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Pandora Hearts Vol. #13 Manga Review

4 min read
Pandora Hearts Volume 13
Pandora Hearts Volume 13

The deal is off, all bets are off, here comes the blood, sweat, and tears.

Creative Staff
Story/Art: Jun Mochizuki
Translation/Adaptation: Tomo Kimura

What They Say
Oz Vessalius makes his high-society debut at the manor of Isla Yura intending to investigate the potential location of one of the stone seals that Pandora seeks. But over the festivities and the secrets that swirl behind the masks of the merrymakers hangs a cloying scent of intrigue. And when the blood-blackened hand of a demon unexpectedly descends on those gathered, a waltz of madness begins… as if heralding anew an all-too-familiar tragedy…

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
I sat on this volume of Pandora Hearts for awhile. I tend not to look at spoilers for series I review, I like to try to go in with a fresh perspective. Even without knowing what was going to happen in this volume I could feel that it wasn’t going to be pretty. Subconsciously, I held off until the last second and then forced myself to read the volume and move on with the story.

I guess it’s a testament to the storytelling that I’m as attached to the characters as I am. It is a likable cast of lunatics that Mochizuki has constructed, and she has no qualms about using them to full effect. Even when that effect is to lead her readers into heavily foreshadowed doom and gloom. Heck, there are two blatant death flags in this volume that are really hard to ignore, which left me watching to see if they would be a subverted trope.

The start of this volume isn’t exactly smooth. We’re plunged into a fight between Elliot and his valet Leo, with little set-up as to why the two suddenly start shouting at each other. It happens to be one of the only comedic moments in an otherwise dark volume, as awkward as it is, and we do get some answers about the orphanage in Sablier in the process. We still don’t know the finer details of Leo’s past before ending up at Fianna’s House, but Leo isn’t the quiet bookworm I took him to be.

At first it looks like we might have met our headhunter in a girl named Lilly. It turns out she’s just another Baskerville, one who isn’t shy about sharing the finer details about who and what exactly the Baskerville’s are. With the real headhunter still at large we finally discover exactly who that mysterious third party is that’s been getting between Pandora and the Baskerville’s war of the seals. The answer is surprising, and frustrating at the same time as the reasons for their actions remain a mystery for now.

From there all hell breaks loose. The third party is trying to recreate the tragedy of Sablier on a small scale, and the headhunter starts to strike in quick succession. Oz’s group tries their best to get a handle on the situation, but even Break is outmaneuvered in the plotting. Everyone finds their chains sealed, the groups have all been split up and the mansion set ablaze. Fights break out as accusations fly, and by the end of this volume everyone is blood spattered, crying, or preparing for a fight.

To cap off all of the drama, blood and angst the author chose to include her usual off-kilter fake advertorial extra, with Yura trying to sell Jack body pillows. How utterly diabolical.

In Summary
After a shaky start, volume 13 of Pandora Hearts cuts a bloody path of surprise revelations and dramatic confrontations, leading up to a ending that I probably saw coming but wished I hadn’t. There are some amazing character moments inside this volume and for once I don’t even care that Alice is being completely ignored. All of the set up leading to this stage of the ‘Coming of Age Party’ arc hinted at the unpleasantness to come, but I fear this is only the beginning to the shattering of the close knit group of characters we’ve come to know and love. I’m eager to read volume 14, but dreading what happens next as well.

Content Grade: A –
Art Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B +
Text/Translation Grade: B +

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: December 11th, 2012
MSRP: $11.99

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