Allen Walker by Katsura Hoshino
|First appearance||D.Gray-man manga chapter 1 (2004)|
|Created by||Katsura Hoshino|
Ayumu Murase (D.Gray-man Hallow)
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 D.Gray-man by Katsura Hoshino, as well as its two anime adaptations: one of the same name and a sequel titled D.Gray-man Hallow. Allen was based on Robin, the female protagonist of D.Gray-man's predecessor Zone, whose hair was lengthened by Hoshino to create Allen's design. Allen's garment was designed to resemble nineteenth-century clothing, and his ribbon tie and other accessories were created to give him a "gentlemanly image". As the manga progressed, Hoshino stated she was pleased with Allen's character development.
In the series, Allen joins the Black Order as an Exorcist: a soldier able to use a mysterious object known as Innocence to fight demons known as Akuma. While the Innocence initially takes the form of a giant left arm, after multiple fights it instead gives him new abilities. Allen uses these powers to fight the Millennium Earl, who created the army of Akuma, and his followers, the Noah Family, super-human beings who assist him in his plan to destroy the world. Allen later learns he is connected to the Noah and might turn into one of them. Allen appears in other media relating to the franchise, including two video games and three light novels.
Allen has been very popular with D.Gray-man readers, usually ranking first in the series' popularity polls. Reactions to him have been generally positive in publications for manga, anime 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. Several pieces of merchandise have been released in Allen's likeness, including plush dolls and figurines, as well as clothing and cosplay pieces.
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 is a teenager who grows up across the series although his body's age has been challenged by a former friend, Nea, who states he should be at least twenty-five years old.[ch. 214] Allen is commonly accompanied by Timcampy, a small flying Golem.[ch. 1] As a result of his traumatic experience of trying to revive his guardian, Mana Walker, Allen's hair became white from shock (originally having been reddish-brown). Due to Mana's curse on Allen's left eye he allows him to distinguish Akuma from real people. Allen is devoted to help them find peace. This changes though, when meeting new Exorcists in the Black Order who became 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, Exorcist General Cross Marian notes 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]
Allen was born with a deformed left arm, caused by the effects of a rare object known as "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. However, Mana was revived as a demon known Akuma who sliced Allen through the left eye. Allen's deformed left arm awakened as an "anti-Akuma" weapon, destroying Mana. His left eye became cursed, allowing him to see the souls of Akuma. Shortly after, Exorcist General Cross Marian took in Allen as a disciple.[ch. 3]
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 other Innocences which are scattered around the world. He also find people compatible with Innocence who become his new allies. and fight against the Millennium Earl, his army of Akuma and the Noah Family, a group of humans who aid the Earl.[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 in 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 of 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 defeat him.[ch. 116, 117] After Cross appears and saves Allen from Tyki's new form, 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] All Exorcists are ordered to kill Allen before he begins to transform into a Noah.[ch. 170]
When the Black Order commands Allen to destroy the Akuma of Alma Karma, he instead sends him another location with his fellow Exorcist Yu Kanda on command, believing they would 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 the Apocryphos, a sentient Innocence guarding the Heart, who attempts to assimilate Allen's Innocence.[ch. 203] Two Noah, Tyki and Road Kamelot, rescue Allen, causing the Order to believe Allen has betrayed them and is joining the Noah.[ch. 204] Allen decides to refuse 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 awakening again and is confronted by the Earl.[ch. 212 ,216] As this happens, Allen's mind starts disappears 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
Outside the manga and anime series, 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. Besides video games, the song Sanae Kobayashi sang as Allen in the first anime while 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.
In addition to this, 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 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.
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. 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. Allen has also been popular within cosplayers.
Several publications for manga, anime, video games, and other related media have both praised and criticized Allen's character. Sheena McNeil from Sequential Tart 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. While agreeing with other reviewers about how Allen's use of the Anti-Akuma weapon might seem cliché, Todd Douglass Jr. from DVD Talk he found the way the anime shows it, make it feel apart.
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. In addition to this, Leroy Douresseaux from Comic Book Bin liked the situation Allen was put into the following volume and wanted to see more of that despite the focus on Kanda and Alma's fight.
Some reviewers have also commented on Allen's voice actors. Animation Insider's Kimberly Morales believed that Todd Haberkorn does a "decent job" voicing Allen, matching Sanae Kobayashi's portrayal well. Similarly, Michael Marr from Capsule Computers enjoyed Haberkorn's work, believing it was as appealing as the original actress. 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. In a later review, Lauenroth praised Murase's work again due to how the actor had to changed between two people's tones: 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 978-4-08-870539-2. (in Japanese).