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Manga: Pandora Hearts

"Oz Vessalius! Your sin... is your very existence!"
Zai Vessalius

Oz Vessalius is a young boy with father issues who is about to come of age and be recognized as the heir to his family.

But during his coming of age ceremony, Oz is attacked by the mysterious Baskervilles and is sent to the Abyss for the crime of 'existing.' There he meets an amnesiac being named Alice/B-Rabbit - a monster called a 'chain' who cannot leave the Abyss without making a contract with a human. Together, Oz and Alice make it out of the Abyss only to be met in the real world by three agents of Pandora who inform Oz that he has been missing for ten years instead of just a single day.

Now a part of Pandora, Oz works with them to find illegal contractors, recover Alice's lost memories, and to unravel the mystery of who the Baskervilles are and why they sent him to the Abyss.

The answer... may be a mite more complicated than you might expect.

Pandora Hearts is a manga by Mochizuki Jun, sponsored by Square Enix. It was made into an anime series airing in 2009. Yen Press is publishing the English language version of the manga for North America, and NIS America has announced their intent to localize the anime in a bid for new ground.

WARNING: Major Alice in Wonderland allusions, ye with sanity be warned.


Pandora Hearts shows examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    A-C 
  • Abusive Parents:
    • Zai Vessalius, Oz's father.
    • Gilbert and Vincent's parents can be considered this since they left the children on the streets where they were abused and mistreated until Jack found them.
    • Duke Nightray was like this as well, at least to the point of pretty much allowing his son to die, even though he easily could have stopped it.
  • Adorkable:
    • Arthur Barma. He was quiet and awkward and hardly had any friends until he met Jack. Becomes The Woobie when it's revealed that he was being used by Jack the whole time. He's later forced to write an account of the events at Sablier that portrays Jack as the hero and Glen as the villain.
    • Retrace LXXXIV reveals that Arthur's grandson Rufus had some adorkable qualities himself as a young man, as seen when he unabashedly proposes to Sheryl, a married woman with such an earnest and oblivious look on his face.
    • Leo is also an example, what with the cartoony flowers that appear when he's in a good mood and his reaction to Alice biting Oz's cheek. He even has the Opaque Nerd Glasses! Then he receives his Important Haircut, at which point he crosses over into Bishōnen territory.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: Gilbert has once given Alice one. An omake shows that she liked it so much that she did things like stealing some candy from Break just so he'd give her more.
  • Alas, Poor Yorick:
    • Retrace LXX has a moment with Gilbert cradling Oswald/Glen's head in his arms.
    • In Retrace LXXVIII, a flashback to the Tragedy of Sablier shows Jack holding Oswald's head to his chest
  • Alice Allusion: A list of references and similarities between the two can be found here.
  • All Crimes Are Equal: "Oz Vessalius! Your crime... is your very existence!"
  • All-Loving Hero: Played with ruthlessly in the case of Oscar Vessalius. Because of the death of his wife and child, he always harbored a darkness in his heart towards Oz, who he saw almost as a replacement for his own dead son. This causes him to question his relationship with Oz and almost provokes him into killing him. However, by Retrace LXXXII, Oscar is finally able to come to terms with the death of his family as well as his love for Oz, and the chapter ends with him dying without regrets and the words, "To Oscar Vessalius, the man who loved and forgave everything, farewell." Oscar does end up becoming an All-Loving Hero but not without a bitter struggle to justify his doing so.
  • Always Identical Twins: Alice and the Will of Abyss, which makes the latter's white hair all the more striking.
    • Polar Opposite Twins: In dress style, at least - Color-Coded for Your Convenience. In earlier chapters it seemed to apply to their personalities as well, but they actually have things in common, such as a Hair-Trigger Temper.
    • Two Siblings In One: In chapter 76, Alice is still alive although she does not have a physical form in any realm. Therefore, she resides in the crossroads of her soul and her sister's. In their pre-Tragedy of Sablier days it was averted, as the two could swap bodies but were not shown to share bodies until Alice was Driven to Suicide.
  • An Arm and a Leg:
    • Early on in the anime, a chain lops off both Alice's arms after trapping her in web-like substance.
    • Jack had his body dismembered (arms, legs, and head) in order to create a seal that would restrain Glen Baskerville's soul. Retrace LXV reveals that it was Glen's body, not Jack's, that was split into five pieces, as it is his head that falls out of the broken sealing stone.
    • In Retrace LXXVIII, Gil severs his left arm in order to free himself from Glen's control and protect Oz, who is about to be executed.
    • Retrace XCII has Break cutting off Glen!Leo's hand.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Vincent to Gil. Though there is a reason for Vincent's clinginess.
  • Apocalypse Maiden: Superstition holds that the Children of Misfortune are this, due to a natural ability to influence the core of the Abyss. The Baskervilles considered it one of Glen's duties to make them Deaderthan Dead to protect the world. Lacie seems to exemplify this trope.
  • Arc Words: When you hear the phrase "A darkness that swallows up everything", you know something crucial to the plot is going on. It's been used to describe the Abyss, Leo's eyes, and Jack's view of the world.. There is also the use of the word "sin" when talking about Oz, which is first mentioned in the very first panel of the manga and is finally explained in Retrace 70: Oz. Finally, whenever "one hundred years ago"/"the Tragedy of Sablier" is mentioned, expect things to get serious.
  • Art Evolution
  • Artifact Title: The series is named after the pilot chapter, Mochi Jun's debut manga, in which contractors had boxes called "Pandoras" in their chests where their hearts should be. These boxes were, quite literally, "Pandora hearts."
  • The Atoner: Glen/Oswald tries to atone for killing his sister Lacie by taking care of her daughter, Alice.
    • Xerxes Break, as much as he claims otherwise. He even states that he considers going blind to be part of his atonement for his past crimes.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender:
    • When Gilbert has to crossdress to help solve the mystery in one of the drama CD stories.
    • In Chapter 48, Oz turns up in a maid outfit. Despite the fact that its not nearly as revealing as Gil's was in the first anime omake, it's certainly nosebleed-inducing.
    • Break appears in a fine ladies' outfit for a promo card from Animate.
    • And then there's the whole "Maid-ora Hearts" omake thing, in which everyone wears a maid outfit. Young Gil also does in at least one anime omake.
  • Author Avatar: In the form of a black cat with a mustache.
  • Ax-Crazy: Most chains that have not been legally contracted.
  • Badass Bookworm: Leo, especially after contracting Jabberwock.
  • Badass Family: The Baskervilles.
    • There's also the Family Business, which is equally as badass as the family itself.
  • Badass Longcoat: Quite a few examples. It helps that it's the official Pandora uniform.
  • Bastard Bastard: Jack.
  • Battle Butler: Gilbert, Break, and Echo so far.
    • Also, Glen's servants, the Baskervilles.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: One illegal contractor did manage to get Will of the Abyss to change the past. Break asked her to prevent the betrayal of the family he was serving, as all but one of whom were killed by a rival family. She did. Instead, they were betrayed again a few years later, and no one got out alive.
  • The Beautiful Elite:
    • Oz, Alice, Gilbert, Break, Sharon, Jack, Vincent, Elliot... it'd be easier to name the people who don't fall under this.
    • As of Retrace LXI, after his Important Haircut, even Leo has joined the ranks when he's shown to have very pretty eyes after all.
  • Berserk Button:
  • Best Beer Ever: Best wine ever. Sharon, Alice, and Gil all get completely sloshed on one glass.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Elliot in Retrace 59.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Oz is rather unstable and Yandere for Alice. at times....
    • Jack. Doesn't he seem like the sweetest, kindest, gentlest, most generous soul you could ever hope to meet?
    • Sharon is the nicest girl you can meet. Just don't get her mad. Those paper fans HURT. A LOT.
    • And then there's Ada and her... hobbies.
    • Leo actually has a terrible temper, it's just that Elliot usually loses his before him. He's also very close to turning Yandere on behalf of Elliot. It doesn't help that he's next in line to inherit the name of Glen Baskerville and has thus come to possess quite a bit of power.
    • Gil is a big wimp... until you hurt his master Oz in front of him.
    • Lily is adorable. She's also one of the Baskervilles.
  • BFS: Fang's improbably large sword.
  • Big Eater: Alice, particularly when meat is involved.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Oscar.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: Pretty much every family in Pandora Hearts has some element of apart from, perhaps, the Rainsworths.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • Alice's battle theme, "Bloody Rabbit" is sung in Kajiura Yuki's own personal language, a mix of Spanish, Latin, Japanese, Italian, and whatnot. People refer to it as Kajiurian or Kajiurago.
    • In French, "Sablier" means "hourglass," "Reveil" means "alarm clock," and "Lunettes" (Reim's last name) means "glasses." Break lampshades the latter in Retrace XLIX while attempting to change the subject.
    Break: "Did you know? 'Lunettes' means 'glasses' in another language~"
  • Birth-Death Juxtaposition: When Lacie dies, Alice is born. Though not in the way you'd expect.
  • Bishie Sparkles:
    • Sharon. One even hits Break in the head.
    • Oz is rather fond of throwing them around when he meets a pretty girl.
  • Bishōnen:
