Zeroe4 is taking the week off for Throwback Thursdays – but fear not! Fellow YWAM Tokyo missionary, Sheridan Reid, is returning this week as a guest writer. Sheridan is an avid reader and writer of fantasy and sci-fi books and lover of action/adventure anime. If she’s not working or immersed in a good story, she is probably at a coffee shop or exploring the crazy city of Tokyo with friends.
Pandora Hearts revolves around a young noble by the name of Oz Vessalius. The anime starts out with Oz turning 15 and his coming of age ceremony being interrupted but a bunch of red-robed figures who say they are there to “judge” Oz. He is then thrown into the “Abyss,” which is basically explained to be a prison, but it looks far more like a broken toy box. There, he is attacked several times by what look like the broken toys come to life. A young girl named Alice comes to his rescue and explains that she, like the things that had attacked him, is a Chain: a being born in the Abyss. The two of them form a contract that allows them both to escape this Abyss. After this, the two (along with a few others) begin a journey to try and find out why Oz was targeted and what the deeper plot behind it all might be.
Both of the main characters spend the series on a journey to find themselves, and they start out as very broken people. This journey is something I can relate to a lot. I spent a long time trying to be someone I wasn’t, so the journey back to finding who I am has been a long one and is something I am still working through. Part of this journey for both the characters and myself is realizing that we aren’t alone even if we feel like we are. There’s one scene in particular that really stuck out to me. One of the characters sees two other characters reunited after a separation. They are celebrating, really happy to see each other. She however, takes it as exclusion, assumes that she’s not wanted because of it, and runs away. Her friends, realizing she’s gone, run after her, and in good ol’ anime fashion, crazy madness adventure ensues.
This feeling of isolation is also something I struggle with, though. For me, it’s hard to feel like people want me around, and my tendency is to run away when I see other people having a good time and I’m not expressly invited, but like her friends in the show, my friends are awesome about running after me and reminding me that of course they want me around; we’re friends. That is something I love about this anime: they are always fighting for each other and trying to make sure their friends are okay, even though sometimes it’s obvious that they really, really aren’t.
In a way, if you have seen D.Grey-man or Kuroshitsuji (aka Black Butler), you have seen this series. The feel is super similar in that it bounces between dark fairytale, lighthearted comedy, and even darker mystery sometimes seamlessly and sometimes at the drop of a hat. I do enjoy both sides of the change however, so I usually don’t mind it too much. This is one of the rare instances that I actually really do enjoy the way most of the comedy is played. Comedy usually isn’t my cup of tea, but I enjoy the dryness and sometimes just plain oddness that they put to surprisingly good use. And although the feel of the anime is really similar to others, the story and characters are unique enough to make it a pretty interesting watch.
Unfortunately, the Pandora Hearts anime never really got popular, so it ended after only 25 episodes. I have heard from Zeroe4 and others that the manga is a worthwhile read even though I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet myself. It is on my list for sure however.