Losing a loved one is so painful that one may sometimes wish to be able to resurrect them—a weakness that the enigmatic Millennium Earl exploits. To make his mechanical weapons known as "Akuma," he uses the souls of the dead that are called back. Once a soul is placed in an Akuma, it is trapped forever, and the only way to save them is to exorcise them from their vessel using the Anti-Akuma weapon, "Innocence."
After spending three years as the disciple of General Cross, Allen Walker is sent to the Black Order—an organization comprised of those willing to fight Akuma and the Millennium Earl—to become an official Exorcist. With an arm as his Innocence and a cursed eye that can see the suffering souls within an Akuma, it's up to Allen and his fellow Exorcists to stop the Millennium Earl's ultimate plot: one that can lead to the destruction of the world.
FUNimation Entertainment licensed and released only the first 51 episodes of D.Gray-man. The explanation they provided for not acquiring the remaining episodes was that there were licensing issues with Dentsu. However, on June 30, 2016, it was announced that Funimation acquired the rights the second half of the anime.
#1: "Snow Kiss" by NIRGILIS (eps 1-13) #2: "Pride of Tomorrow" by JUNE (eps 14-25) #3: "Yume no Tsuduki e" by surface (eps 26-38) #4: "Antoinette Blue" by Kitade Nana (eps 39-51) #5: "Anata ga Koko ni Iru Riyuu" by Rie fu (eps 52-64) #6: "Wish" by Sowelu (eps 65-76) #7: "Regret" by Hoshimura Mai (eps 77-89) #8: "Changin'" by Stephanie (eps 90-103)
I'll be honest here. I don't usually go for long running shounens. Since my younger days of pokemon, digimon and yu-gi-oh (back before I'd even heard the term anime and just thought of them as cartoons), the longest anime series I've watched was 50 episodes, and that was only one show and took me forever to finish. High episode counts put me off. I like my stories to have an end. I like my battles not to drag on for five episodes. I like my plot arcs to end before I've had enough of them. When my characters have to get stronger, I like a
training montage with the Rocky theme playing, not five episodes of them agonising over what it is that's holding them back, only for them to then repeat that process after the current villain is defeated and the next villain has presented itself. So why do I love D. Gray-Man? Because for a 103 episode shounen, it keeps it's use of the above shounen tropes to a minimum, and on the occaisions when it does use them, the other elements of the show keep the formula fresh.
I'll start with the plot, which is far darker than your average shounen. From the very first episode, we are shown a merciless enemy that will exploit any weakness, who's main weapon, the Akuma (demons) uses the souls of the dead. These are not zombies, just mindless corpses. These are weapons which pull a soul back from heaven and torture it as their power source. A lot of shounens gloss over the concept of death, bad guys are captured alive or shown the error of their ways, people fall unconscious but can be healed, etc. In D. Gray-man, death is very real, and resting in peace is only for the fortunate ones who's loved ones are strong enough not to be tempted to call them back.
Against the Akuma and their creator, the Millennium Earl, are the Exorcists of the Dark Order. Exorcists are those chosen by God to use 'innocence', a mysterious substance which can be used to form weapons capable of destroying the Akuma. The series follows Allen Walker, a new recruit with the ability to see the souls trapped within the Akuma. The plot itself begins slowly, with short arcs in which Allen and his comrades are dispatched to investigate mysterious phenomena which are thought to be caused by innocence fragments. After a few of these arcs, the Noah Clan, allies of the Millennium Earl, begin to be introduced and the focus turns to the war between him and the Dark Order.
The plot is, for the most part, very well paced. Early arcs are kept short, about 4 episodes or so long, with a single 'filler' episode in between. Don't be put off when I say filler. While the plot could easily go without these episodes, I found them all to be entertaining (if somewhat silly at times) and they served well as comic relief within an otherwise serious plot. And if you don't enjoy them, they do become fewer and further between as the war intensifies and plot arcs become longer. With one exception, none of these longer plot arcs drag on to the point that the viewer just wants them to get on with it. In the one arc in which this does occur, it is saved in part by having another plot running at the same time. Battles often do last across multiple episodes, but in most of these, the battle changes and develops over those episodes, unlike drawn out battles in other shounen which just get repetitive, where the middle episodes can often just be skipped entirely.
