bit of information gave everything an additional layer of depth and changed my entire perspective on the events beforehand.
Each new fragment of information was not only groundbreaking in the way the events of the story were perceived but also flowed very well within the narrative and were subtly foreshadowed beforehand, I never felt like a plot twist was contrived, nor did they ever feel that what was to come was obvious. The manga does a brilliant job at framing its story while also playing with the reader’s expectations through a mix of lighthearted humor and the various ambiguous aspects of the world and cast. At later parts of the manga I would look back in awe thinking about how much had changed, many things I thought I knew early on was proven false and I almost felt outsmarted by the story’s structure.
Pandora Hearts is a constantly evolving narrative in every sense of the term, as I read on not only did the story unfold in a magnificent and brilliantly planned way but so did the characters. In the early parts of them manga the cast seemed fairly weak, and even a bit one dimensional at times, especially the characters that were shown to have malicious intent, some of their actions made no sense to me and I just dismissed them as being that way to progress the story, however I was very mistaken, nothing was as I thought it was. As the characters were slowly explored and fleshed out their motivations were made clear and the entire cast took on a whole new light, characters that I thought were simply delusional or insane. An example of this would be Vincent who was portrayed as very sadistic and maniacal in the early parts of the manga, this made me dismiss him as a simple crazy villain, but this was by far not the case.
What I adore about Pandora’s cast as a whole is that the line between good and evil becomes very blurred the further the story progressed, every faction and character had reasons for their actions and they were all logical with few exceptions, I found myself empathizing with almost everyone and growing fond of each and every individual character in one way or another. The cast also excelled in diversity, it never limited itself to tropes and clichés and was not scared to break out of the molds. Characters ranged from being conserved and submissive to cynical and maniacal, to fun loving and eccentric. These characters blend very well and create some very unique and interesting dynamics between one another, a big example of this was Ada, Oz’s sister and Vincent who were polar opposites, but managed to bring one of the most interesting relationships in the manga.
The art for Pandora Hearts was drawn by Jun Mochizuki and it was pleasant to see it improve as the series progressed, in the early volumes the art was very simplistic, especially during more comedic scenes and did not particularly stand out in one way or another from similar art styles. As the manga progressed the style became much more crisp and detailed especially with the more creative chain designs later on, the last few volumes even featured some color panels and they were simply breathtaking, the color panels and covers for the later volumes are vibrant and simply beautiful, by far the most visually impressive aspect of this manga.
Pandora Hearts is a manga with a lot to offer but requires some investment, many readers might find themselves turned off by the vague and slow early volumes filled with light comedy and seemingly simplistic characters, however if you do end up giving this manga the time it deserves you will definitely be impressed by what it truly has to offer at the end of the rabbit’s hole.
Note- I first wrote this review in 2009, but have found some things that needed updating.
I stumbled across the manga because of it's interesting name. And I'm glad to say that the story is just as interesting as the name.
I won't go too much into the plot, as you can read those in other place, so I'll just say that the story line's incredibly original, enjoyable, as well as pretty dark and with many plot twists. The main characters, Oz and Alice, are fairly likable, and the supporting cast, Break, Sharon, and Raven, aren't done to badly either. My favorites are
Break, Oz, and Alice. These three are far from cardboard cut-outs.
The art is well done. It's not pretty flowery shoujo style, but it's not like the art in Nodame Cantabile , for example. Everything is in a sort of old England Victorian Style. I warn you though, there are some gruesome drawings, mostly of the chains.
Overall I really enjoyed the manga, though I do wish there were more chapters available. I look forward to the anime and can't wait for it to come out! Pandora Hearts definitely isn't a manga to pass up!
Update- While I keep my opinion that Pandora Hearts is an above average manga, the plot starts to drag a bit. The characters go on a series of short trips, which though add to the story with their subtle hints, are boring. My biggest dislike was the change in characters. Oz's character change was understandable, but it did bring in a lot of cliches and wasn't very interesting. Meanwhile, Gilbert is going crazy and annoyingly needy, with a 'master' complex and wants to kill someone (won't say who). Alice has gone from a tough and occasionally deep and serious heroine, to a cute and annoying tsundere. Break is the only one who's keeping to his character, and I love him for it.
