Opening the box on guest hosting and manga feelings alike.
For my first-ever spot as a guest host, Helen (@WanderinDreamr) invited me to join her on the Manga in Your Ears podcast to holler about one of my all-time favorite manga, the messy and emotional Pandora Hearts! Join us as we talk plot roller coasters, ambiguous love stories, and my enduring love for tragedy troll lord Xerxes Break.
You can listen to the episode or keep reading for the full transcript.
Transcript: Manga in Your Ears, “Pandora Hearts”
DEE: So do I pause? Do I keep going?
HELEN: Nah, just keep recording, yeah.
HELEN: Yeah, we just usually take a break to, like, take a sip of water. And I think I’m gonna have Kory insert in right here the music box music from the anime since I’ve got the soundtrack.
[Intro music: excerpt from “Parallel Hearts” by FictionJunction]
HELEN: Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of Manga in your Ears. The song you just heard there was from the opening of the Pandora Hearts anime since it’s my turn for a takeover for once, not Kory’s, and I have decided that I really want to tell the world all about Pandora Hearts.
So, Apryll and Kory are not going to be joining me for this episode since I know that neither of them have read the entire series, so I grabbed another fan from the internet who I knew had podcasting experience to come chat with me about it. Dee, could you introduce yourself, please?
DEE: Yeah, sure! Hi, I am Dee. I am the managing editor at Anime Feminist. I also sometimes write articles and cohost the AniFem podcast Chatty AF. You can find all my writings on my blog The Josei Next Door, and you can also hang out with me on Twitter @joseinextdoor.
HELEN: She’s a good person to hang out with on Twitter, guys. You should definitely follow her if you don’t already.
DEE: Aw, thanks. I try to keep things fun. Currently I’m in a Pokémon hole, so… If you guys are into that, come hang out with me.
HELEN: Yeah, so, like I said, we’re gonna be talking about Pandora Hearts in this episode. And Pandora Hearts is a roller coaster of a 24-volume series, so what we’re gonna do here is we’re going to have a bit of a lowkey-spoiler, not-very-spoilery beginning section and then we’ll dive more into spoilers later, since this is a series where a lot happens all the time.
I know that in anime it’s common to talk about a first-episode spoiler or talk about only things that happen in the first three episodes. But as I was rereading the series, I realized that some of the fundamental building blocks of the series only come up at, like, the beginning of volume 2. And initially, I was also thinking, oh, we could just cover up to what the anime covered. But then I realized, oh, that’s more than I remembered, and also that’s only volume 8. The anime only covered a third of the series, and just… Ooh boy, there was a lot.
For the record, I did like the anime adaptation. I didn’t like how it ended, but that was how I got into this series and I have been a fan of it ever since! Was it the same for you, Dee?
DEE: No, I… So, I used to work in a bookstore, way back in the day when Borders still existed. And the Yen Press manga magazine came out, way back in the day when manga magazines still existed, too!
HELEN: Oh, I remember that!
DEE: Yeah. And I picked up the first few volumes of it just to get a feel for the different series that this new manga imprint was coming out with, because I’d been reading Shojo Beat and I really enjoyed their magazine. And I ended up not subscribing to it overall, but there were a couple of series in it that I ended up latching on to, and the one that really hooked me was Pandora Hearts.
So, I picked it up initially through the first few volumes of the magazine itself, and then when it started getting released in tankobon format, I started scooping those up as well. And it was one that I stuck with even when I was so, so broke in grad school. I was like, “No, I’m still gonna keep up with Pandora Hearts, dang it.” So, it’s stuck with me through various moves. Yeah, so I’ve been a fan of it pretty much since Yen Press released it stateside.
HELEN: Yeah, I first became aware of the series when the anime adaptation was announced, and so this was way back in the day when 1Manga was still around. So I went and some scanlators had started picking up the series, and I read the first chapter and I was like, “Oh my God. This feels like it was made for me! This gothic fantasy with a whole bunch of mystery, this is great.”
HELEN: And I was so bummed since Pandora Hearts had actually been originally licensed by Broccoli Books, but Broccoli went out of business before they could put the first volume out.
DEE: Oh, okay.
HELEN: Because I remember thinking at the time, “Oh, man, we could have already had a few volumes of this out!”
DEE: [Chuckles] Very true. We caught up to the Japanese release eventually anyway, so it kinda worked out all right, I guess.
HELEN: Yeah, and I was gonna say that I actually fell off reading it a bit because I was in college and I didn’t really have the money, so I felt bad about reading scans and not buying it.
HELEN: As I think listeners of this podcast have figured out, this podcast exists partially for the three of us to catch up on our manga backlogs.
HELEN: And so, this is how I ended up marathoning all of it in under a week. I’d read about half of it before [chuckles], but this has been an intense week.
DEE: Under a week: that has been intense. I reread it over the course of the last, like, month basically. So I tried to spread it out a little bit.
HELEN: In my defense, I meant for this to be longer; I just lost track of time. [Chuckles] So, this was not the plan.
DEE: [Chuckles] It happens.
HELEN: But this is actually a series where, once you get going into it, you really do want to binge, you really do want to keep finding out the mysteries. One way I like to sell Pandora Hearts to people is that “Imagine a CLAMP series with all the twists and reveals, but imagine it actually being done well and put together and then 24 straight volumes of it.”
DEE: Yeah, it’s one of those where when I was reading it—because eventually we caught up with the Japanese release and we were only getting a volume every eight months or something like that—maybe every six months—and you’d pick up the next volume and you couldn’t 100% remember every little thing that had happened in the one prior because, again, it’s a very busy series.
And so, I do remember reading it, going, “I think she set the groundwork for this in an earlier volume, but maybe not? Maybe this is all just kind of getting pulled together.”
But then rereading it, it actually… it does. It feels like Mochizuki had a basic idea and outline from day one, and the twists and stuff are foreshadowed. They’re still surprising most of the time. But especially when you reread it you can go, “oh, when they mentioned this here, she was setting us up for this thing that happened like three volumes later or something.” So, it is surprisingly well put-together for a very off-the-wall, plot-twisty type series.
HELEN: And this is also Mochizuki’s first full series. She did a one-shot before this, which Yen Press has also put out. And Yen Press is also putting out her current series The Case Study of Vanitas. But let me actually give you guys a summary of Pandora Hearts at this point.
DEE: Good luck!
HELEN: [Chuckles] Well, a summary of the beginning of it, anyway.
So, the story of Pandora Hearts follows Oz Vessalius, who is this sort of isolated… he’s grown up being kind of isolated, boy of a duke. He’s got a younger sister named Ada and his best friend named Gilbert, who’s also his valet. And that’s to the extent of Oz’s world. He has been rather sheltered, and so the story starts with his coming-of-age ceremony. He’s 15 years old now, so he’s gonna be able to finally enter into society.
