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The cover of the first Japanese manga volume release featuring Allen Walker and The Millennium Earl
(Dī Gureiman)
Genre Dark fantasy, tragedy[1]
Written by Katsura Hoshino
Published by Shueisha
English publisher
Viz Media
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump (May 31, 2004 – May 11, 2009)
Jump SQ (November 4, 2009 – December 29, 2012)
Jump SQ.Crown (July 17, 2015 - Present)
Original run May 31, 2004 – present
Volumes 25 (List of volumes)
Light novel
D.Gray-man: Reverse
Written by Kaya Kizaki
Illustrated by Katsura Hoshino
Published by Shueisha
Original run May 30, 2005December 3, 2010
Volumes 3
Anime television series
Directed by Osamu Nabeshima
Nana Harada
Written by Reiko Yoshida
Music by Kaoru Wada
Studio TMS Entertainment
Licensed by
Madman Entertainment
Network TV Tokyo
English network
Original run October 3, 2006September 30, 2008
Episodes 103 (List of episodes)
Anime television series
D.Gray-man Hallow
Directed by Yoshiharu Ashino
Written by
Music by Kaoru Wada
Studio TMS Entertainment
Licensed by
Network TV Tokyo, TVO, TVA, BS Japan
English network
Original run July 4, 2016September 26, 2016
Episodes 13 (List of episodes)
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and Manga portal

D.Gray-man (Japanese: ディー・グレイマン Hepburn: Dī Gureiman?) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Katsura Hoshino. Set in the 19th century, the series tells the story of a boy named Allen Walker, a young member of an organization of exorcists named the Black Order. They make use of an ancient substance called Innocence to combat the Millennium Earl and his demonic army of Akuma who aim to destroy mankind. Many characters and their designs were adapted from some of Katsura Hoshino's previous works and drafts, such as Zone. The series is noted for its dark narrative, which led Hoshino to once rewrite a scene she found too violent for the young demographic.

The manga began serialization in 2004 in the Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine, published by Shueisha. The series suffered multiple hiatuses because of Hoshino's health issues. D.Gray-man made the transition from a weekly to a monthly series in November 2009, when it began serialization in Jump SQ. In December 29, 2012, the series went on an indefinite hiatus. The series began serialization again on July 17, 2015, in a spin-off magazine of Jump Square, Jump SQ.Crown. The manga chapters have been collected in a total of twenty-five tankōbon volumes. As of August 5, 2014, Viz Media has released 24 volumes in the United States.

There is also a spin-off novel series titled D.Gray-man Reverse, written by Kaya Kizaki, that explores the history of various characters. The manga has also been adapted into a 103-episode anime series by TMS Entertainment. It aired from October 3, 2006, to September 30, 2008, in Japan. The anime 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 during 2016 acting as a sequel to the first D.Gray-man anime series. Several related items of merchandise have also been produced including two video games about the series.

The manga series has become one of the best-sellers for Shueisha, with over 22.5 million copies sold. Both in Japan and in North America several individual volumes have been featured in weekly top ten lists of best-selling manga. Although most reviewers deemed it similar to other series from the same genre, they praised its moments of originality, and its well-developed characters and their personalities in contrast to other shōnen series. Hoshino's artwork earned mixed praise because of visually appealing characters and fights that are difficult to follow.


Set in the 19th century, D.Gray-man follows the adventures of a 15-year-old exorcist named Allen Walker, whose left arm can transform into a monstrous claw and destroy creatures known as "Akuma". They were created from the souls of late people by the Millennium Earl who wishes to destroy humanity. Allen wishes to free Akumas' souls after his late guardian, Mana Walker, was resurrected by the Earl and a younger Allen destroys it. After finishing his exorcist training with General Cross Marian, Allen joins the Black Order, an organization attempting to stop the Earl. With his injured left eye, caused by Mana's Akuma, Allen can detect disguised Akuma, making him a powerful asset for the Order. He is sent to recover pieces of Innocence, a substance giving the Exorcists the ability to destroy Akuma. The Earl decides to call together the Noah Family, superhuman descendants of Noah, who can destroy Innocence. Both sides begin the search for the Heart, the most powerful piece of Innocence, which will ensure victory for the side that finds it.