    • Let's jump right in: Oz, Gil, Break, Vincent, Elliot, Jack, Glen (Levi, Oswald, and Leo, after his Important Haircut), Duke Barma, Reim, Cheshire... Did we miss anyone?
    • Reim is a notable example; the fact that no male or female pronouns were used to refer to him for some time didn't help. They fixed this in the anime however, giving him less feminine features and a decidedly male voice.
  • Blond Guys Are Evil:
    • Vincent. Subverted when it's revealed that he only wants to find the Will of the Abyss in order to get her to erase his existence and, by extension, all the crimes he's committed in trying to locate her in the first place.
    • Averted with Oz and Jack. Retrace LXV has the latter play this straight all along, though.
  • Blood-Splattered Innocents:
    • Vincent at the Tragedy of Sablier.
    • Retrace LXX contains a rather disturbing panel of Oz covered in blood from memories brought on by his traumatic revelation as the true B-Rabbit.
  • Blue Blood: The four Duke Houses.
  • Body Horror:
    • People who get lost in the illusions in that hole in Sablier for too long tend to have this happen to them because of the power of the Abyss.
    • The ultimate fate of those chosen to become the new Glen Baskerville entails this; when the soul of Glen Baskerville leaves, the body slowly begins rot away until it turns into a Chain (note that the individual is still alive throughout this). Levi, the Glen before Oswald, is shown covered in the bloody bandages that are holding his body together just before his transformation into Humpty Dumpty.
  • Bodyguard Betrayal: In Retrace LXXIX, Gilbert betrays Glen by choosing Oz over the Baskervilles. Glen does not take this second betrayal well at all.
  • Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Break and Sharon.
  • Bound and Gagged:
    • Oz has had this done to him on more than one occasion:
      • At Lutwidge Academy, he has his hands tied behind his back when he's kidnapped by the Baskervilles.
      • When he's captured by Isla Yura at his second Coming-of-Age Ceremony, his hands are bound in front of him.
      • He's tied up and locked in a cell after he's taken prisoner by the Baskervilles in Retrace LXXV.
      • In the anime, when he returns from the Abyss, Break arrests him and ties him up in order to try and coax Alice out.
    • Alice is bound in chains in two similar situations: The first time is when she's being tormented by the Will of the Abyss, and the second time is when she has become trapped in Cheshire's dimension.
    • In Retrace LXXVIII, Break has been chained to a wall.
    • In the anime, Ada receives the same treatment as her brother at Lutwidge.
    • The cover pictures for the volumes depict each character surrounded - and commonly bound - by any number of chains. The most conspicuous in this regard are Echo's, Elliot's, and Lacie's covers. This site explores the chain symbolism.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Gilbert, with respect to the enemies of his master (both Oz and Jack). In Chapter 38, a flashback to 100 years ago when Jack rescued him and Vincent off the streets shows a mysterious old woman implanting various compulsions in Gilbert's mind, including an intense need to kill his master's enemies. In chapter 33, Vincent happily exploits the hell out of the brainwashing in order to manipulate his dear brother into trying to kill Alice. Gilbert is also driven to attack Oz's father, who was responsible for sending Oz into the Abyss in the first place, but Break manages to snap Gilbert out of it.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Alice.
  • Break the Cutie: Happens (or has happened) to most of the cast. Much to the point that the housecat and his killer are not spared.
  • Break Them by Talking: By the end of Retrace LXXIV, Jack has succeeded in doing this to Oz.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: All the anime omake start off with the characters thanking the viewer for buying the DVD, usually with funny results, and eventually cut to where the film crew is standing nearby.
    • somewhat with Retrace 91
  • Breather Episode:
    • The chapters where Oz, Alice, Gil and Oscar sneak into Lutwidge to visit Ada, Oz's sister. Subverted, as Oscar states that it was exactly his intention to let the gang have some silly fun for once, and some of the Baskervilles show up to cause trouble halfway through.
    • Episode 20 (Retrace XXVIII in the manga), right after Lutwidge, plays this straight.
    • Also played straight in Retrace XLVII: Unbirthday.
    • Retrace LXII: Repose played this straight until Leo shows up.
  • Breath Weapon: in the Anime.
  • Broken Hero: Oz, on so many levels.
  • Brutal Honesty: The manga towards the readers in Retrace 60. Instead of a recap page, there was a black page with one simple statement written in white: "Elliot... he died."
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Break.
  • Butt Monkey: Gilbert. He is often the target of Oz's bullying, Alice's eccentricities, Break's... sadism, and even Sharon has had a few notable moments. And this is just from the core group. Even the mangaka has her own potshots at him, often describing him as "useless" or "seaweed head".
  • Calling the Old Man Out:
    • Gil tried to do this for Oz, but it doesn't work at all. At the end of the anime, Oz finally does it himself by giving Alice enough power to one-shot Gryphon.
    • Vincent did this to Duke Nightray after Elliot's death.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: Almost everyone gets sloshed (apparently on one bottle of wine) in Episode 20, but Gilbert runs the gamut from misaimed belligerence to sloppy begging to a cute but slightly disturbing reversion to childhood. Then he passes out.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: Pandora Hearts is a textbook example of this.
  • Cataclysm Backstory: The Tragedy of Sablier.
  • Category Traitor: As of Retrace LXXIX, Glen considers Gilbert to be this to the Baskervilles after the latter burns off his arm with the seal that controls him and declares his loyalty to Oz before escaping with him.
  • Character Development: All over the place. The cast of diverse and profound characters is one of the things this series is known for.
  • The Charmer: Vincent is quite charismatic, especially toward women.
    Vincent: "All I have to do is utter a few soft words and share their bed to have them wound around my little finger."
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • According to Word of God in Levi's character profile for Volume 18.5, Levi was the one who was cross-legged and sitting behind Leo in Chapter 58.
    • In the manga, Rufus Barma in his true form can be seen pushing Duchess Rainsworth's wheelchair at Pandora's headquarters right after Oz and Alice are dropped there from Cheshire's dimension, even though his official debut isn't until some time later.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin:
    • Literally in episode 12 of the anime (Or the end of Retrace XIV of the manga). It would be ironic for it to not be in this show.
    • Also, Duke Barma's initial illusion wears this almost permanently.
  • The Chessmaster:
    • Vincent. Incidentally, literally as well.
    • There's also Glen Baskerville, by whom it's not certain how much is still being controlled, and to some extent Zai Vessalius.
    • Jack Vessalius can be considered one, of the benevolent Mysterious Protector variety. Except he's not at all benevolent.
  • Chick Magnet:
    • Gil in the anime, who was almost attacked by a hoard of frothing horny schoolgirls while in Lutwidge Academy.
    • To a lesser extent in the manga, too. Retrace 49 has a horde of noble females swarming around him and Vincent. We already knew Vincent was this as well, but this time we see them well-dressed at a noble party. All the girls are happy, inside and outside the universe.
  • The Chosen One: Oz is said to be the key to obtaining the Will of the Abyss, which explains why so many people are interested in him. He also has part of the soul of the country's "hero" inside of him.
    • The Chosen Many: Chapter LI reveals that the reason why the Baskervilles are Baskervilles in the first place is because they were chosen by the golden lights of the Abyss.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome/Martyr Without a Cause: Oz, which is viciously and awesomely deconstructed in Elliot's "The Reason You Suck" Speech after he tries to make a Stupid Sacrifice.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Baskervilles wear blood red cloaks.
  • Collector of the Strange: Miranda Barma and her collection of skulls, to which she wishes to add Oswald-Glen's head.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Poor Gilbert.
  • Comes Great Insanity:
    • Alice in B-rabbit form. Or Oz when he's playing with that scythe.
    • Or Gil, if it has something to do with Oz, like when he tried to kill Alice in Retrace 35 since Alice was "snatching away his beloved master", or in Retrace XIX when he pointed his gun at Jack for sending Oz to look for Alice
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: Oz becomes this after hearing his father basically refer to him as trash. He declares to Gil that this is his life philosophy. Alice is surprised by the cheerful attitude he has, even when flung into the dark and watery abyss. This is probably a contributing cause to his position as Martyr Without a Cause: which Elliot chews him out for.
  • Cool Gun: Gil's got some nice revolvers.
  • Cooldown Hug: Alice does this to Oz in Retrace 44.
  • Cosmic Keystone: The literal, invisible chains that hold the world from falling into the Abyss. Remarkably solid for such, as only one Chain in existence possess the power to break them.
  • Crash into Hello: Charlotte Baskerville first met Oswald-Glen by crashing into him, and immediately responded with a Luminescent Blush.
  • Crazy Consumption: Xerxes Break with his candy and cake.
  • Creepy Child: Vincent in flashbacks. Oz when "gathering information." The children of the House of Fianna, who have been simultaneously brainwashed into forgetting their Dark and Troubled Past and made into the contractors of Humpty Dumpty by having them drink his blood. Duke Nightray has a lot to answer for...
  • Cute and Psycho: Many characters, even without being Yandere, can still manage to be rather frightening. Notable examples are Lily and Lacie.
  • Cute Little Fangs: Elliot. Oh, Elliot.