And Oz is a brat. He is definitely a bit of a brat in a very lovable way, just teasing Gilbert relentlessly, causing trouble before the ceremony. But he’s calmed down before the ceremony. He’s had a bit of a weird vision in a garden. He found a pocket watch, but, you know, no big deal. Oz is unconcerned with things to a degree where characters mention early on, “You’re not reacting correctly to this. There’s something wrong with you.”
But so he gets to the ceremony and it seems to be going all right. But then all these mysterious cloak strangers in red show up, and they say, “Your sin is your very existence. We are throwing you down into the Abyss.” And oops, somebody just possessed Gilbert, who has now cut down Oz, so Oz is just falling into this alternate dimension known as the Abyss, which is a bit strange for Oz, since he’d always been told the Abyss was this prison that dangerous prisoners had been sent to.
But when he wakes up, he finds himself in this sort of twisted wonderland. And there he meets a girl. She’s technically a Chain, since the beings of the Abyss are Chains. They are monstrous creatures, usually, who lack a lot of reason and understanding. But Alice, this girl he meets down there, has a sense of self, a personality, and if the two of them make a contract together, they can have enough power to break out of the Abyss and get back into Oz’s world, where he would much rather be.
And so they do that, and once the two of them break out, Oz finds that he’s now become entangled with this organization in the country called Pandora who knows the secret of the Abyss. Or at least they think they know the secret of the Abyss. [Chuckles]
HELEN: Turns out nobody knows the secret, as the story goes on.
DEE: Yeah, nobody knows anything.
HELEN: They manage Chains, and some of the people there had been trying to break Oz out already, since this was quite irregular. And then that’s basically the first volume, and we keep going from there. This was a series that was released monthly, so the chapters are very long, very meaty, and, I find, very satisfying.
So is there anything you would add on to that initial summary, or do you want to start talking about characters?
DEE: Yeah, I mean, I guess the only thing that should maybe be pointed out early is that there is a time travel element. Oz pops out and it’s only been like two days for him but it’s been ten years in the real world. So, dealing with that is kind of an ongoing thing because time doesn’t exist in the Abyss in the way it does in the real world. So that becomes kind of an ongoing plot point in those first couple volumes as well.
HELEN: Yeah, since, as we find out later in the series, Oz is far from the first person to be thrown into the Abyss and make their way back out of it later on.
DEE: Yeah, it’s rare, but it does happen and everyone who has done it appears to be involved in the story. So…
HELEN: Well, I was joking on Twitter the other day, this story reads a little bit like you’re coming into the second act of the story. Like the first act has happened, it ended in tragedy—quite literally, it has ended in tragedy—and now in the second act, we’ve got a newish cast of characters who are connected to the first act and are now trying to unravel what happened, since one thing Oz finds out more about is that 100 years ago the former capital of the country was involved in some sort of incident. Nobody’s quite sure what happened. They just know that everybody there was massacred and then the entire city was dropped into the Abyss. So it is no longer the capital.
And as we go along, we find out what exactly was going on and how this is connected to a certain family called the Baskervilles, who have these connections to the Abyss. They can’t manipulate it, but they can work with it.
And when the story starts out, it sounds rather pretentious, like, “oh, who are these people to be judging why some poor young child should just be thrown into this alternate dimension?” But as you go along, you discover that the Baskervilles actually know quite a bit more than anybody else. They actually do have special powers and abilities connected to the Abyss. But even they aren’t quite sure what happened 100 years ago and why things are going on.
HELEN: Like, we discover that Gilbert is no longer possessed. Thank God that was only a temporary instant. However, Oz is just sort of permanently possessed by a character from 100 years ago, one of his distant relatives, who seems to know some things about what’s going on, but his possessor’s soul, Jack, is kind of fragmented, so they’re not really able to get a lot of answers out of him.
Alice seems like she was probably human at some point, but she’s missing all of her memories and also can turn into this giant bloody black rabbit, so… There are clearly quite a few questions to be answered here early on.
DEE: Yeah, it’s a mystery show. But I think the way you worded it, saying that it’s kind of like you’re coming into the second act of a play…
DEE: The characters are. The characters are walking into the second act of a play and then having to figure out what happened in the first act along with the audience.
I think it’s a very smart way to tell this story because so much of it is about how you deal with the things that happened in the past—not just your own actions, but also the actions of your ancestors—and moving forward from that and resolving mistakes that you made or that somebody else made, and the temptation to run away from them but needing to address them is all very wrapped up in the story itself.
So, the elements of time-traveling aren’t just cool devices. They feed into everything the story is trying to touch on anyway.
HELEN: Yeah. And I think if the story had been told chronologically instead, where we had started about 100 years ago and figured out what was going down in this former capital, I think that the emotional impact by the end of this story would have still been about the same, but we would have lost this juicy mystery of what was going on. “What are with all these twists? Was anybody born in this time? Was anybody? [Chuckles] Is there a single person in this cast who hasn’t been either cast into the Abyss and/or had their time stopped?”
HELEN: Which is just a side effect of contracting of Chains, it turns out, which is why people are able to mislead Oz at first into not realizing ten years had passed since he’s only dealing with people who have looked the same for the past ten years.
DEE: Yeah, well, and Gil, who’s hiding his identity. That’s only through, like, volume 2, so I don’t feel like that’s a spoiler to say. It’s also extremely obvious that it’s him.
HELEN: It was so fun in the anime, where viewers who had not read the manga were trying to figure that out. They were like, “There is a connection here, but I’m not sure what. Was there time travel?” That was a very fun few episodes.
DEE: Yeah, that’s true. Yeah, I have seen the anime. I watched it after the fact, and I got a friend into the manga via the anime. So, yeah, it’s a really good voice cast.
HELEN: Mm-hm, mm-hm. Yeah, that was a fun show.
DEE: But yeah, no, I could see that, as you’re watching it in real time being like, “What?!” [Chuckles] That could have been a fun one to watch week to week for sure.
HELEN: Mm-hm. Yeah, and I think part of the reason this story does have such emotional heft to it by the end is that it’s a story where it’s a lot about the relationships between characters.
HELEN: Very little romance in here, honestly. A couple of characters have crushes on each other to a mild extent, but romance is never the stated end goal or even a driving factor for most of the series.
HELEN: You could probably make an argument that Duke Barma is only doing some things because he actually likes one of the other duchesses. Maybe that is the one thing keeping him from just being totally amoral. But other than that, it’s a lot more about friendships. Lots of master–servant relationships.
