D.Gray-man is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Katsura Hoshino. Set in an alternate 19th century, it tells the story of a young Allen Walker, who joins an organization of exorcists named the Black Order. They use an ancient substance, Innocence, to combat a man known as the Millennium Earl and his demonic army of Akuma who intend to destroy humanity. Many characters are adapted from Hoshino’s previous works and drafts, such as Zone. The series is noted for its dark narrative; Hoshino once rewrote a scene she thought too violent for her young readers.
The manga began serialization in 2004 in the Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine, published by Shueisha. Production of the series was suspended several times because of Hoshino’s health problems. D.Gray-man made the transition from a weekly to a monthly series in November 2009, when it began serialization in Jump Square. In December 2012, the series went on indefinite hiatus. It resumed serialization in July 2015 after the release of Jump SQ.Crown, a spin-off from the magazine Jump SQ. After Jump SQ.Crown ceased its publication, the series was switched to Jump SQ.Rise, starting in April 2018. The manga’s chapters have been collected in twenty-seven tankōbon volumes as of August 2020. By March 2020, Viz Media had released 26 volumes in North America.
A spin-off novel series, D.Gray-man: Reverse by Kaya Kizaki, explores the history of a number of characters. The manga has been adapted into a 103-episode anime series by TMS Entertainment which aired from October 2006 to September 2008 in Japan and is licensed by Funimation in North America. A 13-episode anime series, D.Gray-Man Hallow, was produced by TMS Entertainment. It aired in Japan from July to September 2016 as a sequel to the first D.Gray-man anime series. Several items of merchandise have been produced, including two video games about the series.
The manga has become one of Shueisha’s bestsellers, with over 24 million copies sold. In Japan and North America, several individual volumes have appeared in weekly top-ten lists of bestselling manga. Although most reviewers found it similar to other shōnen manga, they compared its moments of originality and well-developed characters favorably to other series of the same demographic. Hoshino’s artwork has received mostly positive reviews; most critics have commented that her characters are visually appealing and that the Gothic elements in her art are pleasant to look at. However one critic of her artwork has said that Hoshino’s fight sequences can be difficult to follow.
In June 2006, Shueisha announced that the D.Gray-man manga would be adapted as an anime. Its first episodes were directed by Osamu Nabeshima and produced by Dentsu, TMS Entertainment, Aniplex, and TV Tokyo. TMS Entertainment provided the animation, while Aniplex provided the music. The series began airing on October 3, 2006 on TV Tokyo. The anime’s 51-episode first season, known as the “1st stage”, ended on September 25, 2007. The 52-episode second season, known as the “2nd stage”, began on October 2, 2007 and ended on September 30, 2008, for a total of 103 episodes. The anime adapts the manga’s storyline from the beginning and concludes after the destruction of the Black Order headquarters. The episodes were released by Aniplex on 26 DVDs from February 7, 2007 to March 4, 2009.
The English-language versions of the first 51 episodes was licensed by Funimation in May 2008, and released in North America on DVD from March 31, 2009 to January 5, 2010. The anime made its North American television debut on the Funimation Channel in September 2010. The first 51 episodes were released on four DVDs by Madman Entertainment from August 19, 2009 to May 13, 2010, and a DVD box set was released on June 6, 2012. In the United Kingdom, Manga Entertainment released the first season in four parts from February 22 to October 18, 2010. A box set was released on December 6, 2010. On June 30, 2016, it was announced that Funimation had acquired the rights to the anime’s second season. In August 2017, Funimation announced they would release the series’ second half on home media version starting on October of the same year. In August, Crunchyroll started streaming the first 25 episodes of the series.
A second TV anime series was announced at Shueisha’s 2016 Jump Festa. Hoshino called the new series a sequel of the first anime, rather than a reboot. It starts where the first series finished and ends with Allen’s departure from the Order. The new series, D.Gray-man Hallow, directed by Yoshiharu Ashino and written by Michiko Yokote, Tatsuto Higuchi, and Kenichi Yamashita, has character designs by Yosuke Kabashima and music by Kaoru Wada. Crunchyroll would stream the series as it aired in Japan. It aired on TV Tokyo from July 4 to September 26, 2016, and was broadcast on Animax Asia. Hallow‘s home-media release was delayed, and in March 2017, the official D.Gray-man Hallow website stated the home-media release was cancelled due to “various circumstances”.
