Some series strive to tell a straightforward story pertaining to good vs evil while others choose to add little intricacies that add up to more than a character piece but rather a mystery designed to coax the reader into delving further into the plot to see how it unfolds. This approach is a double edged sword that risks becoming so caught up in its own self importance; it forgets that it is a story meant to entertain. Pandora Hearts is a series walking this fine line, at risk of stumbling.
The mystery elements of the series are intentional, given there is an overarching conspiracy against the protagonist Oz, but there is just so much going on with the characters, their motivations, and new plot threads introduced that it becomes a convoluted mess.
There is some much needed exposition concerning Oz’s past that does add to their characters. Whereas in the past two volumes, it’s been difficult for Oz to endear himself to readers given his stuck up nature but here we are finally given a look into what prompts him to act this way, coping with the fact that he isn’t wanted by his own father who see’s him as little more than a mistake. Even with these new additions to Oz’s character, Alice continues to be the most interesting personality of the bunch. Her cute looks betray a feral personality threatening to tear her enemies asunder.
Readers are also given an explanation as to the events that transformed Gil during Oz’s ten year absence, also introducing Gil’s younger brother Vincent into the fold. To say the two have issues is an understatement though the reason as to why is not yet revealed.
There’s a lot of foreshadowing and clues as to where the story is moving but Pandora Hearts main fault is its insistence on telling rather than showing. It’s clear there are an abundance of ideas the author is trying to get across but if you have to explain everything to the audience through dense narratives, it’s probably too complicated to begin with. That said, this volume did further the story to a degree and added depth to an otherwise uninteresting lead.