DEE: Yeah, yeah.
HELEN: In a non-creepy way. In a consensual, fine way. But this is also one of the ways the story connects itself together. It has a lot of relationships which mirror relationships in the past, which just makes it all the more exquisitely painful when stuff starts to really go to hell by the end of the series.
DEE: Yeah, it’s very… I think the wild plot twists and the magic in the world and everything are well done and can definitely hook you into the next volume, but it’s at its core a very character-driven story about people who react to the other people around them and how they’ve been treated and what their relationships are.
And it’s really interested in those bonds—or those chains, if you want to use the language of the story. I think that’s an intentional metaphor there, that Mochizuki touches on sometimes. But yeah, so, you get really tangled up in everyone’s relationships.
And you’re right: you know, it’s not concerned with romance, but I think I would refer to it as a love story. Does that make sense? Not romance, necessarily, but it’s very much a story about these characters that love each other. They care deeply for each other. And I’ve always been fascinated by the way so many of the relationships in this story occupy this place where you’re not really sure what to call it; you just know that they mean the world to each other. And I appreciate that quite a bit actually.
HELEN: Yeah, maybe we could call them dangerously dependent relationships or something.
DEE: Sometimes they are. Yeah.
HELEN: Yeah, as we learn more about the tragedy of Sablier (I probably mispronounced that word, but that’s the name for what happened 100 years ago), it was sort of motivated by one person not being able to let go of another person, in a very possessive sort of way.
DEE: Oh, yeah. The story… Oh, totally. Yeah, and I think that a lot of the worst and best things that happen in the story happen because of somebody’s deep emotions for somebody else. And I think that it’s really…
Again, looking back at it this time through, I think this story is very concerned with the idea of healthy versus unhealthy expressions of love. And the characters will kind of argue about it sometimes, too. There’s a line in… it’s in one of the early volumes, where Break is… I think he is warning Oz, like, “Be careful not to use the idea of doing it for someone else as an excuse to do terrible things.” And then it flashes to Vincent, and we get more into Vincent’s story and how he’s doing a lot of terrible things for the sake of his brother, is how he words it.
So yeah, I like the way the story engages with this idea of love as this force that can cause horrible tragedies and events but can also be this very affirming power that gives a lot of the characters extra strength to figure out what they want to do and how they want to help each other and push each other to be better. It’s kind of lovely.
HELEN: The story has a lot of feelings about the nature of self-sacrifice. And it overall is not very much in the favor of self-sacrifice. There’s a really strong moment relatively early on in the series between Oz and a member of one of the other big ducal families, Elliot. And Elliott is like, “Why do you keep self-sacrificing yourself? I’ve only met you like five minutes ago and you’re already telling me to run, you’ll hold off these people while you’ve been clearly beaten up and are in no position for a fight. Why are you doing this? What drives you so much?”
And it really works there since Elliot and Oz are really shown for a time to be almost, in some ways, foils or images of each other. They make each other better a lot, and they both have very similar circumstances being from ducal families. They have valets with mysterious origins, and other similarities. I’m almost a little surprised that Mochizuki didn’t do more with that one in the end.
But yeah, the series has a lot to say about self-sacrifice, and again, especially when it comes to Oz. Even in the first volume when he is in the Abyss and he’s meeting Alice and he’s chatting with her but he’s gotten kinda distracted because there’s a tin of cookies right there and he’s hungry, Alice is like, “Okay, you’re human. You are not freaking out here. You are in literally an alternate dimension with things trying to kill you. Someone just stabbed you out there. Why are you not freaking out?” And Oz is just like, “Well, that’s just kind of what I do.” And everyone is like, “There’s something not normal with this child. What is wrong?”
DEE: Yeah. Yeah. Oz’s ability to just kind of roll with everything and just accept everything, no matter how terrible it is, initially kind of seems like it’s going to be a strength, and then as the series goes on, you realize, “Oh, no, no, this is being set up as a pretty significant weakness with his character and shows his lack of regard for himself.”
Yeah, I think the series… I think it straddles a really careful line with Oz in the forefront and then his arguments with Elliot about self-sacrifice to the point of not caring about yourself at all, versus being willing to maybe sacrifice some things for the sake of others or for the sake of something broader than yourself, but still not to the point where you’re destroying yourself in the process. Does that make sense?
And it’s hard to get into without really getting into spoilers later in the series, but there are characters who do exhibit kind of heroic moments of self-sacrifice later in the series, but it’s played in very much the sense of… They don’t do it as easily as Oz does it in the early volumes. It’s something they have to really fight with and struggle with and figure out, “Well, what is the solution that I want to have happen?” And sometimes the answer is “Yeah, I’ll give up this or that to make sure that these other people are safe.”
And I think the series frames that as being, ultimately, a healthy… a good action because they’ve taken time to really consider it and not, like Oz does early on, just immediately put everybody else first despite him probably dying if he goes that route.
HELEN: Shoot! You started talking about maybe sacrificing parts of yourself, and I was thinking, “Oh, damn, this really is a CLAMP series. We’ve got people losing eyes, we’ve got people losing arms, just… Oh no!”
DEE: [Chuckles] Oh yeah.
HELEN: But with that in mind, unless you have anything else you want to discuss about the characters, let’s take a quick break and then come back and just go whole hog into the spoilers for this series, because, oh boy, guys, so many feels. Come for the plot twists; stay for the characters.
[Excerpt from “Lacie’s Song,” resembling that of a music box]
HELEN: All right, everybody, we’re back and… ah, I’m not actually even sure where to start with the spoilers. Man, everyone really is from the past or has been possessed or just… [Chuckles] There is so much going on in these characters’ backstories. There is just so much. [Chuckles]
DEE: Yeah, it really is a series [where] everything that happened previously informs what’s been going on in the present. And it kind of reminds me of Escaflowne, where… I just finished reading it over the course of the last month, and I’m already a little bit fuzzy on the plot points because there’s so many of them, and at the end of the day, it only kind of matters because what really matters is the emotions! [Chuckles] Is how much these characters love each other and how sad you are when they start dying!
HELEN: Although Pandora Hearts has relatively few character deaths, honestly. I think by the end, Break is dead, Elliott is dead. I honestly thought they would try to bring Elliot back in some way, but they didn’t. But that’s about it.
HELEN: Oz and Alice are sort of like “We’re gonna come back in 100 years because our bodies literally can’t hold up anymore,” but…
DEE: Well, presumably everybody who died will come back in 100 years, because the series has the reincarnation cycle built into it. But if you want to get technical, by the end of the series, everybody except Gil dies! [Chuckles]
HELEN: Leo might still be alive since I got the impression it’s like 100 years in the future, so Leo might still be alive, or some of the other Baskervilles.
