D.Gray-Man Vol. 1 – Manga Review

d-gray-man-1.jpg

I already gave my impressions on the D.Gray-Man anime a while back, but I never watched more than the first episode. I just finished reading the first volume of the manga. But was it any better than the anime?

d-gray-man-1.jpg

I already gave my impressions on the D.Gray-Man anime a while back, but I never watched more than the first episode. I just finished reading the first volume of the manga. But was it any better than the anime?

d-gray-man-1-1.gif

Story:
Allen Walker is a young exorcist whose job is to destroy the “akuma” threat to humanity. Akuma is the Japanese word for “demon,” but in this context they’re like half machine half soul killing machines. Apparently there’s a stupid looking fat guy named The Earl of Millennium who is trying to destroy humankind with these akuma.

In this volume, he saves a few people from Akuka (there seem to be a whole lot just running around) and enters the Exorcist’s “Black Order.” Doesn’t the Black Order sound like something malevolent rather than good?

Analysis:
After watching only one episode of the anime, I thought the story was really stupid. My readers told me I should try and understand the plot a bit more. After reading the first volume (which should be enough), I still think the plot is really, really stupid.

It’s not only the plot, I guess. It’s also the way that the story is presented. It’s just way too easy to create an Akuma from one sad person. There was one scene where the evil fat dude had like 1,000 Akuma just come out of nowhere. It makes sense if anyone with the case of the “blahs” can turn into an Akuma on command.

Also, the “Millennium Earl” is the dumbest looking villain. In the history of the universe. I can’t really take the guy seriously when he looks like some kind of jovial, fat elf.

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Character Designs and Art:
Okay, so you know how I feel about the Earl’s character design. The rest are actually really good. I love the hot Billy (Meganekko British Cop FTW) in the first chapter, but I have a feeling we’ll never see her again. Linali Li is also super hawt.

In general, the art is great. It made reading the manga a lot easier since the plot made my head hurt. I’m happy that the manga at least has that going for it.

Conclusion:
Despite the great art, I can’t really take the story of D.Gray-Man very seriously. Maybe I shouldn’t be trying to take it “seriously,” but I really can’t enjoy this manga on the low level. I guess the reason is that the manga tries to take itself seriously, and expects the reader to as well. And yet, we have the Earl…

Many thanks to Viz Media for sending me a review copy of D.Gray-Man Volume 1!

36 thoughts on “D.Gray-Man Vol. 1 – Manga Review”

  1. I really like the art in this one, too, but, although I didn’t hate the plot as much as you, after watching 20-some-odd episodes of the anime and deciding it was going nowhere, I won’t be bothering with the manga anymore, either. I guess that’s a good thing, because my must-buy manga list is longer than my budget is deep. ^_^

  2. i read some of the manga and is not that bad… i mean despite of the stupid and not convinsing plot. i like the part when Allen tells about his past. But the funny parts are really stupid, and it feels like they are just there to keep the genre in balance.
    i also agree that The Earl of Millennium looks more like an evil stupid clown than a devil or whatever its supposed to be.
    Also i hate that its like a one day advanture, like in the first chapters they only talk about the girl’s story and it ends right there and then another story from another victim transormed into a Akuma.
    But isnot the wrost manga i’ve read

  3. Are we critical?
    I dislike this.
    Because story is ONLY FIGHT.
    This manga’s base “Yomikiri” was good.
    but I like sennen hakusyaku.

  4. Actually, you need to read a good bit into the manga before it becomes really interesting.
    SPOILER ALERT!!!! (Do not read on unless you want spoilers.)

    Further into the manga, you find that by the time Allen has entered the order, the Millenium Earl already has tons and tons of Akuma about: They weren’t all created at once when Allen came along. Not to mention, the Earl, as you read on, has ALL of Japan under his control, pretty much. So, of course there would be tons of Akuma. It does have typical shounen manga feeling, and yes, the Earl is quite…um…stupid looking. O.o;
    You have to consider other aspects of it, though. It gets better, trust me.
    (At least it doesn’t have a retarded arena fight like every other freaking shounen manga out there. -.-; )

    1. Hát, tényleg olyan volt. Egyszerűen nem bírtam abbahagyni a vi¡sgroÃgyt, annyira élveztem az egészet. Pedig pontosan tudod, hogy hogy be voltam tojva tÅ‘le…:D

    2. Jena, I just choked up seeing the video and all those beautiful intelligent children who just aren't given a chance! I hope he was successful in implementing his computer outdoctrination theory!! What a lesson for all of us!!

  5. U know what? the story gets better after getting in to vol. 10….
    plus, that umbrella that earl is using brings all akumas….

    kinda related to noah’s ark….

    eventhough the rummers say that this is a copy of Full metal alchemist, i think this is waaaaaaaaaaay better!!!!!

    and even though earl looks little dumb, he is very evil!! (?)

    this is my favorite manga ever!!!