The music for the D.Gray-man anime series was composed by Kaoru Wada, and four CD soundtracks have been released in Japan by Sony Music Entertainment. The first, 34-track D.Gray-man Original Soundtrack 1 (including its first opening theme and the first two ending themes), was released on March 21, 2007. It was followed by the 32-track CD D.Gray-man Original Soundtrack 2, released on December 19, 2007, which includes the series’ second opening theme and its third and fourth closing themes. The series’ opening and closing themes were collected on a CD, D.Gray-man Complete Best, which was released on September 24, 2008. Its limited edition includes a DVD with credit-less footage of the series’ introduction and closing scenes and anime illustrations.
The third soundtrack, D.Gray-man Original Soundtrack 3 with 31 tracks, was released in Japan on December 17, 2008. It includes the series’ third and fourth opening themes, the fifth to eighth closing themes and the insert song “Hands Sealed With a Kiss” by Sanae Kobayashi. Another soundtrack, based on the Hallow sequel, was released on September 28, 2016. Entitled D.Gray-man Hallow Original Soundtrack, the release includes 40 tracks.
Two D.Gray-man adventure games, based on the first anime series, have been released. The first, D.Gray-man: Kami no Shitotachi, for Nintendo DS, was released in Japan by Konami on March 29, 2007 with Allen and his comrades as playable characters. The second, D.Gray-man: Sousha no Shikaku, was released for PlayStation 2 on September 11, 2008. In it, Allen trains in the Asian headquarters of the Black Order to regain powers lost after a previous battle so he can rejoin his allies to fight the Akuma and Noah. Allen and other series characters appear in the Nintendo DS fighting game Jump Super Stars and its sequel, Jump Ultimate Stars, and he is a supporting character in the fighting game J-Stars Victory VS.
Set in an alternate 19th century, the story focuses on an organization of exorcists, named the Black Order, as they defend humanity against the Noah Family, reincarnations of Noah and his twelve apostles whom bear hatred towards humanity and God led by a man known as the Millennium Earl. The exorcists’ main weapon against the Noah Family are sentient holy artifacts called Innocence. Innocence comes in a variety of forms, varying from everyday objects such as boots to grandfather clocks, to weapons such as swords and guns; regardless of their form, each Innocence possesses unique offensive and supportive abilities and will only work for the wielder of their choosing. Out of the 109 Innocence hidden and scattered throughout the world, one of them is the master Innocence; whichever side obtains this Innocence first will win the war. In contrast to the Innocence, the Noah Family’s weapons are derived from a power source known as Dark Matter. Dark Matter, grants the Noah superpowers, along with the ability to create and control demons.
The central character is Allen Walker, a new recruit to the Black Order who started training to control his Innocence after it destroyed the Akuma of his late guardian, Mana. The story begins in a villain of the week fashion, where Allen teams up with various members of the Black Order to search for Innocence while battling Noah’s demons on the way. Later, Allen and his friends are ordered to track down exorcist General Cross Marian, Allen’s missing teacher. Their search concludes with them stealing one of the Noah’s transportation device, referred to as the Noah’s Ark; this was made possible since Allen has been instilled the consciousness of Nea D. Campbell, the brother of Mana, and the exiled 14th member of the Noah Family, who the Earl wishes to have back. Cross reveals that Nea plans to use Allen as host upon reincarnating, effectively erasing Allen eventually. During the Third Exorcists insurrection story arc, Nea’s consciousness begins superseding Allen’s body. Now hunted by the Black Order, the Noah Family, and a humanoid Innocence called Apocryphos, Allen goes into hiding as he searches for a way to end Nea’s resurrection. During his journey, he realises that his late guardian, Mana, alongside Nea, has a strong link to the Millennium Earl. He then decides to journey to the place where Mana and Nea grew up to learn the truth about them, and their connection to the Earl. Following his escape, Allen is tracked by the Black Order, Apocryphos and the Noah. When Apocryphos is distracted by the Noah, the Earl finds Allen who is possessed by Nea. During this encounter it is revealed that the current Earl is Mana D. Campbell, Nea’s brother. Both were once the original Millennium Earl but were split and became enemies.