DEE: Yeah, and there’s probably… I’m sure there’s a Glen somewhere out there. [Chuckles] Whether it’s not Leo, some part of Leo is probably still alive. But yeah, as far as dramatic character deaths within the moment, there’s relatively few.
But I do kind of count Alice and Oz at the end, as well, as part of that, because it’s such an emotional moment where Gil has to say goodbye to the two people he loves so much! I love that little trio at the core of the story.
HELEN: Yeah, they are so much fun. And they get along together really well as the story goes on. In the beginning, there’s all sorts of little tits-for-tats between Alice and Gil. But they kind of get into a rhythm by the end.
And I remember there’s one moment in the second half of the series where Leo has sort of snuck up on Oz and the gang. They’re hanging out and he’s like, “Oh, I see you guys don’t have guards from Pandora today.” And Oz is like, “Well, we’ve kind of realized by this point that if they ever let us out without guards, we’re being used as bait, so we just decided to enjoy the day until something happens.” [Chuckles] It’s like, “Oh, you poor cynical child. By this point, I mean, you are totally right!”
DEE: [Chuckles] He is right.
HELEN: And everyone at Pandora probably knew that Oz was gonna figure this out, and Oz is just like, “Whatever! I’m just gonna enjoy the day until something happens.”
DEE: Yes. Yeah. Yeah, Oz is a very sharp… He’s a very unique protagonist, I think, in that he sort of seems like he has this happy-go-lucky attitude, but then you find out a lot of it is because he has no self-worth. And then he can come across as being sort of a shounen protagonist doofus character, but he’s actually very clever and sharp and picks up on things and is just willing to kind of go with it sometimes.
Yeah, I appreciate him as a main character, and, like you were saying, the way all of the characters’ relationships and they themselves grow throughout this is [really] good.
HELEN: Yeah, because I remember in the very beginning of the series, Break is looking at Oz and he’s like, “Who are you? Where are you?” And it’s like, oh, that’s rude, Break! And then later on in the series, you’re like, oh, no, he was probably picking up on the fact that Oz is not a normal child in any sense of the term.
DEE: And they read each other. They read each other really well. They can both kind of see through each other’s facades. Yeah, I think it makes their relationship really, really interesting and fun throughout the story, because there’s kind of this… They get irritated at each other because of it, but at the same time, I think they understand each other better than they maybe want to admit, which I appreciate a lot.
HELEN: Yeah, because I remember in the very beginning of the series, Break is looking at Oz and he’s like, “Who are you? Where are you?” And it’s like, oh, that’s rude, Break! And then later on in the series, you’re like, oh, no, he was probably picking up on the fact that Oz is not a normal child in any sense of the term.
DEE: Yeah, and Oz kind of… I guess, kind of disassociates in those early volumes, as sort of a way to see it, as he’s always just a little bit removed from the situation emotionally because he’s sort of proactively trying to keep himself from getting hurt because of his horrible, horrible father!
And so, his willingness over the course of the story to be willing to make those deeper, messier connections with other people and open himself up to being hurt, but also to saying what he wants and fighting for that, makes for a really nice central [arc], which… A lot of the characters follow kind of similar paths, I think, figuring out what they want to do to help each other as they http://skips with this, again, progressively bonkers and broken world that they’re unraveling.
HELEN: And quite literally, because it turns out that 100 years ago, Jack was like, “Okay, I’m still really mad at the previous… current Glen” (at this point it’s kind of hard to tell) for killing his sister, who was this person “who should be the light of my life and kept me going” [in a] very dependent sort of way.
DEE: Very unhealthy, yeah.
HELEN: Very unhealthy. “I’m just going to totally destroy everything.” And that involves literally cutting apart the Chains that hold the world together and dropping the world into this Abyss. And so, yeah, things are very literally falling apart by the end of the series.
At some point I was like, “I joke about this being gothic fantasy, but this may end in tragedy. It’s gonna be real hard for things to get put back together”—which, again, is part of the reason why I’m surprised that the death count was so low by the end of the series! It’s like, wow, almost everybody made it out!
DEE: We forgot about Oscar! I can’t believe I forgot about Oscar! I cried when Oscar died, and I forgot to mention that he died too.
HELEN: Oh, I was definitely expecting… Like, once he broke out that camera, it’s like, “Oh, you’re numbered.” [Chuckles]
DEE: Oh, I knew he was doomed, but it still was emotional when it happened. Especially the second time through, I was like, “Oh no! Oh no, my feelings!”
But yeah, they manage to… The ending is… Well, Pandora Hearts: it’s about the hope at the center of all the tragedy. And I think the series is true to that, start to finish. As bad as things get, there’s always these lights that the characters are able to latch on to, usually from each other.
And so, I think the ending kind of embodies that in that it’s not a perfect ending. Gil has to wait 100 years to meet back up with his favorite people and loses a lot of people along the way. Reim and Sharon getting married, I guess, because they… They’re just friends. I can’t imagine that relationship as romantic at all.
HELEN: Yeah, I kind of cocked my head at that and I was like, I guess it’s because they’re the only two people who would ever understand what the other has gone through, just with…
DEE: Absolutely, yeah.
HELEN: … all of the craziness, and that’s just the most important connection they can make. And also because both of them are just equally heartbroken over Break’s death, possibly in a romantic sense for both, if I’m honest! [Chuckles]
DEE: Yeah! I was like: also, they both loved Break, so they have that as a touchstone point.
HELEN: I did respect Mochizuki for never quite going romantic with Sharon and Break, just since there’s at least a 60-year age difference at some point! Who knows what it actually is? But I respected her for not actually going romantic, just keeping it like strictly protective found siblings, basically.
DEE: Well, and I don’t think there’s… There’s never a moment where I thought Break saw her as anything but like a younger sister or that kind of valet–servant relationship that speckles the entire story. Sharon had a crush on Break, definitely. [Chuckles] Who doesn’t have a crush on Break? Let’s be honest.
HELEN: Seems to just run in the Rainsworth family.
DEE: Everybody has a crush on Break. But no, I liked the way she handled… Again, the relationships in the story are kind of nebulous, because I think that as many hints as there are that Sharon has a crush on Break, there’s just as many that Gilbert has a crush on Oz! You know what I mean? The way she writes all the different relationships.
HELEN: But then there’s also that whole… Oz [sic] was semi-brainwashed previously into protecting his master at all costs, so it’s like, hm, there’s some of that coming through, too.
