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Come see how to hunt demons, and how not to hunt them...

I feel like they teaming up with Mickey and Donald for some KINGDOM HEARTS fun...
I feel like they teaming up with Mickey and Donald for some KINGDOM HEARTS fun...

My internet was out for a portion of the weekend, so we’re bunching these shows together today to make up for some lost time. Also, because they both happen to concern demon hunting of one style or another, it seemed appropriate to group them together. I don’t know if there’s much to be found in this comparison other than to say that one handles the subject rather mediocrely while the other makes it seriously engaging.

I did go into both of these with firmer expectations than usual, though...

D.GRAY-MAN’s name has come up pretty frequently in recs from this community and I’ll confess that I was less interested in checking it out since it follows anime titles’ unique happenstance of awkward, even obfuscating, punctuation. Sure, that’s a superficial thing to judge a series on, but ignoring it neglects how there is, in fact, an art to titling. I’ll point it out here the same way I pointed out that TIGER & BUNNY was a horribly-misleading name for anything that wasn’t actually about two cute plushy animals.

Maybe I was actually prejudiced against the show on account of the titling, because I found myself feeling rather lukewarm about it. The Akuma are rather inventive monsters in execution (even if their invocation unavoidably gets me to think of that other Akuma who makes you die one thousand deaths.) The scene where the couple experiences increasingly-perverse humiliation and torture at the hands of that demon was one of the most chilling scenes I’ve seen in any horror story lately (even if our plucky lead’s description of the Akuma’s nature was less-than-intriguing.)

Really, that’s what this really came down to - - Allen isn’t that interesting. At least, so far. But if the series centers on this titular boy who hunts Akuma over its world, then him making a good first impression should be of paramount importance, shouldn’t it? D.GRAY-MAN has a decent enough pilot, by my estimation, but it’s not strong enough to compete with the other contenders. I’ll put it in my “maybe” pile.

I’m having trouble articulating what precise elements of GHOST SLAYERS AYASHI’s promo image made me think it was going to be lame. Perhaps it was the resemblance to NURA: RISE OF THE YOKAI CLAN’s promo? The imaged half-assed enough that I was just floored by how good the actual episode was.

I’ll comment often enough about the translation teams putting together a good dub, but this as the first time I actually thought, “Whoa, this is a good sub.” I feel like the same purists fans who pitch a fit about the mere mention of dubs probably don’t ever recognize that the subs they have such preference for are still the work of Western translation teams who have to put a lot of work into rewording text to read better. So I’ll tip my hat to whoever handled this, because this was damn good dialog that revealed much through subtle, concise wordplay.

There’s some snark to be had in how this show offered the strongest threat of rampant male nudity outside of a Frank Miller comic, but I’ll hold off. More than anything, I was impressed by how grounded this show was. Not only did take proper time to establish that these larger-than-life monsters exist in a real historical setting, it was wise enough to fill that historical setting with the real human personalities and interplay that textbooks (and dodgy historical fiction) neglect. For as much pathos as there is in our lead’s “vagrant” status, you can actually understand the position of his persecutors, even if you aren’t agreeing with it. It’s same the kind of moral… objectivity in adventure fiction that I appreciate in Miyazaki’s work.

I want to see more of this one. Too bad you lunatics aren’t voting it up, because it’s definitely in my “Want to watch” pile.

Watch these episodes, "The Youi Cometh” and “The Boy Who Hunts Akuma” below and decide for yourself.

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of HYBRID BASTARDS! & UNIMAGINABLE. Order them on Amazon here & here. Follow him on Twitter: @tompinchuk

JayDoxon Nov. 14, 2011 at 7:46 p.m.

Lol. I just read a chapter of D.Gray-man. It gets better though

takashichea moderator on Nov. 14, 2011 at 11:21 p.m.

@Tom Pinchuk

I'm getting the feeling that the only shonen show you really like is Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood.

I find it interesting to compare D. Gray Man to another series that has exorcists, Blue Exorcist. Both have some religious backgrounds with a Vatican, have a ranking system of exorcists, and have enemies related to the Bible. The last one is strange.

Example: D. Gray Man has Generals as their top guys while Blue Exorcist have Paladins.

ComicMan24on Nov. 15, 2011 at 1:40 a.m.

G.Gray Man was nice but my main complaint about it was the length. 103 episodes were too much. It could be done in much less episodes IMO.

PenguinDuston Nov. 15, 2011 at 7:51 a.m.

I'm only half way through D.Gray-Man and I've liked what I've seen so far, but I only have a mild urge to return to the series because I know it doesn't conclude with the final episode.

Something about "and now the real story begins" is how it ends to my understanding.

For a shonen like this, I need to see those further adventures. Plot and character-wise I'd say D.Gray-Man's about as good as Naruto, Bleach or Fairy Tale and is largely undistinguished from them. That's not a criticism since I've enjoyed each of those, as well; however the difference is they're all still running (okay Bleach should probably end it, but that's a discussion for a different thread) and so those further stories are still being told. I know that they're still unfolding in the manga, but I don't read. The lack of closure leaves me feeling a bit unfulfilled.

My main complaint is that 103 aren't enough.

I haven't seen Ghost Slayers yet, but if you're into it, I say screw the voting and follow it further.

Lurkeroon Nov. 15, 2011 at 5:43 p.m.

D.Gray man is one of those shonen manga that is popular but not too popular. It has made the top of the sales charts many times over its run. Unfortunately since its not a top level shonen, a lot of people find it easy to dismiss if it doesn't catch on right away. Allen is one of those tropes where the main character is just introduced to the large guild of "name here" and sees how all the ranks work and all the powerful guys are at the top and probably won't actually take part in the story until much later.

It's okay. Not mediocre, but still easy to pass up.

I haven't watched Ghost Slayers. After your positive reception I should take a look.

zaldaron Nov. 16, 2011 at 6:36 a.m.

yes for both me and Tom I would say shonen isn't our favorite thing and if you remember much of full metal alchemist he didn't like. What made that show good was how it climbed over the shonen barrier to become something more. Much like Avatar the last airbender is more than just a kids show about growing up...full metal alchemist is more than just a shonen show.

Dig Deeper into D.Gray-Man

D.Gray-Man a Manga/Anime following the tales of Allen Walker, a 15-year-old member of the Black Order.

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