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November 17, 2010

Bento Bako Lite: D.Gray-Man vol. 19

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Written by: Kristin
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Title: D.Gray-Man
Author: Katsura Hoshino
Publisher: Viz Media (Shonen Jump Advanced)
Volume: Volume 19 (ongoing), $9.99
Vintage: 2009 by Shueisha in Japan, November 2, 2010 by Viz Media
Genre: Action, fantasy, supernatural

Fifteen-year-old Allen Walker can transform his left arm into an Akuma (demonic-like machines created by a powerful being called the Millennium Earl) killing weapon, which draws on the power of Innocence. His master, General Cross, ordered him to join the Black Order, a secret organization that collects Innocence and matches it to chosen wielders so they can destroy Akuma and defeat the Millennium Earl before he destroys all of humanity. Allen is a valuable asset to the Order, as his left eye can detect Akuma. Meanwhile, the Earl summoned the Noah, 13 Apostles and descendants of Noah who can destroy Innocence. By tricking grief-stricken humans, the Earl encourages them to summon their departed loved ones, which he then turns into Akuma under his control. The Noah use the Akuma to hunt down the exorcists of the Black Order and search for the Great Heart, a powerful piece of Innocence that will decide which side wins the war. The Earl has also been hunting down the Order’s Generals, while Allen and the others search for them to protect them, and also find new wielders of Innocence to join in their battle. More recently, the Order has discovered that Allen is possessed by the 14th Apostle (who once betrayed the Earl), which is slowly eroding him, and will eventually take over his body.

That brings us to volume 19 (well, lots of random pointless stuff happened in between). On a mission to track down a thief who seems to be making use of Innocence, Allen, Kanda, Link, and Marie traveled to Paris. They found the Innocence wielder, a child named Timothy, and attempted to recruit him into the Order, but were soon attacked by a powerful Akuma. The end of the battle wraps up in the beginning pages of this volume, but more strange things seem to be happening to Allen. While attempting to slay the Akuma, Allen stabs himself with his Innocence weapon, which is designed not to harm its wielder (or rather, only harm evil), but to his great surprise, the weapon does harm him. Later, while they’re recuperating, Lenalee thinks she sees Allen transformed as someone else, but he quickly snaps out of it. Komui is visited by the head of the North American Branch, who announces that five Crows, Third Exorcists created by melding humans with Akuma, will be working with the Order from now on. Allen’s sensibilities clash with the Crows’, who absorb Akuma and destroy them utterly; as an Exorcist, Allen can purify Akuma with his Innocence weapon, setting the souls free. The rest of the Order isn’t thrilled that humans have been turned into half-Akuma either, but realize they are a necessity while the Order waits for more Innocence accommodators to appear. Someone in Allen’s group has a deep connection to these Third Exorcists, as well. On the other side of the battle, the Millennium Earl has finally collected all 12 Apostles, minus the 8th who was recently killed (the Earl being the 13th). He sets his plan in motion, and Akuma begin appearing rapidly and in great numbers around the world, followed by the Apostles, who begin popping up around the world to fight the scattered Order members. In a brief moment of reprieve, two Crows explain to Allen about their creation and the Alma Karma, from which they were all born. In another part of the world, an Apostle knocks out and captures Kanda, while the Earl leads his forces to overtake the North American Branch headquarters, where the Alma Karma resides.

At some point in the past few years, I managed to watch the first season of the D.Gray-Man anime (basically I watched the first 25 or so episodes of 103). I found it dull and uninspired. In fact, it seems I blocked most of it out of my memory, because I couldn’t remember anything about the series’ mythology. After some quick Wiki reading, I refreshed myself on the basics, but it still seems a little hazy. Basically, it’s completely forgettable. And with a large cast of characters with generic designs, and the constant back and forth of utter defeat and constant resurrection (no one seems to really die), it can be hard to follow. The art, apart from a generic feel, is fine. Though apparently Allen has aged since I last saw him in the anime; I hardly recognized him here. He’s also gained many new scars. The difference between Allen and his 14th Apostle form (when it takes over) is significant, if a little strange, because his hairstyle and his face physically alter, more than just the shadow of something within him. This volume focuses much on the Third Exorcists and the Noah, placing most of the main characters in the background. Things seem to be heading toward a heated conclusion, but there’s really no telling with most Shonen titles (and Viz is only one printed volume behind Japan). Many secrets about the Black Order and its experiments on Exorcists and Akuma are tumbling forth, and Allen is about to learn the truth about one of his closest friends.

Kris
kristin@comicattack.net
@girlg33k_Kris

Review copy provided by Viz Media.

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5 Comments



  1. I had been getting it from the library, but it just went on too long for me. The mythology could have been very interesting, but it ended up seeming tacked on.


  2. Kristin

    I just found it really boring. 🙁
    But I don’t think I hated it as much as Black Cat. I didn’t even manage to get through the first season for that one.



  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Comic Attack, Kristin Bomba. Kristin Bomba said: New #manga review: D.Gray-Man vol 19 from @Viz_Media https://comicattack.net/2010/11/bbldgrayman19/ @comicattack […]


  4. Jade

    I have that same reaction to most shonen series these days and yes, D-Grey man was pretty dull. For a while, I thought my tastes had just grown up a bit, but no, I still love me some Jojo and that’s one of the craziest manga available in English.



  5. […] this thing at volume 21, admittedly putting me a bit behind. So knowing this I took a look at the previous review of D. Gray-Man and did a bit of research on the title after reading it the first time. So, after […]



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