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kamuinoyume's D Gray-Man Tv,manga Review

D Gray-Man

D Gray-Man tv,manga Review

At the end of a fictional nineteenth century, the Earth is the battlefield of the war between the Black Order and the Millennium Earl. The Earl wants to destroy humanity using his army of akuma, weapons created from the despair of the people who lost their loved ones and recall them to life, trapping their souls into the akuma. The Black Order is a secret organization, under the orders of the Vatican, composed by Exorcists, people able to fight and destroy the akuma using their anti-akuma weapons, made with a divine substance called Innocence. Among them is Allen Walker, a 15 years old boy, who joined the Order to defeat the Millennium Earl and free the souls trapped as akuma.

Story & Playability

D Gray-Man tells the story of Exorcist Allen Walker, who's been in possession of an Innocence fragment for as long as he can remember, and has decided to join the Black Order so he can liberate the souls of the people the Millennium Earl has trapped inside its grizzly Machines called Akuma.

The Manga was first published on the 31st of May 2004 in Weekly Shonen Jump. The Anime ran from the 30th of May 2005 till the 3rd of December 2010, and as far as I'm concerned, both of them are a combination of everything that was generally considered "good" and "popular" at the time. And the influences can be felt throughout the whole Manga and especially throughout the Anime, where the animators took a whole lot of liberty with the source material. (Basically it's a combination of Bleach's premise, Fullmetal Alchemist's main character (Ed) and Naruto's rival (Sasuke) and some other stereotypes or tropes added in to keep things "lively"). It's pretty late into the story when the Manga finally grows into its own and starts coming up with original concepts and characters (and unfortunately very few got animated).

For the purpose of this review, I will be looking at the Anime and the part of the Manga that was animated, nothing beyond that.

Let's review the Arcs:

Intro arc (first 2 episodes/ chapters 1-7) – When I said that the animators took liberty with the source material I wasn't joking. The intro arc to the Manga has three stories: On his way to the Black Order, we are shown Allen's wondering throughout two towns where he encounters and saves first Detective Moore (who doesn't know a thing about Akuma and therefore serves as the newcomer to ask all the questions for the audience) and then a young boy John, whom we find out is the son of one of the men from the Science division of the Black Order. And the third story which features Allen's arrival at the Black Order, and our introduction to the European Branch of said organization. The Anime skips over John's story and introduces it later on in the show, and frankly, it doesn't matter either way. John is still an annoying brat whose story only serves one purpose: to reveal the reason behind why Allen is fighting the Akuma (basically: character exposition). On both accounts this is an okay ark. It introduces you to the world and characters and gives you ample reasons to start rooting for the good guys. And believe me, you'll need them.

The Ghost of Mater Arc (ep 3-5/ cp 8-16) – Allen and Sasuke... I mean Yu Kanda, the one person Allen can't seem to get along with the moment the two laid eyes on each other, are sent by the scatter brained chief (Komui Lee) of the European Branch of the Black Order out on a mission to retrieve a fragment of Innocence from a town that's believed to be haunted. As per Sasuke and Naruto's first mission together, the two but-head on more than one occasion, which nearly gets them killed, but after saving each other's lives, the two tentatively start... hating each other a little less, because they most certainly don't become friends. A la Sasuke style, Kanda takes to calling Allen "Moyashi" (bean sprout), but fortunately for them, unlike the Naruto trio who have to endure each other on a daily basis, Allen and Kanda part ways here, each going on a different mission. This arc was fun! I've always been a fan of the Naruto-Sasuke style rivalries, and the Kanda-Allen relationship is like an extreme version of it, where the two either completely understand the other or completely hate each other. The Ghost of Mater story was a bittersweet love story which might seem overrated, but it managed to keep me interested. So up until now, all was fine and peachy.

The following two parter was part of the intro arc in the Manga (the John arc that I mentioned earlier) and as far as I can see, the only real reason the Animators decided to move that arc here was so that Lenalee Lee could be present when Allen revealed his past. The change felt unnecessary because Lenalee's presence in the story neither took nor added anything to it, so it felt like such a huge waste of an interesting character development, especially considering Lenalee's past.

