If you missed my review of episode 1, catch it here.
Episode 2 of Hallows brings us back to the good ‘ole days of D.Gray-man. The new and unique story lines, the terrifying demons, and the general fun that comes with hunting for Innocence. The only cost is that the resolution to all of the prior problems feels a little rushed and lackluster.
Starting from Episode 1 of Hallows, Allen has been accused of harboring the memories of the Fourteenth and is therefore a potential walking time bomb that could turn rouge at any minute. Following this revelation, Allen’s mentor Marain Cross is attacked. All that remains of him is his pistol and a blood stain on the window. Director Lvellie has no doubt that it was an inside job. His only annoyance is not being told first.
As for the issue with Allen being the Fourteenth – well it’s a problem everyone has agreed to ignore. Allen is free to hunt Akuma and gather Innocence. If he ever turns on his friends, they are free to kill him. No harm, no foul.
So with that quick sweeping of the main plot under the rug, Allen and team are sent off to search for more Innocence with Yu Kanada, Noise Marie, and Howard Link. As with all searches for Innocence, this one centers around the existence of some supernatural element. In this case, the supernatural element is a thief that goes by the name Phantom Thief G.
The team stake out the site of the next robbery, a crown so expensive that dropping it would cause the team to lose their budget. There is a fun bit of action as Phantom Thief G inhabits different bodies, including Link’s, and the rest of the team has to fight him off while making sure they don’t drop the crown. The battle ends with Allen stabbing Link (with a sword that cannot harm humans) and Marie tracking the sound of the child crying back to the orphanage where he lives.
Allen and friends descend on the orphanage and find Timothy Hearst, a young boy with a gem in his head that allows him to control the bodies of others. They explain that the gem contains Innocence and that he needs to be brought back to exorcist headquarters so he can become a slayer of Akuma. No problem, case closed. Then, to no one’s surprise, the Akuma attack.
Allen, Kanada, and Marie stay on the roof to fight a Level 4 Akuma while Link, the only non-investigator, stays below to protect Timothy. This plan goes poorly for everybody involved. The roof team are overwhelmed by the power of the Level 4 Akuma who uses the distraction of Timothy being in danger to launch an assault that drives Allen to the ground and poisons Marie, forcing him to remove his own fingers: a badass moment that gets almost no acknowledgment other than the mild annoyance of the demon.
Far below, Link struggles to fend off two Level 3 Akuma and a Level 2 with the power to turn people into dolls if he stares at them for 6 seconds. While Link pulls off some awesome magics, due to his training as a Crow, he eventually succumbs to the stare of the Level 2 and falls. The episode ends here in classic D.Gray-man fashion – everybody injured or losing and nothing to give us hope for victory.
While the episode really moved the show forward, it felt a little rushed and disjointed. A third of the episode was devoted to cleaning up last week’s mess, a third was focused on the battle with Phantom Thief G, and a third went to the battle with the Akuma. It just felt like a lot to squeeze into a thirty minute episode. No one plot really felt like it was given the depth it needed to be particularly impactful. Given the uphill battle of last week, it is understandable that the show would attempt to push back toward the type of action that brought the fans over in the first place, but there should still be more time devoted to adding depth to the story and character actions.
As an additional gripe, I am personally not a fan of each demon explaining his powers. The most egregious example was the Level 2 demon who explained the six second window he needs to turn people into dolls.
All in all, Episode 2 brought some excellent action, but at the cost of rushing through the plot to the point where very little felt impactful. Hopefully they will slow down in the next few episodes now that the main plot of this arc has begun.