    D-F 

    G-I 
  • Gaslamp Fantasy
  • Generation Xerox:
    • Oz will probably look exactly like Jack in a few years. Justified in Oz's case in that his body is Jack's body. The existence known as "Oz" is actually the chain B-Rabbit.
    • Sharon looks like a shrunken version of her mother.
    • Alice resembles Lacie, who turns out to be her mother.
    • Those who receive the soul of Glen Baskerville also inherit the duties that come with being Glen, along with memories and such.
      • It is also worth noting that, while Levi and Oswald look nothing like each other, Oswald and Leo seem to resemble each other heavily.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: You're not allowed to show minors drinking alcohol on Japanese TV, so they got around this by cheekily pointing out that, due to messed up aging and so forth, all of the are old enough to drink even though they don't look it. Or not human in the case of Alice and the doll.
  • Girl in the Tower: Alice, 100 years ago. Before her was Lacie, though this Girl in the Tower was able to slip out from time to time on a whim.
  • Ghost Lights
  • Gothic Horror: The series has a good many tropes representative of the genre, including old castles and mansions, crazy ladies in towers (Lacie and later Alice/the Will of the Abyss initially appear to play this straight before subverting it, as none of them are actually crazy and are only locked up because of their connection with the Abyss), confinement and imprisonment, Evil Twins and doubles (Alice and the Will and Jack and Oz, respectively, play with these concepts), mutilation and torture of multiple varieties, otherworldly places (the Abyss) and creatures (chains), and insanity, among others.
  • Grand Theft Me: Retrace XXXIX shows that Glen has no permanent body of his own and must possess others to continue ruling the Baskerville household. Gilbert was lucky enough to evade this fate 100 years ago.
    • Subverted in Retrace LXVIII. Turns out that "Glen" is merely a title given to the leader of the Baskerville family, contracted to all the necessary Chains, and thus has the authority and power to meet with the Will of the Abyss personally. Potential "Glens" are determined by an unknown set of criteria, but it appears that there's a direct correlation between being related to a potential "Glen" by blood and being a "Child of Misfortune".
    • As of chapter 65, Jack has taken complete control of Oz's body and used it to stab Leo with one of B-Rabbit's chains.
      • Also strangely inverted in chapter 70 and chapter 77 in that, apparently, it was Jack's body all along before Oz took over.
    • Retraces 74 and 78 show that Glen, specifically Oswald, has taken over Leo - and Leo won't do a thing about it.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: One of the main themes of the series, especially with the well-meaning but insane Jack and the Well-Intentioned Extremist methods Pandora and the Baskervilles are willing to go through to learn about and protect the Abyss respectively.
  • Green Eyes: Oz, Ada, and Jack.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Ada. Subverted when she reveals her collection to Vincent.
  • Hair-Raising Hare: The Blood-Stained Black Rabbit will mess you up. The White Rabbit is worse.
  • Handicapped Badass: Xerxes Break after he goes blind.
    • And Gilbert after he cuts off his own left arm. Cue Big Damn Heroes moment.
  • Happiness in Slavery: Echo. Subverted once you get her talking about her "beloved master." Gil's devotion to his bullying master Oz approaches this as well.
  • Harmful Healing: Played with, in a way. The reason why Elliot is a Humpty Dumpty contractor is that Leo made him drink its blood to 'forget' (read: erase) the mortal wounds Elliot received while they were looking for the children in Sablier. When Elliot remembered those forgotten memories, the wounds came back.
  • Hartman Hips: Disturbingly enough, Isla Yura.
  • Healing Potion: Vincent bribes Break with an antidote after he poisons both Sharon and Echo... and then, to prove the antidote works, Vincent gives Echo said potion by frenching her.
  • Hearing Voices:
    • Leo can hear the voices of the past Glens speaking to him and spent sixteen years of his life trying to ignore them until finally giving in and accepting his role as the new Glen.
    • Noise hears a cacophony of voices so intensively that her chain creates a Split Personality for her in an attempt to keep her from insanity; it doesn't work.
  • Hellish Pupils:
    • Lottie's pupils make it easy to tell that she's creepy.
    • Zwei seems to have similar pupils. As does Leo.
    • Levi seems to have a different variation, but still creepy nonetheless.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen:
    • Jack right about up until the end of the Cheshire Arc. Had heavy elements of Face Framed in Shadow.
    • Also, Zai Vessalius, Oz's father. We still have yet to get a good look at his face.
  • Hero Antagonist: Oswald/Glen Baskerville.
  • Heroic Albino: Break.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Jack went through a particularly horrifying sacrifice to seal away Glen in order to keep the peace, which involved Jack being physically separated into five pieces. At the end of Retrace XLII, one of Jack's dismembered arms is shown. Retrace LXV reveals that it's not Jack's, but Glen's body that got split (his head was in one of the Sealing Stones).
    • Elliot rejecting Humpty Dumpty despite his Incuse being one quarter from completion comes to mind, as well.
    • There's also Alice killing herself with a pair of shears to prevent Jack from using Oz and cutting off any further contact between him and her twin. After that, she also became a chain just so Alyss wouldn't have to go through the trouble of making an anguished B-Rabbit!Oz destroy her memories.
    • Another instance occurs heartbreakingly in Retrace LXXXII, where Uncle Oscar pushes Gil, Alice, and Oz through the gate so that they can escape their pursuers. He himself stays behind, and... well...
  • Heroic Safe Mode: In Retrace LXXV, Oz, having discovered that he is B-rabbit and that he's killed many innocent people, boots up in safe mode after being totally destroyed by Jack. He becomes indifferent to his fate, convinced that Glen executing him is for the best since he isn't "real," only a chain inhabiting Jack's cursed body.
  • Hidden Weapons: Break's cane is a concealed sword. Echo and Lottie both have hidden knives up their sleeves.
  • Hot for Student: Heavily implied throughout the Pandora Academy Omakes.
  • How We Got Here: Episode 12 explains to us how Oz, Gil and Alice ended up in line for a three-round arm-wrestling match for Gil's hat. Of course, since it's Oz talking, we learn that Gil is a useless moron and Oz is The Hero. It's true.
  • I Have the High Ground: Alice goes out of her way to provide examples for this trope.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal:
    • Retrace LXIII reveals that the Will of the Abyss doesn't want to be the Will of the Abyss anymore. This is justified, considering that pretty much everybody wants to use or destroy her and that she's been confined to a horrific Eldritch Location for who knows how long.
    • Vincent has never felt "normal" because of his one red eye, and so he finds a kindred spirit in Noise, who is also an "aberration" because she is neither fully human nor fully Baskerville and must be confined due to her chain possessing her and driving her into madness.
    Vincent: “If all the people break, and all the world breaks, and everyone and everything goes mad, then I can be normal, just like everyone else, right?”
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Arthur Barma.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Break's reason for becoming an illegal contractor is a desire to undo this.
  • I Will Find You: Jack spends eight years trying to find Lacie before he finally reunites with her.
  • I Work Alone: Sharon calls Break "Mr. One-Man-Show" because of this.
  • Idiot Hair: Rufus Barma.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Most Chains, if you consider what they used to be. Subverted in Alice's case.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Jack, through Oz, stabs Leo with one of B-Rabbit's chains in Retrace LXV.
  • Important Haircut: Leo gets one in Retrace LXI.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes:
    • Alice's dress/coat/thing comes to mind. Also, obviously, all the noble suits and dresses.
    • The Lutwidge school uniforms are nice enough to make James Bond jealous.
  • Improvised Weapon: Alice uses some utensils to good advantage when possessing Oz in the beginning.
  • Innocent Flower Girl: Oz meets one. It doesn't end well.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Break, when he was still Kevin Regnard, asked the Intention of the Abyss to prevent the massacre that killed the family. However, they still die later on due to his absence.
  • Instant Runes: Instant transport for every Illegal Contractor who needs to be offed to the Abyss.
  • Intimate Healing: In order to prove to Break that the antidote for Sharon really works, Vincent administers the antidote to a poisoned Echo by kissing her. Lottie pulls the same trick on Ada in the anime, except with poison instead of an antidote.
  • Intrinsic Vow: Invoked.
  • It's All My Fault:
    • Gil blames himself for his inability to protect Oz when the latter is condemned to the Abyss at the start of the series.
    • Leo seems to feel this way about Elliot's death, among other things.
    • Retrace LXXVIII reveals that Oswald feels this way about the Tragedy of Sablier and blames himself for his naivety in trusting Jack.

