Allen Walker by Katsura Hoshino
|First appearance||D.Gray-man manga chapter 1
D.Gray-man anime episode 1
|Created by||Katsura Hoshino|
Allen Walker (アレン・ウォーカー Aren Wōkā ) is the main protagonist of the D.Gray-man manga and anime series created by Katsura Hoshino. He was created from the female protagonist of the D.Gray-man's predecessor Zone; Hoshino lengthened the female character's hair to create Walker's design.
Walker joins the Black Order as an Exorcist, a soldier able to use the weaponized form of Innocence to destroy the Millennium Earl's Akuma. He fights against the Earl and his followers, the super-human Noah Family, to prevent their plan to destroy the world. He is also the prophesied Destroyer of Time believed to be the only one able to defeat the Earl. However, Walker is also Neah, the 14th Noah who was killed for betraying the Earl. Eventually, the Order revokes Walker's Exorcist status and treats him as a Noah, forcing Walker to flee the Order.
Walker appears other media relating to the franchise, including the two video games and the two light novels. His character has been very popular with the D.Gray-man readers, usually ranking first in the series' popularity polls. Reaction to Walker's character is generally positive. Several pieces of merchandise have been released in Walker's likeness, including a plush doll, a figurine, clothing and cosplay pieces. His character design is highly praised, as well as his difference from a typical shōnen protagonist.
Walker was born with a deformed left arm, actually caused by the effects of a rare Parasitic-type Innocence, and abandoned by his parents. He later worked at a circus and met Mana Walker, a clown. Mana adopted Allen the day his contract with the circus expired, December 25.[vol. 1:62, ch166] When Mana died, Allen attempted to resurrect him through the Millennium Earl's offer, turning Mana into an Akuma. The resurrected Mana was ordered to kill Allen, and the Akuma sliced him through the left eye. Walker's deformed left arm awakened as an anti-akuma weapon, destroying Mana, and his left eye became cursed, allowing him to see the souls of Akuma. As a result of this experience, Allen's hair became white from shock (originally having been reddish-brown). Shortly after, Exorcist General Cross Marian took Allen as a disciple.[ch. 3] Allen is traumatized and initially refuses to do anything other than sit in his room. Once he begins to speak and live normally again, Cross notes that Allen, originally cynical and rude, has adopted Mana's formal speech, mannerisms, and personality as his own, so much so that he is wearing a "mask of Mana."[ch. 173] However, as the series progresses, he begins to speak in a less formal way, starting to revert to the way he spoke before he met Mana.[ch. 165] Because of a promise with Mana to never give up and keep moving forward on the path he chose for himself, Allen is perpetually optimistic.[ch. 46]
After Allen completes his Exorcist training, he is sent to the Black Order headquarters where is learns he is the prophesied "Destroyer of Time".[ch. 7] He is sent with other Exorcists on missions to recover Innocence scattered around the world, find people compatible with Innocence, and fight against the Millennium Earl, his army of akuma and the Noah Family.[ch. 8,19] Eventually, Allen and four other Exorcists are sent to locate and protect General Cross because the Millennium Earl is attacking Exorcist Generals in his search for the Heart, the most powerful Innocence.[ch. 29] To save a fallen comrade, Allen uses his Innocence past his ability and is weakened, allowing the Noah Tyki Mikk to destroy his Innocence and nearly kill him.[ch. 53,56] He stays at the Black Order's Asia Branch Headquarters and learns his Innocence has not been destroyed and saved him from death, a behavior unheard of in Innocence.[ch. 57,59]