In his search, the Earl begins killing the Generals, the Order's most powerful Exorcists. To protect them, the Order attempts to bring the Generals back to their headquarters. Allen and three other Exorcists are sent to find the missing General Cross, but Allen and Lenalee Lee are nearly killed during the mission. They are saved by their Innocence, causing the Earl, Bookman and Bookman's apprentice Lavi, who are chronicling the war, to believe one of them possesses the Innocence Heart.

After Allen and his allies fight the Noah in a dimension known as the Noah's Ark, Cross is found and brought back to the Order. The Order then learns that Allen is to succeed Nea, the 14th Noah, who was killed for betraying the Earl. This leads the Order to suspect that Allen might betray them. When Allen disobeys orders to destroy the Akuma of a person named Alma Karma as he sends him away alongside his fellow Exorcist Yu Kanda, he is eventually confined. The Noah frees Allen to rescue him from the Apocryphos, a sentient Innocence that guards the Heart, causing the Order to revoke Allen's rights as an Exorcist and treat him as a Noah. As a result, Allen abandons the Order but still decides to continue fighting Akumas. Both the Order and the Noah then begin searching for Allen.


Manga author Katsura Hoshino has thanked her editors for the series' popularity.[1]

Some of the concepts in D.Gray-man first appeared in Katsura Hoshino's one-shot title, Zone. This earlier work includes the same concepts of the Akuma, the Exorcists and the Earl's plans for ending the world. Allen Walker, the main character of the series, is also based on the previous series' female protagonist. However, Hoshino changed some characteristics to make Allen look more masculine.[3] In addition, Lavi is based on the protagonist of one of her planned series, Book-man.[4] Other characters, such as the Millennium Earl, Lenalee Lee, and Komui Lee, are based on real people, although Hoshino has not confirmed the identity of those individuals. She has mentioned that some of them are famous scientists, while Komui is based on her boss.[5][6][7] The character of Yu Kanda to introduce a change to D.Gray-man's Western setting with him being based on Japanese samurais.[8] Nevertheless, she found the design of some characters difficult in the beginning of the series.[9][10] Hoshino feels grateful to the editors assisting her, and says she owes her series' success to them.[1]

After beginning work on the longer D.Gray-man series, Hoshino considered continuing to use the name Zone. She also considered naming the series Dolls or Black Noah. The title, "D.Gray-man", is meant to have various meanings, most of them referring to the state of Allen and the other main characters.[11] Hoshino commented that she got most of her ideas for the series while asleep in the bath for six hours.[12] However, there are some exceptions; for example, the plot of the second volume was based on a Noh story called "Koi no Omoni".[13]

When the series was moved from weekly serialization to monthly, Hoshino heard of the concerns expressed by multiple readers that the manga was going to be cancelled. She reassured fans the series would continue.[14] It was by this time that Hoshino set up Kanda's backstory as multiple related characters, the Third Exorcists, appeared to do it. In her original drafts, Kanda's past had multiple plot holes. In the rewritten one version which was published, that one of her ideas Hoshino was that a child Kanda would walk across a path sorrounded by all the people who have been taking care of him. Due to how violent it was, the scene was avoided. As a result, the scene was replaced with Kanda finding Alma having killed all of them believing it was less gorier. Still, by the time these chapters were collected in a volume, she added a small chapter to show all the corpses.[1]

Additionally, Hoshino noted the character of Lavi was highly popular with fans, taking third place in a popularity poll behind Allen and Kanda despite not appearing very often in later story arcs. Nevertheless, she promised the character would return in future. The story arc involving Alma proved difficult for Hoshino because it featured several characters. As a result, this arc set up for Allen's departure from the Black Order featured fewer characters per chapter. The character of Apocryphos was introduced as a hint of the "Heart", a plot element which was briefly explained in a past story arc and as a result it would make an appearance later. She has also commented that while the series' main theme was "tragedy" she still aims to make it fun. Nevertheless, Hoshino noted D.Gray-man has a dark narrative and plans to write more lighthearted series after D.Gray-man ends.[1]

To gather research for the series, Hoshino visited New York and she believes the city has a big influence on her work. She also visited graveyards as a resource for the series. Ground zero at the World Trade Center, left after the September 11 attacks, also made a big impression on her as did the guides' comments. Hoshino commented she would prefer to visit again as she did not have much time to stay in New York.[1]


Cover of the first Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine to feature D.Gray-man.

