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, Apr 30. 2016 01:53 AM)
    What’s disappointing is Indie developers- they are all over the place, and have more support than ever, yet they crank out the same pixel-art nonsense that’s been way overdone. The rest of em, like Schafer and Igarashi, taken to pan-handling on Kickstarter, to do exactly what they’ve done 20 years ago. Although in the case of Castlevania that might be the only solution, as their forrays into any other format has failed miserably.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 01:46 AM)
    But again, high cost makes publishers weary of shaking things up too much. Back then 5-10 people could’ve made a fully functional game, that was deemed graphically appropriate for the times; now the cost waltzes in millions of dollars. It’s really the same with movies.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 01:43 AM)
    @K-off: haa! Why do I feel as if you have Quantum Break in mind? The problem is that the conventions are so ingrained that a company forgets that their making a ‘new’ game, and instead sought out to make a new MMORPG, Third Person Adventure or FPS shooter etc. “Innovation” has become the last step instead of first, and it really comprises of adding on a few bells and whistles.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 01:39 AM)
    @K-off, All the while trying to rip apart the game and sell it back to you as DLC.
    Speaking of lazy after I am annoyed after I found out that half the bosses in Kirby Rainbow Paintbrush is just the first bosses repeated. Nobody likes repeated boss fights. Ever.
  • k-off
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 01:15 AM)
    @Bam Triple A games have become so lazy probably because companies know the consumers will settle for anything. Make a flashy ad campaign, shoe-horn in minor “innovations” like motion capture and some other gimmick and people will play it, forget about it and move on to the next piece of shit.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Apr 29. 2016 06:04 AM)
    It’s either a 4.5 and a Mobius, or an Occulus and a better graphic card for me; can’t swing both ways on that unless I come into some money.
  • HelghastKillzone
    (Friday, Apr 29. 2016 05:50 AM)
    I’m not into Nintendo at all and their offerings over the last few years doesn’t do anything for me. I’m looking forward to the PS4.5 and getting a VR headset for my PC though…
  • Bam
    (Friday, Apr 29. 2016 05:25 AM)
    The only Japanese games that make it big are the ones that rely on brand recognition or some simple yet polished gimmick. Souls games get around actual size by forcing repetition due to difficulty, otherwise they’ll be crushed against the Witchers and Elder Scrolls of the world. Aside from such niche markets, only Nintendo, SquareEnix and Capcom remain.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Apr 29. 2016 05:22 AM)
    AAA games take a lot to produce. With the sandbox world becoming a staple in gaming, and shoehorned into every imaginable genre, you need way too many artists to render these worlds and fill em up with all the details; otherwise they’d be shunned for looking bland.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Apr 29. 2016 05:18 AM)
    Konami’s situation has a lot to do with the state of the industry. With every consecutive generation games become more expensive to produce, really stretching the Japanese companies thin. About 70% of the Japanese producer/publishers that were around during the PS1 era have either been bought out, closed down, or reduced to producing portable games; since they really don’t have the resources to go head-to-head with Rockstars and Blizzards of the west.

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