A rare treat for Pandora Hearts fans.
Art: Jun Mochizuki
Translation/Adaptation: Tomo Kimura
What They Say
The dark whimsy of Jun Mochizuki’s world comes to vi1vid life in this art book that features over 120 color and black-and-white illustrations from the New York Times-bestselling PandoraHearts series, as well as her first work, Crimson-Shell, among others. Favorite characters from the series take center stage in elaborate, breathtaking, full-color tableaus that fans of Mochizuki’s work will instantly recognize. Also included in this beautiful hardbound, slipcased book are brand-new, never-before-published pieces, as well as countless rough and colored sketches! Readers of Mochizuki’s series and art lovers alike will not want to miss this sumptuous feast for the eyes!
Pandora Hearts ~Odds and Ends~ has arrived, making quite the impression. Featuring a large trim size, a slipcase, and a jacket over a paperback binding it is definitely a collectors item. The matte black slipcase features a die cut window to show off the illustration of Oz on the cover, framed with gold ink highlights. The actual cover is a black and white checkerboard design tucked under a full illustration of Oz. Most of the thick pages are low gloss and not too reflective as to distract from the art. The color is rich and the reproduction clean, with the occasional page featuring die cuts of various shapes to frame certain images. My only complaints with the production is the book can feel stiff at times when turning pages, and there’s not much give when flipping through.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Published originally back in 2009, this art book covers the first 9 volumes of the Pandora Hearts manga and Mochizuki’s Crimson-Shell stand alone manga. Hopefully that means that there will be a second art book coming out in Japan after the series finishes up in the very near future.
Yen Press appears to have stuck as closely and as faithfully to the Japanese edition as possible. (This is all guesswork but it matches the images I found online of the Japanese product.) That includes such bells and whistles as page cut-outs and a slip case. It’s a lovely book to hold, and the colors are vibrantly reproduced.
The contents cover what you would expect with some nice extras. There’s a cover gallery featuring all the covers, front and back, of the first nine volumes. All of the color insert images are included, including panels that were done in color for the magazine that we didn’t get in color in the manga volumes. There are plenty of illustrations which I’ve never seen, including one of Sharon in pants which the artist admits is probably the only time she’d ever draw her that way for story reasons.
Those illustrations make up almost half the book. What follows are pages of sketches that Mochizuki-san did during the creation of the manga. Not only are there roughs of some of the covers and illustrations, but plenty of background into the character’s designs and what changed over the course of the manga. There are several images of characters that never ended up in the story, like Mary the maid who was once slotted as a main character! And of course there are several sexy sketches of Gil, because that’s what everyone is really here for, right? It’s not just me… right?
The artbook closes out with some illustrations from Crimson-Shell, which show just how far Mochizuki-san grew as an artist between both works in such a short time. There’s a few pages of footnotes for the full page illustrations explaining what they were featured in and accompanied by short write ups about them. The book closes out with a thank you from Mochizuki-san.
It’s rare that we get English language editions of art books. Usually sparse on text they used to be one of the easier to import Japanese products for manga fans and the demand has never been great for them. It’s a special treat whenever one is localized, and this volume doesn’t disappoint on the quality and quantity of materials it provides. It’s a lovely edition befitting the price tag, and fans certainly would be getting their money’s worth. As usual, the joy derived comes from how invested you are in the subject matter, and Pandora Hearts fans are well served by this book.
Content Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A
Text/Translation Grade: A –
Age Rating: N/A
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: December 16th, 2014