The following will contain spoilers for D Gray Man and the first episode of D Gray Man Hallow but mostly this is going to be about me, blasting the show, the community and fans of D Gray Man Hallow for being too positive and lashing out at me for being negative. You have been warned.
Before I really get going I want to set the stage for anyone who might not understand why I railing against the community and positivity. I’m a big fan of D Gray Man, I mean I already wrote a decent sized review of D Gray Man, but in case you didn’t read it here’s a summary. D Gray Man is a great show because while it can be lighthearted and funny and power of friendship like a normal shounen show, it generally has a much darker tone and more fucked up shit is going down on a near constant basis whenever someone isn’t laughing. The lore is pretty interesting and I feel that D Gray is more capable of subtlety and nuance than most of it’s shounen counterparts. Allen Walker is a great main character because he’s the stereotypical main shounen hero but he’s also an outcast in his own group because he has a totally different mindset and the powers he gains in the later episodes separate him even further from the rest of the group. Moreover the introduction of, I think his name is Chouji, he gets his Innocence during the Raid on the Ark aka very late in the show, added a new dynamic because he didn’t know Allen very well and absolutely exploded in anger when Allen said he was going to save the Noah Clan by killing their Noah and not the actual body, quite reasonably so because all of his friends were killed by Akuma. And Road and Allen make such a great pair that not only do I proudly ship them with all my being but the concept of one of the main heroes and one of the main villains being attracted to each other and hitting it off at all has become one of the hottest relationship archetypes to me. I’m a passionate man and I really loved D Gray Man, which is why I’m so fucking furious at D Gray Man Hallow and everyone else’s reaction to it.
The biggest problem with D Gray Man Hallow is that it’s trying to be a reboot and continuation at the same time and fucking both up horribly. The story may be continuing where the old D Gray Man left off, but Hallow’s characters might as well be at square one. And in the process they have legitimately ruined everything about the old D Gray Man. I’m not kidding they fucked up everything and I’m a about to break it down piece by piece.
For starters they recast all of the voice actors, literally all of the fucking voice actors have changed and it drives me up the fucking wall. Allen sounds like he just walked out of a jam session with an up and coming boy band. Lenalee sounds like weak little girl. Lavi sounds younger Allen now despite being older than Allen. Bookman has become the narrator from Hayate no Gotoku and lost the scratchy, phlemgy bent his old voice actor had to really sell the part, now he has generic old man/narrator voice. Cross sounds more like he used to than anyone else but even has lost some the more guttural or throaty nuances to his style of speaking. Kanda is still a dick but his voice has somehow become more bland despite having more emotion than the old one used to. Arystar has fucking Hermes-from-the-new-Arslan-Senki’s voice and it sounds awful, he’s supposed to be mostly a goofy naive character not a ragged seeker of vengeance. And Miranda’s new voice actor was so bland I can’t even remember it well enough to describe it, and I watched the first episode twice when it came out just to confirm how shitty it was.
And it’s not just the voice acting, none of the new actors have any kind of chemistry thus far, no real rhythm to their interactions yet. This is disappointing because part of what made the old cast so good was that despite all their differences they had great chemistry and some of the best back-and-forth dialogue shounen shows have to offer. More to the point none of the characters behave like they should, Arystar is looking like a badass when he’s supposed to be mostly an almost childishly innocent thanks to having lived most of his life in seclusion. Lenalee’s brother is a straightforward and serious character who has his shit together in Hallow, and he used to be almost nothing but a comic relief character in the old D Gray Man. Also Lavi and Bookman can now communicate telepathically for some reason, seriously where the fuck did that come from? Even characters from the distant past aren’t safe, child Allen has becoming an angry brat when he used to be a very sad child and that sadness fit him so well because it made way more sense not just for his child self but how it later influences his current self, anger is not in character for Allen in most circumstances. Likewise Mana, Allen’s foster father has become a goofy clown despite him being a very down to earth and serious character in the old D Gray Man. Kanda and Allen are still at odds but for some fucking reason when Kanda calls Allen a bean sprout, “moyashi,” they don’t bicker at all… that was one of the main things that set those two off in the old series and was a perfect way to get them arguing, but Hallow just skipped past it like Kanda never said anything. This is especially depressing since one of the greatest comedic moments in D Gray Man was this amazing argument that started with Kanda calling Allen a moyashi after almost accidentally killing him. When Kanda says moyashi in Hallow and Allen doesn’t fucking respond I felt like the show was advertising just how much it wouldn’t be the D Gray Man I knew and loved.
The visuals have also drastic redesigns. Everyone has new uniforms and while I don’t think they are bad, I don’t get why everyone else seems to be into them because they aren’t as cool and unique as the old Exorcist coats and they don’t do a lot show the differences in rank the same way the Finders and Exorcists used to looking totally different did back in the old D Gray Man. The Akuma have gotten significantly more colorful as well, which isn’t a bad change per se, but I do think it feeds into the much bigger problem of the show getting lighter in tone which I’ll discuss later. There are however several redesigns I truly hate. Mana, Allen’s foster father has gone from a rugged and ragged travelling entertainer in to colorful fat clown, child Allen did not have white hair for some reason despite him always having it the old D Gray Man. Worst of all though is Miranda, in Hallow she has an unbelievably generic design and it’s killing me. Part of what made Miranda so memorable and in my opinion hot, was that she had an absolutely hideous design prior to becoming an Exorcist, so when she becomes an Exorcist and looks pretty good you appreciate how much her image has improved. This is the closest I have ever been to experiencing “gap moe” (the increased attraction to someone because they go against expectations) in real life, seriously Miranda is so much hotter than she should be because you can see the change from her ugly design to her reasonably attractive design, it’s amazing.
They even fucked up the powers both visually and in general use. For example in episode one of Hallow Kanda uses what was one of his most advanced attacks from the old D Gray Man, a move he only used on the Noah. Why? Was Kaichou Ichigen (First Illusion Hell Insects) too hard for the new team to animate? Because Kanda the character would have used Kaichou Ichigen, he was swatting low level Akuma not battling for his life against a Noah, why would he have used anything else? Lavi uses the correct move Hi Ban (Fire Seal) but the animation is different, it’s much faster and it doesn’t show all of the other seals he could potentially choose from, and because he doesn’t hit one seal of many the motion is wrong. Arystar’s is the one they least messed with although his new design put more emphasis on his arm, which is weird because the arm is Allen’s thing and Arystar’s is his fangs. Allen, for some reason uses his ultimate sword to kill low level Akuma instead of just using his claw, which is what the old Allen would have done, just killed them with the claw because the sword is impractical because it requires him to remove one of his own arms to use and it’s only really meant for fighting Noahs and the Millenium Earl. Oh and they even forgot to make Allen’s eye transform when he’s fighting the Akuma, you know the single most important facet of his entire character and they fucking forgot to show it! Also Miranda’s power isn’t really shown at all, she’s just wearing green glowing disc made from her old clock, even though her time powers clearly used gold and yellow not green in the old D Gray Man and had more explicit clock effects to boot.
By far the most troubling change though is the overall shift in tone I mentioned earlier. As I explained in my review, the Old D Gray Man was a much darker show than is typical for a shounen. Level 1 Akuma are the basic enemy everyone fights and to make one at least two people have to die and one has their soul trapped in a killing machine until an Exorcist saves it. The Exorcists fight thousands of Level 1 Akuma, dozens of Level 2 Akuma, which Level 1’s evolve into after they kill a bunch of people, and even a bunch of Level 3, which Level 2’s evolve into after killing many more people. There’s also some dark shit like Road tormenting that one Exorcist general by making him relive the death of his students over and over or the doctor who poisons his own patients and helps the Earl create Akuma to get some extra cash or best of all, Suman Dark betraying the entire Black Church and becoming some damned monster which Allen has to defeat. The old D Gray Man was full of dark stuff and it was awesome. By comparison Hallow starts with a flashy action scene in a cartoonish scenario about Innocence keeping the hand of dead chess master alive to play a game with someone who can beat him, so that the Exorcists can destroy the new shiny Akuma and it can all be timed to match the chess game… It’s madness and not the cool and fun madness that I like, it’s contrived bullshit trying to capture the sense of cool and fun madness, and actually going mad in the process.
