A whole volume of answers to some painful questions.
Story/Art: Jun Mochizuki
Translation/Adaptation: Tomo Kimura
What They Say
Brother, master, friend…There once was an impure soul who, unknowingly, sealed a contract with Humpty Dumpty in the dark bowels of Sablier. But the time has come for him to face both his true self and his sins. Reexamining the events that have led him to this juncture, he comes to a realization and, choosing to stand by his convictions, decides on a course of action…as though it may yet save him somehow…
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
There is a lot of information being thrown at readers in this volume of Pandora Hearts. The bleak ending of the last volume is expanded with more detail in the opening chapter, and the answers to some long standing questions are finally revealed. Sadly, most of those answers aren’t exactly the happy sort the readers may have wanted.
We don’t see much of the gang in the aftermath of the ball gone bad. No one is fighting fit after everything that just happened. Poor Oz is stuck in a state of shock that even Alice nibbling on his ear can’t break him out of.
Elliot’s fate was unavoidable, as was Leo’s role in the whole bloody affair. Elliot’s father kept the truth from his own family, about Leo and his past and the real purpose of Fianna House. I can’t help but wonder if the slaughter could have been avoided if only the Nightray family wasn’t so gentrified and bigoted. Vincent seems to think so, if his outburst at the end of this volume is heartfelt.
If it is the author’s intent to make her audience feel uncomfortable rooting for the bad guy, she accomplished it. Vincent’s confrontation with Duke Nightray is not unwelcome, and the Duke got everything he deserved. An amazing line of dialog from Vincent, and the debut of the real headhunter chain, seals the fate of the Nightray family. Although Vincent’s motivations might be altruistic in the sense that he’s doing it all for his brother, he’s still up to no good. With Gil catching him red handed attempting to shatter the third seal, now everyone knows who side he is on. Maybe if Vincent knew what Break knows about trying to change the past, he’d realize his insane plotting is all for naught.
The real surprise in this volume is about Leo and his role in all of this. That flashback from earlier in the story arc with Jack talking to Glen, which at the time seemed out of place, suddenly makes much more sense now. With the Baskerville’s having almost accomplished their goal, and if I remember correctly only one seal left, it doesn’t appear that Oz and the others at Pandora are going to be able to stop Glen from being resurrected. Which means that sooner or later the fight is going to come to Oz and Alice. Perhaps it’s time for Oz to get back to figuring out exactly what’s up with the Intention of the Abyss and the matter of Alice’s existence.
The extra’s for this volume are another parody advertisement, this time for a magical girl story staring Ada. I could totally see an alternate universe spin off comic with that plot.
Well, they were right about that group photo. Nothing will ever be quite the same for Oz and his friends at Pandora. While this entire volume of Pandora Hearts serves as one long, extended explanation for the motivation for events which recently transpired, it doesn’t drag down the story. We needed the answers which come one after another following what happened at Isla Yura’s mansion, and we also needed the downtime for the cast as they try to make sense of it all and move on. They don’t have much time to prevent the resurrection of Glen, and at this point I don’t think they’ll be able to.
Content Grade: A –
Art Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B +
Text/Translation Grade: B +
Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: April 23rd, 2013