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Book Review: Pandora Hearts Volume 8

January 12, 2013

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That was certainly fast. As I said in my review of Pandora Hearts Volume 9, I had a gap in both Detective Conan (Case Closed) and Pandora Hearts. Fortunately, my order from Barnes & Noble arrived and I got four new books. Today, I will be reviewing one of those titles, which is Pandora Hearts Volume 8 by Jun Mochizuki.

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

Break has finally remembered much of what had happened in the past and explains things to Gilbert, Oz, and Alice. However, Jack's memoir makes Rufus decide to investigate Alice further and turn Break in to Pandora. Luckily, the group is able to get out of the manor, with some help from Duchess Rainsworth. From there, Oz decides to attend a festival and Gilbert visits the Nightray manor, where Vincent tries to convince him to kill Alice.

Later, there have been a rash of serial killings, with the latest victim being a young woman. Discovering the rumor, a priest by the name of Harris Watson claims that it is the work of an abyss, but everyone knows the killer goes by the name B-Rabbit. Knowing that the priest mentioned B-Rabbit, Oz asks if he can help the investigation. Little does he know, somebody is watching him.

I enjoyed this volume. It was surprising that Break remembers seeing Vincent in the Abyss. I guess time periods can merge in there, so it makes a bit of sense how Oz could be deposited in a world where only ten years have passed. Of course, I am left to wonder how Vincent lost his memories. Neither Break nor Oz had forgotten much after getting out of the Abyss. After all, Break said that things did not exactly happen the way books say they did. The one thing I want to know though is what Alice wanted from Break, since he said he would do or give anything to change the past. I am glad though that Break acknowledged that things were not that much better and his hatred towards Alice was unjustified, since she did as he asked. There are things we all regret in our lives. At the same, there is nothing we can do to change what has happened. Killing the person who killed somebody important to another person will not back the deceased. The only thing that can be done is to learn from the mistakes made and try to make our lives now better than they were when we did make that mistake. Another interesting thing was the information concerning Alice, of the Abyss, and Alice, who is currently the B-Rabbit. Apparently, they are kind of like Oz and Jack, though Oz is supposedly a reincarnation and the two girls known as Alice are not. This was somewhat hinted at when Vincent showed up in the Abyss. Because Vincent was not nice to the Alice who lived on the Baskervilles' property, she hated him as much he disliked her. On the other hand, back when they met, which is shown in a flashback in volume 10, she was not so kind to Vincent herself, so I guess this is something that deserved. I am not so mean as that, but that is what the golden rule, which I find as much a cliché as the saying concerning manners and politeness is today, dictates. What was strange about it is if the two Alices were different people and they have their own bodies, only one Alice should hate his guts. Here, however, both Alices hate him. I was also surprised about the information concerning Cheshire. When it was first revealed how Break lost his eye in the previous volume, I thought that Cheshire was always blind before getting Break's eye. However, in this volume, it is revealed that Vincent made Cheshire go blind, when he made Alice's cat go blind. That really seems like a cruel thing to do and was definitely undeserved. It just seems like Vincent had gone mad earlier than the Tragedy of Sablier, which was suggested during the events of volume 5, where Oz saw a Vincent from 100 years ago. I guess we can now say that Vincent has a brother complex and an extreme hatred towards Alice because of the information presented here and a future volume. The other part was pretty good was seeing Echo and Oz have some fun. Echo sounded liked a robot a lot of time and did not seem to be having much fun, even though she said she was having a lot of fun. I guess she never really played around much as a kid. Another thing that happened was when Oz asked if Echo liked Vincent, she did and then started complaining about him. That is quite a bit of contradiction within Echo. There were other funny parts too, but nothing that really caught my eye as much as the time Oz and Echo spent together. As for the special chapter at the end, that was handled very well. Knowing that readers would get confused, probably like many of you did reading the volume summary above, there is a note saying that things like pandora and abyss meant different things than was originally introduced to readers in the earlier volumes. This was what got me interested in trying Pandora Hearts out in the first place. I may be able to notice a lot of things, but this truly had me wondering if Harrison Watson, who is the main character for this chapter, was good or not, which is certainly a nice thing for the mystery aspect of this series. It is no wonder that people liked this well enough that Jun began the series that many follow today, according to the Pandora Hearts Wiki. Everyone was likable and it went at a good pace for me to know what was going on. Although it was not as funny as the main series, the excitement alone made me want to continue through the chapter. The fact that there were surprising revelations concerning Cheshire and the Alices ant the funny scenes, as well as the fact that we got to know how the Alices felt about Vincent and that new questions arise, makes this a pretty good book.

Although I liked the book, there were certainly some issues. However, the only thing that I have complaints about is the bonus chapter. While the chapter was certainly great, it did not really seem that special. It did not start off like D.Gray-man, the shonen trio, and Buso Renkin, but it had much the same feeling. Oz wanted to get his sister back and went after people, looking for information on a guy that is a contractor of the King of Hearts. Has this kind of thing not been done enough before? If this were how Pandora Hearts went, instead of how it is now, I doubt it would be any good. On the other hand, it would probably still be better than the movie Twilight, which featured every vampire stereotype and a stupid new addition. Yes, searching for lost memories is not a new concept either, but it fits in pretty well, considering that mystery is one of the genres that I can definitely place this series under. The other thing that I did not like too much, now that I am reading the series that spawn from this chapter, is that abyss seems like a pretty dumb name for creatures that are somewhat similar to the heartless from Kingdom Hearts. There are much better names out there. Then again, I cannot really think of anything better. I can say that I like to have the abyss as a place more than being entities. Also, for a one-shot, it does not really do really at explaining what a card is, since all that is said is that a card is a petty abyss. As cards are not brought up after this though, I am willing to put this down as just an annoyance. Outside of that, I cannot really think of anything else bad to say. While the terms card and abyss annoyed me, the thing that was the most damaging was that the one-shot did not really seem like anything special.

Despite the issues with the one-shot chapter, especially with the fact that it really did not seem that special, the good outweighs it enough that this was worth reading. I recommend this to fans of action and mystery, but the latter may be better off skipping the bonus chapter, as well as fans of Pandora Hearts. As for everyone else, this is worth giving a shot.

What are your thoughts on Pandora Hearts Volume 8? Do you agree or disagree with my views? Do you have anything to add? Feel free to comment.

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