After an Akuma attack at the Asian Branch, Allen realizes that he not only fights to save the souls of the Akuma but also for his human friends and devotes himself equally to both causes.[ch. 83] This allows Allen's Parasitic-type Innocence takes its true form, the Crown Clown (神ノ道化 Kuraun Kuraun , lit. Clown of God), and he joins his comrades in Edo.[ch. 85,89] Shortly after aboard the crumbling Noah's Ark, his synchronization rate, a measure of the bond between Innocence and Exorcist, rises above the critical level making him as powerful as the Generals. He is then able to transform his left arm into a sword inverse in color to the Earl's. This sword exorcises evil from any body.[ch. 116,117] However, when he tries to exorcise the Noah from Tyki fully awakens as a Noah.[ch. 124] After General Cross appears and defeats Tyki, he directs Allen to restore the Ark by playing a piano.[ch. 129,132] Upon returning to headquarters, Allen learns that the 14th, a Noah who betrayed the Earl and was killed for it, implanted his memories into Allen, and the memories will erode him away until he becomes the 14th.[ch. 167] He is suspected as an ally of the Earl, as a result.[ch. 136] All Exorcists are ordered to kill Allen should he begin transforming into a Noah.[ch. 170]
Shortly after, the 14th temporarily awakens twice, at one point identifying himself as Nea.[ch. 198] The Earl and the Noah offer Allen a place in their ranks, but he refuses to join them.[ch. 200] Due to the 14th's awakenings and Allen's refusal to kill Exorcist Kanda Yu on command, Allen in imprisoned.[ch. 201] He is attacked by the Apocryphos, a sentient Innocence guarding the Heart, who attempts to assimilate Allen's Innocence.[ch. 203] Tyki and Road rescue Allen, causing the Order to believe Allen has betrayed them and is joining the Noah. The Order immediately revokes his Exorcist status and begins considering him a Noah.[ch. 204] Allen decides to refuse help from both the Order and the Noah, but continues to call himself an Exorcist.[ch. 205] He disguises himself and goes into hiding. An Akuma attack reunites Allen with Kanda and Johnny, who left the Order to help him. As he fights the Akuma, the Noah Wisely tells him that Noah can sense other Noah, leaving no hope of escape and dooming him to "once again" know perpetual despair.[ch. 211] The 14th begins awakening again. Allen's battle with the 14th causes him to lose consciousness.[ch. 212] He awakens under the 14th's control and asks Timcanpy to tell him everything about Allen.[ch. 214] After Timcanpy reveals Allen's past to the 14th, Kanda confronts him, causing Allen regain his senses. Johnny and Kanda restrain Allen, who admits his loneliness. When Allen and Johnny leave Kanda for a while, Apocryphos attacks Kanda. Sensing that Aprocryphos is near, Allen goes to help Kanda, but Allen is confronted by the Earl.
In other media
Allen is a playable character in the two D.Gray-man video games. He also appears in two crossovers video games which feature Allen fighting against several characters from other Shōnen Jump manga, including Jump Super Stars and Jump Ultimate Stars. He also appears in the series' light novels. The first documents Allen's search for the Black Order headquarters after Cross tells him to do so and disappears. In the second, he is a supporting character and attends the Black Order's reunion party. In the third, a boy with a deformed left arm called Red works at a circus and befriends the clown Mana and his dog Allen. The dog is killed by another clown, and Red attacks Mana when he does not mourn for the dog; this causes Mana to lose his memory and act strangely. After Akuma destroy the circus, Red, whom Mana mistakes for his dog, adopts the name Allen and begins traveling with Mana.
Creation and conception
Creator Katsura Hoshino notes that she does not know where Allen's concept came from as she likes to have her main characters be rambunctious, rude idiots.[vol. 1:61] However, she states that the general idea for his design was that of "an energetic youth with messy fly-a-way hair and other things like that", but when this design was drawn with the Black Order's uniform, Hoshino felt the look had a "lack of coordination." She believed a more mature design would be better, and though she believed his final design looked best with the Black Order uniform, she wondered if his design should be more masculine.[vol. 1:61] Because he is an Exorcist, she also wanted him to have "a very scary-looking image" and added the scar as a result. The scar's shape changed multiple times before becoming a pentagram. She also wanted the Order and its enemies have contrasting looks, so she dressed Allen and the Exorcists in black cloaks to give off "a gloomy impression." Allen's personal clothing draws from Hoshino's general impression of the late nineteenth century, and his ribbon tie and other pieces of clothing are meant to give off a "gentlemanly image."
