Posted by psgels on 25 September 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews, Pandora Hearts



The past spring season was a good one for fantasy-series. Among the best ones of this genre was Pandora Hearts. It takes the air of modern-day fairy-tales, and gives them a dark and twisted… twist, resulting into quite a unique series that focuses on themes as the past and forgiveness.

What sets this show apart is its distinct and dark style of storytelling. It has a heavy emphasis on twisted dialogues that are well delivered by the voice actors, and once it gets going, it just keeps getting more and more intriguing. This series has the very interesting characteristic that whenever you think that the creators couldn’t possibly pull any more plot twists, they do. This series is delightfully unpredictable, and just about every plot twist makes the setting more intriguing.

And what an intriguing setting it is! While at first it might seem like nothing special, but soon this series evolves into a multi-layered mystery-series that only gets more and more complex as the revelations come. Combine that with a deep and varied cast of characters and you’ve got a recipe for success.

As for this series’ flaws, it’s that the lead character Oz isn’t always able to carry the series. Whenever Oz starts angsting he tends to drag the entire series along with him, and his times of inner retrospective are deep, but also tend to drag along a bit too much. And overall, the cast could have been more fleshed out. At the end of the series, I only started to feel like I was beginning to get to know the characters. Add the fact that it’s not yet sure whether a second season will come to animate the remaining manga chapters, and you’ve got an incomplete series that desperately needs more screentime.

Nevertheless, Pandora Hearts really is a gem of a series, and when it delivers it really does over and over. Xebec created a really unique graphical style that combines the art style from the 90s and the past decade, and a lot of shots really are visual feasts in terms of aesthetics. The music by Yuki Kajiura may not be her best work, but still shines in every single way. Now if only that second season would get announced.

Storytelling: 9/10
Characters: 8/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 9/10

16 Responses

  1. mds says:

    I wonder why you gave 9 for production values on this anime,whose animation just as blurry as these from 90’s ;and you give just 8 for 07-Ghost whose animation is much more clear and clean than this one…

  2. psgels psgels says:

    It’s indeed close, but what makes me favour the graphics of Pandora Hears over 07-Ghost is that 07-Ghost’s character-designs look too much like Sdutio Deen’s regular character-designs, while in Pandora Hearts they have something unique, plus Pandora Hears also has a lot more creativity in the costume and monster design.

  3. Matt says:

    to me its not how nice the design looks, it how it matches the style… Pandora Hearts was more dark and mysterious… It wasn’t as fantasy-ish as 07-ghost for me, it actually seemed it could be placed in Europe during the 1700-1800’s… So for me, i liked that rougher style..

  4. animedyum says:

    I don’t understand how you can stand this show for a very long time. I dropped at 8th or 9th episode. Animation sucks big time. First I’ve thought it was because of the release i’ve downloaded, but no! This show’s animation is an amateur style. And when i look at the images now, i still see the blurry effect. This show is a decent 7 at most.

  5. psgels psgels says:

    What exactly about the show is amateur style? I mean, it wasn’t good, but there were very few distorted faces, and I’ve seen a lot of series in which characters moved a lot less. Sure, the characters didn’t move fluidly all the time, but what series is perfectly animated? What makes this one so bad in comparison to other series?

    Oh, and as for the blurriness, that was just me taking screenshots from bad encodes. That has nothing to do with the series itself.

  6. silvija says:

    I stared watch this anime but didn’t finish.

  7. SpaceIdiot says:

    The music in this series was one of the best of this season for me; beaten only by Requiem Phantom and maybe kemono no souja erin (opening song is great)

  8. Jamie Bautista says:

    Pandora Hearts was AMAZING!! loved it ^-^ i want another season now. -_- so if they annouce it please tell me. GILBERT

  9. Nomus says:

    Very good anime (except 24 ep, witch ruined final part a little) . But, in my opinion, it is meaningless without second season.

  10. Metter says:

    The problem is, they’ve pretty much destryoed some of the key plot devices in the last episode… Well, if Kuroshitsuji still gets its second season, PH should get one too!

    Plus, you anime-viewers haven’t seen Glen’s face and certain characters’ identities…

  11. Akari says:

    using alice in the wonderland, old fairytales but makes up new intriguing story, something like dark version of alice (in the ‘abyss’) i guess^^ little disappointment is Oz takes too long to develop the characters and just we started to know the character, the anime is ended.. for me it seems like 1st season is just some fillers and 2nd season is the main story, 1st just left too much mystery unveil and curiosity will makes me stay alert for the 2nd season ^^

  12. Topspin says:

    Yeah, this feels like half an anime, but an awesome half regardless. Now it’s time for the manga to pick up the slack, because I’m not one of those people who feels the anime alone has to be the end-all of the story or provide perfect conclusion.

    As for production values, let the trolls troll. I mean, production values aren’t just about how shiny and quaint the graphics are.. it’s how well all the pieces fit together. And honestly, Pandora Hearts felt just about right to me. I also score it a little higher than 07-Ghost in that regard.

