29 February 2012

Manga Review - D Gray man

Finally!  The manga I’ve been . . .::ahem:: you’ve been waiting for!  On with the review~

Title:  D Gray Man
Mangaka: Katsura Hoshino
Genre:  Shounen, Supernatural

Story:  In a world filled with akuma (loosely translated as demons) created by the Millennium Earl to destroy the world, Allen Walker ( our hero! ::cheer::) becomes an Exorcist and joins the Black Order to fight against the Earl.  As an Exorcist he uses his left arm, which can transform into a claw, to release the human souls trapped inside and powering the akuma.  Besides hunting down akuma, the Black Order’s Exorcists are also searching for pieces of Innocence, an item that allows Exorcists to battle akuma.  The Earl and his allies, the Noah family, are in a race with the Exorcists to find a piece of Innocence called the Great Heart, which would give a powerful advantage to whichever side finds it first. 


The Exorcists
Characters:  If you haven’t guessed by now, my favorite character is Allen!  I’m a sucker for the nice guy with a sweet smile and a tragic past (and of course the awesome powers are nice too!).  But actually all the characters in the story are well-developed and even the characters I didn’t want to like, I ended up liking.  (I hate/love it when that happens >.<) 

Storyline:  To tell the truth I was a little worried about the storyline when I first started reading.  I was afraid the series would turn into a battle every X amount of chapters with bigger and more powerful enemies to defeat until things got to a ridiculous level (Naruto, I’m looking at you. ::accusing stare:: )  But thankfully, that didn’t happen.  There are battles, don’t get me wrong, but the story does keep moving ahead pretty steadily with more and more depth.  Katsura-sensei’s world-building skills are excellent and really pull you into the story.  And there are a few funny filler chapters to lighten things up right before the story turns dark.  And dark it does indeed become.

Possible Pitfalls:

Length:  Although I love this manga and its characters, storyline, etc., it is long.  The last chapter I read I believe was 212 and it is released monthly, which makes it a long wait for each chapter. (I’m seriously dying with anticipation . . .@_@)  Although MangaFox, where I’ve been reading the English scanslation, is really good about posting the most recent update.

Tearjerker:  I’m not usually one to cry when reading stories, although I do get pretty emotionally involved with the characters. (I’m just sensitive >.<)  However, that being said, there were a few times the events in the story had me grabbing for a tissue.  (As a writer I understand that we have to torture our characters sometimes to move the story along, but still!!)  So, just a heads-up to have a full tissue box nearby when reading into the wee hours of the morning.
A lovely drawing from Katsura-sensei ^^

Overall Impression:

        Like you’ve heard, uh, seen me write time and time again, I love this series!  It was way too easy to fall in love with the characters, to really start to care about their lives and feelings, and dive into the world of akuma and Exorcists created by Katsura-sensei. The art is great, and although the series is long, it is nice to slowly watch Allen and the rest of the team mature (in both art and attitude) as the stories moves along. 
At times the story becomes quite dark, but I would argue that makes the questions arising from the events that much more thought-provoking.  If there’s one type of manga I love, it’s the kind that starts with a character thinking A is evil and B is good and then halfway through the series asks: but what if what I thought was good is really evil and vice versa?  (I like those deep thoughts ^_^)

So, for my overall score, I give this one 5 (out of 5) firecrackers. It is a definitely a must-read manga!  

And for next week I'm hoping to review the live-action movie Death Note, so stay tuned!  But I'll leave you with a few questions:  Have you read D Gray Man?  What do you think?  Good?  Wonderful?  Awesome?  Bad?  And the most important question of all:  Who do you think Allen should be with:  Lenalee or Road?  (I choose me! . . .That was unmentioned Option C ^^)

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