It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no, it’s not Batman, it’s me, Llian! I take it you’re here for another dose of Meringued Manga’s monthly review, so let’s not waste any time and get right into it shall we?
This week I had originally planned to look into a comedy manga, but I figured that I’ll stick with the shonen genre for one more week. We’ll be taking a look into the story of Katsura Hoshino’s D.Gray Man! Recently D.Gray Man has been changed from a weekly manga to a monthly one. That’s okay, because the story seems to be even better than it once was, and the artwork has also picked up tremendously.
D.Gray man recites the story about a world filled with Akuma’s (demons) that were created by the Millennium Earl; and a young boy named Allen Walker, just one of an organization of many Exorcists who use ancient substances, called Innocence, to battle against the Earl and his army of Akuma. Katsura’s manga was serialized in 2004 in Weekly Shonen Jump. Today, they have released nineteen (19) volumes; and was recently transferred from releasing weekly, to monthly, in November of 2009. There has even been an anime adaptation of 103 episodes that aired from October 3rd, 2006, to September 30th, 2008. The anime has been licensed by Viz Media, and the manga by Funimation Entertianment in the United States.
The story starts off with a monologue; referring to the chosen people known as Exorcists who hunt down those covered in Darkness, otherwise known as Akuma. Two police of a small town are investigating the disappearances inside an abandoned church. Several travelers with no refugee take shelter there, and when they wake up in the morning everything except their clothes vanished. They townspeople blame it on a curse, because of an incident that took place there two years earlier, but Officer Moore knows that it’s nothing more than a strange rumor heading around town! …Yeah right.
As she and her partner survey the church, they come across a cat. As officer Moore takes the cat a swarm of bats fly through the hallway and a strange, disfigured hand grabs officer Moore and slams her into a chair. To the readers surprise, it is none other than an adorable little boy, Allen Walker, who proclaims that the cat (whom I’ve nicknamed Stoler) has eaten a valuable assets of his, given to him by his master. Officer Moore questions Allen further on the matter… Let’s just say it doesn’t go well for Allen and he ends up getting handcuffed to a chair~ They hear a scream by Officer Moore’s partner, but it’s too late. He’s pinned to a wall with star markings all over him! And shortly later, he breaks into dust…ew. Well now we know why the travelers have been disappearing and leaving their clothes behind, but what’s causing this? The dust that starts to settle makes Officer Moore sickly, and Allen saves her as she passes out.
When she awakens, we find that she’s in a police station and her superiors think that Allen was the one that killed her partner Officer Charles. Allen..killing Officer Charles? I know some cute kids do some vicious things in mangas, but this is preposterous!! Allen explains that he knows who the culprit is, and he’s willing to help them find him, after Officer Moore returns home to her immobilized brother… I think I have a good idea who this culprit is as well. Allen begins explaining to Moore that an Akuma is a weapon created for evil, by evil that targets humans. Now, normally something that abnormall you’d be able to spot right? Wrong. Akuma’s have the tendency to take on human shapes so it’s quite difficult to tell if a person is an Akuma or not, without proof of seeing their true form. This is where the fun starts! Allen’s left eye has the ability to see whether a person has an Akuma in them or not!
As it turns out, Officer Moore’s brother was indeed the culprit. Through a quick but educational battle, Allen frees her brother’s soul, and heads off towards one of the main headquarters for Exorcists, The Order. Also, Stoler the cat did not survive through this catastrophe! A moment of silence for Stoler…
Now for my thoughts on this manga. It’s still ongoing, so there is nothing definite to what I’m feeling, but it was definitely a good and amazingly interesting read. I mean, the battles are amazing, and for the most part, every explanation can be understood with ease. Until the more recent releases… but we’ll tackle that bridge when we get to it. I think the characters are really unique, even for Allen in all his Michael Sueness. Yes, I said Michael Sue. And honestly, this manga has one of the best character developments I’ve seen in a long time. I’m not talking about “oh yeah I just got an awesome power up” I’m talking about a character growing through his trails and learning something from it. I’m talking about a bit of personality change and a growth in maturity. When it comes to the character, you will definitely not be disappointed. Even the antagonists are lovable! You hate who you need to, and you love who you’re supposed to.
Story-wise, this manga is pretty up there. The story is really unique and it gets the job done by ensnaring it’s readers. The only thing I’d comment on is the lack of substance in the main arcs. There are times when the arc is really boring because it’s been drawn out a bit too long. I think it’s just a matter of preference, though, so if you enjoy long arcs then there shouldn’t be a problem. Her artwork has improved drastically over the cross of this manga, and I have to say there was never a time I hated it. I loved all three phases she went through. They were probably due to her hand injuries (she her hurt hand twice, I think). So taking time off from drawing led to some different styles when she came back, and for a while she was also on hiatus. I think that’s the reason D.Gray man’s popularity decreased over the years, but it’s still holding on strong, and I commend it for that.
Once again we’ve reached the end. It’s sad for me, I hope you liked this review, I worked very hard on it~ Thanks for sitting through, next month I’ll probably be doing something a little bit different, just for you guys! So make sure you check it out!