Rereading the first volume after having followed this series forthan a decade is a bit of a trip.So much stuff was in this first volume that never gets addressed again, but while the details have definitely changed over the years or have they , the premise remains constant.Allen Walker is an exorcist with a hand that becomes a weapon to defeat monsters called Akuma This first volume is him traveling to join up with The Black Order, a group devoted to destroying Akuma, defeating the Mi Rereading the first volume after having followed this series forthan a decade is a bit of a trip.So much stuff was in this first volume that never gets addressed again, but while the details have definitely changed over the years or have they , the premise remains constant.Allen Walker is an exorcist with a hand that becomes a weapon to defeat monsters called Akuma This first volume is him traveling to join up with The Black Order, a group devoted to destroying Akuma, defeating the Millennium Earl, and collecting pieces of a mysterious substance called Innocence He gets sidetracked on his trip for most of this volume, but the little vignettes help build Allen as a character and get the relevant story information out there before we dive into the meat of the series.Admittedly, this first volume isinfo dump than I remember it being the first time I read it, but enough is happening to intersperse the overload of information with battles and back story for our hero The art is pretty terrible in most of it, but in a charming I m trying, watch me grow kind of way seriously, later volumes of this series are gorgeously gothic.This volume is a middle of the road start for one of my favorite series of all time It was enough to get me invested all those years ago, and I recommend giving it a shot If the first volume has you intrigued, there s a lot of awesome waiting for you down the road There was a time when D.Gray Man was all the rage An often cheap but still compelling anime adaptation that aired between 2006 2008 brought a lot of attention to Hoshino sensei and for a while the franchise was immensely popular But after a long hiatus due to a bizarre health crisis in the mangaka s life that may be addressed at a later point the furor died out and by the time a sequel to the anime rolled by in 2016 it went by almost unheeded This is quite unfortunate as this is a solid sho There was a time when D.Gray Man was all the rage An often cheap but still compelling anime adaptation that aired between 2006 2008 brought a lot of attention to Hoshino sensei and for a while the franchise was immensely popular But after a long hiatus due to a bizarre health crisis in the mangaka s life that may be addressed at a later point the furor died out and by the time a sequel to the anime rolled by in 2016 it went by almost unheeded This is quite unfortunate as this is a solid shounen title that is considerably superior, in my opinion, to many othersuccessful manga Alas, such are the fickle ways of the 2D industry and I speak for the Western reception first and foremost as I am not up to date to what Japanese readers think but be it as it may, the manga is still running and as yet to be canceled so there must be a large enough fanbase to make it viable in the highly competitive world of battle adventure manga.This first volume is a good introduction to the imaginary 19th century where the story takes place Via aesthetics that are very reminiscent of Tim Burton at his best, D.Gray Man unfolds pop Gothic visuals, for lack of a better term, with Catholic imagery galore to the point a cross is embedded in the main s hand , while opting strong contrast between black and white spaces that works very well in giving in a graphic look Interestingly, shaded panels almost always point to dreamy sequences, at times of a quasi symbolic nature, in which the villain tempts people into crossing a line they should not.This villain is the Millenium Earl, a figure that is most remarkable in terms of how he is visually represented The Earl is very fat, drawn in asimpler style than the rest of the cast, and could have stepped out from virtually any good Tim Burton movie With absurdly tiny glasses, a bizarrely long mouth that is almost the entire face and a very tall hat perched precariously on his heas as he skips about with a pumpkin topped umbrella, he lookslike comic relief than anything else But that is a very big mouth indeed and it is full of teeth The Earl is so unique a figure that it makes perfect sense that he should make it to the cover of the very first volume, right next to Allen, the main In a sense, the Earl s dual nature of buffoon and terrifying monster with the power to manipulate people when they are at their lowest is the essence of the entire manga it has its moments of comedy but is much, much darker than one might assume.Almost right away we learn about the nature of the Earl s weapon of choice, the Akuma I will spoiler tag