The show also boasts one of the best sets of characters of any anime I have seen. Each hero is flawed, and the Earl and Noah are far more fleshed out (in more ways than one in the Earl's case) than most villains. It says a lot about the quality of a series' characters when the villains mourning a dead friend can evoke sympathy. They also managed to inspire doubt as to whether the exorcists are in fact the good guys, thanks to the show's religious imagery.
As for the heroes, each has their own motive, each of which is more complex than the standard shounen motives of just saving the world or becoming the strongest and the like. Allen wants to save the souls of the Akuma, to the point where he can even show disregard for his own or others' lives at times. Lenalee, the series' main female character, fights for the sake of her friends and brother, and her past reveals that she may not support the Dark Order's cause even as she fights for them.
My personal favourite characters were Lavi and Bookman. These two are a master (Bookman) and apprentice (Lavi) of a clan of historians who became exorcists to be close to history as it occurred so that it could be recorded, and while they do fight, they try to minimise how much they interfere. Lavi's conflict between his duty as a Bookman and as an Exorcist, the loyalty he developed for his friends despite Bookman's orders to become close to no one, and his doubts as to whether the cheerful, friendly, fun guy is the real him or a mask that he should remove was probably my favourite aspect of the series.
So, here I am singing the series' praises, yet it got a 9, not a 10. Why? Well, in complete contrast to what I said at the beginning, because it ended. A lot wasn't able to be explained before the series was cancelled. The last ten episodes or so suffered from trying to rush one of the story arcs after having taken their time over previous ones. The battle in the last three episodes was amazing, but it also wasn't the final battle that I wanted to see. There is a lot of potential for a sequel, including a development at the end that virtually screamed "to be continued". I do sincerely hope that there will be a sequel. But if there isn't, the show ended in the best possible place it could. A clear cut ending is often unrealistic, and endings in which the heroes won but the villain is there in the shadows, not as dead as they thought, muttering "This isn't over" gets old quickly. Maybe the abiguity was for the best.
All in all, the show is well worth watching, even if you don't usually commit to long running shounen. Just don't go in expecting to not have any questions at the end.
When i originally wrote this review (after watching the 72 episodes that had aired at that time), D.Grayman was #42 in "Popularity" on myanimelist.net and a very Popular Manga (#10). The show had a score of 7.8..BUT You might have noticed that the score and popularity you now see is much higher reason being the anime starts off fairly slowly and takes a while to kick into gear and progress the plot. But once its does you just might be a fan...
The Story has a very original plot. When I started this anime I immediately liked the concept of chosen humans + "innocence" = akuma
(demon) butt-kicking "Exorcists"! I knew nothing about it but i decided to watch it based on its good animation and I was not disappointed at all. The characters and their uniforms/weapons all look outstanding!
I found that all of the op. and end. songs are excellent songs that you wouldnt mind listening to each episode. Normally I would skip songs but I listened to all of D.Gray-man's because they really do suit the anime and sound good! Background music could be a bit better tho...
Character is one of the best aspects of the anime. Each and every character is Amazing! Each main character is lovable, unique, strong, nice-looking and they all have mysterious pasts and secrets. I have found fan clubs for even the evil characters. You wont find out about the evil characters until late in the anime but they are surprisingly loved as well. There might be a few characters you dont like but those would likely be side characters..all the main characters are great! The development of the ALL the characters through out the series always amazed me...
Try not to give up on this anime too early...after watching about 30 episodes I started to get a little bored... But since I loved the characters and was curious about the plot I decided to go read the manga. I was instantly hooked and it became a favorite! The point is that at the start of the anime there are a lot of filler-type episodes (especially before episode 38). Dont get me wrong, these are not the typical useless filler episodes. All most all these episodes are either action-packed or show some character development.
Even in the most serious of times there are humorous moments and great weapons/abilities/battles..