Those are all the bad things. The rest are still very satisfactory, and a few plot turns keep the story interesting. Just keep in mind that the story starts to drag after a while.
Out of all the anime. manga, visual novels I have read or seen, Pandora Hearts is the one that will always be engraved in my heart and the others as well.
Nothing is stereotyped about this series, there is no lovey-dovey romance for otaku basement-dwellers, instead, this manga focuses on something that has been long overlooked: friendship. It doesn't matter how old one is, its gender or anything else, friendship will always be the greatest form of love and I'm glad the authoress managed to convey this message with such a masterpiece.
Don't let the Tumblr shippers/fangirls fool you, there barely is something that can be
called "romance" in it.
At first glance it may look like a comedy but it soon becomes the most complex mindrape I have ever read, yes, way ore than NGE and any other work you can consider "mindrape". If you're looking for a variety of unique characters, each with its own backstory, plenty of surprising plot twists, you just found the best manga I can recommend you.
The art is amazing since the very first chapers, and it gets way better later, I don't really have anything else to say about it, except that the art isn't really the strongest point even though it's one of the best drawn manga I have read.
As I said before, Pandora Hearts has plenty of unique characters you might want to relate with, even the "villains" have its own reasons, pasts, and regrets, as well as even mostly secondary characters being very useful to the plot and the main characters. I can't say anything about this because it would be a lot of spoiler, but I can tell you each character isn't ever being overlooked.
Once you'll reach around chapter 20, you'll enjoy it to the fullest, all your theories about what'll happen in the story will crumble, as there are many unexpected plot twists that will make you enjoy even more the manga, the authoress also loves to play with our feelings, which is another unexpected thing.
Never I had found a masterpiece as perfect as Pandora Hearts which made me laugh, cry and smile so much, all my attempts were useless, I still struggle to find a manga which could be equal to it without any success.
I am planning to re-read it soon to enjoy it all over again, as it is my #1 favorite manga I have ever read
I'll make this review spoiler free. If there's any spoilers, I will warn you of them.
I found this manga by first watching the anime of it. The anime was wonderful even though some moments were stretched. However, the story didn't go all the way to the end and so many questions were left unanswered. This is the first manga I've ever read and so far it's been worth it.
I think all the characters are wonderful in each aspect and I love that they all have some story arc. They all come back at some point and are not just there for laughs for example.
They're also very smart and relatable characters and it's easy to pick your favorite (mine is Xerxes Break btw). They're all very fun and energetic and play well in the story.
I'll write a little bit about every main character here.
Oz is the protagonist of the manga. He has a habit of accepting everything weird while it happens without asking any questions. In other words, he just rolls with things. Of course accepting everything has it's ups and downs and they're of course touched upon the manga. He's also a big flirt and loves helping others in need and catches on things very quickly.
While I love Oz as a character, I can't help but feel a bit annoyed by him from time to time. He's too much of a good guy to me even though he isn't perfect. He often seems a bit weak but it could be just about not getting any love from his father. Of course there's nothing wrong with being weak. I don't know, he just isn't my type of person I guess.
Alice is a chain of the Abyss that Oz made a contract with. She is tough and honest to her feelings. Alice is very smart like all the characters in the manga. She understands loneliness well after being alone in the darkness of the Abyss and relates to Oz well. She also loves meat.
I love Alice. She's always energetic and doing something. She's smart and complements Oz very well. She doesn't worry too much and just overall gets things done. She's of course flawed like any normal person and that makes her beliavable. Sometimes she takes things too far and often argues with the other characters.
Gilbert is Oz's servant. If you don't want ANY spoilers about the manga you shouldn't be reading any further - if you're okay with spoilers from the first couple chapters then this shouldn't reveal too much. [SPOILER ALERT BEGINS] In the beginning Gilbert is a year younger than Oz. He is shy and afraid (mostly of cats). He can also be very brave when needed the most. After Oz returns from the depths of the Abyss it's gone 10 years from the time he was cast there. In that time Gilbert has grown into a man wearing all black. He has gained confidence and can be very hotheaded from time to time. When the story continues, he becomes more and more afraid of losing Oz from his life because he feels he's not needed anymore. He also carries the burden of joining a rival duke house of the Vessalius, the Nightrays.
