Cover of Pandora Hearts volume 1 (as published by Square Enix), featuring Oz Vessalius.
|Genre||Psychological thriller, Gaslamp fantasy, Drama, Mystery|
|Written by||Jun Mochizuki|
|Published by||Square Enix|
|Original run||May 18, 2006 – March 18, 2015|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Takao Kato|
|Written by||Mayori Sekijima|
|Music by||Yuki Kajiura|
|Original network||TBS, BS-TBS, CBC, MBS|
|Original run||April 2, 2009 – September 24, 2009|
|Original video animation|
|Pandora Hearts Omake|
|Released||July 24, 2009 – March 25, 2010|
|Runtime||3 minutes (per episode)|
Pandora Hearts (Japanese: パンドラハーツ Hepburn: Pandora Hātsu) is a shōnen manga series written and illustrated by Jun Mochizuki. Individual chapters were serialized in Monthly GFantasy between May 2006 and March 2015, with bound volumes published by Square Enix. The series ended with twenty-four volumes having been released in Japan. It was originally licensed for an English language release by Broccoli Books, but was later dropped. It was relicensed by Yen Press.
An anime adaptation produced by Xebec began airing on April 2, 2009, and finished airing on September 24, 2009. On February 11, 2010, NIS America announced it would release the anime series in North America. Nine OVAs were also broadcast in Japan, airing from July 24, 2009 to March 25, 2010.
Oz is the heir to the Vessalius house, one of the Four Great Dukedoms given excessive power by the royalty. He lives a luxurious life alongside his younger sister Ada and valet and best friend Gilbert. This is dampened only by the constant absence of his father Xai, who decided Oz and Ada should be raised by their uncle Oscar when they were still babies. The manga picks up when Oz turns fifteen and prepares to attend his Coming-of-Age Ceremony. Before he does, he, Gilbert, and Ada fall into a large hole in the ground, and Oz has a hallucination of being in a room of talking dolls with a girl who says she will never forgive him and tries to strangle him when he says he doesn't know who she is before regaining consciousness. Oz, Ada, and Gilbert approach a grave in the form of a large cross, and Oz finds and keeps a golden pocket watch emitting a mysterious melody that he somehow recognizes, despite being quite sure he's never heard it.
When Oz goes to his Coming-of-Age Ceremony, he meets Sharon Rainsworth (who he becomes instantly infatuated with) and her ominous servant Xerxes Break. Everything appears normal until the Coming-of-Age Ceremony rituals are completed and the giant clock that hasn't worked in a century moves. Suddenly, a group of people in red cloaks proceed to reveal themselves, known as the crimson-robed shinigami (though they are formally known as the Baskervilles). They attack Oz and Gilbert and, in a crazed rage, Oz tries to stab the man restraining Gilbert with the ritual sword, only to end up stabbing Gilbert in the chest instead when he looks into the man's face and realizes his identity, then tries to block Oz. Taking advantage of Oz's traumatized state (since he believes he just killed Gilbert), the Baskervilles say he must be dragged into the Abyss, a supernatural prison the public always believed to be nothing more than a frightening tale used to keep children in line. A girl who is actually a Chain (similar to a demon) from the Abyss who calls herself Alice (or the B-Rabbit/Bloody Black Rabbit, referring to her Chain form) then appears before them all, warning the Baskervilles that she will allow them to cast Oz into the Abyss but that he is her property and they should stay away from him in the future. Oz recognizes Alice as the girl he saw during his hallucination earlier. Finally, the man who had attacked Gilbert uses his own Chain to force Oz into the Abyss, claiming his sin to be his very existence.
Trapped in the Abyss, Oz finds out you can make contracts with Chains by drinking their blood. He does so with Alice in order to escape, not knowing Alice is simply using him to get out of the Abyss. Alice and Oz then have shared control of Oz's body.
When Oz escapes the Abyss, he is taken in by the Abyss-researching organization Pandora, specifically by members Sharon, Break, and a mysterious young man named Raven. He finds out that the Abyss is a time-warping dimension. Because of this, it is also explained to Oz that, although he only experienced two days or so while inside the Abyss, he was actually in the Abyss for ten years regarding the outside world. Additionally, Oz now has an incuse on his chest, which looks like a fancy tattoo of a clock. However, it is much more than a tattoo. The hand of the incuse will go forward until eventually it has gone around the entire incuse once, marking the end of the contractor's life and dragging the contractor to the Abyss. You get an incuse by making an illegal contract with a Chain (an illegal contract is made through drinking a Chain's blood; a legal contract, which does not give one an incuse, is made through collecting a Chain's blood in a small container worn as a necklace called a Carcere).
Alice takes over Oz's body briefly to threaten Break, Sharon, and Raven lest they harm her bodily vessel. However, Break eventually forces her to voice her intentions, and Alice says that a long time ago she woke up in the Abyss with only the knowledge that her name was Alice, she was a Chain, and that people in the outside world had nicknamed her the B-Rabbit. She goes on to say that she is searching for memories of the person she was before waking up in the Abyss.