D.Gray-man finished with 103 episodes and not many fillers..In my opinion do not be disappointed with the end of the anime. There are many amazing battles that lead up to the climatic end but a lot of things are left unexplained. I don't think its confirmed but I am expecting a second season in the future after a lot more manga chapters are released (when the anime ended, it was very close to manga and i guess they decided not to go into fillers...)
Overall this anime is excellent [9-10] and covers almost every genre;
A worthy watch! It can be compared with the popular shounen anime Naruto and Bleach but I found more interest in D.Gray-man which is a bit more serious and in depth. (And a lot less out-stretched if you know what I mean...)
Themes surrounding exorcists and demons have been treated in previously in other works, and D.Gray-man revolves around such topic. What makes this anime different, is that it takes the liberty to slightly adjust such theme to match the setting, and also make an arguably more intriguing story. With the recent announcement of the upcoming sequel of D.Gray-man, people may wonder whether this battle shōnen is worth their time, and in this case it is, but only to a certain extent, as several crucial elements of a battle shōnen were executed in a lackluster manner. Not to mention the presence of some very lackluster characters.
of D.Gray-man revolves around Allen Walker a young boy who enlists in the organization of Exorcists with the purpose of eliminating the akuma that roam the world with the "Innocence" - a gift, a weapon bestowed to serve the apostles of God, the exorcists. The akuma are in fact mechanical weapons made by suffering living souls, as opposed to the regular definition of the term; these are controlled by the antagonist, the Millenium Earl, a twisted and dark "joker" or "clown" if you may. It is the task of this organization to abolish and vanquish the Earl, the source of evil.
While it is a very standard premise, as mentioned earlier, what makes this anime differentiate itself from other similar titles, is the approach on its theme: it is dark and cruel, which was is the first thing that will be noticed when viewing the anime, which isn't frequent in the genre. It gives insight in the working of despair, loneliness, longing and death in numerous occasions when the protagonist seek to quench the attack of these akuma. The side stories provided for numerous situations can be interesting and dramatic as well. Comedy is also present in the anime, which can be at times funny, yet ultimately was overused as the story progressed.
What makes this anime even more interesting is its setting: it takes place in the 19th century, a good and welcoming Victorian/gothic feel, mixed with some futuristic elements, which was achieved by the studio. Furthermore, this enhances the credibility of the situation of humanity currently is in, through the lack of fast communication present currently in ours society, which in turn enables the occurrence isolated and unknown cases where attacks occur. In addition it makes the viewer appreciate the difficulties the people faced in that era. As for the pacing, this was overall a bit lacking at times, where in several instances actions lasted longer than necessary, or either were beating around the bush. It must be mentioned that the first batch of episodes (around 30) are of episodic nature with some small arcs, following a very similar structure, whilst introducing the characters. From there on actual story takes place, which is in turn more intriguing and gripping.
However, where the anime fails in several occasions are the battle scenes and the "powerups". First of all, each exorcist has a unique "innocence" power, which gives diversity to the show. What is a shame is that the majority of the battle sequences are executed in the same manner, and very repetitive, which renders the diversity of the skills a bit pointless, as these are in majority of the cases confined to 2 or 3 action. Other huge issue are the "powerlevels" in this anime, these are very irregular and change whenever the plot demands it. When actual powerups take place, which for the matter are not earned through training or the likes, these seem totally pointless as secondary characters who didn't undergo such changes have the same powers; it doesn't give any real feeling of progression.
The characters of D.Gray-man are rather lackluster in general, who stay in the majority of cases one or two-dimensional, or in even some cases devolve; however, the author managed to make these characters somewhat interesting through their pasts. On the side of the organization there is Allen Walker, the main character who is the typical shonen character who is very caring and values friendship above everything else. On the flip side, as a character he is likable as the aforementioned attribute isn't overused; furthermore, his past is something that certainly will keep viewers intrigued throughout its duration. Some character development takes place, yet this is hardly noticeable.
Then there is Lenalee, easily the worst character in the show: at first she seems to be a somewhat mysterious person, with a dark past. However, her character seem to change over the course, the author seemingly not very sure what to use her for, consequently several times her actions being incomprehensible. What is worse, she ultimately devolves to being a simple damsel in distress, which was a huge drawback. Other character of interest is Kanda, who as opposed as Allen, doesn't care about the others, which nicely contrasts in the show.