  6. Overall I didn’t find the story nearly as stupid as you did, but upon analysis, I think I understand why: the main character, Allen Walker, is ridiculously reminiscent of Edward Elric (the arm, the face, the fact that he tried to resurrect a parent, he’s called a bean…), whom I love to pieces. So I think I like Allen because of that, which made the whole manga a lot more tolerable.
    The art is pretty, and I find the story a lot less pointless and dragging than, say, Naruto’s plot. It’s rather generic, and not terribly deep as of volume 6, though I’d rate it as something worth reading if you have the time, and someone to borrow it from.

  7. nah the story’s good, but way too fragmented over the volumes :S For your case, I think reading the 1st volume doesn’t reveal the full story.

    And yea the Earl looks stupid rather than scary, but people also thought the Joker in Batman looked stupid too xD The only thing scary about the earl is his eyes behind his glasses…
    Artwork’s great, so are the characters

  8. I think the Earl is one of the greatest manga villains ever. Most manga villains turn out to have a human side, a tragic past, or a redeeming quality. Trust me, that will not be the case with the Earl. The way he preys on grief in a cheerful manner, without really being a sadist and always claiming he’s in the right makes him really creepy. His goofy looks act as a great contrast to his massive weaponry. And he has an ambitious plan declared right from the start, unlike some villains who sit around in dark rooms, hiding their faces, spinning byzantine plots and dispatching minions. His akuma are more tragic and terrifying than any minions I can think of, not to mention downright odd-looking.

  9. oky i love D GRAY MAN but you don’t get it the plot really only seems to get serious in the last few episodesof season 2+season 3 and season 4 but it still has good comedy bits so the plots not a complete drag ,Oky understand Allen is awsome aswell but Lenalee Lee is spelt like this and also try giving it a chance a bit of comedy never hurt any one(manly the Millenium Earl and Allen who cause the problem to start with + Komui).The Earl’s aperance may be strange but thats what sets him apart from all the other villans got it.WATCH THE WHOLE THING BEFORE JUDGING SOMETHING-OR READ IT BUT A LOT OF THE STUFF THAT HAPPENS IN THE ANIME NEVER HAPPEN IN THE MANGA SO DO BOTH (it’ll help you understand):D good WORK HARD.

  10. you have to understand that the fact that the its so easy to create akuma is the whole point of it. Keep in mind that the hero is fighting a losing battle, the fact that the earl could annihilate them at any given time. Also about the earl’s design if he looked frightening then people would run away from him, instead of letting him “revive” their loved ones, which would be counter productive to his goals. The villains on a whole are terrifying in their actions, not in appearance, because in D.Gray-man looks are deceiving. The Akuma are also examples of this as they literally wear human skin and fit into society, while they murder hundreds of people. Also the anime version of this series was half-assessed, with the animators and writers making too much shortcuts.

  11. D. Gray-man is probably one of the most intriguing manga i’ve read so far…
    i totally agree with some points tho, the earl is a bit over the edge but at least this manga isn’t the usual hardcore emo kind…
    It keeps the atmosphere light, ya know?

    When I started reading this series i had serious doubts about it…i had the EXACT same reaction as this reviewer when i watched the first episode and read the first volume. i was like, “what the-…” But i grit my teeth and read on….
    The plot gets laid out as the story unfolds in the later chapters..
    and you get HOOKED.
    I mean, im not the usual otaku who goes around sniffing out fanfiction and yaoi and all that crap, i think the story is AMAZING.
    (spoiler alert)
    The super long part in the arc, the 14th, the musician, Cross’s supposed death, and etc

    so basically yea it might not go with the flow with some people but this manga’s not that bad

  12. When I first watched D.Gray-man, it was on a whim.
    I too watched the first episode, and read the first volume only to be confused out of my mind, and wonder “how the Heck something like this got published.” But, for reasons unbeknownst to me, I read on.
    And damn, it’s a good thing I did.
    The story really picked up around volume five. Everything is explained, and the story becomes a mixture of emotions, righteousness, forbidden love, and characters fighting an “already lost battle.” It took me on a wild ride, and it was so beyond-my-expectations that I re-read the entire series. Five times. The characters are likable (even the enemies!) and the plot (that started off confusing) really took off and became amazing.
    It is by far one of my favourites, and the Earl is designed that way on purpose (he has an actual human-appeal to him *spoiler*chapter158*spoiler*), and his “family” – the “Noahs” (you think that Lenalee and Moa are hot? Take a look at Tyki and Lulubell!) leave everyone with questions, and the biblical references, the akuma, and the exorcist themselves leave more yet-to-be-solved questions. There is corruption on both parties (the Earl’s and the Exorcists), and bonds and alliances are tested. Yes, alas, there are some silly moments in D.Gray-man that break up the action, but it is well-compensated due to all of the crazy twists and turns that the plot takes.
    Also, in D.Gray-man, characters who you may know and like can die at ANY RANDOM TIME. That is perhaps why I love D.Gray-man so much – characters can actually (dare I say it?) die. Without warning, too.
    Trust me, if you read all of D.Gray-man, it’ll leave you begging for more.