it as first time readers may not want to know view spoiler These are created by attaching the soul to a mechanical skeleton via a loved one calling it back from the land of the dead or something to that effect, it is not entirely clear how the afterlife functions once animated the now trapped soul is a slave to the Earl who gets it to kill the loved one and impersonate them by using the now dead human body as a skin mask of sorts It is absolutely chilling and the way it is shown enough to give one the creeps the skeleton lowers its spine into the host body by the mouth The Akuma now looks like a human and is free to mingle and kill Thean Akuma kills, theit evolves and thedangerous it becomes hide spoiler Arguably, the process of Akuma creation is a bit convoluted and this volume goes through it twice but it is at the core of what makes D.Gray Manthan your average battle manga There is real human drama here and already in the first chapters it gets presented in all its horror view spoiler It comes as no surprise that Allen himself turned his adoptive father into an Akuma after his death but it gives him a kind of motivation few shounen heroes can equal His Innocence weapon slashing Mana against Allen s will is the stuff of nightmares and one that the manga knows how to use to its full advantage as the story progresses hide spoiler Allen is a very likable character and one of the few shounen heroes I do not abhor In this volume he displays the typical skill set of great power, courage and desire to improve at all costs But he is not rash or annoying even if he very much the gotta save them all type that I tend to really not care for Perhaps it is because the world of D.Gray Man is so dark and each loss ends up resonating all across, including one chapter characters, that his savior strike becomes so compelling.Or maybe I just like white haired bishies.On that subject, D.Gray Man is a manga that is shounen in spirit but veers on shoujo visually It is a combination that I favor and here it is impeccable Interestingly enough, the character design shifted to less suave in the anime this is all thevisible in Kanda who, in the manga, could very well pass for a female character but comes across as muchmasculine in the anime adaptation especially Hallow, the later one But there is a complicated history regarding the artwork that will be covered at another time The battles themselves are intense and convey a sense of movement with grace but Hoshino is still perfecting her craft When Allen goes against several Akuma simultaneously some of the flow is lost and one is not entirely sure of what is happening Said battles revolve around Allen s weapon, a left arm that is normally red and borderline deformed but morphs into an impressive shining claw when activated It is here that the before mentioned cross is embedded so the symbolical appeal is unmistakable even as the manga evolves toward a greater andcomplex sense of nuance I had read this before in English but this was my first time reading this particular manga in Japanese I feel like an idiot for never having figured out before that Kanda s blade, Mugen is written as six illusions and not infinity the homophone is deliberate but given than Kanda calls out his attacks as first illusion and so forth, I should have realized it but it never even crossed my mind To my great surprise, I was able to read this in two goes across two days That is a record for me and while it may seem a petty one, I am still quite proud of myself, furigana not withstanding With that said, I still struggled to make heads or tails of the handwritten parts It never ceases to baffle me how mangaka, who draw for a living, can have such untidy and borderline illegible handwriting or why manga insist in printing them as such as opposed to just using regular characters with the occasional missing stroke Native Japanese speakers and very advanced learners do not need all strokes to figure it out but I do like my kanji to be complete Revisiting this manga allowed to fully appreciate it I had found myself thinking, as I watched later episodes of the anime, that at some point the story lost coherence and went in contradictory directions But I now realize that seemed almost random plot decisions on the part of sensei were in fact a long game Hoshino was foreshadowing almost from the very first panel and she knew very well what she was doing I ll fully review this later but damn, it was good. Note This is half a review of the whole seriesso it is very confusing at timesincredibly confusing and I don t stop to explain myself, not once, so continue at your own peril In fact, no, don t read this because it s actually a pretty bad review I ll probably edit delete later Bye Screw this I m writing this review right now, noprocrastinating for Mello, yup And after this I m going to write my review of Hetalia AND AFTER THAT I WILL WORK ON MY NANOWRIMO NOVEL Well, okay, maybe Note This