D.Gray-man Hallows is fighting an uphill battle with Episode 1 and I am rooting for it every step of the way. That said, Episode 1 feels like it failed to accomplish most of its goals and it suffers a bit for attempting to do too much in such a short period of time.
Let me give you a little background first. D.Gray-man is a show that ran for two seasons from 2006 to 2008 with a total of one hundred and three episodes. The last episode of Season 2 resolved absolutely nothing with the overall plot – as will happen with an anime that has been cancelled. D.Gray-Man Hallows attempts to relight that torch some eight years later by picking up right where the original left off. In doing so, the series attempts to remind old viewers of all the plot elements that were left open eight years ago while explaining enough so that new viewers can pick up the show.
It is an uphill battle for sure.
D.Gray-man is a show that features a group of fighters called exorcists whose sole job is to eliminate akuma, demons created by the evil Millennium Earl for the purpose of destroying the world. Each exorcist gets a unique weapon powered by a substance called Innocence. These weapons are the only things capable of harming an akuma.
Hallows attempts to pick up where the last series left off, right after a large battle against the Millennium Earl, a subsequent attack on exorcist headquarters, and leaders of the exorcists claiming that the main character, Allen Walker, is actually the reincarnated form of a member of the Noah, the evil superhuman family of whom the Millennium Earl is a part.
Hallows does a decent job of reintroducing the main characters, giving them just enough time on screen in a quick battle at the start of the episode for both new and old watchers of the show to understand their unique abilities.
After the quick fight scene, the main characters head to the new headquarters where Allen is quickly taken into custody so that his old master can reveal that he contains the memories of the fourteenth Noah and he will slowly transform into it, losing all sense of self.
The fact that Hallows was able to pick up where it left off while still giving enough information to viewers who have been gone for eight years is nothing short of amazing. That said, it’s an uphill battle and it shows. The reveal that Allen’s adoptive father, Mana Walker, was brothers with the fourteenth and that he was probably responsible for Allen’s possession loses a lot of its emotional impact when nobody watching knows who Mana is.
Additionally, the interactions between characters appear a little overdone, as if the writers felt the need to reestablish interpersonal relationships extremely quickly. The standoff between Allen and Yu is a perfect example. It does not feel out of place for Yu and Allen to butt heads, but it did feel like a forced interaction.
Episode 1 of Hallows does a good job of picking up where D.Gray-man left off eight years ago. It attempts to continue the storyline from before while reintroducing the viewers to the main cast of characters. Someone who had never seen the show before may be able to pick up Hallows and understand enough to follow the series, but a lot of the weight of the prior 103 episodes would be lost. I look forward to seeing how the show progresses from here.