Even long before I thought of watching this anime, I came across pictures and fan-art of D.Gray-Man. It is, after all, a pretty popular series; no one can deny that. On the one hand I think that its popularity is completely justified, but on the other hand the series let me down a number of times as well. Generally speaking, though, I enjoyed this series.

Demonic creatures known as Akuma, who are created by the Millenium Earl, are roaming the world, and they are destroying villages and killing people. The only ones that can free mankind from these demons are Exorcists, people that are equipped with Innocence, a power that can defeat Akuma. Allen, a young boy, joins the Black Order and he and the rest of the Exorcists of the Order must fight this evil in order to prevent the world from being destroyed.

103 episodes
Action, drama, fantasy, shounen

I think the story started off rather weakly. In the beginning we mainly get story arcs that take a couple of episodes each time. While these arcs do help to develop and flesh out the existing characters and to introduce some new side characters, I didn’t think they were extremely interesting. There were so many other things I wanted to know about the characters, and these arcs just couldn’t fill that gap. Around the middle of the series, however, the story takes a different direction, and for me that’s when the plot started to get fascinating. From then on I watched one episode after another (seriously, I completed the final 50 episodes in a week, something I usually never manage in such a short timespan…). Says enough, doesn’t it?

The art was very good. One aspect that I especially liked were the character designs. Each character looked unique, and even though they looked mostly the same throughout the whole series, there were some small changes here and there, which I liked a lot. The fight scenes were animated well. One minor complaint, though, is that I didn’t actually like the designs of most of the Akuma. I don’t know how I should describe it, but to me they looked almost… caricaturistic (is that even a word? – if not, I mean to say “like caricatures”).

At first I thought the characters were rather bland, and that most of them lacked an interesting and engaging personality. But as the story got more fascinating, so did the characters. Well, most of the characters in any case. I wasn’t quite satisfied with the lack of attention that was given to some of the characters, but as we get a lot of information about the main characters this fact is slightly compensated. One element that I liked a lot was the fact that the main character, Allen, wasn’t just a hero with supernatural strengths: he was kind-hearted, likeable and had certain weaknesses, so that he didn’t come across as annoying as most shounen heroes do (think about Naruto or Ichigo, for example).

The music was good, but tended to be repetitive. Too many of the themes sounded the same, and there was not a lot of variety in the instruments that were used. There are some tracks that I like a lot, such as “Lavi’s Despair” and “Good News”, but the rest of the soundtrack sounds mediocre to me. It would have been a lot better if there was more variety between the different tracks. As for the voice actors, I enjoyed their work a lot: there were a lot of well-known seiyuu that played a role in this anime, and each and every one of the voice actors did really well.

D.Gray-Man had its good and its bad qualities. Yes, the story felt stretched out at times, but at the same time it’s quite a solid plot. Yes, the quality of the art differs greatly between different episodes, but it’s still quite good in comparison to many other anime series. Yes, some of the characters were too shallow, but the main characters were developed rather well. Yes, the music got repetitive, but on it’s own it is quite good. Basically, if you are willing to sit through some less interesting episodes in the beginning of the anime, then you’re in for a treat during the second half of the series! Your patience shall be rewarded!