As the 19th century draws to a close, the end of the world looms. The clan of Noah and the akuma prepare to trigger the Three Days of Darkness. A holy war has raged between the Millennium Earl and the Black Order, an organization formed to save the world.
Our hope lies in a holy weapon called Innocence and those known as Exorcists, who wield it against the Earl’s evil agents.
Allen Walker has an arm with special powers. It can kill “akuma” – a sort of artificial demon – and save the soul that inhibits it. Because of that he has been sent to the Headquarters to become an exorcist by his master, who picked him up after he got cursed by his father, Mana Walker, for turning him to an akuma.
I promised a while ago I would read through all of D.Gray-Man to date and write a review. See, I did it! I’m slow, but I keep my promises! See?!
First (or second) of all, Happy Last Post of 2018! We did it! We came through this year. I feel like every year it’d gets so stressful because I’m squeezing in the last post or editing it at the last moment. I was supposed to finish this post yesterday, but here I am, sitting with the 25th volume beside me, my heart squealing, an hour and a half before it’s supposed be posted to complete and edit my post. My desk is a mess, I have a fever, my entire body aches, I’m coughing and sneezing, and I know I have to somehow fit in time to add affiliate links before midday, but despite that I’m happily typing away. I made it through the year, and we’re heading into the next. And this seems to somehow be the pattern every year, with the exception of last year when I simply didn’t write anything at all.
But join me with a cup of chocolate and let’s talk about D.Gray-Man. (I swear, it took my 10 tries to type that title right. Don’t type away with a fever, kids.)
This is one of my favourite titles. I love the anime, but I absolutely adore the original work. I really like dark fantasy like this. This work in particular uses religious images and bases things on Christianity. As someone interested in religion and mythology I do find it very interesting. There are times I get really irritated because of how characters are portrayed in fiction based on religion and/or mythology, but because D.Gray-Man only takes a few elements, and runs all the way with them, it works. It’s a very typical Good vs Evil/Light vs Dark type of comic, but as mention it’s dark fantasy and it does (like many other titles in its genre) go for some kind of nothing is just black and white, but there’s a grey area as well. It’s a fairly serious series, and I mentioned in my review of Hallow that I felt some of the comedy was lacking. It was a really long time since I watched Hallow, but I was both right… and wrong… probably.
I think the anime of the “Hallow” arcs had some of the comedic elements removed. I love how when it gets serious – and it can be very serious for some time – Katsura Hoshino throws in a curveball of goofy, which make you laugh. It just throws you off and I think the pace for that is just perfect. But the anime didn’t have that impact, so the goofiness was either removed or off-paced. But there’s more of those goofy comedic moments in the beginning of the series, but perhaps it changed as the magazine – and hence audience – changed. Unless you lived for Allen eating piles of food, it’s not necessarily a bad change. But I know people are not happy with the story progression. I love it though. Aside from perhaps the weird zombie arc, I think it’s all has been very pleasing to read and, if I hadn’t had a child and (small) apartment to do all the chores of, I would had marathoned though it.
When you read the volumes faster than they would had been released, it’s very interesting to see how the art of Hoshino evolves over time. It’s rough around the edges in the beginning but is extremely refined by the end of the 25 volumes that have been released. A lot of works from Japan suffer from “All Characters Look The Same Syndrome” but characters have various different builds and face shapes. They are also from all over the world and in a list of exorcists I recognised a few Scandinavian-looking names. I missed that in both the (older) anime and my first read-through. My point is, Hoshino has done a great job, not just with trying to show characters come from various parts of the world, she shows it in her art.
There are a few things in the American translation I noticed. Noise Marie, for instance, was called “her” which was very interesting. But these kinds of mistakes happen and Marie’s name can be difficult to decipher as male. Largely it’s rather good. The politeness of Allen’s does go missing, which is too bad, especially since there was a comment on how he was starting to be less polite with the people in the Order, and if you don’t know he was polite, it’s at least lost to me as someone who isn’t natively English-speaking. When reading the 25th volume in Japanese, I could definitely see the different ways of speaking, that were lost in English. As I have watched both the older anime and Hallow I was aware of Allen’s speech patterns, but as it’s been a long time, it was still very nice to see the distinction between characters and be reminded of how the speak.
In short, I just love this series. So. Much. My cup of chocolate I made when sitting down with this like an hour ago has long since been finished. I’ve held the 25th volume while screaming inside. I don’t really have much to add, except that there’s a lot of good-looking guys in this series, I guess. While in a magazine catered to a male audience it’s clear this is mainly for the females reading it. I think Fo and Lenalee, and many other female characters also show this, because they each show strengths in various ways. Of course – the male characters does as well. This is, definitely, one of my top favourites, and definitely something I recommend to everyone, but in particular those interested in reading dark fantasy.
And that, my dear readers, is all I have to say in the year of 2018.
What would you like to see a review of in 2019? Let me know in a comment!
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