Gilbert is a wonderful angsty character. He's been mocked in the manga many times and it always makes me laugh. Because of his hotheadedness he and Alice always find a reason to fight and I just love that. They're hilarious. Gilbert is a well written character who always takes action to protect Oz and others he cares about. There's not much more to say about him, other than that he's great. [SPOILER ALERT ENDS]
Break serves the duke house of Reinsworth. He's brave, smart, mysterious and like most of my favorite characters, wonderfully weird. He eats a lot of sweets and likes to steal other's desserts. He enters closed spaces from the weirdest places and gets out of them the same way. He doesn't trust people that easily and thus doesn't have many friends in the beginning.
What should I say about this character? Well, what shouldn't I! He's not only my favorite character of the anime and manga, he's also my favorite character of all time. And not without a reason. He's story arc is perfect and I look up to him in every single way. He's always doing something funny or badass (except in the touching moments) and takes the story forward. He's also very determined and does anything to achieve his goal. He's funny and unique. If I write anymore it's all going to end up with me screaming "I LOVE HIM SOM MUCH OMGOMGOMG" so I'm just going to stop right here.
Sharon is the pretty girl of the story. She's young and beautiful and like any Reinsworth woman should be, very elegant. She loves girl talk. She of course has a darker side too, acknowledging her own weakness.
Even though this characters doesn't have many flaws she still seems very human. She's often smiling and likes to help out when she can. Like I already wrote, she awknowledges her weakness later in the manga and that's probably why I'm okay with her character.
The story was covered in mystery from the very beginning. The secrets took a long time to be revealed and every time you got to know something it just raised more questions. At some point toward the end of the manga they just suddenly revealed all the biggest secrets in a big pile of information. It was okay and played very well in the story like every other aspect of it, but it took a little more time to process that way. All of the secrets are very well thought out and give you very satisfying results. Every character plays a part in the story and it never seems out of place. The story seems to be going towards a more and more epic ending every chapter and I can't wait to see how it all plays out in the end.
Being the first manga I've read I can't say too much about the art, but I'll try to write something anyway. I thought the art was very beautiful and the character easily identifiable. The backrounds, when there were some, looked amazing. Compared to anime styles at least there isn't really anything outstanding or that different about it, but to my eye it was all just so beautiful.
After read the manga as far as I have I just love it so much. Every single aspect of it. I wish they would've continued the anime farther as well. The manga always surprises me and makes me shake from excitement waiting for the next chapter. It's so well written that I can't even handle it. It's perfect. Yes, it's that good. It makes you think about things you normally might not, mostly around the subject of what is selfish and it has opened my eyes to so many things. It also gives you great drama, action, comedy and fantasy moments. I have nothing else to say, but
"Don't try to excuse yourself by saying you're doing it for someone else's sake"
Who said that? You'll know if you read the manga ;).
I do not really have a ton of specifics to say here because I just really could not care about this...there was nothing to hate and nothing to love. The premise was a little interesting, but this manga prefers to bog itself down with poorly written gags, atrocious dialogue, and frivolous declarations of affirmation than actually focus on either action or story.
The basic premise of the story is nice enough - secret mysterious prison like madman world that exists alongside the normal world and represents awful things for pretty much any human being. Okay, nice enough! Except...they never explain pretty much anything about it in
particular. Even worse, our main hero is straightaway declared to be the key to obtaining that power...and no one really says why. We get some vague exposition along these lines, but never anything interesting or helpful; all the interactions and dialogue are more along dramatic lines.
Similarly, there is an interesting enough idea of needing to get back Alice's memories. Great, so we have an actual mission! Except there is no real rhyme or reason to how she gets them back (she just does), and it never really becomes anywhere near a main focus; again, dramatic character interactions and meetings kind of train wreck all of this.