DEE: Yeah, yeah, yeah, which I think is why the end… where Gil has to kind of make a choice between these two masters that he’s sworn to follow his whole life and cuts off his arm to make the choice. He makes this choice in dramatic fashion. And the choice isn’t just like a “Well, I swore fealty to him.” It’s “No, no, this is the person I care about. This is my friend and” (I would argue) “the person I’m in love with. And this is who I want to be there for and fight with.”
And so, again, I think a lot of the story is about those kinds of personal choices and breaking free from some of the chains… Ha-ha. How many times am I gonna make that joke this episode?
HELEN: I mean, especially considering Break is called Break. I remember in the scans, originally people were localizing his name as Blake, and we were all like, “Break, why?” And we’re like, “Well, he is kinda broken, I guess, so I guess it’s working, then?”
DEE: He is kinda broken. God, I love Break! Sprinting towards his death the entire series, and I was still devastated when it happened. There’s a particular archetype of character who is this kind of happy-go-lucky on the outside but then actually has a really intense tragic past, but has pushed through it.
HELEN: You mean the entire cast?
DEE: I mean, it is pretty much the entire cast, but Break, I think, embodies it in a lot of ways that I really enjoy. I like the way that any time he’s talking to them, he’s kind of a trash bag. Especially in the early going, he’s sort of a troll. And he talks like, “Yeah, no, I’m just using you guys. You’re bait.” He’s just honest about it.
But then any time things get really serious, he shows up and rescues everybody. He’s not gonna actually let them get severely hurt.
HELEN: Yeah, I was just thinking about how trolly he is in the beginning. We never discuss it, but he somehow has this ability to just pop out of cabinets and then vanish back into them. That’s not the power of his chain. I don’t know what’s going on; I’m just rolling with it.
DEE: He’s a magician. That’s my guess. He makes all those sweets disappear, so… There’s a lot of stuff in the early volumes that I can’t decide if it was something Mochizuki threw in there because she thought it would get more readers and it just fell off as the story became more character-driven and intense, or if it was just there to be kind of silly, because there’s other things…
Like, Vincent and Lottie come across as right on the edge of sexually assaulting people a few times in those early volumes. And that just falls away completely as the series goes. That edge of sexual menace just disappears. And some of Break’s little mannerisms early on are in that same vein where they, kind of like Emily, sort of just [vanish] after the first few volumes.
So I don’t know if that was Mochizuki deciding, “Eh, I don’t actually need these little gimmicks in the story. I’m just gonna focus on writing them more sympathetic,” or if it’s supposed to be the fact that everybody’s kind of wearing a mask in the early going and, as those fall away, so do the traits that kind of defined those masks they were [wearing], if that makes any sense at all.
HELEN: Oh, no, that’s what I’d been thinking about Break the whole time. Also, once he loses his vision, I figure that whatever tricks he’s pulling off to just magically vanish rooms weren’t working as well, so that’s probably part of the reason why he stopped doing it. He is still incredibly dangerous with no eyesight.
DEE: Oh, he is. It’s right on the edge of that Daredevil thing where it’s like, he’s blind but it has no effect on his life, so what difference does it make? But I do appreciate that Mochizuki goes… No, he’s got the “I can sense bloodlust” thing that happens in anime all the time. Sure. Okay, fine. But they also make the point of… And he says he can see some light; he just can’t see details. So he could see shadows of people around him, the assumption I was making.
But I do like that she makes a point of being like, “Well, no, but he can’t read anymore, so Reim’s going to have to help cover for his paperwork.” Reim is such a good http://skips. And there’s the moments where, if he’s not paying attention… Gilbert thwacks him on the side of the head, catches him completely off guard; he doesn’t know what’s going on until he hears a voice above him; things like that. I think she does a pretty good job of writing it in a way that’s realistic for the world that this story exists in, where you can sense bloodlust.
HELEN: I mean, this is also a [world where] somebody’s body got cut up into five parts and then were used as a magical sealing stone. There’s clearly more magic going [on] than the Abyss, or perhaps this is another way that this power roots itself in the world that just doesn’t get really touched on in the story. But yeah, she definitely indulges in the fact that it’s a fantasy, so more things get http://skips.
Yeah, talking about the Abyss, I was surprised at just how sympathetic I found the Baskervilles once I read through the entire series, since you find out that all of them are quite literally this found family of people [who] have an actual connection to the Abyss and are deeply loyal to each other.
And I really do have to wonder why Lottie seems to have gone so crazy, since when we see her 100 years ago she seems to be fairly normal. But in the meantime, I don’t know, I guess getting locked away in the Abyss for like 96 years just messed her up and made her a little more one-dimensional, which made me a little sad.
I felt like Mochizuki did walk back her sexual-predator depravedness as the series went on, especially as we start finding out more and more about what’s going on here. You know, why is everybody trying to drop Oz into the Abyss? Oh, Oz has the power to end the world. Oh, okay. Yeah, you don’t want that lying around.
DEE: Yeah, I think Lottie is the one of the weaker arcs because there’s not a clear path from the Lottie we see when the story first begins to the Lottie that we end up with, who, like you said, is a much more sympathetic, more well-rounded character. She doesn’t just come across as, I don’t know, a sexual predator, I guess.
In that first volume, there’s a lot of creeping on Oz. The first time she appears in, I mean. And I don’t know if, again, if that was Mochizuki kind of having fun with the pulpier elements of the story early on and then going, “No, no, no, wait, I want them to be more human characters, so I’m going to just pull back from that entirely,” or if we’re supposed to read, like you said, into the idea of getting thrown into the Abyss and being ordered to kill all those people without knowing why, losing Glen, if all of that just kind of snapped her early on and so she took on this more menacing role to play the villain that she thought Glen wanted her to be.
I don’t mind that reading of it. I’m just not 100% sure it’s built into the story itself. Because at least with Vincent, you get a lot of Vincent being kind of a creeper early, and then as you learn more about him it makes sense why he’s acting the way he is. I think Lottie… we’re missing some of that in the story, in a story that’s very good at developing its characters and showing us how they got from http://skips to the next.
HELEN: Yeah, as we find as we go along, Vincent was not exactly [a] victim of a cycle of abuse, just because he sort of accidentally semi-ended that part of the world before it could get to that point. But the kid was like five or so when he accidentally semi-ends the world to try and save his big brother, as he thinks that’s what he needs to do, which does make him more sympathetic. But he’s really creepy in the early chapters, just cutting things up and everything.
I kind of wish his chapters with Echo had come much earlier since that came at the very end and, I thought, really helped bridge between the early flashbacks we get of him and Gil being these cute little kids and then the present day where Vincent has plans, he will use anybody to achieve those plans, and, guess what, he’s also a death-seeker. He also just really wants to erase his existence entirely!
