Pandora Hearts Volume 1 - Anime Review
Review by Missy Huss
Pandora Hearts is a warped rendition of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland with a gothic flair. Like the classic story, the anime series involves a young character who falls into a strange new world and meet disturbing characters. Pandora Hearts has senseless slap stick comedy that lightens the disturbing drama. However, the plot may deter people from continuing after the first few episodes due to all the rabbit holes.
The story begins with a city being destroyed by a black darkness that swallows the city. This is known as the Tragedy of Sabrie. A hundred years later, a coming-of-age ceremony was being held at the old Vessalius mansion in honor of Oz Vessalius. Unfortunately, the ceremony was interrupted by the citizens of Baskerville. They send Oz to the Abyss, a prison in a parallel dimension, for his sin of being born. In the Abyss, Oz runs into disturbing beings, also known as Chains that wanted to eat him. A chain called Alice saves Oz from a very hungry chain with a giant baby head. In order to escape the Abyss, Oz makes a contract with Alice. A contract is an agreement between a chain and a contractor that allows the chain to escape the Abyss. When Oz arrives in the real word, he arrives 10 years later. With his old life in the past, Oz, Alice, and their friends from Pandora work together to search for the truth of the Tragedy of Sabrie and for Alice's lost memories.
The first few episodes leave audiences clueless when Oz is sent to the Abyss for a sin that even he is oblivious to. I personally found this confusion to be a painful cliff hanger for me to continue watching the episodes until questions were answered. However, I can see how this may dissuade others. It took another 5 more episodes before everything started to become clear. I was then bombarded with more secrets, but they were quickly answered within that same episode which is unlike the beginning of the series. This made the flow of the plot disoriented and disappointing.
The characters made the show enjoyable. Oz Vessalius is a confident, caring 15-year old that cannot resist the ladies. However, the episodes reveal that his happy care-free attitude is actually a cover up for his mentally disturbed past. In an episode, Xerxes Break, an agent from Pandora, said that even with his special eye couldn't really find Oz even though he was sitting right in front of him. Oz wouldn't be himself if he didn't have his friends tagging along. My all time favorite character is Alice. She is a chain called B-Rabbit that makes a contract with Oz in order to escape the Abyss and search for her lost memories. Alice is a lot like InuYasha. She is hot tempered, competitive, ill-mannered, and oblivious of people's emotions. She may come off rude and non lady like, but there are moments she acts helpless which remind us that she only a young girl. Her confident attitude makes her strong, but loneliness is her greatest weakness. Like Oz, she also has a disturbing past which she slowly reveals in the last episodes of volume 1. However, you'll have to wait until the 2nd volume to find out more of her past. Oz and Alice meet friends along their adventure like Raven, Xerxes Break, and Sharon Rainsworth which all contribute to this entertaining series.
All in all, Pandora Hearts is a good anime. I recommend this anime for people who will appreciate the Alice in Wonderland references and enjoy dark animes with a twisted plot. I would relate Pandora Hearts with Inu Yasha, Fushigi Yuugi, Pretear, and Ayashi no Ceres. Inu Yasha and Fushigi Yuugi have the "down the rabbit hole" story like Alice in Wonderland, and Pretear and Ayashi no Ceres has that darkness that occasionally appears underneath the comedy and warm heart felt moments. The Premium edition Vol. 1 includes a beautiful art book and the bonus clips on the DVDs.