    All in all, it felt like a less childish and more focused Fullmetal Alchemist, at least until I realized that it wasn’t going to end with the anime. For such simple characters, they really managed to squeeze a lot of life out of them and it’s rare that a show satisfies me without ending properly, instead inspiring me to continue the story with the source material.

  13. Anime Lover says:

    Great anime, definitely one of a kind, I haven’t finished watching it yet but it’s got plenty of mystery, and that attracts me a lot to a show, and the animation and music are also good. I can’t wait to watch the rest of the episodes..

  14. Haley says:

    My gosh, the anime-only watchers of Pandora Hearts have no idea just how much they are missing. I don’t want to sound rude but really- it’s just amazing and the artwork, hnnngh.

    The manga is at it’s prime now with 62-3 chapters out. It is just a HUGE mindbender and questions are still left unanswered. It has just had it’s biggest plot twist involving two smaller characters leaving one of them as now the second lead of this as well as the Will of the Abyss’ wish FINALLY being told to us (found out last night.) Each chapter just gets more suspenseful as Jun has just left cliffhanger after cliffhanger in this tragic series. It’s too amazing to not read. I really advise anyone who likes the anime to read this (starting at chapter 33- which follows after episode 22 that had Break’s past@ Barma’s) at mangareader(.net).

  15. summerberries says:

    For sure, the music is on different far higher level than the animation or story line.

    The animation and story is above average 80/100 for me. I hope 2nd season will follow. I’m biased towards alice theme.

    However, the soundtrack is 95/100. It’s Kajiura we are talking here. Sure to worth checking just for the soundtrack. I love the mix of opera, classic and techno beat.

  16. Shinigami says:

    A really good anime if you’re into fantasy and alice in wonderland. One of my favouites, but may be it’s because I was starved for anime at the time…

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  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 11:45 AM)
    WHAT?! This is tremendous news. Many thanks @Badesh for sharing.
    But Koei Tecmo out of all people? I guess we’re getting the Dynasty/Hyrule Warriors treatment. Where is the FromSoftware developed Hidetaka Miyazaki directed Berserk that was rumored? I guess better than nothing- which has been the mantra of us Berserk fans for a while now. Being a Berserk fan, is being Guts -> which is suffering.
  • Badesh
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 11:34 AM)
    https://youtu.be/9TPBx5Dq-Jk
    new one. the first teaser didn’t contain any gameplay just the first bit with cascar being snuggled by tentacles. it was how they introduced the new game to me. maybe i should feel raped as well…
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 11:04 AM)
    @Badesh: which one? Cuz I played thru both the Dreamcast and the PS2 version. The Dreamcast one was a stand-alone story, but it was both a good one written by Miura, and it was set between Vol22 and Vol23, so it didn’t interfere with the manga’s story. The PS2 one was almost a chapter-by-chapter adaptation of the Holy Demon War section, and it featured the de-facto Berserk theme ‘Sign’ by Hirasawa himself:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdpqV7RPnTE
  • Badesh
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 10:50 AM)
    They did the same thing to promote the video game! Srsly?
    Besides, i really enjoy the new series as a long time fan.. can’t exactly point out why. I like the action and for every shitty shot, we get an awesome one.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 10:49 AM)
    Also Caska’s back to being brown. So I guess some things are getting fixed as we go on.
    /RantOver
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 10:40 AM)
    That’s why is disheartening to see that the post-credit scene of ep03 was ignored by so many, specially considering the quality of the animation and the importance it had to the plot and course of the show.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 10:39 AM)
    Now I’m not going to deny the toxicity of some of the so-called “hardcore” fanbase- the Skullknight community is a testament to that. I’ve seen too many people claim that they’re done with the series, only yo come back every week and nag about the same redundant points over and over again. The show has had much more traditional animation than I’ve originally anticipated.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 10:27 AM)
    The music is a great example of that. The 97 series created a surreal somber atmosphere, with a lot of that piggybacking on Susumu Hirasawa’s weird soundtrack. Look at the new series intro- that is as tone-deaf as it can get. I much rather preferred a black screen with a red Berserk logo over this shonenesque song. Caska’s rape as an eyecatch? yeah, they are seriously mislead as to the significance of that scene.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 10:24 AM)
    Now I’m a big Berserk fan, anyone here can attest to that, and I’m glad to have some Berserk, in whatever form we can get. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to overlook the deficiencies. I still stand by my point, which is that the new series doesn’t primarily suffer from the animation, as I think a lot can be achieved in the format as evidence by the last two episodes, but the main point of contention is the overall tone which doesn’t fit Berserk.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 10:20 AM)
    And Berserk is panned for the CG, not only because of the unconventionality, but also since it isn’t particularly strong CGI neither. Sidonia was well-received, and that uses CG a lot more than Berserk. Since the manga has extraordinary line work, people want to see the same level of detail. The 97 series also works against the New one, since although it had minimal budget, it still had much superior cohesion.

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