As for the antagonists, these are typical as well, yet the most intriguing by far is the Millenium Earl himself, as audiences are intrigued on what his ultimate motives are for creating the akuma. He appears to be a comical character, yet dead serious when necessary, which can be a drawback for some, as it makes to difficult to take him seriously, with no motives apparent. Concerning the supporting cast of characters, these are for the most part uninteresting, on both sides, being either one-dimensional characters, or too mysterious to care about these. I might want to add that the akuma are not always simple evil beings; in several occassions it is shown that these can have a will of their own.
~Animation and sound~
The art style of the anime was well done, having its share of detailed and varied backgrounds, which enhaced the overall viewing experience; this can't be really said of the protagonists, as these are generic, as opposed to some of the akuma designs, and naturally, the main villain himself. The animation quality was overall good, yet as the fights were repetitive and basic, it never could shine. It must be said that some actions scenes were very well executed, alongside a matching choreography.
The soundtrack of D.Gray-man is certainly well done, befitting of the atmosphere, yet ultimately forgettable. The voice actors performed their role well, especially in the case of some of the secondary characters, which helped to the intrigue of said people. As for the openings and endings, these are of very high quality with praiseworthy music pieces that certainly helped to peak the interest in audiences.
D.Gray-man was overall a fine anime, yet never really shined due to the above mentioned issues: it failed in some crucial aspects of the genre itself, in addition to a weak cast of characters, although some were interesting, in addition to some of the antagonists. Despite all these flaws, I can't deny that I actually enjoyed the unknowing mysteries surrounding the world and the approach on its themes. A lot of things remain unknown in the anime, and thus I hope these are revealed in the sequel. So do I recommend this anime? Only to those who enjoy watching battle shounens really.
Story - 5
The story was bad to say the least. It was badly paced as most of the time your stuck to seeing something between shonen- anime glued together with a lot of dramatism. And that means that action fight's are predictable and almost seem pointless and the Allen or Lenalle or other guys from the Order cry after almost every fight about something. The story had so much plot-holes that there were more holes then the plot. Also on the end all you get is about the same were this anime started. The last episode everyone is still fighting akuma's and more
then 100 episodes passed away already.
It was very good. Nowhere in this anime you can see bad animation and it was 103 episodes long. That's a lot of episodes! Off course it wasn't anything ground braking and akuma's could of been made more creepier.
It was awesome. All the time I liked the sound in the anime soundtracks. Specially when Allen played piano. Only reason I didn't give it 10 was, because few openings could of been a bit more better. Almost all of the openings were top notch, but none of them were something that I would like to listen.
The good guys were decent characters.The main protagonist Allen was an interesting character, but he lacked the brains or the attitude to be a real protagonist. Allen is basically a good guy and nothing more. The protagonist might as well be Lavi or The Krory( The vampire dude). Well at least the good guys had some good character development, but because of the bad story the character development was really hard to see. The villains were just pointless. There goal was pointless and even 3 year old kids have better goals to accomplish. For example, Earl's goal was to destroy the world. And what will happen to him? Who the hell would want to destroy something his life depends on? Makes no sense.
I kinda enjoyed this anime with a big minus. I liked to watch some of the fights in D. Gray-man, like Krory against Lavi and Allen. Though most of the time the fights were one-sided like Allen killing lvl 1 akuma's. The comedy in here was like: Should I be laughing or not? So I didn't crack any laugh at all. Well at least I liked to listen to the music. But once I remember how long this anime was I feel like I wasted too much of my time for almost nothing. I will never rewatch this anime.
The story is rubbish. For 103 episodes it went nowhere and the last episode just ended with a cliffhanger. Character's are decent. The art and music is quality stuff, but nothing ground-braking.
If you really have nothing to do then go watch D. Gray-man. At the start you will like it , then you will get bored of it somewhere in the middle, then close to the end you will start to like it again and you will want to know what will happen next and at the end you will just get a wtf moment that will leave you with a bad taste in your mouth and a lot of wasted time.