Watch For: flowers, roses, mysterious hands, ribbons, pearls, chains, cages, feathers,
wings, butterflies, skulls, crowns, crosses, chessboards, curtains,
stars, rabbits, mirrors, earrings, colors.
If you still have any doubt about the prevalence of
meaningful symbolism in Jun's artwork, I give you: Gilbert, with
a tiny feather in a tiny cage
and a tiny key:
A tiny key and a feather in a cage
are simply too random for Gilbert to be holding for no reason,
so they gotta mean something!
Perhaps this is the blue feather representing
Gil's love and devotion that he never got the chance to give Oz
during St. Belligeron's Day, chained as it is to Oz, and showing
how possessive Gil is(/was? XD) of Oz. The little key is small
enough to open this cage, and perhaps echoes
to Gil - "a loyalty that holds fast will become a blade, and
will someday pierce those you hold dear" - warning him not to
grasp onto Oz so tightly.
But Raven's black feathers are all over this
picture. Maybe it's more likely that this feather in a cage is
symbolic of Gil's contract with Raven, further reinforced by it
dangling on a chain. After all, his contract is anchored
onto an amulet
that he carries around on a chain. They key in this context
would represent Raven granting access to the Abyss.
The concept of keeping Chains in cages is
connected to the wish-granting aspect of the color blue, as with
blue roses. And, actually, all the
cages I've seen are linked to blue roses.
On the left is dark Alice holding B-Rabbit in a cage
garlanded with blue roses (and some unknown
pink flower). It again suggests the Black Rabbit power is
separate from her.
Ada has been seen with yellow roses, which are
common to the Vessalius dukedom, as well as blue roses
and black roses. In the picture above she has
She has a torture device on her left, probably from her occult
dungeon, and the seat cushion behind her is ripped. On her right
side is a caged skull. The blue rose
wrapping around the skull's cage is wilting.
Well, either that or she sprinkled extra blue petals around.
Tied as Ada is to the sorcery, the symbols around her might be
In the picture on the right Vincent has Ada in a cage
instead. Her eyes and arms are bound by black ribbon,
her wrists are shackled with chains, and
black rose thorns grow all around them. The
cage itself, though, has blue roses
blooming on it.
The background is a pink and black chessboard,
indicating a duality. Considering that Ada is wearing pink and
Vincent is wearing black, this makes sense. The strategic game
being played on this chessboard is emphasized
by a spider web, similar to the one in the
Alice with the skulls.
On Ada's side is the white pawn chess piece, showing her role in
the game, and on Vincent's side is the white knight chess piece,
showing what he looks like to Ada while her eyes are blind to
his true intentions. In the bottom right is the Queen chess
piece, foreshadowing Vincent's Queen of Hearts Chain.
prominently in human Alice's room in Sablier, where she was
kept in a tower by Glen. The overall sense of imprisonment is
felt even in the
bars on her windows and the wire fence-like pattern
on her clock.
Cages, like chains, are
symbols of bondage and entrapment. Such as the entrapment of a
Chain by a Contractor... or the other way around? But they could
also mean protection.
Continuing the theme of people in cages, recall
the picture of Break with the white rose again
(I'm sorry for putting you in the "Stuff in Cages" category,
I've always thought that Gilbert's presence here was just to
show him releasing Raven, since those are Raven's wings
next to him. But, if you look closely, Break looks like he's
inside a cage.
Gil does tend to put things important to him in "cages."
The picture is from chapter 55, when Break was fighting a losing
battle against two Baskervilles and was forced to take a
suicidal gamble and release Mad Hatter.
Raven realized that Break's life-force (white rose)
was weakening, so he came over there to interrupt the fight and
help. In doing so, he did manage to restrain Break's Mad Hatter
power and stood as a physical barrier between Break and the
Baskervilles, shielding him inside a metaphorical cage...
and allowing the dis-empowerment of Break's handicap to sink in.
Pandora Hearts and all the characters, story, and art therein is
copyright Jun Mochizuki. No copyright infringement is intended,
and I hope that this essay inspires more people to read/watch
Pandora Hearts! Translations are by
Syndicate. Visit the
page to see who else helped!