The characters are all essentially uninteresting - Oz the tragic hero who overcompensates by being excessively friendly and accommodating, Gilbert who exists basically to be his homoerotic friend (they made his character dark for a while, then just totally destroyed that to get him back to being homoerotic), Alice the initially tsundere, then just naive and secretly really nice...(ch. 20 p. 32 - She gets angry easily, and her words are harsh, but...the real Alice is very gentle, and loves to cry, and she is very stupid as well...her appetite is also very huge!) *yawn*. Some of the characters have potential for being interesting, like Break or Vincent, but then never actually get to be interesting. The dialogue, always fractured, and ADD of this work ensure that they cannot have any profound details or interactions. It always comes back to bad gags or bad friendship speeches...
All in all, this is not really a work worth anyone's time. It offers a nice concept and world, but fails to flesh them out, it offers boring characters, boring dialogue, boring character interactions, beyond typical gags, and the banter is always lacking in wit. It throws vague calls to Alice in Wonderland mythos and expects you to think that it makes it instantly awesome (unfortunately...this works on almost everyone...). This is a work that offers frivolities instead of awesomeness.
When reading this felt as if you could feel the emotion of the characters. The story itself is a unique play on Alice in Wonderland as it has a similar feel while being completely unique.
The story immediately takes off in the first volume and keeps a good pace. You can see the art develop over the course of chapters. This mangaka used a lot of inking throughout this work and detail. There is a good balance of action and slower moments and there are no unnecessary lengthy fillers. There is deep character development from all characters but from specifically Oz as he grows more
confident and accepting of his circumstances.
The only negative aspect of this is it can become confusing especially the overwhelming amount of story in each character and the three family houses.
I haven't read or seen a PERFECT manga like Pandora Hearts! It's my best manga ever, you can't found a manga with a dark fantasy, black comedy, tragedy, psychological, historical and dramatical like this one, the art is awesome and the story is breathtakingly beautiful to. All the characters are wonderful and handsome, their pasts is so tragic and melancholic too, you can't keep you tears when someone is died, that's what i like the most.
If you haven't even read this manga, you should read it, because you don't know what you're lost.
It has been a long 5 year journey that Pandora Hearts has taken me on. I am sad that the long years of waiting and excitement when a new chapter for Pandora Hearts was finally released is now gone forever. However along with the sadness, comes the excitement and happiness of finally reaching the one thing that I always wanted since the beginning. The ending.
Art ~ 9
Pandora Hearts starts having decent art in the first chapter. The characters looks nice, and the background is decent. However, as the series continues, you begin the notice the better details, and
the art improving as a whole. There isn't much that I can talk about the art (I don't really care for art too much when reading something) other than the fact I really liked it.
Character ~ 10
"Not Doldum, Not just a revertebration. Echo will... I will...protect this girl of my own free will! I will not follow your orders!" ~ Echo
Out of all the things that I love about the manga, the characters are what I loved the most. Each character is well constructed, and all have their own unique personalities. I never grew bored of any character in the manga. Each of their back stories were so interesting and captivating, that I could not choose a favorite character until the ending. Every character was relate able and likable. Another part of the characters that interested me and that I loved was that the characters never went stale, because each and every character went through great character development. Each and every character grew and learned to accept who they are, and learn from their mistakes. My favorite example is Echo's character development. In the beginning, she was very negative about the way she viewed herself. Her very name was used to detriment her own value as a person. "Even if I'm to be tortured, to be mistreated, to be humiliated, Echo doesn't have the right to fight against it." ~ Echo. She doesn't believe she is worth anything, and that she has no rights because she is just an echo, a reverberation. She always referred to herself as Echo in third person as if she is distant to even herself. However, finally at the end she refers to herself as I, and breaks through the chains that held her down.
