Outerhaven Anime: First Reaction – D.Gray-man Hallow

It has been eight years since this last aired on television and the manga suffered hiatus after hiatus. We had given up hope that the manga would continue, but last year D.Gray-man made its triumphant return to the world of manga and here in the summer anime season, D.Gray-man returned to our television screens once again! Despite its much heralded return, something seems a bit off about it.

First Episode Impressions

The first episode starts off skipping some of the content. When we last saw D.Gray-man, a Level 4 Akuma was wreaking havoc on the Black Order’s headquarters. The final scene showed Allen in his new exorcist suit symbolically facing off against the Millennium Earl. Here, we skip the whole “Destruction of the Black Order” arc and go right into the “Fourteenth” arc where Allen Walker is suspected of being the embodiment of the Fourteenth Noah.

The opening sequence reintroduced us to the Akuma as well as the Exorcists. Allen, Lenalee, Lavi, Kanda and Miranda were shown battling some of the Millennium Earl’s demons. Back at headquarters we are reacquainted with Johnny, Komui, Bookman, Howard Link and Lvellie. Allen is summoned into a meeting with his master, General Marian Cross where Cross informed Allen that he was the embodiment of the Fourteenth Noah.

Allen denies this as he believes that his only purpose is to serve the Black Order and keeping his promise about his right hand being for the people and his left hand being for the Akuma. Lvellie isn’t exactly buying it and has Allen placed under strict observation. The episode ends with General Cross committing suicide, leaving us on a huge cliffhanger.

While the first episode does an amazing job following the events of the manga, everything else just falls way short of expectations. I don’t know how it’s possible for an anime to look worse than it did eight years ago, but D.Gray-man Hallow manages to pull that off. From the character designs to the animation, everything just looked horrible. Miranda didn’t even look the same at all and I had to stand there and guess if it was really her or not.

The voice acting, too, was different as one would expect from an entirely new cast, but the voices I grew up and became familiar with were gone and it didn’t feel the same at all. Needless to say, I’m happy that D.Gray-man is back, but I’m also highly disappointed with the quality of the show we’re being given. D.Gray-man deserved much better than this.

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Allen Walker in 2006

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Allen Walker in 2016

OP & ED Impressions

Key -bring it on, my Destiny” by Lenny code fiction served as the opening and while the song in itself is good, it doesn’t fit D.Gray-man at all. Not to knock UVERworld, but the fourth opening to the original D.Gray-man, “Gekidou,” felt the same way. I was hoping they could get a hold of Abingdon Boys School to provide the new opening, but sadly that wasn’t the case. Again, good song, but it just doesn’t fit the mood of the show.

Lotus Pain” by Mashiro Ayano is your ending theme. She provided the opening song “ideal white” for Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works so I had some hopes for this ending theme and it delivers. It reminds me a lot of “Snow Kiss” from the first season, but still, “Antoinette Blue” is the best ending D.Gray-man has ever had.

Worth Watching?

YES – I’m giving this a yes despite the terrible art and odd voice work because it does follow the manga and I believe that in order to decipher the story, the anime is needed. Katsuro Hoshino injured her hand and some of her chapters from years ago were really hard to read due to the artwork being all over the place. Some characters looked like other characters and, at times, I didn’t even know what I was reading. An anime should really clear that up and help paint a better picture of the story. I wish it was more than 13 episodes, but when you stop and think that even after 8 years, the anime is only 54 chapters behind on the manga, 13 seems like a reasonable number.  This is like Mighty No. 9… it’s better than nothing.