Hoshino based him on the ambiguous protagonist of the D.Gray-man one-shot Zone.[vol. 1:61] When comparing Allen to Robin, Hoshino notes that Allen is a "different kind of boy." She drew the character with longer hair to create Allen and found it difficult to decide on the hairstyle.[vol. 1:61] In the end, she gave Allen's hair a center part so his expressions can be seen properly. Hoshino also comically comments that Allen's hair later in the series has become very similar to a Super Saiyan, a transformation from Dragon Ball, in which the character's hair becomes spiky.[vol. 11:2] She says towards the beginning of D.Gray-man's publication that Allen is one of the hardest characters to draw.[vol. 3:86] Allen's eyes have had different colors such as red and light blue during the manga's first chapters due to a discussion between Hoshino and her editor; it was later officially decided to give him silver eyes.[vol. 4:72]
Allen has been highly popular with the D.Gray-man reader base, having ranked as the most popular character in the first official Shōnen Jump poll of the series.[vol. 7:117] In the second poll of the series, he dropped to second, falling under Yu Kanda. He returned to the first position in the third poll, only to lost the position to Kanda again in the fourth. In an Animedia character popularity poll, Allen has been featured as the twentieth most popular anime character. He ranked twentieth in a Newtype character poll. A large amount of merchandise has been released in Allen's likeness including a key chain, a plush doll and figurines. Clothing and cosplay pieces based on his appearance and uniform have also been released.
Several publications for manga, anime, video games, and other related media have provided praise and criticism on Allen's character. Squentialtart.com praised Allen's character design, saying that his anti-akuma weapon is "quite impressive" when invoked, giving a visual representation of his strength. He also notes that his cursed left eye paired with his white hair make the design "much more striking". Anime News Network also praised his design, stating he looks like a "visual kei rock star" and believed he is "a nice change of pace" from other shōnen protagonists. Allen's abilities were described to be "rather inspired" by mangalife.com. However, Anime News Network stated that Allen does not use any amount of "cleverness" to defeat akuma and just lets his arm "overpower the enemy". Despite this, Allen was praised as a hero, described as and solid by IGN. Animationinsider.net believed that Haberkorn does a "decent job" voicing Allen, matching Kobayashi's portrayal well.
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- D.Gray-man manga volumes by Hoshino, Katsura. Original Japanese version published by Shueisha. English translation published by Viz Media.
- Vol. 1 (ch. 1–7): Opening. October 2004. ISBN 978-4-08-873691-4. (in Japanese). and Opening. May 2006. ISBN 978-1-4215-0623-4. (in English).
- Vol. 2 (ch. 8–16): 土翁と空夜のアリア. December 2004. ISBN 978-4-08-873760-7. (in Japanese). and Old Man of the Land and Aria of the Night Sky. August 2006. ISBN 978-1-4215-0624-1. (in English).
- Vol. 3 (ch. 17–26): 巻き戻しの街. March 2005. ISBN 978-4-08-873784-3. (in Japanese). and The Rewinding City. November 2006. ISBN 978-1-4215-0625-8. (in English).
- Vol. 4 (ch. 27–36): 元帥の危急. May 2005. ISBN 978-4-08-873810-9. (in Japanese). and Carnival. February 2007. ISBN 978-1-4215-0623-4. (in English).
- Vol. 5 (ch. 37–46): 予覚. July 2005. ISBN 978-4-08-873832-1. (in Japanese). and Announcement. May 2007. ISBN 978-1-4215-1053-8. (in English).
- Vol. 6 (ch. 47–56): 削除. October 2005. ISBN 978-4-08-873865-9. (in Japanese). and Delete. August 2007. ISBN 978-1-4215-1054-5. (in English).