    J-L 
  • Japanese Pronouns: When Gilbert was young, Break convinced him that he had to start using 'Ore' in order to be more like his idols, Oscar and Oz. When Gil is older, he gets drunk and forgets which form of "I" to use. While he's going "Ore? Boku?," Break starts making hilarious suggestions like "washi," "ora," and "gil-gil."
    • There's a list showing how characters address themselves and others in Japanese.
  • Jerkass: Zai Vessalius at his best. Bernard Nightray - totally. Also, Rufus Barma (though not as bad as the other two.)
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Elliot. Some might say he's just a tsundere though. By Retrace XL or so it's fair to say that Elliot is a much nicer guy than he wants to show.
    • Break. It's not always obvious that he does have a heart, but he's got his moments.
    • Oz himself, particularly in that scene where he made Gil sign a contract making him officially his servant for life... the purpose of which was to cement the fact that Oz must always protect him, since a master's task is to take care of his servants. Oz was still a jerk about it.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: You could rename the manga Mind Screw and no one would notice.
  • Kick the Dog: Pretty much everything Jack says to Oz in Retrace LXXIV.
    Jack: You are a chain... B-rabbit, the destroyer... The people you love, and the people you wish to protect... All that you've achieved... They're fake. Don't forget that..."
  • KidAnova: Oz really likes younger girls.
  • Kid Detective / Amateur Sleuth: Oz, Alice, Elliot and Leo, all of whom are trying to decipher some mystery, usually having something to do with the Tragedy of Sablier.
  • Kid with the Leash: Several contractors, including Oz and the flower girl they meet early on.
  • Killed Off for Real: Lacie, Levi/Humpty Dumpty, the Sinclair Family, William West/Grim, Cheshire, Rytas, Marie, Isla Yura, Elliot, the entire Nightray clan aside from the adopted kids, Fang, Uncle Oscar. Watch this space. The list will probably grow.
  • Killer Rabbit: Most notably literal rabbits, and in black and white varieties. One is a main character. Though not the one you think...
  • Knight Templar Younger Brother: Vincent.
  • Knowledge Broker: Rufus Barma.
  • Large Ham: Uncle Oscar has shades of this. He even overshadows Alice sometimes...
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Conversely, Trauma-Induced Amnesia.
  • Laughing Mad: The Head Hunter, after killing Rytas, Marie and Glooner.
  • Lecherous Licking: Several examples; see the trope page for details.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: Break. He even says "time to get serious" at one point in the anime, which Alice takes as her cue to GTFO without needing further instruction. Every time he puts on his game face (usually by whipping out the Mad Hatter, though revealing the concealed sword does the trick too), everyone craps their pants, but the sudden air of panic is no damper whatsoever to his flamboyant attitude. He still snarfs candy and talks with hearts in his speech bubbles as he watches his opponents slowly bleed to death.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Alice (physical appearance, being locked in a tower) and the Will of the Abyss (physical appearance, falling for a Vessalius, psychotic tendencies) to their mother Lacie.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Save for a few special circumstances.
  • Little Miss Badass: Alice, Echo, The Will of Abyss, Sharon (biologically 23, but physically 13), Lily...
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: And all of them will be integral/contribute to the plot in some way. Even Isla Yura.
    • Thankfully, it's a Cast of Snowflakes, so they're all quite easy to distinguish from each other.
  • Lolicon:
    • Oz never misses a chance to flirt with younger girls. In appearance, he looks 15, but after escaping the abyss, he's technically 25. Then there's Jack and Alice. Although Alice's real age is not fully confirmed, she is hinted to have been 13 before her death and transformation into a chain (she appears to be 13 mentally and physically, but is technically 113), Jack refers to her as "a sweet, cute little girl" and "very precious person."
      • It's eventually revealed Oz is technically over a hundred years old, having originally been a sentient stuffed rabbit owned by Lacie and later Alice. On the other hand, he doesn't remember any of it.
    • Glen/Levi probably counts. Lacie was a young adult when he impregnated her, but in flashbacks, she still appeared to be a prepubescent when he asked for her participation in his "experiment."
  • Lonely Rich Kid: The whole story pretty much starts as Oz being this.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Quite a few, most noticeably Vincent and Jack, with his braid. Leo and Rufus Barma also count, along with Break, who had a ponytail right after being spit out of the Abyss, and Gilbert, whose hair is at least long enough to tie back.
  • Loss of Identity: By the end of Retrace LXXIV, Oz himself appears to have lost all sense of identity thanks to Jack's manipulation.
  • Love Makes You Crazy / Love Makes You Evil:
  • Lover Tug of War:
    • Episode 17. "My master!" "No, my servant!"
    • And then again in Episode 20, this time with all parties involved drunk out of their minds.

