In the previous volume, the Black Order’s headquarters faced its greatest crisis to date as a level 4 Akuma manifested itself within the exorcist’s sanctuary. Having never seen a level 4, the majority of the Order is taken by surprise and easily defeated leaving a weakened Allen Walker to face the vicious demon alone.
As volume 16 opens, Allen finds himself quickly out matched leaving a powerless Kanda and Lavi to hold off the Akuma while Lenalee has a new innocence implanted within her body. As the Level 4 tears through everything in its path, Allen and Lenalee make their final stand in an effort to defend the innocence. Afterward, the action doesn’t let up as a deadly virus breaks out transforming everyone that becomes infected into violent savages.
The previous volume left Allen and company in dire straits making the outcome here all the more enjoyable. D.Gray-Man has always managed to offer a satisfying conclusion to its multilayered story arcs and this is no exception. That being said, the story’s progression is put on hold halfway through, setting up an arc that holds no bearings on the plot. It’s understandable that the author wants to take a breather after the series of intense battles thus far but throwing in a zombie arc just feels so out of left field.
All quibbles aside, this is one of the strongest entries thus far in the series if for no other reason than the conclusion to the Level 4 Akuma Arc. As with the majority of shonen series, D.Gray-Man has done its fair share of stalling, never the less it continues to provide the darker edge that fans of the genre seek. Interesting little hints are dropped pertaining to the title’s direction which should pique interest for things to come.