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Manga Review: Pandora Seven Vol. 2 (2023) by Yuta Kayashima

There is nothing else quite like Pandora Seven

“Her life turned upside down by “Pandora's Box,” Lia Frontier travels to the mechanical forest in the hope of finding a ray of light in the darkness. But only anger and resentment—stemming from human deceit—await her there. And before Lia can even begin to exonerate herself, the humans in hunting her leave devastation in their wake. What can she even do in the face of such overwhelming hostility?” (Yen Press)

Pandora Seven Volume 2 Amazon

The inaugural volume of “” was an utterly unique experience, largely due to the imaginative world-crafting of its creator . While the first made an impact, there was the lingering question of whether the series fumbled into its originality, thus intrigue, with a mix match of themes and artistic approach that left many questions about its longevity. Those questions remain with the second volume, but the series continues to push forward with its eclectic mix of influences and lofty, multi-planetary story.

What works best in the second volume in establishing its themes is the exploration of the atrocities carried out by humans on other planets. Not as much colonization as subjugation, the story focuses on the transformation and plight of a world introduced in the first volume as an unforgiving landscape of deformed aliens. However, Lia Frontier learns that the once peaceful planet pledged to offer healing to anyone, regardless of their species, a refuge, was forced through a plague to supply humanity with materials in exchange for providing a substance that could keep its inhabitants alive.

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While this does not offer a complete picture of Lia's fate as the bearer of Pandora's Box, the volume cements the horrific means her kind will go to in seeking galaxy-wide domination. Moreover, the book expands on the protagonist's understanding of the universal hatred towards her kind and emphasizes her need to show compassion to atone for the sins of humanity. One can undeniably draw similar comparisons to real-life acts brought on by different nations, yet, the book passes over making any direct comparisons or alluding to the work being a metaphor–which works in its favor. If anything, “Pandora Seven” establishes itself as a tragic story and a coming-of-age fraught with the weight of sins of heritage that will resonate with many readers in modern times.

Pandora Seven Volume 2 sample

The art remains a curiosity, with the quality not being as consistent as Yuta Kayashima's willingness to experiment with abstract forms and interpretation of alien life–even down to the fashion of humans. The closest comparison for character design may come from the art of Q Hayashida, yet the aesthetic is not nearly as dark as seen in works like “” and “.” Still, there may be appreciation to be found in fans of Hayashida for a similar shucking of the usual conventions.

The story of “Pandora Seven” still feels slightly convoluted, and the grander scale of Lia's purpose has yet to be fully realized. The second volume feels like a move in the right direction, but time will still tell if Yuta Kayashima can bring everything together in a manner that would make the story essential reading for sci-fi manga fans. Still, what readers have access to so far is impressive, and there is reason to get in on the series early and follow along to see if it can reach its full potential.

About the author

Adam Symchuk

Adam Symchuk is a Canadian born freelance writer and editor who has been writing for Asian Movie Pulse since 2018. He is currently focused on covering manga, manhwa and light novels having reviewed hundreds of titles in the past two years.

His love of film came from horror and exploitation films from Japan that he devoured in his teens. His love of comics came from falling in love with the works of Shuzo Oshimi, Junji Ito, Hideshi Hino, and Inio Asano but has expanded to a general love of the medium and all its genres.

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