DEE: Yeah, Vincent is… He’s one of those characters I don’t particularly like because I think a lot of the stuff he does in the early episodes—in the early chapters—is heinous enough that it’s hard for me to… It’s one of those, to quote Brooklyn Nine-Nine, “Cool motive; still murder” kind of things.
But I do have a lot of sympathy for him because he was abused and ostracized from basically birth, and then he gets used by Jack and the Lady Barma, whose name I can’t remember. —Thank you: Miranda. They use him to open this Gate, and he realizes, and then he’s like, “Oh, this is my fault. All these people are dead because of me.” And he didn’t know that’s what they were going to do. He had no idea; he’s just this little kid.
And so, I can totally see how his mindset from there would go, “Oh, I’m awful. If I just erased myself from existence, then none of these bad things would have happened. So it doesn’t matter what I do from here on out because everything I’m doing is in service of—it won’t have happened, because I won’t have existed.” And I think once you get to that, that concept of him being, again, horribly traumatized and suicidal, he becomes a character you can feel bad for even if you can’t excuse everything he did, which is why I think he doesn’t get a 100% happy ending.
He doesn’t get to be with Ada. He ends up traveling the world. He and Gil are sort of together, but they have to separate a lot. I think that was maybe Mochizuki going, “No, no, you still kinda have to pay for… You still did some really bad stuff! But you can make up for it. There’s things you can do to move forward instead of just erasing it,” you know?
HELEN: Yeah, and the impression I got at the end was that in his very last journeys, he may have actually been looking for Oz and Alice’s reincarnations.
DEE: Oh, totally. Yeah.
HELEN: Yeah, since Oz mentions… In the page-and-a-half thing we see, it’s like, “Hey, I don’t remember everything yet, but Vincent said this happens sometimes, so…”
DEE: Yeah. Vincent was traveling the world so he could find Oz and Alice’s reincarnated forms for his brother, which is about the sweetest thing he could’ve done! So, yeah, by the end Mochizuki had sold me on Vincent, but it took a while because, boy, he sucks in the early going.
HELEN: Yeah, I feel like in some way, she reused some of the same ideas with Leo, just in a much more effective way, since Leo also feels horribly guilty for, again, basically his entire existence and very, very accidentally causing Elliot to become the Headhunter and die because of it.
Man, when I was rereading the series, I had a crazy theory at first that Elliott may have actually been a Vessalius and I’m so mad that didn’t happen! I mean, there were enough clues there. I thought, oh, maybe that’s where the “actual” quote-unquote Oz was. You know, maybe they just switched these babies at birth or something. But nope, actually dead.
DEE: Yeah, I thought Elliot was going to be Glen. I knew there was going to be a Glen, and I was just dead convinced it was Elliot. And then it was like, “No, plot twist!”
HELEN: Oh, yeah, they were hinting at it so hard, yeah!
DEE: Oh, poor Elliot.
HELEN: Yeah, very, very obvious misdirection. I remember those were some of the last chapters I was reading as the series was coming out. And I was like, “Really? I feel like we’re losing it a bit.” But it’s funny because [when] I was rereading the series, I realized they mentioned the Headhunter in volume 1 or volume 2. It comes up as an aside there. I was like, “Wow! She actually planned this part!”
DEE: Yeah, she had… Again, it’s a fun one to reread because a lot of stuff that you maybe just glossed over your first time reading it because you weren’t looking for it, when you read it through a second time you’re like, “Oh! That happens like six volumes down the road! And she was already laying the groundwork for it.” So, I do appreciate that.
I think the only thing that really comes out of left field is that, I guess, there are storyteller gods?
HELEN: Yeah! Yeah, the whole Jury thing. It’s like alternate dimensions! And it’s like, on the one hand, this sort of works, but…
DEE: What do you think they’re there for? Because to me, they show up for a chapter and if they did not exist the story would remain the same.
HELEN: Yeah, that old lady does exist in earlier chapters; she’s just sort of the one… I guess in a way they sort of exist as the ones to incite everything, because if you think about, it’s these Jury who are worried that these Children of Ill Omen actually have the same powers they do, basically, and so could usurp them, and so they don’t want to lose it. So that’s why they keep telling the clans: “Hey, if you’ve got a red-eyed sibling, you need to throw them into the depths of hell,” basically. So, I guess, maybe there?
DEE: Yeah. That was the one thing I like about their insertion, is: it changes… because up to that point, the concept of the Child of Ill Omen is presented as “No, it’s not their fault, but they actually do cause devastation and troubles because of their connection to the Abyss.”
And then you get to that chapter, which is kind of like stories… What’s a good example of this? Like stories that try to use… Oh, did you ever play the Dragon Age games? I apologize to listeners who haven’t played the Dragon Age games, but that’s my best example right now.
HELEN: I have not. I just know that everybody wants to smooch at least one of the characters in there.
DEE: Well, no, that’s legit. But no, so, one of the ideas that’s in this… and this is a good example I think I can sort of expand from here and explain to folks who even haven’t played the games… Mages are kind of like an oppressed class. They’re kept in towers and tightly controlled, and they have people who watch them. And part of the conflict—story—here is the mages trying to rise up from their oppressors and seek their own independence.
But they actually are super dangerous and can go berserk and kill tons and tons of people sort of by accident. So it undercuts this… So it’s one of those stories that’s trying to do an oppression metaphor with fantasy but undercuts their point by making the characters legitimately threatening. Because [with] actual oppression in the real world, people are just people, and oppressors come up with these ideas, these reasons they’re dangerous, even when they’re not. So, a lot of fantasy undercuts that.
So, by having Mochizuki circle it back around to “No, no, no, it’s not that they’re legitimately dangerous; it’s that they threaten the ruling power and so the ruling power made up these myths about them being dangerous” is actually pretty genius on Mochizuki’s part! That’s a pretty solid understanding of how oppressive regimes happen. So, it comes out of left field and it’s only one chapter, but that is the one thing about it that I think is pretty great: is how it reorients our understanding of the Children of Ill Omen.
HELEN: Yeah, Mochizuki has definitely realized the same thing her readers recognize, which is that if you guys just weren’t murdering some people at the very beginning this all wouldn’t have happened.
If you guys had [not] murdered Lacie, honestly, that would have solved everything. Everything would have progressed normally, Oz would still be an adorable stuffed animal probably, Gil would have become the next Glen… Although I don’t know how Gil would have had the fortitude to be Glen, honestly, since he’s such a crybaby.
DEE: I mean, kind of.
HELEN: I mean, he does quote-unquote “man up” later on as it goes. He gains more resolve. But still, he’s such a crybaby for so long.