    Trust me, I’m a skeptic too. 😀

    1. baillard dit :là je suis d&2rc17;a#co8d avec vous. et le FN n’est pas raciste nous défendons notre pays , notre drapeaux, et notre honneur . voilas ce que est le FN . si vous ne me croyais pas ,interroger notre direction.

  13. hey.. i dont agree with your opinion..it just seem that you just don’t like the story..if you want difference, then d.gray man is different than the other manga

  14. -kicks all in the head- D. GRAY MAN IN THE BEST ANIME/MANGA OF ALL !! (in my opinion xD) It made me realize things about life and the Earth, and heck, the plot is amazing. There’s 103 episodes and I keep watching them over and over again, same with the manga. Allen Walker is such a cute main character with such a will for others and saving the world and such and such, AGH! I LOVE THIS ANIME/MANGA! There’s just too much too love that I just can’t say in words why this is so amazing. I LOVE D. GRAY MAN -crazy fan girl squeel- >_> shuddup…lol

  15. i do think the earl is quite scary as he looks like a perv. like beadle in sweeney todd. the story is good in the anime but i haven’t read the manga …

  16. I also just can say: read more!
    the first time i read the manga, i couldn’t understand the story and searched for other manga…
    But after some time i tried it again and the more iread the more i comprended it.and now its my favorite manga.
    In some parts it even is pretty deep!
    The “funny” parts are just so that it doesn’t get too serious – i think that would be a bit too heavy…
    in the end, the best of the Manga are the characters and the drawings. (i only read manga with acceptable art – even when the story is good, i can’t bring myself to like crappy art…)

  17. It’s been said before but I’ll say it again: The plot does pick up and start making sense and being awesome once you get far enough into it. There are flaws like how long it takes for the plot to get moving and I thought the arc arc was drawn out too long but it is genuinely an awesome manga.

    On the topic of the Earl- That’s why he’s a great villian. He looks too silly to be the big bad and so you get this great sense of dissonance when he’s being really evil.

    Also – on the way you reveiwed this. what the hell man? you can’t judge an entire series on one volume. At least write it like a reveiw for the volume not the series. It’s like being a film critic and only watching the first ten minutes of a movie before writinga reveiw.

  18. Although the first episode/manga were a bit confusing, I liked D.Gray-Man from the start. It really caught my eye and I could tell from the beginning that I would like it. After having read more of the manga, I became hooked and have since become a very big fan of the series.

    Although it’s true that the Earl looks somewhat ridiculous, I find that it works in his case. If he looked too frightening, how would he get people to cooperate with him? With his goofy appearance, it’s easy for him to get people to trust him so that he can make his akuma.

    The art is beautiful and the story is awesome in my opinion. If you want to talk about something, please don’t just look at the first chapter and then make your opinions. When you have read the series through, then you can talk.

  19. ok for me my friend showed me the abriged on youtube, and i got thinking despite the randomness of the abriged it looks like this could be an amazing manga/anime, so i went online and found the anime, I found ok and a little, well i dont know how to put it, lets just say …confused.

    But then a week after giving up on it i was at chapters picking up manga and i saw the first book, and i remember thinking, well im not wasting money on that crap, but then i picked it up decided to read it well at chapters.

    I found it ok but i knew there was a chance it could get better so i spent an afternoon reading the books in chapters, by the end D gray man was no longer d crap man to me it was now the best manga i had ever had the luck to stumble upon i immediatly started saving up and i now own all the books that are out in english.

    so after that i decided to give the anime another try, it was ok and not the best, i enjoyed it but not as much as alot of other animes, but then around episode 50 (i had to watch these with subtitles) the anime started to follow the plot better. and next thing i knew i fell in love with the anime.

    After this experience i have never judged a manga or anime by the virst volume/episode, i cant believe i ever did i have found so many new mangas i enjoy and i am running out of money every day.

    I am not going to even try to explain why i love this series so much, its just one of those unexplainable things, there are so many things, that go into a great manga/anime, for example, art, character development, plot, twists, and more and i believe d gray man has almost every single one of these.

    And thats why i think anyone who reads the first d gray man and then gives up needs some serious help.

  20. Well, I stumbled upon this review while looking over the internet for some D Gray-man info, and I must say it doesn’t give a good first impression of your blog. Who judges a manga after reading only the first tome? An idiot, that’s what. I mean, sorry for being so blunt, but if I had judged every single manga I’ve read by the first book, I would have had a very limited experience.

    Also, it’s already been said, but I think you don’t like the Earl because he doesn’t fit the conventional idea of a manga villain. That’s what makes him such a great character, the fact that he’s so far away from the stereotypical type many mangakas revert to when writing out their plot. And if you hate a character just because he looks stupid, then you’re truly a fool.

    I advise you to read more of D Gray-man. It’s a great manga with an interesting plot and some of the best art out there.

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