RE: Zero is something of a bleak anime, known for its psychologically melancholy tones, although it manages to balance the light and the dark themes relatively well.
As is to be expected with a series that veers on the side of depressing at times, RE: Zero has a fair amount of antagonists.
This goes for all the different iterations of the series: the novel series, the light novels, the anime, and the mangas.
One of the most intriguing villains from the series is Pandora, the Witch of Vainglory. Pandora is affiliated with both the Witch Cult and the Witches of Sin, and she has tremendous power and influence, all of which are suggested rather than explicitly stated.
This offers a more mysterious and somewhat more sinister nature to her as a character, making her a significant villain in the series.
With this in mind, we are going to be taking a look at her as a character as well as the powers and abilities that she wields.
Who is Pandora?
Before we go through the various abilities that Pandora has, we first need to examine her role within RE: Zero and look at what kind of character she is. Pandora is a witch, but she is not just any witch. She is the Witch of Vainglory.
Vainglory was one of the two “old” Deadly Sins- Vainglory and Melancholy- that were once considered part of the Seven Deadly Sins.
She was affiliated with the group known as the Witches of Sin, a clan of witches who had once been tasked with guarding over the Seven Sins.
However, the witches were all lost one way or another throughout the land (although it is likely that Satella- The Witch of Envy- was responsible for absorbing the rest of the witches and killing them).
Both Pandora and the Witch of Melancholy no longer hold the title of a Deadly Sins witch, but she continues to live as a witch and becomes connected to the Witch Cult.
This particular cult is a shadowy and secretive organization, so little is known about its structure or its goals, but it is thought that they worship Satella- the aforementioned Witch of Envy- and are working towards the goal of one day resurrecting her.
Pandora’s role within the cult is unclear, but it is suggested that she holds a position of power, rank, and high status amongst them as even their leader- Regulus Corneas- respects her and will follow her orders.
Pandora is even thought to be the person behind the toned-down version of the Witch’s Gospel tome that the cult possesses.
Her motives are always left unclear, making her feel all the more menacing. You can’t help but feel like she is the mastermind of something much bigger and playing the puppet master along the way!
Pandora has a saccharinely sweet outward appearance, with a stunning beauty that is said to make anyone who catches a glimpse of her to become so enamored by her that they can’t help but tremble uncontrollably.
However, there is something a little too innocent about her look that is suggestive of her ulterior motives. She has a very petite frame with a small, delicate body, seeming like a child in terms of her build and contradicting her actual age, which would be well over 400 years old.
Her hair is incredibly long- falling to the level of her knees- and is a bright, platinum silvery-white color. She also has a blue ribbon tied into one of her silver locks.
Her eyelashes are long and also white- as are her eyebrows- and her skin is as pale as snow. To contrast the white and silver of her hair and eyes, she has beautifully deep, blue eyes.
She dresses relatively simply, wearing a poncho-like piece of white fabric with blue stitches and a blue ribbon sewn into it. She does not wear shoes or anything on her legs, giving her an ethereal and angelic appearance, making her role as a villain all the more unnerving.
So, what is Pandora like in terms of personality? Despite that angelic look that we just talked about, Pandora is far from it, but she is very good at acting the part as well as looking it too.
She outwardly appears like a dignified and elegant young woman, with a calm and soothing nature surrounding her. However, this is far from the truth when you look beneath the surface of her lovely facade.
The truth of Pandora’s personality is that she is a manipulative, selfish, and sociopathic witch who is willing to do whatever it takes to succeed with her plans, even if it means killing those who get in the way.
An example of this ruthless, deceptive nature would be when she manipulates Petelgeuse- who was a member of the Witch Cult, acting as a Sin Archbishop who represented Sloth- into killing Fortuna, the Guardian of the Seal in Elior Forest who had previously had a close, intimate relationship with Petelgeuse for many centuries.
Petelgeuse was immediately grief-stricken after realizing what he had done and would eventually lose his mind, though Pandora still tries to manipulate him into justifying his actions by repeatedly telling him that he did what he did for the sake of love.
She has no regret for any of her actions either, despite the huge amount of both mental and physical pain that she has caused, including causing the deaths of innocent people. Pandora does not treat the people around her as human beings.
To her, they are merely pawns to be manipulated in her games, or puppets to be dangled on a string. As long as she gets what she wants, nothing else is important to Pandora.
Powers and Abilities
So, what exactly are Pandora’s powers? She has a few different abilities, but her main power is that of the Authority of Vainglory, which was given to Pandora when she obtained her Witch Factor and the title of the Witch of Vainglory.
Let’s take a look at what sort of powers the Authority of Vainglory bestows upon Pandora.
Each witch tasked with guarding the Seven Deadly Sins had their own corresponding power that stemmed from their role, known as “authorities”.
Pandora’s power is the Authority of Vainglory, and it is a particularly strong one that lets her bend reality to her will. She can change the phenomena around her and rewrite it accordingly to whatever suits her needs.
This allows her to kill her enemies with ease, remove someone’s presence from a situation in which she doesn’t want them there, or even negate her own death.
Her powers also change the consequences of certain events, such as when Regulus and Petelgeuse are fighting in the Eilor Forest and Pandora removes Regulus and puts him back in his mansion instead.
The wounds on both Petelgeuse and Regulus disappeared after Pandora’s tampering, and whilst Regulus’s memory is changed as he technically never attacked, Peteulgeuse’s memories of the fight remain intact even if his wounds disappear.
There are conditions that need to be met for Pandora’s reality-warping to be at its most effective, but the nature of these conditions is unclear.
As mentioned, Pandora can avoid her own death thanks to her ability to change reality.
Pandora isn’t exactly the easiest being to kill as it is- due to her being a powerful witch- but should she find herself in a position where she is killed, she can easily rewrite the events of the reality around her and undo her death.
The most powerful element of this ability is that it can be used posthumously, rather than Pandora having to see her death coming and use it just in time to avoid it.
Both Fortuna and one of the RE: Zero protagonists, Emilia have killed Pandora multiple times, but she is able to return unscathed each time.
Again, it is unclear whether there are certain conditions surrounding her posthumous resurrection powers, but this still makes her a highly powerful character and quite possibly one of the most powerful characters in RE: Zero.
Pandora can also use her abilities to warp the memories of those around her to some extent. She has been seen to be able to erase memories from people- memories that she chooses to get rid of- and replace them with false memories, all by simply touching the head of her victim.
She does this with the previously mentioned Emilia, by making Emilia forget about Pandora’s existence as the Witch of Vainglory.
As strong and menacing as this power is, it isn’t entirely encompassing, as Emilia would go on to have fragmented and disjointed memories of the witch return to her as she got older.
Manipulation Of Senses
The Authority of Vainglory also gives Pandora the ability to manipulate the senses of her victims and make them perceive the world around them.
Pandora can twist people’s perceptions regarding who they are seeing. For example, she makes Fortuna think that she is holding on to Emilia when she is holding on to Pandora instead.
This sensory manipulation has led to Pandora being able to convince people to commit atrocious acts, making it a particularly sinister power.
Pandora is truly a wicked and sinister character, despite her angelic outward appearance. Her powers are all based around the concept of manipulation and causing both physical and psychological trauma to her victims.
Not only can she manipulate people’s senses and memories, but she can also warp the world around her to hurt her enemies, protect her accomplices and even save herself from death.
The manipulative nature of her powers, the sinister repercussions of what she does, and the terrifying potential of her abilities make Pandora a particularly powerful and scary anime antagonist.