Written and drawn by Katsura Hoshino, D.Gray-man manga series has been serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump by Shueisha since May 31, 2004.[15] The series was put on hiatus twice due to Hoshino falling ill; it resumed a few weeks after each incident.[16][17] In November 2008, Weekly Shōnen Jump announced that Hoshino was again putting the series on hold because an injured wrist.[18][19] Publication resumed on March 9, 2009.[20][21] The series once again went on hiatus beginning on May 11.[22] It reappeared in the seasonal magazine Akamaru Jump on August 17. Following the release in Akamaru Jump, D.Gray-Man resumed serialization on November 4, 2009, in the monthly magazine Jump SQ.[23] It went on hiatus again on December 29, 2012. The manga began serialization again on July 17, 2015, in the quarterly Jump SQ.Crown.[24] Individual chapters are published in tankōbon by Shueisha. The first complete volume was released on October 9, 2004, and 25 volumes have been released as of June 3, 2016.[25][26]

At the 2005 San Diego Comic-Con International, D.Gray-man was licensed for an English-language release in North America by Viz Media.[27] Viz Media released the first collected volume of the series on May 2, 2006, and released the 24th volume on August 5, 2014.[28][29] Viz Media has also started to re-publish the series in a 3-in-1 edition format, with seven 3-in-1 editions released between July 2, 2013, and November 3, 2015.[30][31] Digital versions of the volumes were also released by Viz Media from July 9, 2011, to August 5, 2014.[28][29] Madman Entertainment published Viz's 24-volume English release in Australia and New Zealand[32] from August 10, 2008, to September 10, 2014.[33][34] The manga has also been licensed by: Chuang Yi in Singapore,[35] Culturecom in Hong Kong,[36] Daewon C.I. in South Korea,[37] by Glénat in France and Spain,[19][38] by Grupo Editorial Vid in Mexico,[39] by Panini Comics in Brazil and Italy,[40][41] by Tokyopop in Germany,[42] and by Tong Li Publishing in Taiwan.[43]

Anime adaptations[edit]

The episodes of the first D.Gray-man anime are directed by Osamu Nabeshima and produced by: Dentsu, TMS Entertainment, Aniplex and TV Tokyo. TMS Entertainment produced the animation and Aniplex was responsible for the music production. The episodes began airing on October 3, 2006, in Japan on TV Tokyo.[44] The first season of the anime, known as the "1st stage", aired for 51 episodes, finishing its run on September 25, 2007.[45][46]

The second season, known as the "2nd stage", began airing on October 2, 2007, and finished its run on September 30, 2008, lasting 52 episodes, bringing the total to 103 episodes for both seasons.[47][48] All episodes were released by Aniplex on 26 DVD compilations, released between February 7, 2007, and March 4, 2009.[49][50]

The English adaptation of the first 51 episodes was licensed by Funimation.[51][52] These episodes were released in North America on DVD between March 31, 2009, and January 5, 2010.[53][54] The series made its North American television debut when it started airing on the Funimation Channel in September 2010.[55] The first 51 episodes were released on four DVDs by Madman Entertainment between August 19, 2009, and May 13, 2010;[56][57][58] a DVD box was published on June 6, 2012.[59] In the United Kingdom, Manga Entertainment released the first season in four parts between February 22 and October 18, 2010.[60][61] A box set was published on December 6, 2010,[62] but the second season was not licensed as Funimation did not dub it.[63] On June 30, 2016, it was announced that Funimation had acquired the rights to episodes 52–103 of the original anime.[64]

A second TV anime series was announced at Shueisha's 2016 Jump Festa event.[65] The anime features a new cast, with Ayumu Murase voicing Allen Walker and Shinnosuke Tachibana voicing Howard Link. Despite the changes, the series' creator stated that the new series continues from where the first left off, rather than being a reboot. The new series, titled D.Gray-man Hallow, is directed by Yoshiharu Ashino and written by Michiko Yokote, Tatsuto Higuchi and Kenichi Yamashita, featuring character designs by Yosuke Kabashima and music by Kaoru Wada.[66][67] It began airing on July 4, 2016, and ended on September 26, 2016.[68] Unlike its Japanese counterpart, Funimation retained the original English voice actors for this series.[69] The home media release of Hallow has been delayed; no reason for the delay or new release date has been provided.[70]


Cover of D.Gray-man Original Soundtrack 1.

