Wednesday, October 9, 2013

D.Gray-man Season Two Anime Review

D.Gray-man Season Two
Di Gureiman
Funimation
Complete Collection - 4 discs
600 mins. - 25 episodes
$29.98 (2012) S.A.V.E.
$69.98 (2011)
$59.98 (2009-2010) Parts 1-2/ea.
ISBN 704400069291
Japanese/English Audio - English Subtitles
Director - Osamu Nabeshima
Studio - TMS Entertainment

Synopsis: The Millennium Earl is a devilish being who plans to annihilate humanity with his army of Akuma, tortured souls forced to do his bidding.  He tricks grieving loved ones into summoning back the souls of the recently departed and then turns them into murderous non-living monsters.  The reborn Akuma's first task is to kill the person who summoned them and assume their likeness.  The Earl's offer is too tempting to resist and his Akuma ranks have swelled.  He is aided by a super-human group called the Clan of Noah who have existed throughout human history.
The Millennium Earl and Tyki Mikk of the Clan of Noah
There exists a group of humans fighting to stop the Earl calling themselves the Black Order.  Powerful fighters called Exorcists hunt and kill Akuma.  They are led by Generals who are the strongest in the Order and search out fragments of a holy object called Innocence.  Each Exorcist is bonded to a shard of Innocence which gives them their powers.  The Earl and Noah Clan both want to destroy all of the Innocence along with mankind.
Allen Walker possesses a unique ability to see Akuma in their true form
Allen Walker is an Exorcist with the Black Order who possesses an anti-Akuma weapon in his left arm with several capabilities - it becomes a massive claw, turns into a rapid-fire gun, and other forms which haven't yet been revealed.  The arm is dark red with a piece of Innocence melded to the back of the hand.  He's also been cursed with a red marking on his face and special eye allowing him to see the true form of Akuma even when they're hiding in human guises.  He was trained by General Cross and sent to help the Black Order while the General is off on an important mission.
The true form of an Akuma is a soul chained to this world
Allen has made many friends among the Order including:
  • Lenalee Lee - possesses the Dark Boots, an equipment-type anti-Akuma weapon allowing her to hover in the air, create whirlwinds, kick things really hard(!), and run fast(?), she has an over-protective brother named Komui who runs the Black Order headquarters in Europe, she is very caring
  • Lavi - has a magical hammer Tettsui which grows to immense and small sizes although its weight remains constant to Lavi, studying to be a Bookman to learn the secrets of the world, he is very cheerful
  • Arystar Krory - thought to be a vampire, but his Innocence sucks the life essence out of Akuma to destroy them, lived with a woman named Eliade who was secretly an Akuma, hopelessly naive about the outside world
  • Yu Kanda - uses the anti-Akuma sword Mugen which creates monsters to destroy Akuma as well as being hella sharp, he is cold and unfriendly, can recover from serious injuries very quickly 
  • Miranda Lotto - was found by Allen Walker in a town which was reliving the same day over and over again, she was chronically depressed and her Innocence has power over time which made it start repeating, she is terrible with directions and gets lost all the time
Lenalee in action against an Akuma
The Black Order has lost a General to the Noah Clan and sends Exorcists to find/protect the remaining Generals.  Allen and Lenalee are paired off to look for General Cross and other Exorcists are similarly teamed up.  Krory and Lavi encounter a town where an Akuma lives peacefully despite its evil nature.  Will the peace last?  Allen reveals the true extent of the General's cheating and womanizing ways.  The Earl is aided by corrupt human conspirators who sell human souls to him for power.  Can Allen and Lenalee stop them?  A village is menaced by a witch, but is she really an Akuma?  The Exorcists have many strange adventures while they search for the Generals.
Count Krory sinks his teeth into an Akuma
The Noah Clan gets more involved in the action as the Earl steps up his plans.  The entire Black Order is besieged by Akuma as the Noah target specific Exorcists.  Who will fall prey to the immensely powerful Noah?  The headquarters of the Black Order is filled with scores of coffins for the dead!  Allen and Lenalee confront a Noah and her Akuma aid to save the life of a new Exorcist.  Can they prevail and what is the fate of General Cross?
The enigmatic General Cross enjoying some wine and then
going out on a womanizing spree
Pros: Good character designs and Allen Walker is an interesting protagonist, less comedy in this second season and more action, catchy opening and ending theme songs (opening theme is "Brightdown" by Nami Tamaki and two ending themes - "To the Continuation of the Dream" by Surface and "Antoinette Blue" by Nana Kitade), we get to see some of the other Noah Clan use their powers
Allen Walker takes down an Akuma with is claw arm
Cons: Krory's silly personality was over-the-top, storyline with Lulubell and her Akuma assistant Mimi dragged on for far too long, the second half of the series (episodes 52-103) hasn't been licensed for domestic U.S. distribution yet so no resolution to the story, Millennium Earl still looks goofy although he's supposed to have a human-like alternate appearance (which didn't show up in these episodes)
Yu Kanda activates his blade, Mugen
Mike Tells It Straight: The second season of D.Gray-man is really the second half of the first season from Japan (which was 51 episodes).  This set of episodes had a lot more action than the first 26 (i.e. the 'first season' in the domestic market) and contained a bit less comedy.  We learn more about the Exorcists and the Clan of Noah as they both have a few confrontations.  Allen Walker is a great protagonist, but he takes a back seat as other characters get the spotlight.  I liked the mysteries they encountered - the village with the witch and the girl with the crystal ball were two good ones.
We meet another General named Froi Tiedoll
This series progresses really slowly which is typical of shonen anime (think Bleach or One Piece).  The season ends on a similar note to the first one with a pause in the never ending battle against the Millennium Earl's minions, but the domestic audience (i.e. English dub watchers) are not able to see the rest of the series due to Funimation not licensing it.  I'll speculate the license costs too much for them to make a decent profit margin on the rest of the series.  It's been a few years and I wouldn't be surprised if the domestic market never sees a dub version, but instead a subtitled version is released (maybe by a different company).
Krory and Lavi visit a town where an Akuma is actually gentle and
likes humans.  Is it a trick?
The action heats up in this set of episodes and we see just how deadly the Noah Clan can be.  It's funny, but I felt like this season was just a bunch of filler and particularly long-winded (as typical shonen anime are) without any real plot progression.  There are a lot of characters in this show (including the bad guys) and we spend a lot of time getting to know them which bogs down the plot.  I think we could have skipped this entire season and it wouldn't have mattered to the overall series.
Tyki Mikk changes into his bloodthirsty Noah form
I'm fairly annoyed the rest of the series is not available after the 51st episode as I've heard it gets more intense.  The original manga series by Katsura Hoshino is still going strong.  I really want to see the Millennium Earl get his after being such a lame-looking villain.  These shonen series are so long I kinda wish they could have left out all of the filler and condensed the series into 51 episodes instead of 103.  I couldn't find any episodes available on Crunchyroll.com as of this post and I'm not really sure where to find the second half of the series.  HK bootlegs or maybe another streaming site?  We'll see.  In the meantime I'm hoping to check out the manga series to see if it's really any better.
We meet another Exorcist named Suman Dark
TO BUY and Recommendations: