Allen Walker by Katsura Hoshino
|First appearance||D.Gray-man manga chapter 1|
|Created by||Katsura Hoshino|
Ayumu Murase (2016 anime)
Luci Christian (young)
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 and anime series D.Gray-man by Katsura Hoshino. He was created based on the female protagonist of D.Gray-man's predecessor Zone, Robin, whose hair Hoshino lengthened to create Allen's design. Allen's garment was designed to resemble nineteenth-century clothing, and his ribbon tie and other pieces of clothing were created to give him a "gentlemanly image".
In the series, Allen joins the Black Order as an Exorcist: a soldier able to use the weaponized form of an object known as Innocence to destroy the Millennium Earl's army of demons known as Akuma. He fights against the Earl and his followers, the super-human Noah Family, to stop their plan of destroying the world. However, Allen learns his body will be taken by the 14th Noah, Nea, who was killed for betraying the Earl. Eventually, the Order revokes Allen's Exorcist status and treats him as a Noah, forcing Allen to flee the Order.
Allen appears in other media relating to the franchise, including two video games and three light novels. His character has been very popular with D.Gray-man readers, usually ranking first in the series' popularity polls. Reactions to Allen's character have been generally positive. Several pieces of merchandise have been released in Allen's likeness, including plush dolls and figurines as well as clothing and cosplay pieces. His character design has also been highly praised, as well as his difference from a typical shōnen protagonist, such as his calm demeanor and mysteries about his origin.
D.Gray-man manga and anime series
Allen was born with a deformed left arm, caused by the effects of a rare Parasitic-type Innocence. Abandoned by his parents, he was raised at a circus where he met Mana Walker, a clown, who adopted Allen the day his contract with the circus expired.[vol. 1:62, ch166] When Mana died, Allen attempted to resurrect him through a man known as Millennium Earl, turning Mana into a demon known Akuma who sliced Allen through the left eye. Allen'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 in Allen as a disciple.[ch. 3] Allen, having been traumatized, initially refused to do anything other than sit in his room. Once he began to speak and live normally again, Cross noted that Allen, originally cynical and rude, had adopted Mana's formal speech, mannerisms, and personality as his own.[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]
After Allen completes his Exorcist training, he is sent to the Black Order headquarters.[ch. 7] He goes with other Exorcists on missions to recover objects known as Innocence which are scattered around the world. He also 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 as the Millennium Earl has attacked Exorcist Generals in his search for the Heart, the most powerful Innocence.[ch. 29] After failing to save a traitor from the Black Order, the Noah Tyki Mikk nearly kills 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.[ch. 57, 59]
During his stay in the Asian Branch HQ, 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] This causes Allen's Innocence to take 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 joins his comrades in Edo.[ch. 85, 89] Shortly after aboard the crumbling Noah's Ark, he is able to transform his left arm into a sword that exorcises evil from any body.[ch. 116, 117] After General Cross appears and saves Allen from Tyki, he directs him to restore the Ark by playing a piano.[ch. 129, 132] Upon returning to headquarters, Allen learns that he is the host of the 14th Noah, Nea, who betrayed the Earl and was killed for it. Nea implanted his memories into Allen, and these memories would erode him away until he becomes the 14th.[ch. 167] He is suspected as an ally of the Earl,[ch. 136] and all Exorcists are ordered to kill Allen before he begins to transform into a Noah.[ch. 170]
Shortly after, 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 the Akuma of Alma Karma who he sends to another location with his fellow Exorcist Yu Kanda on command, Allen is imprisoned by the Order.[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 fellow Noah Road Kamelot 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 promises comrade Lenalee Lee 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. The 14th begins awakening again and is confronted by the Earl.[ch. 212 ,216]
In other media
Allen is a playable character in the two D.Gray-man video games. He also appears in crossover games where he fights against several characters from other Shōnen Jump manga, including Jump Super Stars, Jump Ultimate Stars and J-Stars Victory Vs. 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 destroys the circus, Red, whom Mana mistakes for his dog, adopts the name Allen and begins traveling with Mana. In addition to this, the song Sanae Kobayashi sang as Allen in the first anime, "Hands Sealed With a Kiss" (つないだ手にキスを Tsunaida Te Ni Kisu o?), was included on a CD soundtrack.
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 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 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] 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's departure from the Black Order was made because the previous story arc had too many characters featured at the same and that took too much effort. Hoshino was also pleased with the way she drew Allen's farewell to Lenalee Lee because it showed how the character matured. She also comically noted how taller Allen became because during the series' debut, he and Lenalee had the same height. Although she noted Allen's departure similar was referred as similar to the series' theme of "tragedy"; However, she said Allen would always have comrades.
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 series' second poll, he dropped to second, falling under Yu Kanda.[ch. 121] He returned to first in the third poll,[ch. 171] but lost the position to Kanda again in the fourth.[ch. 205] In an Animedia character popularity poll, Allen 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 key chains, plush dolls 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 both praised and criticized Allen's character. Sheena McNeil from Squentialtart praised Allen's character design, saying that his anti-Akuma weapon is "quite impressive" when invoked, giving 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. His rematch with Tyki Mikk, and his new abilities including the Crown Clown and his sword (which was compared with the ones from Final Fantasy VII) also received praise. Similar to Brienza, Otaku USA's Joseph Luster praised the development of Allen's traits across the series as well as his fight against Mikk. Allen's abilities were described to be "rather inspired" by Michael Aronson from Manga Life. Brian Henson from Mania Beyond Entertainment noted the mystery behind Allen's cursed eye might appeal to readers of the series. However, Carlo Santos from 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 from IGN.
Similar to Casey Brienza, Kevin Leathers from UK Anime Network noted Allen was different from other main characters often seen in the same genre. However, he also said 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 also labeled as a "good lead character" by Tom Tonhat from the Escapist. 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. John Rose from The Fandom Post liked Allen and Yu Kanda's team up, considering it to be the greatest strength of the manga's second volume. In a following review, Rose liked the situation Allen was put into as he becomes unable to distinguish innocents from Akumas. The revelation that Allen was the Fourteenth Noa was praised by Grant Goodman from Pop Culture Shock finding the discussion as intense as a battle. Similarly, Chris Beveridge, another reviewer from the Fandom Post, enjoyed the appearance of the Fourteenth Noa within Allen's mind, praising the internal conflicts. Similarly, Leroy Douresseaux from Comic Book Bin liked the situation Allen was put into and wanted to see more of that. Animation Insider's Kimberly Morales believed that Haberkorn does a "decent job" voicing Allen, matching Kobayashi's portrayal well. When in the second D.Gray-man anime, D.Gray-man Hallow, Kobayashi was replaced by Ayumu Murase, Anne Lauenroth from Anime News Network felt Murase's work was appealing.
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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