Allen Walker by Katsura Hoshino
|First appearance||D.Gray-man manga chapter 1 (2004)|
|Created by||Katsura Hoshino|
Ayumu Murase (D.Gray-man Hallow)
Allen Walker (Japanese: アレン・ウォーカー Hepburn: Aren Wōkā?) is a fictional character who appears as the protagonist of the manga D.Gray-man by Katsura Hoshino. He is also the protagonist of its two anime adaptations: D.Gray-man and its sequel D.Gray-man Hallow, and has appeared in three light novels, two video games, and several crossover fighting games. In the series, set in 19th-century Earth, Allen Walker joins the Black Order, a group composed of soldiers known as Exorcists. As an Exorcist, Allen is able to use a mysterious object known as Innocence to fight demons known as Akuma. While Allen's Innocence takes the form of a giant left arm initially, over time it takes new forms and gives him new abilities. Over the course of the ongoing series, Allen uses these powers to fight the Millennium Earl, who created the army of Akuma to destroy the world, and his super-human followers, the Noah Family. During his adventures, Allen learns he is connected to the Noah and might turn into one of them.
Hoshino based Allen's character design on Robin, the shorter-haired female protagonist of her one-shot comic titled Zone. She designed Allen's clothing to resemble nineteenth-century outfits, and gave him a ribbon tie and other accessories to make him look gentlemanly. She also gave him a scar in the shape of a pentagram to project a scary-looking image, and a calm demeanor different from her typical rambunctious and rude characters. In the anime TV series and related franchise, Allen was voiced by Sanae Kobayashi. In 2016, for the new TV anime series D.Gray-man Hallow, the voice parts were recast with Ayumu Murase replacing Kobayashi. In the English adaptation of the anime series, Allen has been voiced by Todd Haberkorn.
Allen has been very popular with D.Gray-man readers, usually ranking in the top three in the series' popularity polls. Reactions to him have also been generally positive in manga and anime publications and other media. His character design has been highly praised, with critics noting characteristics atypical of a shōnen protagonist, such as his calm demeanor and mysterious origin. Additionally, some reviewers enjoyed the work of Allen's multiple voice actors. Several pieces of merchandise have been released with Allen's likeness, including plush dolls and figurines, as well as clothing and cosplay pieces.
Creation and conception
Manga creator Katsura Hoshino has said that she does not know where Allen's concept came from since she likes her main characters to 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 uniform from where the character works, the Black Order, Hoshino felt the look had a "lack of coordination". She felt that a more mature design would be better, and though she believed his final design looked best with the Black Order uniform, she wondered if it should be more masculine.[vol. 1:61] Because he is an Exorcist, she also wanted him to have "a very scary-looking image" and so added the scar on his left forehead. 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 them 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 project a "gentlemanly image".
Hoshino based him on the protagonist of her one-shot comic Zone, Robin.[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 a hairstyle.[vol. 1:61] In the end, she gave Allen's hair a center part so his expressions can be seen properly. Hoshino also comments comically that later in the series Allen's hair has become very similar to a Super Saiyan, a transformation from the Dragon Ball series, in which the character's hair becomes spiky.[vol. 11:2] She said towards the beginning of D.Gray-man's publication that Allen was one of the hardest characters to draw.[vol. 3:86] During the manga's first chapters, due to a discussion between Hoshino and her editor, Allen's eyes have had different colors such as red and light blue. It was later officially decided to give him silver eyes.[vol. 4:72] The series' title, "D.Gray-man", is meant to have various meanings, most of them referring to the state of Allen and the other main characters.
Allen's departure from the Black Order occurred because the previous story arc had too many characters featured at the same time, and that took too much effort. Hoshino was also pleased with the way she drew Allen's farewell to his comrade Lenalee Lee because it showed how the character had matured. She also noted how much taller Allen became because in the series' debut he and Lenalee were the same height. Although Hoshino noted that Allen's departure fit in with to the series' theme of "tragedy", she said he would always have comrades.
