Book Review: Pandora Hearts Volume 23

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Last week had a surprising end, huh?

As I mentioned in my last review, I received most of the books that I had ordered from Barnes & Noble, and one came way earlier than expected, as it was going to be released on Tuesday of this week.

With that early arrival covered, only two titles remain, at least until the fourth book, which I expect to come soon, arrives.

Today, I will be covering one of those remaining two, which is called Pandora Hearts Volume 23 by Jun Mochizuki.

As I have given a series synopsis in an earlier post, I will not go over again.

With Break dead and the entity that hid in the shadows of the Baskervilles eliminated, those of Pandora and the Baskervilles that remain in the black city that resembles the old Sablier call a truce, because they seek to go to the same destination, but with ill feelings still looming, the alliance might not last long.

Elsewhere, Oz, Gilbert, and Alice continue their journey through the abyss to convince Oswald, who took control of Leo's body, to stop traveling the path he has chosen, but while the glens fight each other within and the trio that may have a plan to save everything on the outside, faces from the past, even those that were now supposed to be allies or dead, have come to stand in their way and other allies experience a break down that reveals the truth about their chains, and the people they thought they knew.

I really liked this volume.

Even though it has almost been a year now since I read the previous volume, I was sucked right into the world and the action.

Seeing how I got this feeling multiple volumes in a row, and that this truly is the penultimate volume, I have to give Jun Mochizuki a ton of praise, because she really seems to know how to write a story properly, especially one that has had a ton of mysteries like Pandora Hearts has had over the course of its run.

I liked we found out more about chains in this volume.

During the course of this volume, Vincent experiences a break down that causes one of his chains to go berserk and reveals a desire to have the head of Glen Baskerville, and then reveals that Vincent's chain is actually Miranda Barma, who had coaxed Vincent to open the doors to the abyss and set of the chain of events known as the Tragedy of Sablier.

Now, humans turning into chains is not that surprising, seeing as such a possibility has been raised in the earlier volumes.

On the other hand, the fact that Vincent had contact with one of his chains prior to that chain actually becoming one makes me wonder if the chain Xerxes Break had when he first met Alice in the abyss also had a connection to him.

Then again, this series has always been about the adventures of Oz, Gilbert, and Alice and learning about their past, since all three of them were revealed to be alive around the time that the tragedy in Sablier occurred, and most of those mysteries have been resolved, such as Alice having lost her memories because she attempted to rid her sister, who is also named Alice, of her memories of Jack, so learning about whether or not the other people who made contracts with chains had a prior connection is not something that really needs to addressed, especially considering that Oswald did kind of confirm that chains are drawn to people that they had a connection with before.

I also liked how Ada confronted Vincent, who said that he wished to disappear, by saying to him the following:

Vincent-sama, If you want to disappear so badly, give your life to me! I'll show you all kinds of delights that you have yet to experience! I'll make you feel glad you were born!

Forgive me, Vincent-sama. No matter how much you wish to eliminate yourself, I still want to se you!

Do you remember? It was snowing when we first met.

And the day we walked around the park together.

The time we went to the opera.

All of it. Every Last thing. Even my Being here now! It's all precious to me. I can't bear the thought of it all vanishing!

Vincecent-sama, no matter what sins you committed in the past, even if the entire world loathes you, I...I will...forgive all that you are. I will forgive you…!

So please...don't cry anymore –

I am not too sure about you guys, but I can really feel the love and concern that Ada has for Vincent in these words. It reminds me of how Oz stood up to his father in the previous volume, how Oz got Alice to come to her senses again in Cheshire's dimension in volumes 4 and 5, and even how much Kotomi Ichinose's parents from Clannad loved Kotomi right up until the moment they died in an accident, as expressed in the letter that she received from her deceased parents.

Upon reading this, I can understand why Vincent felt so moved, especially because he felt guilty for causing the events that happened roughly a century before in Sablier.

If I found somebody like this to spend the rest of my life with, I would be happy, because that person is going to want me for who I am, not just what I can do for myself and others, and I would be able to feel safe with them.

However, things do not always go that smoothly in life, so I hope that such a person is strong enough and has friends that are supportive enough to leave me behind should I ever give into to the dark side of greed and become a demon, because I know that I do not always act on logic, much like rest of humanity does not always act on logic.

While everything that I have brought up was good, there were two things that I really liked about this volume.

First, Yen Press did not seem to butcher this volume.

Now, some of you may not know this, but while Yen Press has been pretty good about maintaining a consistent quality for pretty much all of their titles, they did do something in one book I read that made me lose faith in them.

In that book, which was Judge Volume 6, they had scenes repeating unnecessarily, thus having one chapter start all over while another was nowhere to be found and skipped a lot of content that important in knowing what was going on and how characters got into their current situation.

Fortunately, in this book, I did not feel like anything was missing at all and all of the chapters that were supposed to be present were.

This is what I, and many other manga fans, want to see in official releases in our area, and the fact that Yen Press kept everything intact does deserve some praise, though I would not be too confident that Yen Press has learned their lesson because they might ruin the final volume of Pandora Hearts, so hopefully they do not ruin a series that I have come to like for how well it executes the mystery aspect of the story.

The second thing, and probably the one I enjoyed the most, was that this volume truly felt like a penultimate volume, because it answered many of the remaining questions in the series and set the stage for what may be a confrontation with the core of the abyss, since Alice does ask Cheshire about something concerning it.

As sad as I am about this series coming to an end, this is what I expect to see from a penultimate book in a series and actually makes me want to read the final installment right now, though I am already aware how this ends.

Back in the previous volume, it was reported that this book was going to be the final installment, which made me suspicious because there was enough content left to make up at least two more volumes and that number really grew as time went on to where it was possible that there could be three more volumes.

Here, however, with this volume being six chapters longs and the final chapter is chapter 104, according to the Pandora Hearts Wiki, I can easily see that there is no discrepancy in the numbers like there was when I reviewed the previous volume, so the 24th volume is indeed the last volume of the series.

Outside of those things, I cannot really think of anything else that I particularly liked, at least without giving away how everything will end.

The fact that many questions were answered and things that I did not realize before was revealed, as well as the fact that Yen Press did not slack off this time and the volume itself felt like a penultimate volume, made this very enjoyable.

Although I did like the book, there are some issues.

However, nothing really seemed to bug me that much, if at all.

As a result, I will have to say that there is nothing worth mentioning.

Considering that Yen Press really redeemed themselves with this volume and it gave me the feeling of really being the penultimate volume, this was definitely worth reading.

I only recommend this to fans of Pandora Hearts, because the math, and the feeling that I got from reading this volume confirms that the next volume is the last of the series.

What are your thoughts on Pandora Hearts Volume 23? Did you like it or hate it? Was there something that you liked or hated that went unmentioned? Feel free to comment and voice your opinion.

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Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.