The Black Order Annihilation Incident(ep 8)... is unfortunately not just an Anime Filler, it was in the Manga as well (cp 17-18)... one of those incidents that are supposed to be so funny... and I know for a fact that some people like them, I'm just not one of them. I hate this episode! And I hated Komui Lee for the longest of time for giving me this and the other piece of garbage which is episode 18 (Lenalee's Love). You have no idea how hard it was to take this show seriously after that episode. I'd honestly sworn to myself that if the next arc wasn't good, I'd quit the show for good. Fortunately the next arc proved to be a vast improvement.

Rewinding Town Arc (ep 9-13/ cp 19-26) Allen and Lenalee are sent to investigate a town that seems to be stuck in the day of October 28th. Here the two befriend new people, make new enemies and are both beaten to a pulp. Yep, good times! The arc itself isn't as brilliantly constructed as it could have been, but I love Miranda! And her presence alone made up for every little mistake this arc made. Plus Lavi is added to the team at the end of this arc.

Leaves of Rebirth (ep 14-15) and Millennium Swordsman(ep 16-17) Arcs are both Anime original and are decent adventures to give screen time to characters we haven't seen in a while (Kanda) and to introduce new ones (Lavi).

The Vampire from the Old Castle Arc (ep 19-23 cp 31-40) is the arc where Arystar Krory is introduced. An exorcist that will be accompanying our main cast on the next big adventure. Frankly, I liked the story, but was a little bit offended by the character of Krory, because a) that is not a Romanien name, nor does it bare any resemblance to how you write the name in English and b) it just goes to show that neither the Animators nor the Mangaka know anything about the European culture (then again neither do they know much about Asian culture either, but who cares at this point).

The next ep, 24 along side 28 are fillers dedicated to Krory's struggles with being an Exorcist, while the next two parter (ep 25-26) serve to introduce us to General Yeegar, whose fate the Manga just skimmed over in Chapter 29. I think this is a good addition from the Anime, because it gives us time with the character and henceforth his tragic fate has more of an impact on us, compared to the time he was nothing more than a name on a piece of paper. But he wasn't really an important character, so I guess his arc is kind of pointless in the long run. 27 is a comedic Anime original episode in which Allen reveals some of his past spent with General Cross. And the next two parter (29-30) was the episode that made me sick of seeing Allen and Lenalee as partners because it made me realize how incredibly devoid of any conflict their relationship is. They're both self sacrificial martyrs and honestly, I was getting sick of the fluff so much so that I was so relieved to see Miranda back in the next episode... which was kind of terrible, but at the very least it was entertainingly terrible. Ep 32 is again a filler and this was where I gave D Gray-Man the honorable first prize for having some of the worse fillers I have ever seen put to screen. This entire arc from my POV is useless filler arc and I hope you were counting because those were 10 entirely wasted episodes...

The Gozu Arc (ep 33-35; Novel 1 Story 2) are some of my favorite episodes off all time. In which we are introduced to Gozu the cowardly Finder who tricks both Kanda Yu and Suman Dark into helping him save the lives of innocent people (and you'd think that would be a given, what with their job description and all...). My brother doesn't really agree that they are that good, but he unlike me had the fortune of skipping the previous shitty ten episodes and only watching what I thought was good of the Anime, so I suppose that incident (or lack there of) colored our viewing experience of the show.

Unfortunately after such an entertaining arc we're forced to endure another episode dedicated to Lenalee and Allen being self sacrificial martyrs, before the entertaining Barcelona Arc starts (ep 37-39), which unfortunately is only skimmed over in the first two pages of chapter 30 from the Manga.