is half a review of the whole seriesso it is very confusing at timesincredibly confusing and I don t stop to explain myself, not once, so continue at your own peril In fact, no, don t read this because it s actually a pretty bad review I ll probably edit delete later Bye Screw this I m writing this review right now, noprocrastinating for Mello, yup And after this I m going to write my review of Hetalia AND AFTER THAT I WILL WORK ON MY NANOWRIMO NOVEL Well, okay, maybe not exactly in that order I ll probably procrastinate and loaf around for a long time And then I ll readof Homestruck and complain about how long it is Yup.But, regardless, let s get on with this review, shall we Okay, D Gray Man What can I say I LOVE D GRAY MAN It is and will always be my favorite manga, but even I have to admit it has it s flaws.Although I for one was drawn in this volume from the very beginning and could not put it down Come on guys Allen had a cat in this volume A CAATTTS I can see how it may bedullto others Inner trollish Mello WUT HOW COUDL U SAY THINGS LIEK DAT ABOUT D GRAY MANN Because, inner trollish Mello, I am sensible Mello and I can see that even my favorite series has flaws.For instance, many compare D Gray Man to Fullmetal Alchemist At first I didn t really see the similarities lol, I mean we re talking about this guy Versus this guy Howeveras time progressed I began to see the similaritiesAllen and Edwardboth have fucked up armsboth have fucked up arms as result of parent s deathsboth have crazy as shit mechanics look, Komui, I love you, but you are clearly crazy both have dead parentsboth have tried to resurrect dead parents only for it to end up HOLY CRAP TOTALLY WRONGboth are criminally shortand are picked on constantly for thisand always take offense at being picked on constantly for thisYeah, well, I won t go on and on The point is that on the surfaceD Gray Man may not seem terribly original.BUT BUT BUT BUT BUTWAITTT Okay, look, that s just on the surface I personally didn t mind the severe lack ofplot cringes I really don t want to say lack of plot, because that s not entirely it, but because I fell in love no, not literally with Allen yes, okay, literally Really, D Gray Man as a whole has never been strong with plotwell, except for the place we re at the series as I type this sentence Hoshino is a master storyteller, at least at the moment, in fact she s always been a master storyteller, she s just not all that fantastic with the plot in the middle But that was fine, at least for me, because I loved the characters so much I was willing to read anything about them.Basicallyyeah, okay, you read this volume and noit s not all that spectacular But later it starts to developclearly, we are introduced to major characters, the plot thickens well, uh, I would hold my horses on that one, but and everything picks up But just not here Here Hoshino introduced us to all of the terms she d be using Akuma, Excorcist, Innocencesomething else and that was kind of a mistake She needed a stronger way to pull in readers But that s not the point Well, actually it is.ARGH WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO CONVINCE YOU TO READ D GRAY MAN I can t seem to say anything that doesn t come out sounding overtly critical of it Okay, you know what, let me tell you my reasons for sticking with D Gray Man all this time, maybe that will help The team dynamic Hoshino uses It s flawless Well, maybe I shouldn t say that just incase there is a flaw I figure out sometime in the future But right now I will say it it s flawless I love everyone on the team, nobody s lagging anyone else behind unlike on the Naruto team where there was always annoying Sakura, and, uh, IT S A GOOD TEAM DYNAMIC OKAY I suck, terribly.But let s move on from that depressing tidbit of the day Uhwaitwrong picture Sorry Krory, but you re not exactly the reason I kept reading, sorry to sayI love Krory too, really, butno.HERE S WHY makes small choking sound W wait Let me explain Firstly, let me just say that no, I am not a yaoi fangirl Seriously It s just, well, Laven is my one true pairing IT S PRACTICALLY CANON, AND I AM A CANON PURIST SO DON T TAKE THAT LIGHTLY I don t believe in throwing two people together just for the sake of it, but LavixAllen works It just does I mean, for chrissakes, they are all over each other half the time And what about that hug, and and mumbles Okayso I am in this partly for my pairing.you ll never read it now, will you Look, it s not just that I feel that the world building is weird, but once again it just works The Exorcists, I love all of them Lenalee isn t treated as a second class citizen she s the girl of the team Although some would argue that she s just fanservice because of her skirt, well, no She actually has a personality that s visible, and hey, there is actually a halfway excuse for the skirt To be able to use her magical boots please, please, don t ask me about that she needs as