Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Pandora Hearts by Jun Mochizuki

Oz Vessaliu
On this fine November day I'm going to be reviewing one of my favorite shounen manga/animes: Pandora Hearts. I loved the anime and immediately started reading the manga, which is currently ongoing. Anyway, let’s start with the general plot:
The series begins with the day of 15-year old Oz Vessaliu’s coming-of-age ceremony. He spends most of the day running around with his younger sister Ada and his faithful servant Gilbert before finally preparing himself for the party. But the ceremony is interrupted by group known as the Baskervilles and their Chains (creatures who were humans at some point but were transformed by the Abyss) they’ve made contracts with. As the guest runaway, they condemn him for the sin he knows nothing about. When he attempts to ask, they tell him “your sin, is you very existence!” before throwing him into the Abyss, his eternal prison. There, while running away from Chains and looking for an exit, he meets Alice, the notorious B-Rabbit. She tells him that she isn’t like the other chains; she woke up in the Abyss knowing she was once human and her name is Alice. She explains that she wants to search for her lost memories and knows of a way for both of them to get out: Oz must make a contract with her, unleashing her sealed powers and allowing her to break out of there. Though Oz is hesitant, he eventually decides to trust her and they make a contract. Oz and Alice wake up in the house of Break and Sharon Rainsworth and their partner Raven Nightwing. All 3 of them are part of strange organization known as Pandora, whose only goal is to better understand the Abyss and the Will of the Abyss that controls it.  They explain to Oz that coming out of the Abyss is complicated and it’s rare to come back to the same time in which you entered. Basically, 10 years have passed since the coming-of-age ceremony. Oz sets out to help Alice find her memories and understand the sin he was condemned of, unraveling a complex mystery centered around the Tragedy of Sablier.
There are lots of questions and confusion in the beginning, but the author does a great job of slowly giving you the answers, having you piece the puzzle together before he shows you the remaining pieces to complete it.
Alice in the Abyss
The characters and their relationships are also quite interesting. Oz having a very friendly, adventurous, and happy-go-lucky attitude most of time, but being sneaky and manupliative when he needs to be. He protects the people he loves and doesn’t want to burden them. Then there’s our heroine Alice who is blunt, pugnacious, and somewhat of a glutton. But as Oz says “she’s kind-hearted and easily cries”. Alice in the beginning is often insecure because she can’t remember any of her memories as a human, but as time goes on she doesn’t seem to mind as much, accepting that she doesn’t remember, but is happy being with Oz and their friends. In case you can’t tell, Oz and Alice have a very good relationship, both caring about each other and wanting to protect the other. Though it hasn’t be said, its implied they like each other, heavily on Alice’s part whose upset whenever Oz neglects her or spends time with other girls, even upset when he spends time with his sister Ada. Anyway, the third main character is Gilbert(Raven) Nightray, Oz’s faithful servant  and  best friend (Technically this is a spoiler, but if you would’ve figured it out as soon as you saw him). He’s the most serious of the trio, though childishly fights with Alice over trivial matters (He’s also adorably afraid of cats). Him and Oz have known each other for years and have a heartwarming friendship, both of the caring deeply for the other. Gilbert’s past is also shrouded in secrets, being connected to Alice’s lost memories…
Gilbert Nightray
Now for the art: it’s absolutely beautiful! Its one of my favorite manga art, being so elegant, especially the clothing! The art starts out a bit rough in the beginning, but Jun Mochizuki gets better and better as the story goes. Mochizuki-sama can really show fear, sadness, and happiness and he’s fighting scenes are rather easy to follow, something I’ve always had trouble with when reading manga. Overall, I think it’s a great anime and manga. The anime follows the manga, but ends around volume 8 before wrapping up. It doesn’t make up its own ending or answer all the questions, but it’s a pretty nice ending. If you want answers, read the amazing manga and watch the mystery slowly unveil.

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