All of 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, D.Gray-man Original Soundtrack 1, which contains 34 tracks, was released on March 21, 2007, and also includes the first opening theme of the series and the first two ending themes.[71]

The second soundtrack, containing 32 tracks, D.Gray-man Original Soundtrack 2, was released on December 19, 2007. It includes the second opening theme of the series, as well as the third and fourth ending themes.[72] All opening and ending themes were also collected in a CD called D.Gray-man Complete Best, released on September 24, 2008. Its limited edition includes an extra DVD that contains creditless footage of the intro and closing scenes from the shows and many anime illustrations.[73]

The third soundtrack, D.Gray-man Original Soundtrack 3, which contains 31 tracks, was released in Japan on December 17, 2008. It includes the third and fourth opening themes of the series, as well as the fifth to eighth ending themes and the insert song "Hands Sealed With a Kiss" (つないだ手にキスを Tsunaida Te Ni Kisu o?), sung by Sanae Kobayashi.[74]

The fourth soundtrack, titled D.Gray-man Hallow Original Soundtrack, was released on September 28, 2016. It contains 40 tracks, including the opening and ending themes of the Hallow series.[75]

Related merchandise[edit]

Video games[edit]

A D.Gray-man video game for the Nintendo DS was released in Japan by Konami on March 29, 2007, and is titled D.Gray-man: Kami no Shitotachi (D.Gray-man 神の使徒達?).[76] A second video game titled D.Gray-man: Sousha no Shikaku (D.Gray-man 奏者ノ資格?) for the PlayStation 2 was released on September 11, 2008.[77][78] Additionally, characters from D.Gray-man are featured in the Nintendo DS game Jump Super Stars and its sequel Jump Ultimate Stars.[79][80] Allen Walker also appears as a support-only character in J-Stars Victory VS.[81]


Three novels titled D.Gray-man: Reverse, written by Kaya Kizaki, based on the manga series, are published by Shueisha. The first was released on May 30, 2005, while the second was released on July 4, 2006.[82][83] The third was released on December 3, 2010.[84] The D.Gray-man Official Fanbook: Gray Ark was released June 4, 2008.[85] On September 4, 2008, the TV Animation D.Gray-man Official Visual Collection: Clown Art was released.[86] Three "omnibus special" books were released on November 13, 2009, December 11, 2009, and January 15, 2010.[87][88][89] They were followed by an illustrated book titled D.Gray-man Illustrations Noche on February 4, 2010;[90] Noche was released by Viz Media on December 6, 2011.[91] On July 4, 2011, D.Gray-man Character Ranking Book, a compilation of the character popularity polls, with additional character profiles by Hoshino, was released and included the one-shot "Exorcist no Natsu Yasumi" (エクソシストの夏休み?).[92]



The D.Gray-man manga has been highly popular in Japan; one of the best-seller series of the Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine,[93][94] individual volumes have appeared on lists of the 50 best-selling manga of the year. In 2008, volumes 14, 15, and 16 were featured on the lists;[95][96] in 2009, volume 17 was one of the best-selling manga of the first half of 2009.[97] Volume 19 was on the first half of 2010's best-seller list,[98] while volumes 19 and 20 were listed among the top sellers of the entire year.[99] In 2011, volume 21 was the 22nd best-selling manga of the first half,[100] and the 48th of the year,[101] while the series was the 33rd best-selling of the year.[102] Volume 23 was the 27th best-selling of the first half,[103] and the 45th best-selling of the entire year.[104] As of October 2016, the complete series had over 22.5 million copies in circulation in Japan.[105]

Volumes from Viz's English publication of the series have been featured on best-selling manga rankings in the New York Times[106][107] and Nielsen BookScan.[108][109] In its Summer 2008 and Q3 2008 lists, ICv2 ranked D.Gray-man as the 15th top manga property for North American sales.[110][111] For 2009 and 2010, the series was North America's best shonen property and best manga in general.[112][113][114][115] In ICv2's Top 25 Manga, it was listed as the 24th and 23rd manga property of North America in 2011 and 2012 respectively.[116][117]

Zassosha's manga magazine Puff ranked the series as the seventh best long story manga of 2006.[118] The series has also garnered attention in France, where it was awarded the prize for best manga series of 2006 at the Anime and Manga 2007 French Grand Prix, which was organized by Animeland. It was also awarded the "manga of the year" title for 2006 by Webotaku.[119] The anime DVDs have also been popular, reaching high positions on several Japanese animation DVD rankings from 2007 through 2009,[120][121][122] while the series itself was featured once on the list of the most watched anime of the week.[123] Additionally, the novel adaptions were well received - the second being the third best-selling novel in Japan in 2006.[124]