much leg space as possible But, well, let me tell you something elseit s the powers.All the powers, villains and heroes, are very, very confusing Only if you re naive like me will you try to argue that they make sense, and as you can see not even I try and argue that they make sense I won t even try to explain it here, in fact, just do a wiki search and save both of us the trouble All I can say is that at least nobody s incredibly over powered by anyone else Their power levels are always kept in check, and that s relief.UhhhI think I may have went off point for the eighth or so time.I ll end this review now.TL DR THIS VOLUME MAY NOT SEEM LIKE MUCH BUT IT GETS BETTER AND THEN IT GETS A LITTLE WORSE AND THEN IT GETS A HELL OF A LOT BETTER AGAIN AND YOU BECOME ADDICTED LIKE ME DA END D.Gray Man the author has said that the title has nothing to do with the series it was picked because it sounded cool is one of the strangest manga s that I ve encountered thus far It s sort of a cross between a Tim Burton movie, the best of the steampunk horror genre, with a few elements of Victorian England thrown in Its art style is just as strange the characters are drawn in a very specific way you either love it or hate it Onto the plot Allen Walker is cursed He tried to bring h D.Gray Man the author has said that the title has nothing to do with the series it was picked because it sounded cool is one of the strangest manga s that I ve encountered thus far It s sort of a cross between a Tim Burton movie, the best of the steampunk horror genre, with a few elements of Victorian England thrown in Its art style is just as strange the characters are drawn in a very specific way you either love it or hate it Onto the plot Allen Walker is cursed He tried to bring his adoptive father back to life with the aid of the mysterious Millennium Earl who may or may not have rabbit ears , only to end up with an eye that can see Akuma demons created by the Millennium Earl who are under his control He was born with a deformed arm, with a strange green cross embedded in it he later finds out that this is his Innocence, an elusive substance that Exorcists those chosen by God to slay Akuma wield as their main weapon He learns of the race to collect all of the Innocence before the Earl unless the Exorcists win, he will surely dominate the entire world.D.Gray Man has gotten a lot of flack for having a bit of a coordination problem when it comes to fight scenes it s hard to tell what the heck is going on sometimes , but the art is beautiful and the characters enchanting Allen is a first class sweetie no, guys, that is NOT a reason for you not to read the series Someone can be sweet natured and tough at the same time , Lavi is charmingly funny, Komui is hilariously messy, and Lenalee just about the only female character in the series is cute and tough at the same time a good combination in a shonen series While D.Gray Man isn t that well known, it deserves to be So hurry up and buy borrow these books and give it the reputation it deserves Confession I have a lot of problems with manga as a medium It s actually surprising to me when I genuinely get into a manga series, because there are so many obstacles I find the panels often confusing it takes me several minutes to get used to reading right to left I m continually frustrated by the melodrama which plagues the beginning of most series and the way things are repeated over and over and over and over and over So I guess my problem with this volume is not really with it, persa Confession I have a lot of problems with manga as a medium It s actually surprising to me when I genuinely get into a manga series, because there are so many obstacles I find the panels often confusing it takes me several minutes to get used to reading right to left I m continually frustrated by the melodrama which plagues the beginning of most series and the way things are repeated over and over and over and over and over So I guess my problem with this volume is not really with it, persay, as with the fact that it falls prey to so many genre weaknesses.The basic concept is interesting fascinating, even A war between the forces of good armed with something nebulously called Innocence and those of evil with a horde of half machine half tortured human soul weapons at their disposal is a really cool idea Unfortunately it feels to me a lot like Clay The protagonist, Allen Walker, seems to be a similar sort of mysterious not quite human almost the enemy type as all Clays Actually, he strikes me as the combination of a Clay and Edward Elric and ergo he doesn t feel to me like something new.I think I would have given this book four stars if it hadn t been for the constant repetition of the word akuma Surely, surely, if these things have been around for ages they havethan one name Surely, even if they don t, it s not necessary to use it so often Pronouns, people, pronouns They weren t invented just for shits