Allen was born with a deformed left arm, caused by the effects of a rare object known as "Innocence". Abandoned by his parents, he is raised at a circus where he meets Mana Walker, a clown, who adopted Allen the day his contract with the circus expires.[vol. 1:62, ch166] When Mana died, Allen attempted to resurrect him through a man known as Millennium Earl. However, Mana was revived as a demon known as an Akuma who slices through Allen's left eye. His deformed left arm awakened as an "anti-Akuma" weapon, destroying Mana. His left eye becomes cursed, allowing him to see the souls of Akuma. Shortly after, Exorcist General Cross Marian took Allen in as a disciple.[ch. 3]
After Allen completes his Exorcist training, he is sent to the Black Order headquarters, a place where he meets other Exorcists.[ch. 7] Alongside his new mates, he goes with other Exorcists on missions to recover other Innocences which are scattered around the world. He also finds people compatible with Innocence who become his new allies. He fights the Millennium Earl, his army of Akuma, and the Noah Family, a group of immortal humans who aid the Earl and wish to destroy the world.[ch. 8, 19] Eventually, Allen and four other Exorcists are sent to locate and protect Cross as the Millennium Earl has attacked Exorcist Generals in his search for the Heart, the most powerful Innocence.[ch. 29] He splits from them to save a traitor from the Black Order.[ch. 53] Shortly afterwards, a Noah known as Tyki Mikk nearly kills Allen.[ch. 56] He stays at the Black Order's Asia Branch headquarters to recover from the experience.[ch. 57, 59]
During his stay at the Asian Branch headquarters, Allen's Innocence takes its true form, the Crown Clown (神ノ道化 Kuraun Kuraun?, lit. "Clown of God"), which allows him to perform new techniques.[ch. 187] He then rejoins his comrades in Edo,[ch. 85, 89] where the group is trapped in a place known as the Noah's Ark. As they look for a way off the Ark, Allen and his friends fight the Noah. In his rematch against Tyki, Allen is able to transform his left arm into a sword that exorcises evil from any body, allowing him to win.[ch. 116, 117] After Cross appears and saves Allen from Tyki's new Noah appearance, he directs him to restore the falling Ark by playing a piano.[ch. 129, 132] On returning to headquarters, Allen learns that he is the host of the late 14th Noah, Nea, who betrayed the Earl and was killed as a result. Before his death, Nea implanted his memories into Allen, so that he would be reborn in the future.[ch. 167] All Exorcists are ordered to kill Allen before he begins to transform into a Noah.[ch. 170] While Allen is still in control of his body, he briefly starts turning into Nea across the series to the point Crown Clown's sword starts hurting himself despite being a weapon that only affects Noah and Akuma.[ch. 182, 184]
When the Black Order commands Allen to destroy the Akuma of Alma Karma, he sends him to another location with his fellow Exorcist Yu Kanda believing they will find peace.[ch. 199] As a result, Allen is imprisoned by the Order who also fear the reappearance of Nea.[ch. 201] He is attacked by Apocryphos, a sentient Innocence, who attempts to assimilate Allen's Innocence.[ch. 203] Two Noah, Tyki and Road Kamelot, rescue Allen, resulting in the Order believing that Allen has betrayed them and is joining the Noah.[ch. 204] Allen refuses help from both the Order and the Noah, but promises his comrade Lenalee Lee to continue to be 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. Nea begins reawakening and is confronted by the Earl.[ch. 212 ,216] As this happens, Allen's mind starts to disappear from his own body. However, he sees an illusion of Cross who tells him to meet a woman named Katerina Eve Campbell who might help him.[ch. 222]
In other media
As well as being in the manga and anime series, Allen is a playable character in the two D.Gray-man video games. He also appears in crossover fighting games where he is among other several playable characters from other Weekly Shōnen Jump manga magazine, including Jump Super Stars, Jump Ultimate Stars and J-Stars Victory Vs. An insert song that Sanae Kobayashi sung in the first anime while Allen is restoring Noah's Ark, "Hands Sealed With a Kiss" (つないだ手にキスを Tsunaida Te Ni Kisu o?), was included on the series' third CD soundtrack.
Allen also appears in the D.Gray-man's light novels series. The first documents Allen's search for the Black Order headquarters after Cross tells him to find it and disappears. In the second, he is a supporting character and attends the Black Order's reunion party. The third light novel follows his life in the circus when he was called Red. There, he 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 an Akuma destroys the circus, Red, whom Mana mistakes for his dog, adopts the name Allen and begins traveling with Mana.
The series follows Allen's adventures starting when he was about 15 years old.[vol. 1:61] Although most of his colleagues assume he ages normally, one of his enemies, Nea, who possesses his body later on, suspects he has not really aged and could possibly be growing younger.[ch. 215] Allen is commonly accompanied by Timcampy, a small flying Golem which was given to him by his mentor, Exorcist General Cross Marian.[ch. 1] As a result of his traumatic experience attempting to revive his guardian, Mana Walker, Allen's hair, originally reddish-brown, became white from shock. Mana's curse on Allen's left eye allows him to distinguish Akuma from real people. Allen is devoted to helping them find peace. This changes when he meets new Exorcists in the Black Order who become his friends. Allen realizes that he fights not only to save the souls of the Akuma, but also for his human friends, and devotes himself equally to both causes.[ch. 83] Allen's master, Cross Marian, notes that Allen, originally cynical and rude, has adopted Mana's formal speech, mannerisms, and personality as his own.[ch. 173] However, as the series progresses, Allen begins to speak in a less formal way, starting to revert to the way he spoke before he met Mana.[ch. 165]
Allen has been highly popular with the D.Gray-man reader base, ranked as the most popular character in the first official Shōnen Jump poll of the series.[vol. 7:117] In the series' second poll, he dropped to second, falling under Yu Kanda.[ch. 121] He returned to first place in the third poll,[ch. 171] but lost that position to Kanda again in the fourth. In an Animedia character popularity poll, Allen featured as the twentieth most popular anime character. He ranked twentieth in a Newtype character poll from 2007.