Story ~ 10
Imagine you're just taking a peaceful stroll in the park, when someone randomly appears, punches you in the face, and proceeds to tell you that everything you thought about life was wrong. That is basically Pandora Hearts in a nutshell. You go along reading it, and just as you start to get a hold of the situation, BAM PLOT TWIST. You would think that the one or two plot twists are good enough? BAM MORE PLOT TWIST. Eventually, I started to doubt every little thing the author put, and I was right to doubt. Pandora Hearts has so many plot twists I lost track. Does this mean that the story is bad? NOPE. It made the story all the more interesting to read, and elevated the story higher. The story was well written, that there weren't major plot holes that ruined the overall enjoyment of the story.
Enjoyment ~ 10
I loved Pandora Hearts with a passion. I would always be excited and savored every page as a new release came out. And just as the chapter was coming to a close, and the climax was coming, and I'm sitting on the edge of my seat, in small print at the bottom left corner it says "Please wait until next month to find out what happens next!". With this, I throw my hands in the air in a small fit of rage as my initial excitement dies down and a sense of dread comes over me as I count the number of days left until the next chapter. This however did not take away from my overall enjoyment of the manga. This actually made it better, as I became more and more eager as the manga was coming to an end.
Overall ~ 10
Overall, I loved every little thing about Pandora Hearts. What can I say? It was part of me ever since I was about 13 years old. It brought me great joy, sadness, anger, excitement, and many more emotions. Any story that can bring all these different emotions is one that I would consider a masterpiece. Although I won't say that it will be for everyone else, I recommend this manga to every that reads manga to even those that don't. It is a great manga with a great intriguing story, art that is pleasing to the eye, and likable and relate able characters.
Pandora Hearts is and possibly will always be my favorite manga of all times. The time i spent reading this manga was worth it and I hope that many future readers will enjoy it too. With this my review comes to a close, and so will my 5 year journey with reading Pandora Hearts. As I continue to read more and more manga, I will definitely always come back to this one.
"A good life is when you assume nothing, do more, need less, smile often, dream big, laugh a lot, and realize how blessed you are."
Please do not disregard my review simply because I've given the overall rating a straight ten, as well as most of the other aspects of this wonderful manga. (And the only thing not rated a ten is the art, which is given a nine!) I tend to skip over reviews that look like the only thing they will do is rave about the topic myself, but I can assure you I will be as honest and unbiased as possible. After all, PandoraHearts deserves nothing less.
(Yes, "PandoraHearts" is written as a single word with the "H" of "Hearts" still capitalized--the proof stealthily given in a
few parts of translated material, most notably the blurbs of the Caucus Race side novels.)
Before I go on to covering the separate parts of the PandoraHearts manga, I'd like to put in a few words about the anime. Said anime aired for an extremely short period of time during 2009, and it was cancelled for good reason. Although the soundtrack was quite good (not exceptional as a whole but still admirable, with only certain tracks reaching "exceptional" territory), this did not make up for the multiple failures the anime had in regards to the manga.
The animation/art itself that was used in the anime would be considered incredibly poor even before 2009's standards. The colors are too bright and don't flow well, the outlines of character designs are strangely sharp, the movement that is animated is unfaithful to how human beings actually move, and overall, it is all excessively simplistic.
While it followed the manga decently, it still managed to omit several confusing but vital details in order to reduce the complexity of the anime for the audience. It got progressively worse as the anime continued. Eventually, when the anime was cancelled and the manga was nowhere near finished (in fact, the "true" plot had barely been introduced), the former produced a horrific ending that left all strings hanging and made little to no sense.
I've been ranting about the anime for too long now, I suppose.
Basically? Don't watch the anime. Read the manga.
As for the manga...
ART - 9/10
There is only one reason why I didn't give the art of PandoraHearts a ten, and that is because the art starts off someplace a bit below what I would consider "mediocre." At the beginning, PandoraHearts' art looked...rather odd, if I'm being honest. The lazy depictions the anime chose to use looked worse even though it was based on the original art, but the art in the first place had a weird habit of being unusually disproportionate.
However, when I hear the term "art evolution," I'm forced to think of PandoraHearts every time. Jun Mochizuki's art skills increase drastically in very short periods of time, and by the end of the manga, it's drop-dead gorgeous. Stunning. Ethereal. Take your pick.
