The story so far
In the previous set, Allen was forced to fight a fallen exorcist. Exerting himself to his breaking point, only to watch it die, Allen was easy prey for the Noah, Tiki Meek. Destroying the physical form of his innocence and nearly taking his life. He is kept alive by his innocence, now in a mist form, until he is rescued by the Asian branch of the Organization’s guardian Fo. Refusing to believe that he can no longer fight, Allen begins training to regain the physical form of his innocence.
Meanwhile, Lavi, Crory and Lenalee are reunited with Miranda Lotto to assist in their search for General Cross, believed to be operating somewhere in Japan. Distraught over the disappearance of Allen, the group is informed that he is alive and recovering at the Asian branch, but ordered to continue their mission without him. Getting underway, thanks to Miranda’s power to restore the ship that was damaged in a previous attack, until they are attacked at sea by the first level 3 Akuma of the series. They are nearly defeated until Lenalee fully empowers her innocence and using the Akuma’s own weapon against him destroys him. Lenalee is then rescued by a golden Akuma named Chomesuke, who has been reprogrammed by General Cross and instructed to bring the group to him in Japan.
The story in this one
Following the ordeal at sea, the excorcist, Lavi, Crory, Miranda and Lenalee, reach Japan along with Bookman, the three ship survivors and their new Akuma companion Chomesuke. Leading them through the Akuma infested lands, they continue their search for General Cross believed to be somewhere in the country. Meanwhile, Allen continues his training to restore his innocence growing incredibly more and more frustrated that he’s unable to maintain his anti-akuma weapon in solid form. Can the group survive long enough to find General Cross? And how much longer must Allen suffer before he regains his anti-Akuma weapon?
I’m enjoying the journey that the characters are taking. Allen, while a great character, has always been the solution to most of the problems that his group has faced in the past. Especially after he got an off screen power boost where he lost his Akuma vision. While his allies are capable fighters, they never really seemed to get the chance to do as much as they could with him around. With him removed, the group has definitely struggled against the Akuma that they’ve had to fight. But it’s made the show as well as themselves far more interesting. Like Lenalee in the last set, Lavi and Crory get a decent share of the screen once they make it to Edo and have to fight the amassed forces of the Earl there.
At the same time, Allen’s own struggle makes him far more likable than he was before. I liked him for the happy never give up sort of character. The guy that no matter what the odds are knows if he just tries things have a chance to work out. But that only goes so far, especially when the worlds are mirrored after our own. It’s an understandable quality that even the heroes have their hardships, failings, frustrations and even having to look and recognize where their own weaknesses are. Allen runs the gamut, mostly as we realize what was a never give up attitude was really just stubbornness and pride this entire time. It’s only through some very extreme circumstance that Allen changes and is rewarded for it. While it does come off a little bit of deus ex in the moment, the story easily explains the path that he had to walk for events to turn out this way. While I know it won’t please everyone, I found a little bit of satisfaction from the way that things had to play out for it to get this way.
Animation and Music
There’s sadly not much to say here. The art style remains consistent, which is always welcome to me. In other long running series where I’ve noticed a change in the animation style of the artist team that take over, they’re a little jarring. That said, a change in wardrobe is always welcome and after two full seasons, I like the new uniforms that the characters begin sporting. The differences aren’t subtle at all, but there’s enough of the old design along with the new that the changes aren’t jarring.
The music remains the same. The deep brass section during the dramatic scenes mixed with the string instruments during dire circumstances has become a staple for this series. But in this season, and in the next season’s first part, I actually started to grow a little tired of hearing the music. More than likely it’s because the last time I heard it was years ago when I binged the first two seasons, so I can’t remember if I noticed. But since I’m basically doing the same thing again and rewatching so that you all can see some of the fun scenes, it’s something that I’ve noticed.
Something that’s become important to me when I’m watching shows has been pacing. And it’s hard to tell if I’m going to like a show because of or in spite of the pacing that has been set. The exorcists portions of the season are fast paced and action oriented as they fight to survive in a land where they’re vastly outmatched. While at he same time, the Allen segments are much slower, even with the sparing sessions he has with Fo adding a faster pace the rest is still slowed by his self reflection. If I have one complaint it’s that there’s a bit of an imbalance with the episodes of the second half of this season. Deciding to focus more on Allen than on the group, with an 8-5 split with Allen getting a large portion of the spotlight than his friends.
Thankfully, the five action paced episodes saved this season for me. I’ve always viewed this series as far more action oriented than it has been on the self reflecting episodes. So in combination with the earlier part of the season, this one comes off as feeling much slower with a few islands of action. That said, I know there are some that really enjoy these slower segments and will get their fill in time for the larger action sequences to start later and moving on into the next season.
The Box Art
Just like the previous box set, the artwork has been kept simple while still having a dark tone that matches the current state of the series. Surprisingly difficult to do when Tiki Meek is put in front of a white background. But in locations you can see small blotches of discoloration. In sort of a weird nod that hope is still strong in these 13 episodes, but at any moment the darkness is ready to take over once again.
As I mentioned before I like the character growth that the secondary characters have gotten. Without Allen, the group as a whole has proven they’re inredibly compotent and powerful. Which also helps Allen become likable during this period as it humanizes him more with his failings and his struggles. I would have liked a more even split of attention between the other characters and Allen, mostly to add a little more action to these episodes, but it doesn’t break the series. The story still managed to keep me enraptured and wanting more when the credits started rolling on the final episode with a great cliffhanger and the return of a character we haven’t seen for some time now.
The set is available for purchase, or rather has been for awhile now, online and in stores and from what I’ve seen is fairly priced for the amount of episodes and the size of the set itself. You can also catch it streaming on Funimation.com as well with their subscription. Give it a watch and see if you enjoy it yourself. For me, it’s time to start reviewing the next set. Until next time…
Interested in adding this to your collection? You can find it here!
D. Gray Man (Season Three, Part Two)
- Good focus on the alternate characters
- Allen at his lowest point makes him a more likable character
- The series gets really dark from here
- Allen's rebound is a bit convoluted
- Most of these episodes focus heavily on Allen and his struggles
- Series begins to suffer from "Shonen Syndrome"