    M-O 
  • The Mad Hatter
  • Magic Pants: When Alice turns into her rabbit form, not only do her clothes grow with her, but her miniskirt turns into a pair of pants! (Probably justified by magic.)
  • Manipulative Bastard:
    • Rufus Barma, Vincent, and Break.
    • Oz, most notably in Retrace XLVIII.
    • Retrace LXV: Jack.
  • Marshmallow Hell: Done to Oz by Lottie, notably.
  • Meaningful Echo: From the beginning and end of Retrace LXXX:
    Oscar: [thinking] "Oz, you have no idea what it meant to me to be held by that small hand of yours... What torture it was."
  • Meaningful Name: Oz was named after Oswald and 'Oz' as in the WONDERful LAND. 'Rufus' means 'red'. Lacie is an anagram of Alice, appropriate, as Lacie was Alice's mother.
  • Meido: The Maidora Hearts omake. Young Gilbert also wore a maid outfit in the first anime omake.
  • Merlin Sickness: Because his corrupted soul was rejected by the Abyss, Jack was excluded from the hundred-year cycle of rebirth. As a result, his body repeatedly matures to the age he was at during the Tragedy of Sablier (twenty-four) before reversing back to infancy. Each time he completes this cycle, another piece of his soul is destroyed.
  • Mind Rape:
    • When Alice is in Cheshire's dimension, she confronts horrible, nightmarish visions of herself. A notable one is when a ghoulish version of herself is bleeding at the eyes.
    • Oz himself gets this treatment from Jack after it's revealed that the latter was Evil All Along. It ends with Oz suffering an identity crisis and having a Heroic BSOD.
  • Mind Screw: The series as a whole. With Alice in Wonderland as its template, this isn't all too surprising.
  • Misery Builds Character: Every character integral to the plot has suffered through horrible, traumatic experiences and has come out Badass, twisted, sadistic, or a mix of them all. On the bright side, they're interesting people!
  • Misplaced Retribution: In Retrace LXXXI, Vincent beats up Break and blames him for Gil's betrayal of the Baskervilles, despite the fact that Break wasn't even directly responsible for Gil's decision.
  • Mistaken for Gay: This exchange from Retrace LXVII:
    Levi: (referring to Oswald's research into Jack's history) "Still, it's pretty unusual for you to show interest in someone."
    Oswald: "You're right. I couldn't help but be interested in him."
    Levi: "Uh... what? I didn't know you swung that way."
  • Mood Whiplash: There's quite a lot in this manga.
    • Retrace XLVI: Vincent having sinister thoughts about tainting Ada, whom he hates for her purity. Cue Ada showing off her collection to him.
    • Oz reaching out to Leo ends with the latter being impaled by the former (or, to be specific, Jack) with B-Rabbit's chain.
    • Retrace LXXXII contains some of the happiest, most beautiful moments in the series. And then Uncle Oscar dies.
  • Morality Kitchen Sink: Morality is a big subject in this series, so it's only natural that the characters are all over the spectrum.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: Humpty Dumpty.
  • More than Mind Control: What Vincent pulled off with Gilbert in Retrace XXXIII has elements of this.
  • Mr. Fanservice: One of the things this series is known for.
    • Gilbert.
    • Not to mention Elliot. Hello, handsome pianist with tragic recurring nightmares.
    • Oz also counts to an extent.
    • And Vincent. "He has such gentle eyes..."
    • Glen Baskerville also applies. Specifically, all those who became Glen. At least, all the ones that have been shown so far.
    • Even though Gil is the very obvious Mr Fanservice, Xerxes Break is the one who most fangirls end up going for. If you don't believe me, just check the wiki polls.
  • Multiple Demographic Appeal: The fandom has both female and male readers of varying ages.
  • Must Have Nicotine: Gilbert has tried to quit smoking eight times but to no avail. A special manga omake even chronicled his ninth time trying to quit.
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: With both Jack Vessalius and Glen Baskerville.
  • My Greatest Failure: Both Break and Gil's backstories.
  • My Greatest Second Chance: Break and Gil again in regards to protecting Sharon and Oz respectively.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong:
    • Echo. It is revealed that she thinks Vincent is annoying, but (usually) obediently follows his orders.
    • The Baskervilles, who slaughtered nearly an entire city without knowing the reason why.
  • Mystical White Hair: The Will of the Abyss, who is Alice's identical twin sister and whose white hair is the result of her being born in the Abyss and merging with its Core.
  • Necromantic: The goal of some illegal contracts, which usually fail to work and backfire horribly on the contractor.
  • Nice Hat:
    • Gilbert's hat is very becoming on him.
    • There's also Break's chain, The Mad Hatter. However, although it is a nice looking hat, seeing it is not a good sign. Break himself sometimes sports one.
  • No Sense Of Humour: Reim, to contrast Break. Also, Rufus Barma. Also, Glen/Oswald, who keeps the record for longest held poker face. Not that we don't love them all anyway (see: The Comically Serious).
    • Subverted in Rufus' case. In a bizarre twist, 18.5 Evidence reveals that he actually enjoys teasing other characters.
  • Noble Fugitive: Both Oz and Gil have become these by Retrace LXXXIII, as the former was raised as the heir to one of the duke houses and the latter was adopted into one.
  • Nostalgic Music Box: "Lacie," the song played by the watch Oz finds at the beginning of the series.
  • Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: The point is made for every antagonistic character, but in no way does it attempt to justify their actions. Most will have tragic backstories (Jack, Vincent). Some, though, are just plain nuts (Isla Yura). However, the manga overall makes the point that people cannot be colored black and white. However, just because characters are misunderstood doesn't mean they're not messed up in the head and they'll probably kill many innocents before they're stopped.
  • Not So Stoic:
    • Vincent, during Retrace XLVI, as can be seen here.
    • Happens again in Retrace LXI. He even comments that "It's not like me... to get carried away like this."
    • And yet again in Retrace LXXXI, where he calmly walks into Break's cell (after blowing a hole in it, of course) and proceeds to beat the hell out of him, blaming him for Gil's betrayal of the Baskervilles or, in other words, chosing Oz over him.
    • Leo reveals to Oz that he has quite the temper himself, he just rarely loses it because Elliot usually loses his first. This becomes especially evident after Elliot's death, which proves to be Leo's breaking point.
  • Number One Dime: Gilbert treasures his hat. When it gets lost in an early chapter, Gilbert forces Oz and Alice to help him and is desperate to find it. In Retrace 24, it's revealed Ada gave it to him.
  • Obfuscating Insanity: Break.
  • Off Model: The anime. There's a blog dedicated to collecting these.
  • Off with His Head!: Humpty Dumpty and Demios can do this respectively
  • The Ojou: Sharon is a prime example of this, along with her mother and grandmother.
  • Older than They Look:
    • Break and Sharon don't age during the ten year timeskip.
    • Rufus Barma is a man in his seventies, but you wouldn't know by looking at him.
    • Lottie and the rest of the Baskervilles seemed to apply, but Chapter LXI clarified that the Baskervilles fell into the Abyss 100 years ago and popped out in the present time - making them a normal age after all... unless they have been affected by the age-stopping effect of their Contracts long enough.
      • Something like this also happened to Vincent and Gil, who were around eight and nine years old at the time of the Tragedy of Sablier.
    • This seems to apply to Zwei/Echo as well. She also didn't age at all in the ten year Time Skip before Oz escaped the Abyss.
    • Alice was alive and visually the same age a hundred years ago, too.
    • Oz can technically be considered twenty-five years old. Except that he was originally a pair of stuffed rabbits owned by Lacie. If you count his age from the time he was given sentience by the Abyss, he's over a hundred years old.
    • If you consider this by year of birth, the only major characters who aren't in some way Older than They Look are Oscar, Zai, Ada, and Lady Rainsworth.
      • Given several decades, Lady Rainsworth could potentially also fall into this trope. Sharon revealed in a chapter that contractors stop aging. Thus, most of the main cast will eventually become this.
    • Rotting alive aside, Levi looked pretty much the same as he raised Lacie and Oswald grew to adulthood.
  • Once More with Clarity: Quite a lot, but most notorious is the end of Retrace LXV. See that person huddling in a blanket having a hand held out to him by a girl called Lacie? That's not Glen. It's Jack.
  • One-Sided Arm-Wrestling
  • OOC Is Serious Business: It's noted by a couple of characters that Break is unusually agitated and more prone to violent methods when trying to find out if Reim is alive or dead after the Pandora team searching for the Sealing Stone at Isla Yura's party are murdered.
  • Omake: Each limited version of manga and anime volumes have at least one omake.
  • Orphanage of Love: The House of Fianna seems to be quite a pleasant place. It isn't. See Creepy Child above.
  • Our Demons Are Different: Chains are from the Abyss.
  • Overprotective Dad: Oscar, who may not be Ada's real father but treats Ada like his own daughter. In Retrace 24, he is outraged that Ada is "in love with someone," and drags Oz, Gilbert, and Alice to help look for Ada in her school in Lutwidge and find out just who she has a crush on. Though hints point to either Gil (treasuring the hat that Ada gave him) or Elliot (as she was disappointed that she couldn't return his school bag to him), it later turns out to be Vincent.
  • Overdrawn at the Blood Bank: The astounding amount of blood lost throughout the duration of the manga and anime.