It took me awhile to finish and I did have to reread the beginning but once I got into it, I kept wanting to finish it.
The story I thought was simple at first and I thought they would just solve it and it would be over. Of course, there were actually so many things happening and once you put it all together and figure it out, it is pretty elaborate. I got pretty confused at some parts because it did go pretty fast with its story and it was subtle in telling its plot points although thankfully not all the time. I think the
story should've been the strongest point because of how detailed it became but it took awhile for all the questions to be answered which made it feel all over the place.
Now, the art was great too and it kept the feel of dark and light at the same time. Even though it was nice, it sometimes became hard to understand as well because of all the stuff happening. It captured reactions well and emphasis points but action parts were a little hard sometimes.
The characters were detailed and had a lot of back story but the only problem was that I couldn't figure out if they were good or bad sometimes. This was probably one of the big confusing parts because I couldn't understand their actions and what they planned to do, which I guess some would say is a good thing but this time it just made it more confusing. Still even though they were confusing they all had some depth to them even side characters.
Although this manga was pretty good, it was hard to keep reading after awhile because the chapters were so long and there was so much information at once. The ending was also pretty crazy which I say is the most confusing part. I still enjoyed reading it but there were parts that just got me bored as well. It really got interesting about half way through or after but the beginning was just hard to start.
Over all I give Pandora Hearts an eight when adding everything up. I do recommend this for people who like sad dramas, mild horror, action, fantasy and deep stories that take awhile to process. If you decide to read this, it's worth it.
What's the best way to describe Pandora Hearts? Tough call. Because it's pretty far out there. Think of it as a hybrid of Fullmetal Alchemist and Black Butler. FMA, for the thick plot, mystery, and variety of characters. Black Butler, for the gothic-Victorian-supernatural-fantasy themes and art style. And throw in some character names from Alice in Wonderland. And freakishly creepy doll-monsters. And another dimension....
Despite having an incredible variety of themes, they work together surprisingly well. You get an action/drama/fantasy/mystery. Plot twists or character developments keep coming, so things never get boring. Actually, I
keep having to re-read chapters just to make sure I've gleaned all the clues out. So there's high re-read potential. Despite the heavy amount of plot, character is just as important. So whether you like interesting characters, or an interesting plot, there's enough to keep you satisfied.
I was surprised to see this often categorized as a "shounen" manga. Is it because the hero's a guy? Because the lead lady wears a miniskirt? Because there's some action? In my opinion, it has a MUCH stronger gal appeal than guy appeal. But that's just my opinion. If guys like it, great!
Bit of a synopsis:
Our hero is Oz, heir to a dukedom, 15 years old (and oddly small for his age). His side-kick is his incredibly loyal and meek/shy servant Gil. Well, that's how things start out. But soon Oz is sent into the other dimension, and meets our lead lady, Alice (who also takes on the form of a giant rabbit). After Oz and Alice leave the dimension, they meet Break (aka the "Mad Hatter"), Lady Sharon, and eventually a slew of other characters. One by one, we see the characters' backgrounds unfold. Later, Oz has to make some reforms to his own attitudes. He seems to be a normal kid, but we find that he's had some painful experiences that have given him a poor opinion of his own self-worth.
Plotwise, there's a lots of things we need to follow. We need to figure out who the Baskervilles are, what was the tragedy of Sabrie, Gil and Vincent's pasts, why Alice's memories are missing, what's the deal with the watch, who is the mystery guy in Oz's dreams...yep. Lots of plotlines to follow.
Like drama? Mystery? Character development? Gothic-Victorian manga style? If so, you'll love Pandora Hearts!
(P.S. If you like the manga, be sure to check out the anime! It's pretty faithful, and just as delightful as the manga. It does a good job at playing up the comedy too.)
I learned about "Pandora Hearts" from this site, because I saw how many people watched/read it. I was not very persuaded to watch it due to the title, but I figured I'd give it a shot. I'm really glad I did.
This anime/manga is by far one of the greatest I've encountered. It is considered by many to be like a "dark Alice in Wonderland" due to the heavy references to the classic tale. The art is excellent, and the characters are beautifully drawn. They also all have depth. The story and the way it unfolds are original and unique.