Soon, it's revealed that Raven is actually Gilbert, although he is twenty-four now rather than fourteen like he was when Oz was dragged into the Abyss. He tells Oz he still wishes to be his servant but does not think he deserves it, because over the ten years Oz was gone, he joined the Nightray dukedom (the Vessalius dukedom's sworn enemy) and did horrible things (committed murder and other crimes) in order to make a contract with the Chain Raven and try to save Oz. Oz takes him back anyway, saying that though Gilbert has gained many things, he does not appear to have lost anything that make him who he is.
To be continued
- Chains (チェイン Chein)
- Beings from the Abyss that were at one point human, transformed by the Will of the Abyss. They must sign a contract with a human contractor in order to leave the Abyss. Chains involved in illegal contracts must repeatedly consume humans in order to gain power. Some chains, such as Humpty Dumpty, can have multiple contracts. When they do, for each contract it makes, the revolution on an illegal contractor seal will slow down even more. The only Chains that were once not humans are Oz the B-Rabbit and Cheshire Cat who are the only chains that can gain a human form due to them being animals and in Oz's case a stuffed object while the others gained semi-human appearances.
- Contract (契約 Keiyaku)
- An agreement between a chain and a contractor. The chain is bound within the contractor and can be called out at will. In return, the contractor provides passage for the chain out of the Abyss. Blood Seal contracts, that were made possible by Pandora, granted the ability never to age the Contractor. In illegal contracts, a clock-like seal appears somewhere on the Contractor's body, over their heart. Each time the chain's powers are drawn, the hand in the seal moves like on a clock. If a contract between the chain and contractor becomes void it will kill the contractor. Once the hand makes one full rotation, both the contractor and the chain are dragged into the deepest level of the Abyss. Only Baskervilles are capable of forming a genuine legal contract, in which a seal similar to an illegal contract appears, except without the hand - thus allowing a contractor safe and complete access to the power of their chain.
- Contractor (契約者 Keiyakusha)
- A human who makes a contract with a chain. There are certain procedures to making a contract, but impromptu contracts can also be made, although they are illegal.
- Abyss (アヴィス Abisu)
- The world that chains come from. It exists in a different dimension, and time doesn't truly exist in the Abyss. A person can find themselves in any random time period upon exiting the Abyss, though usually the person is transported forward in time. According to Break, the Abyss can appear as a prison or a broken toy box, depending on the person.
- Will of the Abyss (アヴィスの意志 Abisu no Ishi)
- The entity that governs the Abyss. Usually appears in the form of a bloodied rabbit doll with big round eyes. The real form of the Will of the Abyss is similar to Alice but with white hair and wears white or light colored dresses whereas Alice wears dark colored ones. Apparently the Will of the Abyss wants Oz to go back in the Abyss, and is revealed to be Alice's twin. The Will of Abyss and Alice were both conceived in the human world and born in the Abyss by Lacie. The Will of the Abyss hates Alice and wishes to destroy her. It is revealed her real name is Alice as well and that the name Will of the Abyss was only a title given to her by Levi as his experiment. She is Lacie's daughter who remained in the Abyss and became the human vessel for the Core of the Abyss. It's soon revealed that the White Alice desired to be normal and cared for her sister going as so far to help her.
- The Four Great Dukedoms (四大公爵家 Yondai Koushaku Ke)
- These currently are the Vessalius, Rainsworth, Nightray and Barma families. These four Dukedoms have been in existence before the Tragedy of Sabrie. They founded the Pandora and each hold chains and a door to the Abyss. Of these four houses, the Vessalius and Nightray houses are thought of as exact opposites, like light and dark: the Vessalius house works publicly, while the Nightray house is responsible for doing the behind-the-scenes work.
- Before the Tragedy of Sabrie occurred, the Vessalius family was a third class noble family, and thus, not part of the Four Dukedoms. Instead, the fourth Dukedom was the Baskerville house - with Glen as the head. When Jack killed Glen for starting the Tragedy of Sabrie, the Vessalius family was seen as heroes. And thus, the Vessalius replaces the Baskervilles as the fourth Dukedom. Therefore, the Baskervilles hold the fifth Door to the Abyss.
- Pandora (パンドラ Pandora)
- An organization founded by the Four Dukedoms. It specializes in research regarding the Abyss.
- Tragedy of Sablier (サブリエの悲劇 Saburie no Higeki)
- The city of Sablier was once the capital city of the world. However, 100 years ago, for unknown reasons, someone used a ritual to send the entire city, with its citizens, into the Abyss.