    P-R 
  • Paper Fan of Doom:
    • Sharon, her mother and her grandmother. Don't even think about messing with the Rainsworth women. Hell, Sharon has dozens of them hidden in her dress all the time! In two colors, white and yellow!
    • Duke Barma as well. He can parry swords with it!
  • Parasol of Pain: The umbrella Oz uses in the anime to fend off the Creepy Doll that attacks him in the Abyss.
  • Parental Abandonment:
    • Oz's mom died when he was young, and Oz's dad sucks. A lot.
    • Not to mention Gil and Vincent's parents, who sold them to a freak show because of Vincent's red eye.
  • Parental Substitute: Break sees himself as this to Sharon.
    • Oswald is this for Alice and Gil.
    • Jack is this for Vincent.
    • Sheryl is this to Break and Sharon, although biologically she's the latter's grandmother.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Break's bangs cover the left side of his face because his left eye socket is empty. Cheshire's bangs cover the right side of his face. This is not a coincidence. He has Break's left eye.
  • People Puppets: It would seem that Glen is able to verbally control Gil's body - or at least his left hand.
  • Perpetual Molt: Glen's Five Black-Feathered Chains do this.
  • Pimped-Out Dress
  • Poisonous Friend: Gil isn't a very efficient one (yet), but he's terrified that he seems about to become one for Oz. What with those overprotective murderous urges, attempt to kill Alice and all... Oz had a moment when he wanted to be this for Alice and stop her suffering by killing her. Vince, though, is a very effective one for Gilbert, very much against Gil's will. Vince caused the Tragedy of Sablier in order to protect his brother.
  • The Pollyanna: Sharon, Ada, and Alice. Oz was this for a while before being successfully broken by recent events.
  • Posthumous Character: Jack, Lacie, and Glen. Well, not quite for the first and third, anyway.
  • The Power of Friendship: Alice, Gilbert and Oz convince Break that they are his comrades. A heart-warming moment ensues.
  • Power Trio: Oz, Alice, and Gilbert. Jack, Alice (or Lacie), and Glen/Oswald. Glen/Levi, Lacie, and Oswald. Break, Sharon and Reim seem to be this in their off-screen escapades. Oz, Elliot and Leo also counts as one.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: Lottie, Fang and Dug.
  • Rapunzel Hair:
    • Jack. A braid that long... fluttering in the wind?
    • Alice too.
    • Lacie had this too, at least when she was young.
  • Reality Warper: Alyss' implied power when her anger destroys her room in the Abyss.
  • Really 700 Years Old:
    • Alice's implied age as B-Rabbit.
    • Jack/Oz gets this too, having been alive for a hundred years, if only because of de-aging until he's an infant, by which point he starts aging again until he reaches the time his soul was distorted, and the cycle went on and on for a hundred years.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Elliot gives a nice, lengthy, angry one to Oz at Lutwidge Academy.
    • Of all people, Duke Barma delivers one of these to Oswald in Retrace LXXXVII, pointing out that the latter is just as human (and thus just as fallible) as the rest of them and has his own selfish reasons for acting despite all his claims that he's trying to right a past wrong for the sake of the rest of the world.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning:
    • Vincent, Break, and Cheshire all have... well, one red eye each. Vincent was discriminated one hundred years ago because of it. Break was known as "The Red-Eyed Ghost" during his time as an illegal contractor. Cheshire is a villain, and his eye was originally Break's.
    • Oz gets these in Retrace LVI when he used B-Rabbit's power.
    • Lacie, according to Retrace LXVI.
    • It turns out that being born with red eyes is an indication of being a Child of Ill-Omen.
  • Red String of Fate: Parodied in this omake, where Oz follows his to find out who his soul mate is.
  • Relax-o-Vision: In the sixth DVD special, the intro to the Omake does this.
  • Rescue Hug: Gil frequently does this to Oz.
  • Rip Van Winkle: The Abyss tends to do this to whoever is able to escape it.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Alice is in one when she first appears. The Will of the Abyss' room was also this when Kevin was dragged down.
  • Rules of Orphan Economics:
    • Jack pretty much randomly decides to adopt Vincent and Gilbert, making them his "servants" and just being incredibly kind and awesome and takes care of them until something goes horribly, horribly wrong: The Tragedy of Sablier.
    • And then in Retrace LXV Gil is revealed to be Glen's servant.
  • Running Gag:
    • Oz and his attraction to younger girls, Gil and his hat, Alice and her meat, Break and his cake/lollipop/Emily/entering the room through anything but a door, Sharon and her tea/harisen/shipping.
    • Also, Glen and the bird.
    • Elliot and Oz and their Holy Knight references.
    • Leo being a Covert Pervert who likes reading erotica.