It's really a very entertaining story!
If you have not read/watched "Pandora Hearts", do yourself a favor and READ/WATCH it! You will not regret your decision.
"Those who come to the Abyss are all the same. They're all desperate to get something back. But everyone goes mad partway..."
See, I really, really don’t understand how a mangaka and f-ing story writing genius, can immerse readers in something so gloriously messed up, beautiful, emo, crazy, funny, deep, and downright strange like it's nothing. More than just a few times I laughed out loud and shook my head thinking: psshh, that’s absolutely ridiculous and stupid, then turned the page only to stop just short of curling up into a ball in a dark corner, gently caressing the book and whispering softly to
it, while crying myself to sleep. How the heck can a person accomplish not looking like a mad person while reading this series (it’s not that I’m actually just crazy…honest)? This is just one of those books where you WILL get people whispering about you and strange, slightly fearful, glances if you read it in public, cause incomprehensible outbursts of emotion are a thing throughout this series.
Okay, now that I’m done with my rant, on with the actual review:
I honestly never expected to really like this series and wasn’t expecting much from it. I tried to watch the anime a couple years ago, but couldn’t really get into it (never made it past the first part of the 1st episode). After the first volume I figured I’d enjoy it, but it probably wouldn’t be a favorite. Once I got to the 4th volume I figured I’d really like it, but might not buy it (in my poor defense I’ve got a pretty extensive list of manga to buy so I’m really reluctant to add to it). But past that…I stopped caring about the total price of the series, food, and sleep. The last couple arcs almost killed me with all the FEELS.
“Finally I saw... A world so bright I almost wanted to cry... It was then, that my consciousness was engulfed in darkness."
I actually had to put the book down a few times and walk away in an attempt to take it all in, especially since I was still trying to deal with the aftermath of a few events in the arcs before that. Wait, my bad, I’m ranting again lol.
A well-deserved 9/10: It's got an Alice in Wonderland type thing going on and explores pretty complex themes, primarily identity and existence, and how things like the presence/absence of memory, human (or otherwise) bonds/connections, and the past can shape one’s identity and sense of self.
The story is riddled with mysteries that Mochizuki skillfully reveals bits of in each arc like puzzle pieces that don’t become a clear, coherent picture until the last arc. Only after completing the series did I understand that there was actual meaning behind some of the seemingly unimportant details I glanced over volumes ago. This is honestly one of those stories that you could re-read multiple times before being able to take in how carefully put together the story is. I even really enjoyed the side stories at the end of most chapters/volumes that I admittedly tend to skip over the first time I read a series.
The Characters (8/10):
Most of the main characters are made up of the typical shonen anime/manga archetypes which made me think of them as shallow at first, but they all have quite a bit of their own depth. Through there ventures they experience past and present grief, love, despair, and even emotional/psychological challenges. Character development is a thing all the characters go through, even a lot of minor characters.
The only issue I had was with Alice. Despite being such a central figure I was left feeling like she had much less depth and development, especially when compared to Oz, Gil, and even a few less central characters like Xerxes. Even so, none of the other characters felt like cookie cutter versions straight out of other works (even the minor ones), and I loved, or at least liked, pretty much all of them.
And, though I’m no expert, The Art-8/10:
It’s clean, easy to follow, and Mochizuki draws the expressions of characters in a way that conveys a wide and complex range of emotions, from emotional agony (he’s pretty good at this one), surprise, downright insanity, joy, anger, and everything in-between. You can tell he put a lot of work and detail into each scene including the backgrounds. I personally really like Mochizuki’s style (the darker, creepy scenes are done and arranged very well) though, at least from what I read so far, it’s a pretty typical one.
Anyone looking for a good fantasy, and/or mystery, should definitely give this one a shot.
"Someone once said it was a dark place that swallowed everything up. Even if that were true, an enveloping darkness like that...in this world that holds every color possible...also contains the light of hope."
