While searching for Alice in a dimension made up of her memories, Oz stumbles on the Sablier tragedy of 100 years ago and discovers some secrets about Alice, Gil and Vincent Nightray, as well as a secret about himself. Then it’s off for some lighter moments as Oz goes to visit his younger sister who he hasn’t seen in 10 years, before an old villain re-emerges; the Baskervilles, who are looking for Oz to find the truth of Sablier from the spirit inside him; Jack Vessilius, the “Hero of Sablier”.
I had read the first few chapters of Pandora Hearts when it debuted in the print version of Yen Plus. While I had mostly enjoyed chapters, it wasn’t enough for me to keep following the series. I’m glad I checked in with these two volumes. The delving further into the mystery of the abyss was interesting, and the introduction of two new characters helped lighten things up after some grim chapters.
It was a bit of a shock to jump back into the series at a pretty horrific moment. The scenes of the Sablier tragedy start volume 5 and is shown in some graphic detail. It is this memory that ties Alice, Gil and Vincent together, though exactly why and how has yet to be explained. The introduction of this event certainly ups the intrigue, and shows it to be more than the “tsunadre girl and meek boy” series I thought it to be at first. I don’t know that I care too much for the intrigue and drama between the houses, but I do find myself drawn to the mystery of the abyss.
Volume 6 provides a much-needed light-hearted break from the dark overtones of the previous volume. Oz’s Uncle Oscar drags him, Gil and Alice to Lutwidge Academy where Oz’s little sister, Ada, is a student. But in order to surprise Ada, Uncle Oscar thinks it would be fun to break into the school, and much chaos and hilarity ensues. The highlight of the two volumes is the introduction of two new characters, Elliot Nightray and his valet Leo. Elliot and Oz get off on the wrong foot immediately, as they argue about a manga series, Holy Knight. Watching the two bicker in lots of fun, but it also leads to Elliot giving Oz the verbal slap he’s needed for a while. Elliot immediately became my favorite character after his speech. The Baskervilles are formally introduced as well, and they seem to be after the same thing as everyone else; the truth of the Sablier tragedy.
The only problem I had with these volumes was the art. There’s nothing wrong with it per se, I actually really liked it. There are lots of bishonen with long flowing hair and bemused smiles. But that was exactly the problem. There are lots of bishonen with long flowing hair, and I couldn’t tell them apart, especially Xeres Break, Vincent Nightray and Jack Vessilius. I had to re-read volume 5 and track all three of these characters explicitly, just so I could finally get them all straight!
These two volumes have rekindled my interest in Pandora Hearts. While I don’t care for a lot of the melodrama, the mystery of Sablier and many of the characters do attract and intrigue me. I really enjoyed these two volumes and look forward reading more.