Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Arty -- Pandora Hearts, Vol. 1 and 2 by Jun Mochizuki
Anyway. Not only am I late, I'm also cheating. The manga Pandora Hearts is the only noteworthy thing I can remember reading in the past two weeks that I also haven't reviewed already. Sad, right? That's the way the pages fall...
Anyway. Pandora Hearts.
Pandora Hearts is a manga series sort of based on Alice in Wonderland but with a story completely, totally its own. The plot is intriguing, the characters are awesome, and the art is OH MY STARS SO PWETTY. I mean, look at the cover of the first volume. Look at it. Beautimous.
Fifteen-year-old Oz Vessalius is all set to celebrate his coming-of-age ceremony at the creepy house his family reserves for such occasions. It's not really a big deal to him - his father won't be there, anyway. So mainly he's just having fun. Running from the maids, tormenting his (flippin' adorable) little valet, Gilbert... the normal.
But when the ceremony starts, everything goes horribly wrong.
Oz is dragged headfirst into the Abyss, a nightmarish dimension where 'sinners' are condemned. Also monsters, called Chains. Oz meets one of these Chains, the B-Rabbit - known too as Alice, a young girl who needs a contract with a living person, so she can escape the Abyss. Oz recklessly accepts... and they find their way back to the land of the living.
But a mysterious organization called Pandora wants Oz and his new Chain contract. And who knows why?
Okay, that is an INSANELY difficult manga to sum up, especially when, at this juncture, I have almost no idea what's going on. Yeah, even after two volumes, there are so many mysteries. But it's awesome. The plot is so promising and the premise is just amazing. A Victorian, almost-not-quite-but-hinting-at steampunk world, and then the Abyss, which is just scary, believe me (the Chains are, too). The characters, however, are what glows.
I mean, they glow. Oz is a really interesting protagonist - kind of mischievous, but he can also be wise beyond his years... but he's not unbelievably smart. Just... world-weary. And you can't really blame the guy.
But Gilbert. Oh, Gilbert. He's adorable in both volumes, but in hugely different ways. You'll get what I mean. He's easily my favorite character so far. Still, there's always Xerxes Break - who I'm guessing is supposed to be the Mad Hatter, whoot! - and his Pandora compatriot, Sharon. Break is hilarious but I'm guessing there's more to him, too. Sharon isn't so awesome, but maybe she'll get better.
Alice, as our requisite dark-haired angsty girl, actually succeeds really, really well. I still don't know half of her story. She's pretty much a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a puzzle. Or however that saying goes. Still, she's fun. She knows how to handle herself but at the same time you get a sense of vulnerability...
Okay, I wax eloquent when I get on manga characters. I think I can get into them a leetle bit more than normal, because I see them, too. And in this case, you SEE them. Jun Mochizuki has an AMAZING art style. It's just beautiful. Did I mention this already? Oh well. It bears repeating. GORGEOUS.
So, basically, if you're a manga fan, read this. At least the first two volumes. Unless you don't like drawn-out mystery and questions. In that case, don't read. But if you're adventurous or just like an epic Alice in Wonderland retelling, READ IT.