    S-U 
  • Sanity Slippage: SO MUCH:
    • Jack absolutely lost it after Lacie's death.
      • His betrayal is implied to also have caused this in Glen/Oswald.
    • Elliot's mother, Vernice/Vernis, has been teetering to the edge for a while, thanks to the Headhunter case.
    • Post-Elliot's-death Leo is either this or else he just stopped caring, possibly both.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!:
    • How Oz and the gang manage to get away with most of the stuff they do.
    • Oz exploits his connection to Jack when he needs to.
  • Serious Business: Gil is very attached to his hat. Epic arm-wrestling ensues.
  • Servile Snarker:
    • Leo is this in spades to Elliot, though his position as the latter's servant is mostly just a title, as the two are closer to Vitriolic Best Buds than master and servant.
    • Gil is this to Oz, occasionally.
    • Turns out that Echo has quite a lot to say about her master Vincent when given the occasion to vent.
  • Sex God: Vincent, in spite of his misogyny, seems to sleep around a lot for his own purposes.
  • Shattering the Illusion: Break to Rufus.
  • She Is All Grown Up: Ada's older appearance throws Oz off when they meet for the first time after his return. Ditto Gilbert.
  • Ship Sinking:
    • The revelation that Lacie and Glen (the black-haired one we know whose name is Oswald, that is) are actually brother and sister has debunked quite a lot of fics that pair the two as lovers.
    • Ada/Gilbert was sunk when it was revealed that the person the former was dating was Vincent, of all people.
    • Jun Mochizuki desperately attempted to do this with the Break/Sharon pairing, having Sharon refer to him as her older brother several times. It got to the point where she had Break describe his relationship with Sharon to Sheryl.
    Sheryl: (to Break) You treat her like a child, Xer-kun.
    Break: Not true! I'd prefer to say that I take care of her as if she were my daughter.
    Sheryl: Daughter? I think you look more like an older brother who can't bear to be separated from his little sister.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Oz/Alice are the prominent example. They are also the closest to an Official Couple. And there's Oz/Sharon which is more of a fleeting crush and Oz/Echo. Worth noting that most if not all Oz ships aside from Oz/Alice constitutes of Oz putting on his flirty disposition.
    • Also Elliot/Leo, Ada/Vincent although that treads into Official Couple, Gilbert/Oz, Jack/Alice, Break/Gilbert, Break/Alice, Break/Reim, Gilbert/Alice, and Reim/Lily with a side of Squick.
    • Jack/Lacie has been teased since Retrace LXV. It is one-sided on the former's part and ambiguous on whether the latter reciprocates or not. Retrace LXXI implies and Retrace LXXII confirms that Lacie reciprocated Jack's feelings.
    • Even Gil/Sharon got some with their tea party.
  • Shotacon: Break constantly teases Sharon about how she likes "younger boys," much to her protest.
  • Shoot the Dog: In Retrace LXIX, it is revealed that Oswald, upon becoming the next Glen Baskerville, was forced to do this to his younger sister Lacie by tossing her into the abyss. It was mentioned that all the other Glens with Children of Misfortune as siblings were forced to do this as well.
    • This is taken even further in Retrace LXXVIII: Oswald intends to travel back in time in order to kill Lacie before she can give birth to the Alice twins and incite the creation of Oz the B-rabbit, all so that he can prevent the Tragedy of Sablier from coming to pass.
  • Show Within a Show: Well, Book Within A Book, but there are a few mentioned, most notably Holy Knight.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: In Retrace LXXXI, Jack, while controlling Oz's body, tries to turn Oscar against Oz by reminding him that he's the reason his wife and child are dead. Fortunately, Gil (who isn't aware of this) has had it up to here with Jack's Break Them by Talking tactics and interrupts him with one of these. This serves to solidify Oscar's resolve, which he thanks Gil for after.
  • Significant Anagram:
    • Rearrange the name "Alice" and you'd get the name "Lacie", the one who drove Jack out of his Despair Event Horizon and the dead little sister of Glen/Oswald Baskerville. It's also worth noting that the name Lacie was used by Lewis Carrol to refer to the original Alice in his books, it can't be a coincidence. It turns out that Lacie is Alice's mother.
  • Single-Target Sexuality:
    • Jack has eyes only for Lacie, to the point where the "sexuality" aspect is more obsessive worship than healthy desire.
    • Vincent cares about only one person in the world - Gil. How sexual his relationship to Gil actually is remains ambiguous, but he actively scorns all women and has shown no interest in members of the same sex outside of his brother.
  • Sinister Scythe: B-Rabbit uses a scythe. Later on, so does Oz himself, who offhandedly lampshades how, strangely, his body knows exactly how to use it.
  • Slasher Smile: Lotta people. Especially the Baskervilles and Will of the Abyss. Break sometimes pulls these, too.
  • Smarter Than You Look: Oz is a lot more clever than he likes to let on.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Vincent has one particular scene where he shows his badass-ness in a game of chess.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Gil, who can often be seen with a cigarette in his mouth in angsty situations.
  • Sniff Sniff Nom: Alice. She ate flowers and bit on Rufus Barma's pet bird once.
  • Snow Means Love: Lacie and Jack's meeting was on a winter day.
  • Soft Spoken Sadist: Vincent (voiced by Jun Fukuyama) has a deceptively easy-going outward disposition. In actuality, he's quite the sadist.
  • Spell My Name with an S:
    • Was it Bezalius or Vessalius? Bezarius?
    • And is it Reo or Leo? Sharon or Shalon? Elliot with one "l" or two?
    • Don't forget Sabrié, actually Sablier (meaning "hourglass" in French)
    • Or Liam vs Reim...
      • The official guidebook confirms each these as "Vessalius," "Leo," "Sharon," "Elliot," and "Reim," though subs and scanlations still do whatever suits the weather that day.
    • A humorous example of this trope appears in-universe, where Alice names her rabbit doll "Oz" after Oswald but spells it as "Os". Levi notices and corrects her spelling for her.
  • Spot of Tea: Break and Sharon are almost always drinking tea.
  • Split at Birth: Alice and Will of the Abyss.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: One of the many, many reasons some characters dislike Break, often complaining that he should enter rooms like a normal person.
  • Stepford Smiler:
    Oz: (thinking, after being ignored by his father at Sablier in Retrace XLI)"I have to smile."
    • Lacie, as well. She's fond of enjoying herself despite knowing her fate from an early age.
    • Levi rarely ever stopped smiling even though he was rotting alive.
    • Jack is revealed to be a Type C with dashes of the other two types.
  • Stoic Spectacles:
  • Stopped Caring: Leo, after Elliot's death; it's a rare non-comedic example of this trope.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Alice greatly resembles her mother Lacie.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: Vincent does this to Cheshire to torment Alice.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Gilbert has these. He is also a Baskerville, and was also chosen to be Glen's vessel, though the ceremony that would ensure that was foiled.
  • Sweet Tooth: Break and Sharon, but especially Break.
  • Switched at Birth: Zai Vessalius's real son was stillborn (implied to have been poisoned by Jack) and switched with Oz, who was at that point inhabiting Jack's cursed body.
  • Sword Cane: Break again.
  • Take a Third Option: Chapter 82 has the main Power Trio of Oz, Alice, and Gil essentially represent the third option to Jack's insane desire to unite the real world and the abyss, and his horrible crimes to the Baskervilles and Pandora, who at this point are working together to stop Jack by going back in time and trying to Retcon away the Tragedy of Sablier, along with the events of the series.
  • The Glasses Come Off: Leo's. Probably for the rest of eternity, considering he never actually needed them.
  • Tears of Remorse: In Retrace LXXVIII, Jack, of all people, gets these when he finds Oswald's decapitated body and realizes that he did this to him.
    Jack: "Glen... What happened to you? Did I... do this? That's right. It was me. Because you... You were trying to kill Alice! I used... Oz's power... and killed my own friend."
  • There Is Only One Bed: A small example appears in Retrace LXXXIII, where Oz and Alice share a bed while Gil sleeps with only his head on it. Nobody comments on the arrangement.
  • Thicker Than Water: The reason Gil never abandoned Vincent when they were children, even though he received a lot of abuse because of Vincent's red eye.
  • Thinking Up Portals: Sharon can do this with Eques.
  • Third-Person Person: Echo.
  • Those Two Guys: Elliot and Leo start out as this, with their usually being in the same place at the same time justified by Leo being Elliot's servant. In later chapters, they completely break out of it by 1) gaining large scenaristic importance, and 2) one of them getting Killed Off for Real and the other pulling a sort-of Face-Heel Turn as a result.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: Oz, Alice and Gilbert especially once the latter two warmed up to each other.
  • Thwarted Coup de Grâce: In Retrace LXXVIII, Oz's execution is thwarted by Gilbert shooting Glen!Leo in the hand.
  • Time Abyss: The Abyss (of course), which has been stated to be a god-like entity that is both the end and the beginning of the world. Glen Baskerville (his soul and legacy, at least) and Jury are also implied to be this as well.
  • Tomato in the Mirror:
    • Elliot. Obsessed with finding the killer of his siblings, until he finds out that it was HIM, courtesy of Humpty Dumpty manipulating his memory.
    • Gilbert turns out to be Glen's servant. He does not take this well at all after seeing his former master's head.
    • Retrace LXX, titled Oz, with the subtitle Reality, reveals that all this time, Oz's body is actually Jack's and Oz himself is actually B-Rabbit.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Gilbert, it seems, after Oz has been gone for 10 years. But we quickly find out that he's not so much a badass as he is incredibly good at putting up a tough front. But still miles more badass than the timid little kid we start out with.
      • He appears to have taken a genuine one in recent chapters though, going as far as to burn his own left arm off to prevent his contract to his previous master, Oswald, leading him to ever hurt Oz again.
    • Oz as of Retrace XXXVII.
    • And Leo, now a Baskerville as of Retrace LXII.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Most of the characters in the series are well-acquainted with trauma, but the most significant on-screen example we get is with Oz himself, who ends up being hated by nearly everybody around him for something that isn't even his fault and then having to pay the price for it.
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Several characters.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour: As a kid, Vincent like to chop dolls up with scissors, and he stabbed out the eyes of human!Alice's cat.
  • True Companions: Alice, Oz, Gil, Break, and Sharon.
  • Tsundere: Alice and Elliot are type A; Sharon and Echo seem to be more of type B.
  • Unmoving Plaid: Sharon's dresses.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Pretty much everyone except for the Baskervilles, with the possible exception of Duke Barma, end up being this to Jack. The Baskervilles are doing their damnedest to stop him, though.
  • Unreliable Expositor: Jack. Jack, Jack, Jack and everything about him.
  • Unsound Effect: All over the place. The very first page of the manga has "taking off glove" as a sound effect, for example.