The Lulu Bell's Attack Arc (ep 40-50) is sh*t. And I honestly couldn't wait for it to end. Not to mention the fact that this arc raises an important question that I haven't been able to get the answer to: Whether Lulu Bell was an Anime-Original character that made its way into the Manga or whether the Mangaka gave the Animators the concept of Lulu Bell before adding her to the actual story. Because officially, Lulu Bell appears in the Anime at ep 40 which was released on July 10 2007, whereas her first canonical appearance in the Manga was in chapter 138 which was somewhere in July-August 2009 almost two years apart. But I suppose it doesn't matter all that much.

The Fallen One Arc (ep 51-56/ cp 44-56) is the best arc the Anime has to offer, and most like, the most original idea the Manga has come up with. This arc leaves the story off with a very suspenseful ending, which unfortunately gets completely ruined by the next episode (57, cp 57-59) since well, spoilers! Go check it out for yourself.

And we are finally done with the fragmented story telling and fillers. The 3 major arcs that follow from this point on are all canon material from the Manga.

The Asian Branch and Edo Arc (ep 58-75/ cp 60-89) are actually a combination of 3 mini-stories. First: Allen's training in the Asian Branch. Second: Lenalee and Lavi's encounter with a Level 3 once at sea. And third: The exorcist's fight with the Earl and his fellow Noah clansmen in Edo. All three are really interesting Arcs, with amazing fight scenes that will please the shonen fans out there, but the three arcs also have nice character development for each of our main protagonist that will keep you interested.

Noah's Ark Arc (ep 76-94, cp 90-136) is the arc that I believe would have made a fitting end for the series as a whole. It's that one arc that feels like the end of a journey, and the victory that the group has is sufficiently massive to warrant that feeling of 'the end'. The arc is genuinely entertaining, and has fantastic moments for each of the 5 main characters, and even for the supporting cast. Not to mention the fact that Cross Marian finally makes his appearance. Had the Anime ended here, I'm certain the fanbase would have been overwhelmed with curiosity and the desire to find out what happened next after the game changing revelations and objects acquired at the end of this arc. But, unfortunately, it didn't.

Invasion of the Black Order Arc (ep 95-103/ cp 137-158) I am one of those people for which the way a show end has a huge impact on my general viewing of it, indifferent of the fact that I might have enjoyed the show thus far, if the ending is bad, it will forever ruin my opinion of it. This was not an arc worthy to be the end of a series. And I'm quite certain the Animators had no intention of making this the final Arc of the Anime, but it still became the final arc after it's cancellation, and that is unfortunate. The first episode starts off on a comedic tone, almost like mocking the grandeur of the arc that had been before it, and completely diminishing the effect of the victory the group had in just the previous episode. The arc quickly turns violent a bit too fast, not even giving people the time to savor the moment of respite for which the Animators were going for, and the violence has too many moments of 'fake deaths' for characters which we knew they wouldn't and couldn't kill off so easily. The enemy, while appearing to grow in scale of destructive power, fails to impress since the Level 4 is dumbed down, and therefore downgraded to a mere dispensable foe and he is dispatch of fairly easily. The ending is anticlimactic, and the original final last episode, serves to pique no one's interest, since it leaves you with the promise of just more of the same on the horizon, and not something new and original that a last arc should have provided (and on which the following arcs of the Manga delivers).

If this would have been the first arc of a new series, if would have managed to catch viewer's interest and make them curious as to what might happen next given the development. However, as a final arc of a series, it is completely underwhelming, it overstays its welcome and it leaves nothing to look forward to.

My final rating of the story amounts to a 5. It's just way too disjointed, the fillers are poorly done, and the first 50 episodes feel like a jumbled mess, with no sense, structure or direction, which had me genuinely confused and dissatisfied.

The characters are fairly complex and interesting. Almost all of them are given room to develop and grow freely, making them compelling and complex. And the villains are given the same treatment as the protagonist making them fascinating to watch. So, I suppose I'll give it a 10 for characters.

Overall, this category gets a 7.

Rating: 7

Graphics

The visuals were for the most part okay. There definitely was some choppy animation involved, and I think they even parodies in the Anime their repetitive use of animation for certain attack (namely Lavi's), but when there were important fight scenes to be had, the Animation never failed to shine.