DEE: I love Gil because I love…
HELEN: Oh, I love him, too. But… [Chuckles]
DEE: Well, in just the series in general, I really like… There’s a particular style of shounen—and a lot of them run in the Gangan magazine, which is what this one did—that is… it’s badasses with feelings. Which is shorthand for it, but I think Saiyuki sort of popularized it and then a lot of creators have bounced off of that since then.
And you said he kinda mans up, but to me, he definitely gains more resolve and a better sense of what he wants and his own identity instead of just “I live for somebody else.” But he continues to be a very emotional character who cries easily. And I think a lot of the characters are. Oz is a character who [will] cry easily, and Alice cries easily. It’s the boys and the girls alike.
And the best moments in the story, I think, are these moments of emotional honesty and… what’s the word?… vulnerability. And I think the series does a good job of showing how those are the moments that connect you to other people and make you human; they don’t make you weak. And I really appreciate that.
God, Break’s death scene is… I sobbed a little bit this time.
HELEN: And then they keep [carrying] his body back so they could bring it back, I’m assuming, for a proper funeral at the end, and it’s like, ah, man!
DEE: Yes! But he has that moment where he’s like, “I did what I could. I passed on my quest to somebody else. It’s fine. I’m happy with this.” And then Reim and Sharon show up and he’s like, “Dammit. I actually don’t want to die. I would like to stay here with these people.” And I can’t remember his exact last lines, but it’s something to the effect of “I was all ready to have a cool finish, but now you guys are here and I’m just sad that I have to say goodbye to you.”
And again, it’s just such a good moment of emotional honesty for these characters. And I think Mochizuki just nails the bonds that have [developed] between them and how hard this is for them, even if it’s kind of what needed to happen for everyone to allow things to move forward. It’s still sad! And that’s okay.
HELEN: Yeah, I tend to not get http://skips reading stories or watching movies. Just a thing. But I came real dang close at the end of this [series].
Echo’s ending also just felt tragic to me, since when you see her as a side character, it seems like she may have some things going right, she seems to be finding some independence and determination. And clearly, there’s something going on with her, not just because she’s with Vincent, which is a good sign of that, but also just because of her actions.
But then you find her whole story, where it’s a case of the contractor and Chain just being so twisted together since she’s sort of a failure as a Baskerville. And it’s like, oh, honey, I hope you have a good reincarnation in 100 years. You definitely deserve a better shot this time around.
DEE: Yeah. Yeah, Echo is… She’s another… Again, so many of the characters, it kinda comes down to this idea of figuring out who the person I consider “I” is, because Oz doesn’t really think of himself as a person, Echo doesn’t really think of herself as a person for a good portion of the story.
HELEN: And in truth, both of them are not actually humans, it turns out, so…
DEE: Well, they’re not humans, but they’re people! And their experiences with others and the bonds they form there help them figure out, “Oh, I do want to be a part of this world. I do want to…”
And same thing with Break. He loses everything, screws up real, real bad, kills a lot of people for, it turns out, nothing, and comes back and is able to find another future and kind of a different identity almost (because Break is not Kevin) through these different relationships and the experiences that come from them, and figuring out who you are in relation to the world around you, I guess, is how I would word it.
But it’s woven into everybody’s stories, and everyone’s is a little bit different and they’re all really beautifully done, I think, by the end of the story.
HELEN: Yeah, I am really impressed how large the cast got in the end, and yet none of the characters feel like expies of each other, clones, anything like that.
And I’ve been reading some of her http://skips Vanitas, which also has a growing cast. And again, you see similarities between characters. Like, Mochizuki seems to really enjoy writing bratty characters. She seems to just really love this. But nobody’s identical, which is hard to do. And she’s still so young, relatively, in her writing career that it’s really impressive, and I hope she keeps going!
DEE: Yeah, she does a really good job of distinct characters that still kind of echo and bounce off each other. Like we were talking about how Break and Oz have some similarities, or Oz and Echo have some similarities. And so, they’re able to kind of see each other in one another and push each other in really unique ways.
So, the way she creates the differences between the different characters, and then the similarities, leads to some excellent interactions and a diverse cast of people and then also a diverse cast of relationships, too, between them, which makes them extremely fun to watch.
HELEN: Yeah, and speaking of http://skips, there was one more thing to touch on with this series and it’s the art, in that the art starts out a little stiff, a little like she’s just mimicking something else, but by the end it’s really pretty art. I’ve forgotten how many [color pages] there must have been in this series http://skips and seeing just how many color pages there were http://skips the cover. And man, I need to track down that art book. I regret not getting it http://skips.
DEE: Ugh, me too. No, Mochizuki’s arc is beautiful.
HELEN: I noticed when I was reading http://skips panels have blank backgrounds, she’s kind of getting away with not drawing backgrounds whenever she can, and then she progresses to using basic backgrounds and screentones. But then by the time you get to the end of the series, she has just gone whole hog, very ambitious scenery in everything. Her art just seems so much more well defined, http://skips the body and movement to the characters.
And throughout, she does a lot of fun little drawings in the background. Like, the characters are often having asides to each other in the middle of conversations or making silly faces. And she breaks the fourth wall a couple of times. There’s this one [character], Isla Yura, I think, and he shows up for a couple of chapters (it’s good; he’s awful), but just keeps popping up in the background of panels and Oz is like, “Why do you keep showing up in the backgrounds of panels?” and I looked at the previous pages. I’m like, “Oh, God, she did do that!”
DEE: Yes! [Chuckles] Yeah, Mochizuki has, in addition to… I mean, we’ve talked a lot about how the story is really emotionally sincere and there’s a lot of plot twists, but it also has a very good sense of humor, which is something I very much crave in any of my big anime/manga, messy, earnest epics. They usually have a good sense of humor, too. For me, Pandora Hearts is kind of on that same level as a story like Fushigi Yugi or Fullmetal Alchemist or, currently running, Noragami.
HELEN: Oh, yeah, I can see it with Noragami, now that you mention it, yeah.
DEE: It’s able to very seamlessly transition from everyone just being silly and having a good time to these more dramatic, life-changing events. And yeah, the difference between the little intimate moments and the more grand, epic stuff, it’s woven together really well, and there’s these perfect moments of levity.
I love her little bonus… The little bonus comics that she does in between volumes or in between chapters do a really good job of fleshing out some of the characters. I find Reim extremely endearing, and a lot of it comes from the little bonus chapters she does of, like, here’s stuff that’s been going on in the last ten years and how Reim and Brake became friends, or how Gilbert got kind of integrated into their group.
