Foreign Friday: D.Gray-man

“My name is Allen Walker. I am an exorcist.” – D.Gray-man

This week’s Foreign Friday entry is D.Gray-man by Katsura Hoshino.

The Story

D.Gray-man is the story of Allen Walker, a 15 year-old boy who roams the earth in search of Innocence. Washed away to unknown parts of the world after the Great Flood, Innocence is the mysterious substance used to create weapons that obliterate demons known as akuma. He and his companions in the Black Order are tasked to find Innocence and use it to destroy the akuma…before the Millennium Earl destroys both Innocence and the world.

The Characters

Allen Walker is a kind boy with a tragic past that left him orphaned and cursed with an eye that can see akuma from within their human disguises. Because of his attempt to bring his adopted father back from the dead with the assistance of the Millennium Earl, he is cursed with an eye that can detect akuma, which are spirits who have been forcibly brought back to life to inhabit the body of their summoner, and are controlled by the Earl. His left arm looks strange and deformed, and is in fact a weapon made out of Innocence.  Despite the hardships he faces, he has a steady mindset and is generally upbeat. His friends in the Black Order are a wide spread of personalities, from sweet but tough Lenalee Lee, to her intelligent but bizarre brother Kamui Lee, to the vampire Krory and antagonistic Kanda.

What I Thought

D.Gray-man is intense and action packed right from the first volume. While the plot can be a little hard to follow in places, it is mostly consistent and the story arcs are interesting. The character development is well done, (I’m a sucker for the strong, sweet type and Allen is definitely that) but most people read it for the action. Overall the plot is on the darker side, bringing up biblical elements (the bad guys are the “Children of Noah”). Perhaps because the overall plot is dark, Hoshino is careful to add good doses of humor throughout the series. A lot of focus is placed on the darkness inside human hearts, and the consequences of that darkness and weakness, from the creation of akuma, to the emotion/powers of the Noah.

I enjoy Hoshino’s shonen-style art, which adds a striking edge to the action sequences that dominate the series. The costumes and settings are reminiscent of the 19th century, and some of the older names for places are used (such as Edo for Tokyo), but that is where the historical similarities end. There are 20 volumes currently available in English in the U.S. There is also an anime based on D.Gray-man which ran for two seasons (there may be more, but that is all that’s available in English). While the first season remained mostly faithful to the manga, the second season ventured out into more original subplots.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jacinta
    Sep 02, 2011 @ 19:08:51

    I really did not like the second season of the anime AT ALL!!!


  2. Jacinta
    Sep 02, 2011 @ 19:09:42

    But the manga is awesome!!! I need to do you a drawing of Allen.


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