I like the lighting in the show, since they chose a much more dark-bluish tone to go with for the Anime in order to make it more Goth like, but that's all the praise I have for it unfortunately.

The design of the costumes is not really original, and they mostly look the same all wearing those ridiculous order costumes (I didn't bother to remember what they were called) and unfortunately, they were badly animated, since they were mostly straight lined, and it took a lot away from the individuality of the minor characters, like the science division who is easily confused with their fellow Asian Branch members, or among each other. And the character design is plain and very much... none weird, and what I mean by that is: most characters have plain hair. Either long wrapped in a ponytail, or just your regular messy looks, or plain up straight and short, nothing too outrageous, and anything that's different is actually generic for other shows. The villains by contrast are actually very distinctly dresses and weirdly styled, making them unique and easy to remember and identify.

Rating: 7

Sound

None of the voices of the characters ever felt off to me, and the voice actors did a great job at portraying their respective character. My favorite among them is definitely Junpei Takiguchi who gave a magnificent performance as the Millennium Earl. He gives the Earl this weird little grandfatherly voice, that's always filled with this sort of childish glee, yet, somehow, he manages to make that sound sinister. That voice actor is amazing, and I would recommend watching the show just to hear him perform.

Most of the background noises are okay, and the character songs are fitting to their respective characters. There's this weird little haunting piece that's dedicate to the Millennium Earl that I always find fascinating every time it comes on. Though I do have a grudge with the sound effects, and frankly, I didn't really know what it was, up until it hit me when watching episode 55 when a heavily packed episode was completely squandered and caricatured by the sound of marching drums playing in the background. I didn't bother looking up the name of the song, but man was it terribly distracting. And, the artist who sang the 14th's song was horrible! Thank god Allen's voice actress started singing along with her else she would have ruined an otherwise perfect scene.

Rating: 8

Fun

Overall, I think the first part of the Manga that got turned into an Anime was bad. And I honestly like to praise the Animators for adding all the extra little piece of detail that made all those choppy chapters more entertaining. But I'd also like to scold them for their horrible fillers, because, given the source material (the Manga) and just how poorly paced and structured it was, and given how entertaining they managed to make the bits of the Manga that they animated, I can't help but wonder how did they managed to f**k up their own original stories so much...? It will forever remain a mystery, but I honestly think that the reason the show didn't catch on was because of the terrible fillers, and some of the source material's more poorer arcs, plus the fact that the show decided to end with an opening Arc might have something to do with its subsequent cancellation.

It was overall a jangled mess, but it does have some interesting stories and some fascinating concepts for people who are actually willing to give it a try, and the Manga is still ongoing... though the updates are sporadic at best...

I assume most shonen fans will enjoy the show. Religious people might not enjoy the way the elements of the bible are bastardized (especially the word "Apostle"). If you're expecting to find an accurate depiction of Europe during the 19th century, you'd be quickly disappointed. To the more mature fans that are interested in seinen or gritty stuff, I recommend reading the Manga instead (it has more of a mature appeal than the Anime that was clearly made for teenagers), as for the ones interested in story and character development over action... you might like this show, since there is a lot going on and there was genuine thought put into the development of the story... question is if you're going to survive the fillers? So, my recommendation to you guys would be: give it a try and tell me how it goes?

Rating: 7

Final Verdict

7.17 (above average)

Reviewed by kamuinoyume, Aug 06, 2013

Comments

  1. lupinchan Feb 15, 2014

    some fillers were boring but those with flashbacks of cross marian and allen were funny imo. >..<

  2. angelxxuan Aug 29, 2014

    not a bad review, I rather like how you broke down your opinion at the first into each arc. but it sure was a filler upon filler, that's the pain of the longer anime most times I'm afraid, they put more fillers in over the actual plot. even the manga, at times had fillers in it to help it along and dull the readers/viewers. as I wasn't a big fan of the anime/manga, I find your review did a helpful notion to what people might or might not be interested in. thanks for sharing your opinion with us :)

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