Most helpful positive review
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2010
If Tim Burton were ever to attempt a steampunk horror story, then I imagine the results would be something like "D.Gray-man." And the first season of this gothic, deeply quirky anime attempts just that kind of atmosphere. "D.Grayman: Season 1" starts off relatively slowly as it introduces the main storyline, the akuma and the sweet-natured Allan Walker. But the story really blossoms as our likable, haunted hero begins his new life among other exorcists.
Allen Walker is a strange young boy with a deformed hand, who has the power to stop the akuma (enslaved human souls under the control of the evil Millennium Earl).
And after a disastrous encounter with an akuma at a cop's house, Allen makes his way to the Exorcist Headquarters to introduce himself as their latest member. But things don't go very smoothly -- he's mistaken for a spy, the exorcists are weirdos, and the place is governed by mad genius Komui and eerie Hevlaska. But Allen finds out just what "Innocence" is, and why the exorcists are racing to find it.
And his first missions aren't any less stressful. Allen encounters a boy determined to fight the akuma, accompanies antisocial swordsman Kanda to a haunted city, a town stuck in "Groundhog Day" (except for the pitiful Miranda Lotto), a mysterious snowstorm, a deadly swordsman, a strange vampiric noble, berserker robots, and a strange group of humans called the Noah -- who have allied themselves with the Millennium Earl.
Cyborg demons, cross-embedded magic arms, virus-filled biobullets, giant glowing worms with collagen lips, vampires, and a mountain fortress filled with eccentric exorcists out to save the world from a grinning, rotund demon who looks like a Blue Meanie and may (or may not) have rabbit ears. Yup, "D.Gray-man" is not your typical manga series, even as quirky horror goes.
And "D.Grayman: Season 1 Part 1" does an excellent job sticking to Hoshino Katsura's manga series, introducing a gothic Victorian world and introducing the akuma, the Earl, and the exorcists. It also lays the groundwork for what the Earl's plans are, and what the exorcists are doing. It's a pretty standard "get the artifacts before the bad guys do" goal, but with a couple interesting twists.
And along the way, we're given plenty of explosive, horrific action with macabre creatures, graveyards, little shadowy towns, and the tragic, horrific origins of the akuma. But lest the series become too grim, we get plenty of funny stuff as well -- including an entire episode devoted to Komui's deranged robot rampaging through Headquarters, trying to operate on the exorcists.
Allen is a pretty endearing hero from the start -- polite, apologetic, selfless and courageous, even when people are nasty to him. But he becomes truly striking character it's shown how got his cursed eye, white hair, and ability to kill akuma. He's backed by a solid supporting cast -- the snotty Kanda, sweet-natured Lenalee, eccentric Komui and initially depressed Miranda. And the Earl is a very creepy villain -- not just because he wants to kill God, but because he smiles cheerfully even as he destroys people.
It also has a very nice dub cast -- Todd Haberkorn is awesome as Allen, and there are excellent performances by Luci Christian, Chris Patton, Eric Vale, Colleen Clinkenbeard and J. Michael Tatum. The one downside is Travis Willingham as Kanda -- way too deeeeep for a teenager.
"D.Grayman: Season 1" has a few episodes that don't quite reach "superb," but it's an excellent start to an outstanding anime series. Absolutely brilliant -- and promises to get even better.