A series I have really liked and spent a few weeks racing through is Pandora Hearts,written by Jun Mochizuki. There are 24 books, but here I’ll be reviewing volume 1. The protagonist of the series is Oz Vessalius, a young and carefree boy who just turned 15. Being born into an aristocratic family means he must be the next head of the Vessalius family, and his coming of age ceremony is the talk of the town, while he couldn’t care less.
Oz seems all smiles and fun, but is always studying in hope that his father will praise him. His mother died when he was young, and his father despises him. Luckily, Oz’s uncle, Oscar, takes care of him, and Oz sees him as a father. Oz is always getting into trouble and teasing his servant, Gilbert, who is a year younger than him. Before the start of the ceremony, Oz meets Sharon Rainsworth, a 14-year-old girl who is planning on being the head of the Rainsworth family herself. Sharon becomes an important part of the story.
When the ceremony finally happens, it strays far from what it was supposed to be. Suddenly, people in red hoods appear called the “crimson shinigami” or “the reapers in red.” Oz is sucked into the Abyss which is another dimension described as an “eternal prison” and there he encounters creatures called “chains” which are monsters that live in the Abyss. Oz also meets a girl named Alice, who rescues him from the chains despite being one herself. Alice can turn into a giant rabbit, also known as B-Rabbit (B stands for bloody and black) and is known as one of the most powerful chains in the abyss.
Alice asks Oz to make a contract with her, meaning that he would inherit her powers and she could stay in the human world. The thing is, time is weird in the Abyss: you could be in there for five minutes and, if you can get out, three years might have passed. So, when Oz does escape the Abyss, he finds out that 10 whole years have passed.
Oz wakes up inside Sharon’s home and is greeted by her, a strange man named Raven, and Sharon’s servant named Xerxes Break. Break informs Oz on how long he’s been gone, and tells him that everyone Oz cares about are doing just fine. He also tells Oz about an organization called “Pandora” that studies events that occur related to the Abyss. Alice possesses Oz and attacks Sharon, and Break acts fast. He knocks Alice out of Oz and he’s surprised to see that B-Rabbit is a small girl. Later in the story, Oz and Alice begin to work with Break, Raven, and Sharon as they study cases involving chains entering the human world. When Oz is reunited with his sister Ada and his uncle, he feels relieved.
I loved this book so much that I read all 24 books as fast as I could. Before I read the manga, I watched the anime version, which stops after the ninth book so that was disappointing.
I definitely want to read more of Mochizuki’s books, and I think she’s an amazing author. She was able to fit so much humor into this series while also capturing sadness. It made me cry, actually. Pandora Hearts referenced Alice in Wonderland as well as Pandora’s Box. Overall I’d have to say it’s my favorite series so far.
Platypus and Bean is a website of many different subjects and reviews.