This is such a great anime I would a have died if jun Mochizuki never thought of this. you must watch it I just love this anime it has ups and downs but over all it was the best anime of the season and the book is a must read.
First off I'd like to say that i know this isn't a completed manga, however I felt it was necessary to write a review, because not too many people actually know about Pandora Hearts(I checked yahoo answers, random websites, ect...). I watched the anime first(which was great as well) and after I was done I couldn't help but be in utter shock, as it was outstanding in everything it portrayed. So I decided to check out the manga and thought that it was going to be a VERY popular manga after a little bit.
I don't believe that I've found another manga quite like this
one: Great art, Unbelievable storyline, Amazing characters, and Extremely enjoyable.
Art: I have to say this is one of the better art styles I've seen, it's never hard to read and shows every emotion that the author try's to portray.
Storyline: Now I know some of you may say something like "but a lot of manga start this way" well even if some do, the farther you get into it, you'll realize that it has some very unique twists and spins to it.
Characters: This manga has some very interesting characters, such as: Oz Vessalius, Gilbert, Alice, Break, and Sharon. These are the main characters at the beginning of the story, and each one has their own unique look and personality.
Enjoyment: One of the main reasons I love this manga is because this manga has many enjoyable parts all of which happen in a good steady flow. What I mean by that is they don't go from say a romantic scene to insane laughter, even if they do that they make their way into it, not doing something like holding hands to instantly killing people. they add something quick before it then go into it. So like I said earlier it has a good flow to it all.
Pandoras Hearts is one of those Mangas that has a great storyline with great parts to it, but also some things that can drive the reader nuts.
I found the new use of shingami in the manga to be very unique, unique in the fact that the soul reapers so to speak, aren't really dead souls in the asspect that we usually see, like in Shifumi Letters or Bleach. This was a plus when I first started watching the Anime, which drew me to the Manga.
Also, the storyline is chalk full of references to Alice in Wonderland. Many of the characters and chains are based
off of characters from the book, and if you have read the books or seen any of the adaptations, this too might also draw one in.
I also saw a resemblance to the short Manga, Fairy Cube. The re are small elements in there that fit into both, like the stuffed rabbit toy, the small girl, or even the fact that there is a raven based being in both of these peices of work. Perhaps Pandora was influenced. In fact, it is likely that Pandora is highly influenced by a lot of things.
Normally, this would get the story a eight or higher, but I came across the problem of the fact that there are some rather dry cliques and humor running about that tend to get dragged out to the extreme, to the point at times of annoyance. I wish not to go into them as that would rather ruin the story.
The art is lovely, and well done, but there are a few times that it gets a little bit sloppy. This tends to be more noticible if one comes from an Anime that has brushed up and covered these mistakes up. And to note, I've studied art, so I could possibly be nitpicking things, but there were a few points where, even though I enjoy the art work pretty much, there were times I was a bit turned off. But then I'd come across an extremely good peice and it would go back and forth..
Gilbert is my favorite character. You learn early on that he has problems beliving in himself and his abilities, not to mention self esteme issues. He is also very loyal, yet also very childish, for which he gets made fun of. One also learns that his outward appearance doesn't exactly match his inner, but this isn't something one learns until later on.
Alice is another one of my favorite characters. Most of the really good humor comes from her, Gilbert or the Uncle, but mostly her. She also has a majorly firy temper that one can find quite enjoyable. Her self pity moments are rather logical, as she has been trapped in the abyss for so long.
What isn't so good is our main hero. Sure, he is all spunky and happy go lucky in the beging of the Manga, but when he takes an angst trip, boy does he take them. One needs to be forewarned that there might be times that one might want to strangle him for these reasons. There are also a few other such problems too, that brings a really good character cast down from normal.
Despite the problems in the Manga, I find I am enjoying the storyline very well. It is unique enough that one wants to find out the ending and to see where the author takes the reader on this journey.
One needs to be fully forewarned, as great as Pandoras Heart is, there are going to be times when one may or may not get frustrated with the storyline. I know I have and I have had to put it down, cool down a bit, and come back. Particularly when the main character has gone into his angsty moments.