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Pandora Hearts Vol. #20 Manga Review

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Pandora Hearts Vol. #20
Pandora Hearts Vol. #20

One last sorrow for the road…

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

What They Say
The pathetic farce that has unfolded in earnest is no more than an absurd yarn spun by the man who caused the Tragedy of Sablier by following his heart’s desires. The players in his tale begin dancing with abandon, their emotions bottled up inside, as though they are marionettes manipulated by a master puppeteer . . .

Content: (please note that content portions of this review will contain spoilers):
I like that the descriptions for the plot of each volume of Pandora Hearts are obfuscated in lines of poetry.  It’s so much better than having the contents of the volume spoiled.

Although there was little the plot description could have done to hide the obvious set up for the tragedy which occurs during this volume.  Everyone has their place in this tale, and another character’s curtain call has arrived.

Before that happens there is the small matter of Gil, his chain, and his place as a Baskerville.  We learn that the Baskerville’s are the only ones who can form direct pacts with the chains without consequence.  Gil breaks his old bond, which could have been used against him, and creates a new one.  Of course, he looses an arm in the process, which strikes Oz to his core.  Gil is done with angst and moping, he’s gone into complete badass mode and has no problem calling on raven to clear the way for their escape.

Oz’s father doesn’t intend on letting his prey get away so easily.  He sends out Oscar to stop Oz, and we discover the reason that his hatred runs so deep.  It isn’t even the fact that Jack used Xai, it’s the potential notion that Jack may have been the reason Xai lost his wife and real son.  This extends over to Oscar, who is also a widower.  In the end, Jack doesn’t confirm or deny that he might have intentionally set up the deaths of those individuals.  It’s enough doubt to make the reader wonder of the course of the escape if Oscar is going to help or hinder Oz.

There’s little masking of what Oscar’s ultimate fate will be.  After all of the misdirection and trickery that had been used in similar situations in past volumes it did make me wonder if doom would be subverted once again.  The ultimate outcome gives Oz the confidence he needed to push Jack aside and draw Alice back from the abyss. It’s a powerful moment, and it clears the way for the group’s escape from Xai.

Oz and Gil might be free, but some of their friends are still prisoners.  Break has a nasty reunion with an angry Vincent, who decides to take out his frustrations on the hatter.  Sharon is watching over her grandmother, who has had her chain taken away.  Ada is under the watch of her father, and all the while the chains of the world keep breaking and the earthquakes continue.

There’s a short, humorous side story to close out the volume after all of the heavy content of the ongoing drama.  Reim and Gil start a self deprecating tradeoff of compliments after Oz says the two are alike.  It’s goofy and I’m honestly not sure when in the story the tea party would have taken place, but I don’t mind.  Besides, I find Break hanging upside-down from a tree branch oddly sexy.  The volume closes out with a few more gag comics and another fake dating sim advertisement!  Pandora Hearts the college years, F2P mobile. Et tu, Mochizuki-san?

In Summary
Jack lead Oz’s father down a road of hate and vengeance, and in the end the man is so consumed by it he’ll kill anyone who gets in his way.  Gilbert has turned into a quite the heroic figure, and the rock that Oz needs to get through this daring escape.  And then there is Oscar, who manages to give Oz that final push which reunites him with Alice.  Now that the trio is reunited, they’ll have to find a way to rescue the rest of the troop and find a way to save the world.  That’s no small task in a world which is slowly falling apart.  I wonder how many more tragedies will unfold before everything comes to a halt.  The heroes are badly bruised and beaten, I’m not sure how they will be able to regroup.


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

Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: February 18th, 2014
MSRP: $13.00

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