The main story of Col. Kurtz’s efforts to gain control of Buer and Nene and Clarion’s very roundabout way of foiling him came to an end in vol. 8. It was a nice wrap-up for this series that has been an enjoyable bit of harmless fluff since the beginning. Yet, it wasn’t the end of the series itself as Poseidon -- the multinational corporation that was backing Kurtz -- emerged as the new antagonist. I’ll admit that I was a little skeptical of this new direction. “Pandora” isn’t a series that has ever had much depth to it and I felt that its attempts to “go bigger” would likely strain against its carefree charm.
Against all of my expectations (which, admittedly, were in the neighborhood of “zero”), this volume actually makes a good case for the series’ new direction. While Nene and Clarion are engaging in some goofiness regarding the former’s luggage, “Bunny-san” and her friends are brought before Labrys, the head of Poseidon, for dinner and to potentially be recruited into the company. While Labrys has “Evil Villain” written all over her face and actions, she’s actually quite welcoming and accommodating of the group of oddly-dressed female scientists. It’s also not hard to see how Bunny-san and co. would agree to work with Labrys once we find out about their histories with Sahar. Though I can see Sahar’s point regarding the “uniforms,” I really do hope that she eventually recognizes that was a bad call on her part.
Following that is a surprisingly heartfelt encounter between Nene and a cyborg who’s also a professional athlete that also manages to impart a little more insight into their life in this world. Nene and Clarion then go on to save a pirate-themed airship cruise as the former is forced to expand her cyber-awareness in the process. We’re also introduced to… I’m going to call her “Chaotic Evil Clarion” for now because there appears to be no good purpose to the chaos she leaves in her wake. All of this manages to add more depth to this previously insubstantial series and impress upon the reader that the threat of Poseidon is quite real. The series does keep trafficking in annoying bits of fanservice here and there, but that’s something I’m willing to put up with in light of its newfound ambition.