- Children of Misfortune (禍罪の子 Maga Tsumi no Ko)
- The Children of Misfortune is a myth which has existed for hundreds of years: that children born with red eyes will bring terrible misfortune, such as death and destruction, which in this case actually happens. Known Children of Misfortune in the series are:
- Lacie Baskerville (killed trafficmen and danced in their blood)
- Vincent Nightray (killed the whole royal family to save his brother)
- Xerxes Break (his entire Master's family was slaughtered except for the daughter and to save them he killed over 116 people and offered them to his Chain, Albus, hoping that the Intention of the Abyss might be thankful and change the past).
- It's later revealed that the children of misfortune were created by the core of the abyss on a whim and their myth was a lie by the jury due to the fact that they were uncontrollable because of their connection to the core hence why they want their destruction.
- Jurors are beings who transcended to humanity by the core of the abyss and want to change the time-stream. Each Juror was created by the Core and had been manipulating the Baskervilles for generations. They despise the Children of Misfortune because the core made them and they are the only beings capable of understanding it.
- Doors are gates to the Abyss that the Four Dukedoms control. Each Dukedom has control over one, with Baskerville holding the last, fifth Door. It is revealed in Chapter 41 that all along, the door of the Baskerville's was hidden in Sablier, which is under Pandora's control. Yet, Pandora has never thought to look within to find it.
- Blood sealing mirrors
- An item used to make a Blood Mirror contract. Instead of the contractor drinking the blood of the chain, the blood gets absorbed into the mirror where a seal is formed, keeping the seal off of the person. If the mirror is broken, you can lose the contract to the chain. It also has a limit on the power you can use.
Pandora Hearts is written and illustrated by Jun Mochizuki and serialized in Square Enix monthly shōnen magazine GFantasy since June 2006. There are currently twenty-one tankōbon collecting serial chapters released. The series was first licensed in English by Broccoli Books but has been dropped. It has been picked up by Yen Press and serialized in Yen Plus since June 2009 issue. Yen Press released the first English volume on December 15, 2009 with the second scheduled for May 18, 2010.In February 2010 Pandora Hearts was chosen as the greatest manga ever. Currently twenty-four volumes have been released in English. In Indonesia, the series has been licensed by Elex Media Komputindo, and in France by Ki-oon. The manga ended in March 2015 with 104 chapters.
With director Takao Kato, studio Xebec produced a 25-episode anime adaptation with featured music by Yuki Kajiura and themes by Savage Genius and FictionJunction. The series premiered on April 3, 2009 and ran until September 25, 2009. The series broadcast on TBS, BS-TBS, CBC and MBS for its initial run. On February 11, 2010, NIS America announced the licensing of the series in North America, and released English-subtitled DVDs of the anime on October 26, 2010.
A guide book Pandora Hearts Official Guide was released on March 27, 2009, and is numbered 8.5 with the subtitle 'Mine of mine'. The guide contains a short story revolving around Gilbert Nightray and artwork and official romanization of the Pandora Hearts cast. Oz Vessalius and Gilbert Nightray are on the guide cover, along with a plush of B-Rabbit.
Pandora Hearts 18.5: Evidence is the second official guide book, released on July 27, 2012.
The third and last official guide book is said to be released on the spring of 2015 with a confirmed title of Pandora Hearts 24 + 1: Last Dance.
With the release of the anime adaptation of the series, an official art book relating to the anime has been released with the title of Official Animation Guide. Contents included interviews with the author, rough drafts, and more behind the scenes.
Pandora Hearts Odds and Ends is the first official art book of the series from its author. Illustrations featured some of works in Crimson-Shell, Volumes of 1 to 10, some for the anime adaptation, and many more.
Another official artbook, titled There is., was released in 2015, containing other illustrations made for the series along with art for Boukyaku no Haou Roland and other GFantasy and Gangan Joker series. The book also features the first two official illustrations for Mochizuki's next series, Vanitas no Carte.
- Light Novels
Three light novels were featured alongside of manga series or as side stories accompanying the Pandora Hearts universe. The novels were all written by Shinobu Wakamiya and was illustrated by Pandora Hearts' own author, Jun Mochizuki. Titles are; Pandora Hearts ~Caucus Race~ Volume 1, Pandora Hearts ~Caucus Race~ Volume 2, and Pandora Hearts ~Caucus Race~ Volume 3.
The anime first opening theme was released as a maxi-single, "Parallel Hearts", on April 29, 2009 under Victor Entertainment label. The opening theme single performed by FictionJunction included "Parallel Hearts" and "Hitomi No Chikara" in both vocal and instrumental versions, with lyrics, compositions and arrangements made by Yuki Kajiura, and peak ranked 20th on Oricon singles charts.
The first ending theme "Maze" was released on June 3, 2009 under Victor Entertainment label, and peak ranked 35th in Oricon singles chart. The Second Ending theme is "Watashi wo Mitsukete" by Savage Genius
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The eighth volume of Pandora Hearts was ranked 21st on the Tohan charts between March 24 and 30, 2009, 19th between March 31 and April 6, 2009. Volume nine was ranked number one between July 27 and August 2.
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