In a similar vein the old D Gray Man was more subtle about important topics. In Hallow Cross just tells Allen who the 14th is in a bland exposition scene where two just stand around in a room talking, and Cross’s sudden decision to tell Allen about the 14th comes out of nowhere. In the Old D Gray Man the overseers of the Black Church didn’t want Allen and Cross to talk at all, and Cross dodges the question when Allen does get a chance to ask him. Likewise Allen trying to be a “destroyer and savior” to the Akuma is something he never explains to anyone else in the old D Gray Man, it’s just part of his mindset and it would get him into trouble because no one else can see Akuma the way Allen can, so to most people they are simply target to destroy, while Allen literally sees a soul to save. In Hallow he just says something like says “let this Akuma’s soul be saved” and Kanda confronts him about it for 2 seconds and the scene moves on without anything important happening. Because like I said, they literally fucked up everything in Hallow.
Other random complaints that bothered me are that Cross somehow receives a heavy wound instantly, which makes no sense because the old D Gray Man clearly showed that all of the Exorcist Generals were monsters, it took two Noahs to beat even the weakest Exorcist General, and Cross is supposed to be the most dangerous, or at the least the most mysterious, of the Exorcist Generals. He went toe to toe with the Millennium Earl, the main bad guy and possibly Satan himself, and didn’t take a single hit… Who the fuck got him so bad in Hallow? Also Lavi has a line like “as expected of expert Exorcists” in response to seeing everyone fight, and it makes no goddamn sense. Lavi has been fighting alongside the rest of the cast for dozens of episodes across multiple continents fighting everything from low level Akuma trying to capture Innocence in backwater European villages to invading the Earl’s fortress in Japan… he already knows how good everyone is and most of what they can do. Why include a line like that? The only thing I can come up with is that reinforces that Hallow is something new, that everything has a fresh start. And if Hallow was a normal reboot that would be fine, but it isn’t, because the story is not being given a fresh start. Which is why this whole show is fucked.
See the problem here for me, I mean aside from all the details I take issue with, is what D Gray Man Hallow is, a reboot and a continuation. Because here’s the thing, I don’t usually buy into hype for anime, I’m very much a guy who forms his own opinions and doesn’t give a shit about what the community is excited about. But I was hyped for D Gray Man Hallow, because they said it was continuation, because I can hype myself for shows I think I will like. If they had announced a D Gray Man reboot, I might have watched it but I would have cared way less about it than a continuation. Because what I really want when it comes to D Gray Man, is I want it to come back, I want the old D Gray Man to come back and kick ass and move forward and fulfill all the potential it had. I don’t really want a new D Gray Man, not unless it’s a reboot that involved all the old staff and voice actors. If they wanted to take the old team and revamp the old D Gray Man, I would have been down with that. But like I said what I really want is more of the real D Gray Man, the old D Gray Man. For me the only warning I had that D Gray Man Hallow was going to be shit was a day or two before the first episode aired. I checked the staff on a whim, saw all the new voice actors, checked their roles compared to the roles of old voice actors and I was worried because of the people I looked at, the new voice actors were way less experienced and some of their roles did not line up at all with their D Gray Man Hallow roles. The problem is that for some fucking reason someone decided that instead of a reboot or a continuation, they would make both at the same time even though they have totally opposite intents. A continuation continues something established, a reboot gives something a fresh start, they have opposite goals and some moron combined them and it fucking sucks. This is such a basic mistake that there is no way D Gray Man Hallow will ever be good, or at least it won’t be what I want, what I consider to be good. Everyone’s allowed to have their own opinion of course but Hallow fails at such a fundamental level to me that I would be utterly fucking amazed if it stops being shit. I don’t think it’ll ever get good but if it can even achieve mediocrity I will be impressed, I won’t like it mind you, but I’ll be impressed. Because as it currently stands with me D Gray Man Hallow ought to be renamed D Gray Man Hollow, because it has none of the original’s heart and soul.
