D. Gray-Man, Season One Part Two – DVD Review

DGrayManS1P2

Review by: Faith McAdams

Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $59.98 US
Running Time: 300 minutes
Genre: Supernatural/Action
Rating: TV 14
Release Date: Available Now

The power of Innocence compels you!

It’s not easy being an Exorcist and even more so when you’re the youngest member of the Black Order that has spent the majority of your childhood learning the arts from a General that is a tough mentor and a man that’s not quite playing with a full deck of cards. Allen Walker has had a shaky beginning but in Part Two of Season One of D. Gray-Man his career as an Exorcist is just starting to kick into overdrive.

Beginning with Episode 14, Allen Walker is recovering nicely from his injuries that he received during his last assignment with fellow Exorcist Lenalee. As a result, Allen gets another mission to uncover the mystery behind the strange weather patterns that has been affecting a small village. It would be snowing at one moment then winding in another and then sunny within seconds. The cause, according to Chief Komui might be that Innocence is near while many of the locals believe it has something to do with the fabled Leaf of Revival that is so powerful it can bring the dead back to life.

A man and his daughter believe the rumors that the Leaf of Revival is nearby that they brave the horrible snow storm and are almost killed if it wasn’t for Allen, Kanda and Lavi (who, along with Bookman, decided to tag along). It becomes clear to Allen that the father-daughter team might get themselves killed so attempts to find the Innocence before they do but what he wasn’t counting on was the father following close behind them and a group of Akuma that happens to be looking for the Innocence as well. There’s a clash between the group that makes this a tough assignment for the Exorcists.

In another mission, Kanda has gone missing after having accepted an assignment in Rome. Allen and a still-ticked-off Lenalee is sent to look into the matter only to find out that Kanda’s disappearance might have something to do with an old legend of a beautiful Princess and a swordsman. When the pair get to Rome they find out the daughter of a very affluent man has been kidnapped and has offered a reward to a massive group of bounty hunters that have come to the city.

The truth behind the kidnapping is definitely not what it seems as Allen and Lenalee find Kanda recovering from his battle with what he claims to be the swordsman of the old legend. What they find instead is a deeply poignant love story that makes the two-episode story arc one of the best the series has produced. It’s also one of the more well-written episodes with a surprising twist in the end.

The series even adds another wacky episode involving Chief Komui who is outraged over the idea that his beautiful young sister, Lenalee, is dating an older and very married man working for the Black Order‘s Science Division. His suspicions become confirmed when he follows the two out in town and little does he know that an Akuma is also after his sister.

In another lengthy story arc that takes up six episodes, Allen, Tavi and Bookman find themselves heading out into a village where a Count is said to feed off villagers. They all call the man a vampire and while the young Exorcists do not believe in vampires they witness Count Arystar Krory draining a villager of his blood right before their eyes. The two frightened Exorcists proceed with caution only to find the castle contains man-eating plants, a mysterious and beautiful woman and the rumor that Allen’s mentor passed into town to meet the vampire. The Exorcists find themselves in a battle as they uncover the secret behind Krory and the woman named Eliade.

In the final episode of the vampire story arc, Allen and Tavi walk out with a new member and it comes in the form of the vampire himself. Krory has been trained in the arts to the point that he qualifies to become an Exorcist, a fact that the man comes to terms with in the aftermath of the battle. While we got to see a scary side to Krory, his more natural state is a lot more kooky and hilarious. The guy is a cry baby who, because he has been living in the castle, is easily conned by the people he meets. He gets a welcome much like Allen does when they show up in the Black Order headquarters but finds himself glad he chose to join them in the end.

In the final episodes, Allen meets another General who kindly offers the boy good advice and offers perspective on the reason why Allen Walker became an Exorcist. Both men have demons they are trying to overcome but when the Millennium Earl sends out his Clan of Noah followers to attack the General while he sends a message to all Exorcists that the end is coming soon for them.

This second half of Season One of D. Gray-Man does a slight step ahead of the first half of this season and is even more exhilarating as well. As Allen Walker’s becomes more comfortable as an Exorcist and his past begins to flesh him out to become a good lead character, the series becomes even more fun to watch. With the Millennium Earl ready to unleash his plan, things can only get interesting with Season Two.

DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN

MOVIE/EPISODES: B+
Allen Walker finds himself taking on more responsibilities and missions in this second half of the first season whether he’s helping a father and daughter searching for a legend, looking into a castle said to be the home of a vampire or rid the city of Rome of a ghost swordsman. The Millennium Earl and his followers also makes their move against the Exorcists.

VIDEO QUALITY: B+
The animation is outstanding and is somewhat true to the manga and that’s a very good thing. I still love how all the Akuma looks in this series and on DVD it looks gorgeous enough.

AUDIO QUALITY: B
Like Clive said, the English dub voices aren’t bad but they fall out of synch with the setting so the Japanese voices is the way to go. This show certainly has some great opening and closing songs. “Pride of Tomorrow” by JUNE is still one of my favorite closing theme songs and the new opening theme, “Brightdown” sung by Nami Tamaki is absolutely fabulous.

EXTRAS: C
There’s an audio commentary track for Episode 18 and its worth a listen to seeing as it points out the special guest voice of Michael Sinterklass (who does the voice of Dean Venture in The Venture Brothers). Then there are the clean opening and closing themes and a few trailers to look forward to in the second disc.

OVERALL: B+
Season One Part Two of D. Gray-Man is a slightly more exciting and compelling half of the season that makes this one just as fun as the manga itself. There’s a deeper look into Allen Walker as his character is fleshed out and there’s more than enough action and hilarity to make this first season well worth the price of admission.

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