They’re cute and funny and a nice little breather from whatever ridiculous, intense thing is happening in the story. But they also do a really good job of making you love the character more, which is what humor… Humor is the quickest way to endear people to characters. So, it’s very good storytelling that she has a good sense of humor and is willing to insert that into the story and let them have fun even amidst all this potential tragedy.
HELEN: Although I do remember there was one volume at the end, an emotional volume, and she’s like, “[I didn’t] know what to draw for the end of this. I don’t know what comic to do. It’s not gonna happen this time!”
DEE: Yes! She got sad at the end, too, and I was like, “I’m glad. I’m not the only one.”
HELEN: Yeah, and that mixture of drama [and comedy] is something that’s much easier http://skips, since I remember when [the] Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood adaptation came [out], it included more of the comedy than http://cuts%20out that it’s just kind of hard http://skips you’re animating things to switch back and http://skips quickly since you’ve got music and all these additional cues to switch around.
But in the manga, it’s so much easier just to slip in a little panel of someone making a silly joke in between, and I feel like Mochizuki did that well.
Also, I just love everybody’s outfits. Some of them are impractical, but I really like a lot of the fancier ones like how she draws the women’s suits and just… Ah, I just adore those so much, and this is just such my aesthetic.
DEE: I’m not much of a cosplayer. I want to cosplay as basically everybody in this series! But especially…
HELEN: I have cosplayed as Echo before, but it was not a good cosplay.
DEE: I was gonna say, Echo is one where I always looked at her costume and went, “I want to wear that.” Echo and Break. I like their big, floppy sleeves an awful lot.
HELEN: The thing you discover with Echo’s costume, though, is that, wow, it is a short skirt! Shorts underneath that are a must! [Chuckles]
DEE: It is. I always like to… I assume she had shorts underneath. I was like, I’m sure there’s shorts under there. There have to be. It’s way too short.
HELEN: Yeah, I’ve definitely thought about re-cosplaying from this again, now that I can http://skips sewing skills. And just rereading this has reignited all of my passion for this series. When I started rereading this, I was like, “I remember this grabbed me so much when I first did. Would this still grab me now?” And then I’m like binging and I’m like, “Oh, fuck. It’s midnight. I have work. Oh God! I regret this, and yet I don’t at the same time.”
DEE: [Laughs] Yeah, I got sucked right back in, and I’ve always been like, “One of these days I’m going to write about Pandora Hearts,” and rereading it I was like, “Man, I should do a volume-by-volume commentary just as something to blog about once a week or something.”
Because, I mean, we’re an hour in and I feel like there’s still so many things we could talk about. It’s a busy series and all the characters are great and have really good arcs for the most part, I think. And yeah, like you said, it sucks you in. It’s one that’s very easy [to] binge.
And I will never stop being angry that we didn’t get a full adaptation in anime form!
HELEN: I’m just about to say that. I am pretty happy with the adaptation we got. I felt like it was pretty good. But now I’m like, darn, I just want a full adaptation just to introduce more people to it and just watch them cry as well.
DEE: I want the full thing, and I want Bones to do it.
HELEN: Although I was thinking, okay, if it took 26 episodes for like eight volumes, this would be a really long anime, though!
DEE: Oh, it would be, for sure. There’s maybe some things you could truncate, but it would be difficult because so many of the things that happen end up being important for later events, so you’d pretty much have to do the entire thing and it would probably… you’d need maybe 70 episodes, probably a little over a year. I don’t know. Fullmetal Alchemist was about 24 volumes, too, and they did it in a year. They did it in 52.
HELEN: Yeah, 64. Yeah, they had to add an additional episode in at the very end.
DEE: Yeah, that’s true.
HELEN: I was following that series as it went along. It was gonna be 63 and they were like, “Guess what, guys? 64 now! We need another episode.”
DEE: Yeah, they broke the cour rule. They were like, it’ll be done when it’s done. [Chuckles] And that’s what I want them to do with… I want Bones to take Pandora Hearts and do that to it. Just give me the full thing, because, again, they had a great cast and we just need the full story in anime form so more [people] can get pulled into it.
HELEN: And there’s a surprising amount of fighting in there as well, so Bones would make that look so great! [Chuckles]
DEE: I think Bones would kill it, because I’ve seen what they did with Fullmetal Alchemist and Noragami, which are two series that I consider somewhat in kind of a similar vein. So that’s why they’re my studio of choice for a Pandora Hearts reboot! I’ll just keep shouting about it on Twitter, and one day it’ll happen, right? That’s how that works.
HELEN: I mean, we’re getting so many crazy reboots and remakes these days anyway, http://skips you might as well hope.
DEE: And Pandora Hearts is clearly one of Yen Press’s best sellers, because they re-released it in that beautiful box, which I own. I double-dipped on this one, which I never do. They released the art book, all the light novels. So, it clearly has done very well on this side, as far as the manga goes. And I would assume as popular in Japan http://skips at the time. So, maybe. I’ll have to keep my fingers crossed. You never know.
HELEN: Well, I’ll be right there with you, keeping my fingers crossed.
DEE: Heck yeah!
HELEN: And I’m afraid that if we keep going, we’re just going to keep on keep on going. So, maybe we should cut things here for the moment at least.
DEE: Yeah. I could talk about Break for 30 minutes if you want! So, [chuckles] probably a good idea to stop now.
HELEN: So, with that, I think we’re at the end of the show, folks. Dee, is there anywhere you want people to find you? I know you http://skips at the top of the show, if you just want to remind anybody where else they can find you online and maybe get you to talk about Break more?
DEE: [Chuckles] Yeah, so the website’s Josei Next Door. The Twitter handle is also @joseinextdoor. That is J-O-S-E-I Next Door. That’s where I hang out. That’s where I live, so come say hi.
HELEN: And you can find me and all of my late-night yellings about how I should not be reading manga this close to bed on Twitter @WanderinDreamr. You can find this podcast at [mangainyourears.com]. Please feel free to suggest any [series] want us to cover in the future since Kory, Apryll, and I are always looking for more suggestions from [listeners].
And if you want to hear me keep talking about manga, I do pretty regular weekly reviews over at The OASG, and I’m also the cohost on the podcast over there, It’s Not My Fault the OASG Podcast Is Not Popular. Also, it’s not my fault that’s the title. That was before I came on to the show.
HELEN: I was not involved in that one!
DEE: That’s hilarious.
HELEN: And with that, I will see you guys next week. And once again, Dee, thank you so much for coming here and just nerding out with me.
DEE: Thanks for having me! I will talk about Pandora Hearts any time.
[Outro music: an excerpt from “Maze” by savage genius, the first ending theme of the 2009 Pandora Hearts anime]