Beginner's Guide to D.Gray-Man

Topic started by ethan on July 12, 2010. Last post by rheashinju17 4 years, 6 months ago.
Post by ethan (887 posts) See mini bio Level 15
While not as immensely popular as other Shonen Jump properties like Naruto and Bleach, D.Gray-man has still garnered quite a worldwide fanbase around the world. 

The Explanations of the Author, Where the Series Is At Right Now, (and perhaps more importantly) The Meaning of That Weird-Ass Title
 Want to come up with the next big manga series? Then have a 6-hour sleep in a bathtub and you'll be just like Hoshino!
 Want to come up with the next big manga series? Then have a 6-hour sleep in a bathtub and you'll be just like Hoshino!
D.Gray-man is written and illustrated by Katsura Hoshino beginning in 2004. After a 6-hour nap in a bathtub, she got most of her ideas for the series and went on  from there to make the gem we have today. Other inspirations also include her one-shot titles Zone and Book-man.  For those who want to know what the hell is with that odd title, the "D" stands for dolls (which was a potential name for the series), "Gray" meaning the mixture of black and white (in other words, good vs. evil. Get it?), and "man" as the humans who are the dolls that are interwoven into being either good or bad. In Japan the manga right now is up to 20 volumes with the Viz distribution right now at 17. In 2006 a 103-episode anime series was produced based on the first 16 volumes. 
The Story 
 Don't be buyin' what this dude is sellin'
 Don't be buyin' what this dude is sellin'
D.Gray-man takes place in fictional 19th century England. A mysterious being known as the Millenium Earl plans on causing  the next apocalypse of the Earth with  his evolving machine monsters known as akumaand his unholy powerful group known as the Noah. The way he makes akuma is by tricking people who wish to bring their loved ones back to life to become the vessels for akuma, while the dearly departed's soul is what powers it. The only way to stop the Earl are Exorcists in the Black Order organization with the power of Innocence, a substance allegedly sent from God to give them the powers to take the akuma down. Along the way, both sides are looking for the Heart of Innocence, an Innocence powerful enough to assure victory to whoever finds it, but like any other long-lasting shonen tale, finding that end-all-be-all power will take some time.
The Exorcists You Should Get To Know
Allen Walker: The main character of D.Gray-man who is one of the rare exorcists whose Innocence is embedded onto one of his limbs. After trying to bring back his foster father, Mana Walker, back to life from the Millenium Earl, he's been cursed with an ultra-powerful left arm and a cursed eye that lets him see the souls trapped within the akuma. 
Lenalee Lee: Like Allen, she also has a parasite-type Innocence in her legs. Her brother, Komui Lee, is the Supervisor of the England branch of the Black Order. 

  Lavi: An Exorcist with a fire-wielding, growth-shifting Hammer Innocence who is also an apprentice Bookman. The Bookman are the people who gather all the information that the general public should never know. 
Yu Kanda: A sword-wielding Exorcist with a very short temper. He's known for being pissed off even when people address him by his first name, but also has a shady past that would make anybody a big stick-in-the-mud.  
A Few Pieces of Advice Before Diving Into the Series, What Version Is Better, and Some Actually Good Anime Filler
      Such a beautifully animated tale (at least the non-humorous parts)
      Such a beautifully animated tale (at least the non-humorous parts)
If you decide to start off with the manga, my advice would be to not rush through it. There's quite a lot that happens in every page of D.Gray-man that you'll easily miss if you go through it like Bleach (especially the Noah's Ark story arc). But thankfully, Hoshino's artwork is so amazing that you'll probably want to soak in every image anyway. As for the anime version, it's certainly a fine series to watch, but if you had to choose one format, the manga is the way to go. There's far less overdrawn exposition and the anime is chock-full of filler. Then again, when you consider that there's only 16 volumes of material covered in the entire 103 episodes, what else would you expect? If you want to experience the D.Gray-man anime faithfully to the manga, you'll want to watch episodes 1-12, 19-26, 36, 38-39, and 51-103. Yup, that's right folks. Only the first half is infested with filler, and what's worse is that FUNimation has only released the first 51 episodes before going on a hiatus that still has no sign of ending. But to be fair, not all the filler is a waste of time and here's three particular stories that I found to be pretty good:
Episode 13: "With the Coat" - You should probably watch this episode if only for the first few minutes of material that'll help you understand the main story, but the rest is actually pretty good stuff. You get to see the bromance between Allen and Lavi start to bloom and also see the importance of wearing such an obvious-to-the-akuma Black Order uniform in a very compelling way.
Episode 18: "Lenalee's Love"
 - For the D.Gray-man fans who love the series' wacky humor like the Destruction of the Black Order arc in the manga, episode 18 is actually quite a hoot. You'll see plenty of Komui's crazy inventions, more much-needed fun times with Lavi, and an octopus head that's stuck on Allen for most of the episode. 
Episodes 29-30: "The One Who Sells Souls, Part 1 and Part 2" - Although the manga didn't put too much emphasis on the despair of how the akuma are created, this anime-exclusive story arc actually had a touching bit of commentary of the matter, with the kind of people who want to bring back their loved ones, and the people who wisely choose to live their lives with the memories of their dearly departed to keep them moving forward.  

The Future of the Franchise 

 It's been a long, bumpy ride for the story of D.Gray-man to be told. But at least Hoshino is using all this extra time to make the drawings better than ever.
 It's been a long, bumpy ride for the story of D.Gray-man to be told. But at least Hoshino is using all this extra time to make the drawings better than ever.
Unlike other Shonen Jump franchises, the road of D.Gray-man's distribution has been a rocky one. Hoshino has occasionally had to take several breaks with a particularly long hiatus in 2009. It's become such an issue that D.Gray-man has actually been axed from the Weekly Shonen Jump lineup at May 2009, reappeared in Akamaru Jump in August 2009 for one chapter, and been permanently moved to Jump Square in November of the same year. Now that the manga chapters are being released on a monthly basis rather than weekly, this series will be here for quite some time. Unfortunately this means that any chance of a second season of the anime is incredibly slim, even with all the unanswered questions left at the end. But fortunately with the manga, Hoshino's artwork is still as good as ever with a fantastic on-going story that I'll follow no matter how long it takes for it to end. 
Post by sotyfan16 (1,342 posts) See mini bio Level 20

I've been kicking around watching this series. The animation looks good and you have now helped fill me in in detail about the story. So thanks, Jason. I'm at a stage right now though where 103 episodes is quite an investment. I'm sure I will get to this series eventually.

Post by Kuma_From_Argentina (7,282 posts) See mini bio Level 14
I tried to read the manga but I've got bored at the fisrt chapter... 
I've tried a lot of times but I get till chapter ten and I start reading other manga...
Post by Rokujo (100 posts) See mini bio Level 10
Definitely one of the best shonen mangas I have ongoing. It can be very unpredictable at times.
I like how it doesn't play around with all the shonen archetypes that much.
It's had quite a lot of dark moments, and it's going to be interesting to see how it ends. Even though it's a monthly, I can't see there being a great deal left now.
Really enjoying Kanda's arc atm. Got to wait until September for the next chapter though.
Post by Shibumi (24 posts) See mini bio Level 7
I keep falling in and out of this series. 
I love the gothic design, but the early arcs are kinda boring. 
Beansprout always makes me laugh though. 
One of my mains in Jump Ultimate I may add...
Post by rheashinju17 (3 posts) See mini bio Level 4
I already watched the anime tv series of D grayman, and I love It compare to read it in manga, you will get bored to it.
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