- Vol. 7 (ch. 57–67): 時の破壊者. December 2005. ISBN 978-4-08-873888-8. (in Japanese). and Crossroad. November 2007. ISBN 978-1-4215-1055-2. (in English).
- Vol. 8 (ch. 67–76): メッセージ. July 2006. ISBN 978-4-08-874029-4. (in Japanese). and Crimson Snow. February 2008. ISBN 978-1-4215-1543-4. (in English).
- Vol. 9 (ch. 77–86): 僕らの希望. November 2006. ISBN 978-4-08-874293-9. (in Japanese). and Nightmare Paradise. May 2008. ISBN 978-1-4215-1610-3. (in English).
- Vol. 10 (ch. 87–97): ノアズ·メモリー. February 2007. ISBN 978-4-08-874318-9. (in Japanese). and Noah's Memory. August 2008. ISBN 978-1-4215-1937-1. (in English).
- Vol. 11 (ch. 98–107): ルージュの舞台. May 2007. ISBN 978-4-08-874341-7. (in Japanese). and Fight to the Debt. November 2008. ISBN 978-1-4215-1998-2. (in English).
- Vol. 12 (ch. 108–118): Poker. October 2007. ISBN 978-4-08-873691-4. (in Japanese). and Fight to the Debt. February 2009. ISBN 978-1-4215-2389-7. (in English).
- Vol. 13 (ch. 119–128): 闇の吟. December 2007. ISBN 978-4-08-874435-3. (in Japanese). and The Voice of Darkness. May 2009. ISBN 978-1-4215-2599-0. (in English).
- Vol. 14 (ch. 129–138): みんなが帰ってきたら. March 2008. ISBN 978-4-08-874486-5. (in Japanese). and Song of the Ark. August 2009. ISBN 978-1-4215-2600-3. (in English).
- Vol. 15 (ch. 139–149): 本部襲撃. June 2008. ISBN 978-4-08-874528-2. (in Japanese). and Black Star, Red Star. November 2009. ISBN 978-1-4215-2774-1. (in English).
- Vol. 16 (ch. 150–160): Next Stage. September 2008. ISBN 978-4-08-874566-4. (in Japanese). and Blood & Chains. February 2010. ISBN 978-1-4215-3038-3. (in English).
- Vol. 17 (ch. 161–171): 正体. December 2008. ISBN 978-4-08-874605-0. (in Japanese). and Parting Ways. May 2010. ISBN 978-1-4215-3160-1. (in English).
- Vol. 18 (ch. 172–181): ロンリーボーイ. June 2009. ISBN 978-4-08-874642-5. (in Japanese). and Thief? Ghost? Innocence?. August 2010. ISBN 978-1-4215-3543-2. (in English).
- Vol. 19 (ch. 182–188): 聖戦ブラッド. December 2009. ISBN 978-4-08-874675-3. (in Japanese). and Born of Love and Hate. November 2010. ISBN 978-1-4215-3773-3. (in English).
- Vol. 20 (ch. 189–193): ユダの呼. June 2010. ISBN 978-4-08-874764-4. (in Japanese). and The Voice of Judah. February 2011. ISBN 978-1-421-53919-5 . (in English).
- Vol. 21 (ch. 194–199): リトル グッ. December 2010. ISBN 978-4-08-870133-2. (in Japanese). and Little Goodbye. November 2011. ISBN 978-1-4215-4077-1. (in English).
- Vol. 22 (ch. 200–205): Fate. June 2011. ISBN 978-4-08-870240-7. (in Japanese). and Fate. June 2012. IBSN 978-1-421-54210-2 (in English)
- Vol. 23 (ch. 206–212): 歩みだすもの. April 2012. ISBN 978-4-088-70392-3. (in Japanese). and Walking Out. December 2012. ISBN 978-1-421-55085-5