Poignant alternate names for the show aside there is one final issue that I need to address, the positive, celebratory community. Let me start with this: You are all FUCKING MORONS, well most of you anyway. Now you’re allowed to be excited, to be happy, to have opinions that aren’t mine, but there is one thing you aren’t allowed to do and that’s try and shut me down for being negative. Look I get why someone might be excited for D Gray Man Hallow, I used to be one of you positive bright eyed people, and some people have given their reasons as to why all new stuff doesn’t bother them or maybe even excites them. Which is fine, if you really want a new look for D Gray Man then Hallow might excite you, though I would think you’d prefer a reboot to a continuation, but whatever maybe I’m just pickier than most people, in fact I’m sure I am. And if you want to argue in D Gray Man Hallow’s favor and say, I don’t know, that you like the new uniforms or like the more colorful Akuma, do it, seriously more power to you. But that’s not what I saw a lot of. I was the first guy to write a negative comment, and a substantial one at that, on the site I was using and the first two responses were, and I quote, “wrong” and “omg you’re so annoying shut up or gtfo.” As of the end of Monday when Hallow aired, I was one of only three people who had made negative comments and I was the only one of those three to be confronted by multiple people whining about how I should leave and take my negativity with me, without actually arguing why D Gray Man Hallow was good. And it’s fucking infuriating.
Look I’ve been confronted by more people on shows before, I got in a ton of long slogs with UBW fans over the new UBW. But in those cases even when people disagreed with me they at least had arguments, they made points as to why it was good and why they thought I was wrong. With Hallow though everyone who actually confronted me had no argument to make, they just thought I was being mean to the show they were so happy about and wanted me to leave and never come back. Now if you were a fucking five year old I might be ok with that, but let’s face it I’ve never been confronted by a five year old in the comments section of an anime episode. If you think I’m wrong that’s fine, most people probably do, in the same way I think all of you positive people are wrong and it’s fine for me to do that. But also recognize that I am allowed to be a whiny negative bastard when I want to be, and when you actively want someone who disagrees with you to just go away, and never address my concerns or the concerns of people like me, then you are being a fucking infant and are by extension a fucking moron.
I feel that this also applies to people that are just so happy that D Gray Man is coming back, for one thing that mindset really makes you look sheep to me, sorry if that offends you but I don’t think more of something I like will automatically be good and I may not want more of it. I’ve never watched the Steins Gate movie or OVAs for example because I felt like the original end of the show was the proper place for it to stop and adding more would not help improve my opinion of the show. But I can’t see why anyone who wanted more D Gray Man can even be happy because as I’ve described above, Hallow is not D Gray Man, D Gray Man has not come come back. Oh sure the name is back, shells of characters we know and love are back, and if that’s enough to get you excited, then good for you, I guess. But D Gray Man is not back, we are not getting more D Gray Man, because this shitty show isn’t D Gray Man, because it has retained nothing of value from the real D Gray Man. So why is anyone who wanted more D Gray Man happy? Do you guys not care that it’s totally different? Are shells of the characters and the name alone good enough for you? Because if so, what the literal fuck? I don’t understand how anyone can consume any media that mindlessly, let alone a show you really like. If that works for you then I am happy for you and do encourage you to continue enjoying the show, I still think you’re morons though.
Anyway I think that about wraps this up. I yelled the community for a bit and I think I covered all the problem of D Gray Man Hallow episode one. More than anything else though I hope I’ve communicated to any who read the whole post where I come from and why I’m being so negative about the show. I don’t understand why people are happy with this for the most part, and if someone would like to explain why they are to me then I’d love to hear it. But by the same coin it seems to me that most of the positive people either don’t get why I’m being negative or don’t care, maybe both, and that’s why I need to write a post like this, so that people who aren’t me and may not be like me or think like me, understand me a little better and don’t stop by at the first hurdle by telling me to shut up or gtfo. If I were to credit D Gray Man Hallow with anything, I must admit this has been the most fun I’ve ever had tearing apart a show I thought I was going to love, never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined Hallow would fuck up so hard so fast and I had a blast writing this post trashing it. So there is that I suppose. Anyway thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed it and I’ll see you in the next one.