A large variety of merchandise has been released with Allen's likeness including: key chains, plush dolls and figurines. Clothing and cosplay pieces based on his appearance and uniform have also been released. Allen has also been popular with cosplayers alongside other characters from the series.
Several publications covering manga, anime, video games, and other related media have both praised and criticized Allen's character. Sheena McNeil from the web zine Sequential Tart praised Allen's character design, saying that his anti-Akuma weapon is "quite impressive" when invoked, providing a visual representation of his strength. She also notes that his cursed left eye paired with his white hair make the design "much more striking". Anime News Network's Casey Brienza 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 as "rather inspired" by Michael Aronson in Manga Life magazine. Brian Henson of Mania Beyond Entertainment noted the mystery behind Allen's cursed eye might appeal to readers of the series. However, Carlo Santos of 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, being described as "solid" by A.E. Sparrow of IGN. While finding how Allen's use of the anti-Akuma weapon might seem cliché, Todd Douglass Jr. from DVD Talk found the way the anime shows it entertaining. Like Casey Brienza, Kevin Leathers of the UK Anime Network noted that Allen was different from other main characters often seen in the genre. However, he also observed that he has not grown much as: "He is focused on his job, but will always make time for his friends, which while different, isn't interesting over a long period of time." Allen was labeled a "good lead character" by Tom Tonhat of Escapist magazine. Active Anime's Sandra Scholes found Allen to be a mysterious type of character, citing the way he came to the Black Order and his anti-Akuma weapon.
Critics have also commented about Allen's interactions with other characters as development across the series. John Rose of The Fandom Post liked that Allen and his fellow Exorcist, Yu Kanda, teamed up, considering it to be the greatest strength of the manga's second volume. In a later review, Rose liked the situation Allen was put into as he becomes unable to distinguish innocents from Akumas. Allen's rematch with the enemy Noah Tyki Mikk has earned praise by Casey Brienza from Anime News Network. She also liked his new abilities, the Innocence "Crown Clown" and Allen's sword, with the latter being compared with the ones from the video game Final Fantasy VII. Reviewing the same fight as Brienza, Otaku USA's Joseph Luster praised the development of Allen's traits across the series and also enjoyed his battle against Tyki. The revelation that Allen was going to be become an enemy of the Order, the 14th Noah, was praised by Grant Goodman of Pop Culture Shock who found the discussion as intense as a battle. Similarly, Chris Beveridge, another reviewer from The Fandom Post, enjoyed the appearance of the 14th Noah within Allen's mind, praising the internal conflicts. Leroy Douresseaux from Comic Book Bin liked the special situation Allen was put into in volume 21 and wanted to see more of that instead of the focus on Kanda's fight against the Akuma of Alma Karma.
Some reviewers have also commented on Allen's voice actors. Animation Insider's Kimberly Morales believed that his English voice actor, Todd Haberkorn, does a "decent job" voicing Allen, matching the original work by the Japanese actress Sanae Kobayashi well. Similarly, Michael Marr from Capsule Computers enjoyed Haberkorn's work, believing it was as appealing as the original voice actress. When Kobayashi was replaced by Ayumu Murase in the second D.Gray-man anime, D.Gray-man Hallow, Anne Lauenroth of the Anime News Network felt Murase's work was appealing. In a later review, Lauenroth praised Murase's work again as the actor had to voice two characters - Allen and the 14th Noah.
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- D.Gray-man manga volumes by Katsura Hoshino. 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 978-1-4215-3919-5 . (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. ISBN 978-1-4215-4210-2 (in English)
- Vol. 23 (ch. 206–212): 歩みだすもの. April 2012. ISBN 978-4-08-870392-3. (in Japanese). and Walking Out. December 2012. ISBN 978-1-4215-5085-5
- Vol. 24 (ch. 213–218): キミの傍に. November 2013. ISBN 978-4-08-870539-2. (in Japanese). and By your side. August 2014. ISBN 978-1-4215-6312-1
- Vol. 25 (ch. 219–222): 彼は愛を忘れている. June 2016. ISBN 978-4-08-880635-8. (in Japanese).