4.461 out of 5 from 1,628 votes
On the eve of nobleman Oz Bezarius's fifteenth birthday, he and his loved ones gather to celebrate in a coming-of-age ceremony. But after Oz steps under a long-stopped clock and the hands finally move once more - thus fulfilling a mysterious prophecy - he is violently thrown into the legendary prison known as the Abyss by three cloaked intruders. Existing in another dimension, the Abyss is home to lifeforms born within its walls known as Chains; these beings can only live in the real world if they make contracts with humans, binding their power to the person's body. However, there's a catch - in time, the human will be overcome by the Chain's power and then thrown into the deepest level of the Abyss. When Oz wakes up in the Abyss he is quickly attacked by hungry Chains, only to be saved by one named Alice - a Chain who appeared just before he was thrown into the prison. Together, the two make a contract and return to the real world, where they are enlisted into the Pandora organization - a group researching both the Abyss and the trio that threw Oz into it. Along with members of Pandora, the duo searches to find Alice's lost memory fragments that are scattered throughout the world, to discover the secrets of the Abyss, and to determine if there's a way their contract can be broken without killing either Oz or Alice.
Pandora Hearts and Red Raven have many major similarities, yet at the same time they don't feel like knock-offs of each other when reading them.<p>Red Raven and Pandora Hearts are similar in that there is an exquisite and elegant, yet gritty atmosphere about them both. Both feature protagonists who are part of a wealthy "family" (or you could go as far as to call them mafioso), and they both deal with conflicts between two (or more) organizations (as well as focusing on personal conflicts between the characters). <p>Neither manga is "innocent" by any means as they both portray a more grim and dark reality than many action graphic-novels. <p> That said, Pandora Hearts can be considered significantly more light-hearted in comparison to Red Raven. <p> Pandora Hearts focuses more on a fantasy-world whereas Red Raven deals more with a realistic world.