Critical reception[edit]

Reception to the series has been positive. In his review of volume one, Carlo Santos of Anime News Network (ANN) stated that certain plot points "come out of nowhere" and that the story was kept from its full potential due to "generic character designs and sparse backgrounds." The quick-moving story plot and the series' exposition and backstory received positive comments.[125] A. E. Sparrow of IGN also reviewed the first volume, comparing the series' antagonist to three of Batman's villains. He commented that "Walker is a solid hero with a dark past, the Millennium Earl is a menacing villain you'll love to hate" and the supporting cast shows enough potential to hold interest into future volumes.[126] While finding initial volumes an "amateur comic", reviewer Leroy Douresseaux of Comic Book Bin noted how both the plot and art significantly improve across each volume.[127] Brain Henson of Mania Beyond Entertainment also commented that the series becomes better as it continues, remarking that some elements seemed derivative, although it has developed its own unique identity.[128] Yussif Osman of Japanator highly praised the cast's personalities finding them some of the deepest characters seen in shonen manga citing both Lavi's backstory as well as the Noah Family.[129] Otaku USA's Joseph Luster praised the series' battles as well as the development of Allen's traits throughout it.[130] The revelation that Allen was going to be become an enemy of the Order, the 14th Noah, earned praise by Grant Goodman of Pop Culture Shock and Chris Beveridge from the Fandom Post based on the impact of the revelation and the internal conflict between these two characters, respectively.[131][132] Beveridge and Erkael from Manga News were impressed by Kanda's past due to it dark nature.[132][133]

There were mixed responses to Hoshino's art. Casey Brienza of ANN said that the battles remain "practically unintelligible" as of volume twelve. However, Brienza is positive about the rest of the art, going as far as to call it "some of the best artwork in the business". She describes Hoshino's drawing style as the "aesthetic yet dynamic, superbly beautiful yet super-violent" style made famous by female manga artist who arose from dōjinshi subculture during the late-80s and early-90s, citing Clamp and Yun Kōga as prominent examples. Brienza also praises Hoshino's character designs, which she claims are "especially lovely and pitched to satisfy fans of both sexes".[134] Douresseaux called Hoshino a "wonderful visualist" and commented that her "highly stylish" art resembled the works of Joe Madureira, Kelley Jones, and Chris Bachalo.[135][136] Douresseaux describes the backgrounds as eerie and Lovecraftian and says that Hoshino "makes practically every page a delightful surprise of gothic style and beguiling violence".[135][136] With respect to the to the English release, Henson criticized several changes made in the Viz Media edition, such as the Japanese sound effects being replaced by others that fans find less appealing, and awkward translations of some character names.[128]

As to the anime, Carl Kimlinger, also from ANN, provided his thoughts on the first episode of the anime. He criticized the series for being very derivative, with "absolutely nothing original". However, Kimlinger noted that it was not a boring anime.[137] While noting how Allen's use of the anti-Akuma weapon might seem clichéd, Todd Douglass Jr. from DVD Talk found the way the anime shows it entertaining.[138] Active Anime's Sandra Scholes and UK Anime Network's Kevin Leathers enjoyed the anime series and how it borrowed little elements with Allen Walker's characterization standing out.[139][140] Anime Insider's Kimberly Morales said that while animation quality may vary and that the story was appealing, she felt voice actor Travis Willingham did not fit the role of Kanda. Nevertheless, the reviewer highly recommended the series.[141] Criticism of the series focused on lack of entertaining story arcs as Leathers felt the potential lacking.[142] Brienza's review was more negative as the writer summed it up as a poor adaptation of the original manga.[143]

The sequel D.Gray-man Hallow became one of the most anticipated anime series in Summer 2016 by readers from ANN.[144] Despite not having watched the original D.Gray-man anime in a long time, Alex Osborn from IGN appreciated the small exposition used in the first episode to remind the audience of the show's story. While enjoying the interactions within the main cast, Osborn expressed confusion at the revelation that Allen was going to become the 14th Noah and had to watch the scene again in order understand it.[145] Anne Laurenroth praised Hallow for the character development of Kanda during his fight against Alma Karma as well as his return to the Order in the finale.[146][147] Nevertheless, she noted issues with Hallow such as its poor animation and pacing. She also noted that while most episodes of Hallow were tragic, its final moments were more encouraging.[147]


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External links[edit]