and giggles Use them Other than that hmm Well, there are things that deserve dramatic reveals with exclamation points It helps if these things are not the same things which characters have explained very calmly the page before.I m not going to give up on the series yet, but I m not in a hurry to track it down after this less than stunning opener P.S Millenium Earl Rasputin Spoil for me Allen Walker is a fifteen year old boy, whose left arm can transform into a weapon The weapon is a monstrous claw of sorts It is meant to destroy Akuma Akuma are machine like monsters that were created by Millennium Earl, the bad guy Millennium Earl wants to use the Akuma to destroy mankind Allen has a master, General Cross Marian Cross tells Allen to become an Exorcist An exorcist is a person who can kill Akuma They work for the Black Order, which is an organization that hopes to stop E Allen Walker is a fifteen year old boy, whose left arm can transform into a weapon The weapon is a monstrous claw of sorts It is meant to destroy Akuma Akuma are machine like monsters that were created by Millennium Earl, the bad guy Millennium Earl wants to use the Akuma to destroy mankind Allen has a master, General Cross Marian Cross tells Allen to become an Exorcist An exorcist is a person who can kill Akuma They work for the Black Order, which is an organization that hopes to stop Earl Walker s left eye can detect disguised Akuma His left arm and left eye are his weapons when fighting an Akuma..Characters 5 5 Excellent Everybody has a different personality, different past, it s amazing Plot 4.5 5 It turned out amazing The plot is above at the top of this review There is action, adventure and thrill.Drawing 4.7 5 I love how the characters look Some have uniforms, while others have their own style.Overall 4.8 5 AMAZING I m on vol 9 right now It s really addicting Overall Grade A 95% Ah yes, I still love this series, I know I saw about 50 episodes of it long time ago, and also read some volumes of the manga, but I never finished This was just so good Happy to see Allen again I decided to re read this one, I didn t really want to start a big book right before my vacation, and also all the books I really wanted to read are now boxed up and ready for my vacation yes, I am writing this review before my vacation starts.In this one we first meet with Allen, we find out about Ah yes, I still love this series, I know I saw about 50 episodes of it long time ago, and also read some volumes of the manga, but I never finished This was just so good Happy to see Allen again I decided to re read this one, I didn t really want to start a big book right before my vacation, and also all the books I really wanted to read are now boxed up and ready for my vacation yes, I am writing this review before my vacation starts.In this one we first meet with Allen, we find out about his history, about why he looks the way he does though I am sure there isbackstory in the future, as there are still enough questions left , we also see him travel around to get to the Black Order, while his master is once again on the run which always makes me laugh, though I also feel sorry for Allen that he is stuck to such an eccentric master.I loved seeing Allen travel, and also do some exorcism stuff He meets some people who I hope we will meet again in the future I did feel sorry for the people he met, and their circumstances I can t imagine how much it must hurt to find out your loved one, or your friend is an Akuma The Earl was creepy as I remembered him, and I can t wait to readabout his backstory, we do find out some stuff, but the Earl is still a big fluff ball of mystery.The Black Order, and what happened there, I just laughed so much Ah, Kanda being Kanda pissy as always , Komui an idiot as always, just loved how everyone was just sighing at the fact that he failed once again , and we also meet other characters It sure was a delight to see everyone again, and to see Allen truly start his exorcist job.The art is really pretty, and I just love how everyone is drawn, but I also love all the little details that are scattered through the pages 3All in all, I will be sure to readof this manga, I am not sure if I will write a review for each of these volumes though Maybe for a few or maybe I will bundle them.Review first posted at This was pretty good I definitely enjoyed D.Gray man waaaythan I thought I would. Set in a fictional end of the th century England, it s the story of Allen Walker, ayear 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 akumaA born exorcist, Walker s primary anti akuma weapon is the cross that s embossed on his red and disfigured left hand, which contains Innocence But not only does Walker destroy akuma, he sees the akuma hiding inside a person s soul Together with his fellow exorcists fighting under the command of the Black Order, Walker leads the battle against the Millennium Earl, the evil being out to destroy mankind