Tuesday, November 4, 2008

D.Gray Man: End of an Anime Saga ~ Review

With 103 episodes the anime epic “D.Gray Man” has ended with an indefinite end, while the manga written and illustrated by Katsura Hoshiro continues without the slightest hint, when the actual ending will commence. I was utterly disappointed, when episode 103 aired September 30th and concluded nothing, even though on its own it was one of the coolest to watch.

Picking up where my earlier review of the series started, there is a lot of material to cover. As the episodes progress from 40 and above, the small details from episodes that had no plot other than seek the demons and kill them, fall in place we see a bigger picture. All of the demon activity prepares the scene for the most serious battle between good and evil with Biblical proportions. As the exorcists have to fight against Level 2 of Akuma and beyond, more characters are introduced such as the Five Generals, the five strongest exorcists in the Order, whom the Noah Clan has targeted for illumination. Alan Walker and Lena Lee are sent on a search for Allen’s master and trainer, General Cross Marian, which occupies the focus of the series. The story arc features an ongoing battle with Akuma, which cause Lena Lee to destroy her Dark Boots by shifting them in overdrive and leave her legs injured. We also see the power of Miranda Lotto, who has kept the majority of people alive through her time disc. And we also witness how one of the Noah Clan, Tyki Mikk, who represents pleasure, shatter and almost kill Allan, who in the process loses his innocence as well.

The battle between the exorcists and the Noah family enters a new stage, when the Millennium Earls’ plans to annihilate the Generals fail and he has to face them raising a new type of demons, the Giant Akumas. In the meantime Allan’s struggles with recovering his innocence, which being a parasitic type can mean there is a chance he can synchronize with it again. When that happens and Allan receives a new and improved version of his innocence, he rejoins the party in Noah’s Arc, the Noah family’s base, and from then we witness duels between each Noah and an exorcist. Eventually the exorcists manage to take control over the Arc and Allan is recognized as a descendent of the Noah as well through a secret room with a piano, stops the Arc’s destruction, while it was in a process of downloading to a new form and version. This triggers the Earl’s fury and the last episodes encompass the exorcists’ slaughtering by a rare Akuma Level 4. In attempts to overpower the Akuma Lena Lee evolves innocence from equipment type to a parasitic type and the series end with the exorcists finishing off the level 4. A very unsatisfying, but cool ending nonetheless.

In “D.Gray Man” we can find all the traits in a typical Shounen manga storyline such as a team of protagonists in their early up to their late teen years, since Shounen is aimed for male readers between 10 and 18 years old. Humor is intertwined with a great dose of dramatic moments to broaden up the spectrum of emotions we spent on the series. All of the characters have special abilities to make them unique on their own and in typical Japanese style, every single one of them has a story to tell. Action is always brewing and graphic violence is mostly tamed down, but as the story progresses the level of physical suffering extends.

All of the above are valid for “D.Gray Man”, but I think that the time the story is set in, makes all of the difference. Most titles about empowered teens on a world-saving mission occur in either ancient past, apocalyptic mecha filled future or a present full of rivaling schools with uniforms. What we talk here is the 19th century of an alternative Earth and the steam punk element quickly does justice with the typical train stations, carriages, mechanical boats and giant telephones. Being fiction of course there are mild inconsistencies, where wireless connection and heavy data analysis machinery appear, but credibility is not what we search for.

I personally watched and followed all 103 episodes for the super power display. When it comes to anime, animation with an edge and amazing battle scenes are what I look for and considering that a majority of people enjoy superheroes, this is as close as you get seeing your heroes really getting it down in massive proportions. It’s not the best reason in the world to start reading a manga and invest time in it, so I will try to point out other strength.

I might have mentioned before, but it’s interesting to see how Japanese culture of demons and the views on how they are created clash with the Biblical mythology. In most Shounen I have watched, we see either typical Japanese mythologies involved or popular Western paranormal legends. No one so far has gone to the Bible (at least in my experience) and involve God as the one, who spread this “Innocence” to the people, who call themselves exorcists. The inspiration must have come for the Old Testament, since we see Noah’s arc in a slightly twisted version as a floating city with the Noah family holding on a memory from the people, who have died during the flood. Now mix this with kick ass fight scenes, the state of the art steam punk/futuristic 19th century and that characters that usually almost die, reveal their life stories and then spring back with a new lesson learned about themselves and their mission and you have one amazing anime to watch.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails