In the middle of the 4 great dukedoms, Oz Vessalius not only has to find is place, but also a way to keep the Baskervilles from bringing another apocalypse-like catastrophe upon them.
It all starts when at his coming-of-age ceremony some hooded guys give him a little push. When Oz Vessalius awakes, he is in the so called Abyss, another dimension connected to the human world. Since he can’t get out alone, he teams up with the chain Alice, an inhabitant of the abyss. When they get out, ten years have passed. Fortunately enough, not everyone seems to have forgotten about him, especially the so-called Rainsworth-household, a group of people we already met at the coming –of-age ceremony. They take Oz in an introduce him to the mysterious organization Pandora and their opponents, the Baskervilles. In the middle of this new found mess, Oz not only has to find Alice’s lost memories, but also how his own family is involved in the story and why they cast him into the Abyss in the first place.
Though once again, we have a short 25-episode anime, this time we don’t have to deal with a forced happy-ending. Instead, we end with an action-filled filler episode and a cliffhanger, where a continuation could be hooked in. My only problem with it is the animation, since the manga’s artwork is so very fluent, that it’s hard to capture in an animation. Regardless, it’s definitely great for those who prefer anime over manga.
I had a hard time getting into this story, because the set-up is like actually being Oz: you go through half the manga and still ask yourself if you missed out something important. It’s like you yourself have actually just come out of the Abyss and are now trying to find your way around. That gives many amazing options for the storytelling and plot twists, but is pretty hard to get adjusted to. Once you’re into it, every little revelation comes with a completely new view on this world. The many strings that have been introduced throughout the series aren’t abandoned but taken up and add to an interesting picture. Pandora Hearts also has the trump card of all monthly appearing mangas: amazing character development. So far, I haven’t encountered a single useless character, which usually drives me up the wall
Great characters and elaborate plot. Sounds like a winning team, but geez, it takes a while until it kicks in. I would have been in danger of putting this aside too early, if I hadn’t had an explicit recommendation from a friend. All those of you who think Naruto and Bleach plot is always too rushed, you might get a pleasant surprise here. Also fun for everybody with a weakness for Lewis Carroll. Those who never really had any patience with storytelling are advised to rather go for something like D.Gray-man.
Pandora Hearts – FACTS
by Jun Mochizuki
Published in 2006- ongoing by Square Enix & Xebec
Recommended for: Mystery fand that like the supernatural and have Alice in Wonderland on their bookshelf.