    V-Z 
  • Voices Are Mental: When Oz is being possessed by Jack, he speaks with an adult voice.
  • Was It All a Lie?: Gilbert's reaction to seeing Oswald!Glen's head instead of Jack's after the fourth sealing stone was broken.
  • Was Once a Man:
    • The Abyss' power can turn even humans into chains. Results include the aforementioned example on Body Horror.
    • There's also Alice, who fused her soul with B-Rabbit!Oz's to take his powers and and use them to destroy the Will of the Abyss' memories in his place.
    • Humpty Dumpty, who used to be Levi until he fully transferred Glen's soul to Oswald's body and rotted away shortly after. It has been implied that this happens every time said soul transfer ceremony succeeds.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Oz.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • Oswald becomes this when he deliberately mass murders a city full of innocents in order to keep them from becoming chains, which would exclude them from the hundred-year cycle of rebirth. He becomes even more the extremist in Retrace LXXVIII when he attempts to execute Oz and then travel back in time in order to kill Lacie before she can give birth to the two Alices and before B-rabbit Oz can conceive a soul, all to the end of preventing the Tragedy of Sablier from ever happening.
    • Leo also seems willing to become this in order to fulfill his role as Glen Baskerville by destroying the Will of the Abyss, but when push comes to shove and Oswald reawakens within him and prepares to execute Oz, he appears to be too shell-shocked to actually go through with killing his former friend.
  • We Would Have Told You, But...: Retrace VI and Episode 8. Break and the rest of Pandora use Oz, Gil, and Alice as bait to see what the Baskervilles would/could/are capable of doing.
  • Wham Episode:
    • So much of these that it would need its own page to list all of them, but most notable is Retrace LXV: Collapse. Or, more appropriately, seventy pages of the status quo getting ground to itsy bitsy pieces. It's the sort of WHAM that literally invalidates everything we thought we knew.
    • Then we have Retrace LXX: Oz. Poor Oz faces the Tomato in the Mirror problem. Or, more specifically, the Rabbit In The Mirror...
    • Retrace LXXIV: Broken Rabbit: Who killed poor Alice? Poor Alice killed herself, and for Oz's sake. Also, Gilbert involuntarily shooting Oz after a Glen-possessed Leo orders him to.
    • Retrace LXXVI: Alice&Oz. The memories Alice has found throughout the series? They're actually the shattered memories of Alyss's.
    • Retrace LXXVIII: Decision. Explains why Oz was able to take over Jack's body, why pieces of Jack's soul are scattered among Alyss's memories and how Oz replaced Zai's child, who is stillborn. Also includes Glen fully taking over Leo, executing Oz to keep him and Jack out of the way of his plans, in which said plans involve going back in time to kill Lacie in order to prevent the whole tragedy from happening, before being stopped by Gilbert, who burnt his left arm off.
    • Retrace XC: Jurors. Hoooh, boy. [[spoilers:Turns out Jury aka the woman who brainwashed Gil into loyalty to his master and supposedly watched over Glen was waaay more than we thought. She's actually just one of many Jurors, beings that transcend human understanding that, basically, edit stories aka worlds around until they reach a satisfactory ending, after which they place it in an archive of sorts. Also, the whole world of Pandora Hearts as we know it is one of those stories, and the Jurors saw it fit to end it soon, to Glenwald's great disapproval.]]
  • Wham Line:
    • Retrace LVIII:
    Glen/Levi to Leo: Relax. That thing won't attack you.
    • Retrace LXX:
    Jack: "This body does not belong to Oz Vessalius."
    • Retrace LXXX:
    Oscar [after a Meaningful Echo]: "What torture it was."
    • Retrace XCII
    Break: "Sharon, Reim, I do not want to die... "

  • When She Smiles: In which Alice smiles and does cute things, Oz blushes and/or laughs, and Oz's feelings towards Alice grow.
  • Where The Hell Is Springfield?:
    • Despite the heavy Victorian Era themes and the fact that a Big Ben replica appeared in the manga and the fact that "Sablier" means "hourglass" and "Reveille" could mean "clock" or "to wake" (depending on the spelling/accent) in French, it is never explicitly stated where the hell all these characters are from.
    • It's made even more confusing when Gil has a conundrum about which version of "I" to use.
    • It has been confirmed in some guidebooks that the manga takes place in a fantasy world separate from ours, though the architecture does draw some inspiration from the Victorian Era and German architecture. They even use a different calendar from the one we use.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: More like a Whole Arc Flashback, starting from Retrace 66 to Retrace 74, though Retraces 70 and 72 do take some time to look at the present for some moments.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Gil fears cats. With a passion.
  • Wild Card: Rufus Barma, full stop, although he does seem to have a master plan coming along that's known only to himself. Even Oswald is struggling to uncover his true motives.
  • With Friends Like These...: Applies to a lot of cast in different ways, but the most for Reim, who is stuck with dubious pleasure of being Break's closest friend (or, at least, they seem to know the most about each other, what with Reim working out Break had gone blind pretty quickly.) Apparently that means he gets to do Break's paperwork, chase him around to attempt to make him DO said paperwork in the first place, be the butt of a number of Break's schemes and jokes, and, on a more sombre note, gets to watch him waste away and die. Lucky him.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds:
    • The Will of the Abyss. After reading her backstory, it's pretty hard not to feel sorry for her.
    • Vincent as of Retrace XXXVIII and XXXIX (though it doesn't make him less of a jerk).
    • Lily as of Retrace L.
    • Glen Baskerville. Or more specifically, Oswald.
      • And Leo looks pretty damn determined to follow in his footsteps.
    • Oz, especially back when he was B-Rabbit, being forced to kill and destroy when all he wanted to do was to protect Alice.
    • Some Illegal Contractors are this, as Chains are drawn to the most desperate of people willing to do anything to change the past. Oz invokes this trope after encountering the Flower Girl, wondering what could have made such a young girl so desperate. Likewise, William West, Break and Miss Sinclair were also this.
  • World of Chaos: The Abyss.
  • Yandere: Hoo boy.
    • The Will of the Abyss is yandere for Jack and knows it - that's why she has Alice use B-Rabbit's power to destroy her memories of him during the confrontation at Sablier. She realizes that, as long as she has memories of him, she'll always love him and will end up hurting others in her quest to get to him.
    • Gil's devotion to Oz has a pretty dark edge. It's hinted at early on and outright shown in Retrace XXXIII, where Vincent goads him into resolving to kill anyone who hurts or snatches his master away from him - no matter who it is.
    • Vincent is yandere for Gilbert, claiming that everything he does is for his brother's sake and concerning himself only with maintaining Gil's wellbeing. In Retrace LXI, he reveals that he's working with the Baskervilles only so that he can use the Will of the Abyss to erase his existence from the world, thus allowing Gil to grow up without him and ideally have a better life for it.
    • As of Retrace L, Leo is also one, stating that "if Elliot has an enemy, no matter who he may be, I'll kill him! Even, for example, if it is you [Oz] or even myself."
    • Oz is yandere for Alice even before he remembers his past as her stuffed rabbit doll, at which time she was literally everything to him.
    Oz: "Alice, don't cry. Whoever makes you sad, whoever hurts you, I will destroy them. All of them...With my own hands!"
    • Miranda Barma is yandere for Oswald's... head.
    • Perhaps the most extreme example in the series is Jack's obsession with Lacie. He literally intends to bring the world to her in the Abyss because he knows she loved it so much.
    Jack: "Lacie, whoever you are, I don't care... Because your presence here right now is the only thing that ties me, Jack Vessalius, to the world."
    • Retrace LXXXIX reveals that Noise is a rather unstable one for Vincent, going so far as to kidnap Ada, who she believes him to be in love with.
  • You Have 48 Hours: After escaping from Pandora, Oz is given until the sunrise of the next morning to turn himself in or else Glen is going to start killing Break, Sharon, and Duchess Rainsworth one by one.
  • You Said You Would Let Them Go: Vincent promises Break an antidote to cure Sharon if he destroy Alice's memories. When Break obeys, Vincent drops it off the balcony.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Break. Although he still looks young, he's essentially rotting on the inside, and his chain (combined with the effects of his first, illegal contract) puts an extremely heavy strain on him.
  • Zettai Ryouiki:
    • Echo and Lotti.
    • Also Gil in one of the anime Omakes.
    • The Lutwidge uniform for girls have these. Alice, wearing the uniform in the Lutwidge episode, along with matching pigtails, reached Grade S.

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One Week FriendsCreator/Square EnixPani Poni Dash!
Night WalkerMystery and Detective Anime and MangaPatlabor
OutlandersShonen (Demographic)Patlabor
Panda ZAnimePani Poni Dash!
Otome wa Boku ni KoishiteruNo Dub for YouPersona -trinity soul-
Oyasumi PunpunMangaPanzerfraulein Alteseisen

alternative title(s): Pandora Hearts
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