His name is Allen Walker, and he is 15-years-old. He lives in an alternate version of Earth's 19th century, and he is an Exorcist. Allen searches for a substance called “Innocence,” some of which has bonded with his left arm to form a bladed weapon. Allen is one of many Exorcists fighting the evil Millennium Earl and his minions, the demons known as “Akuma.” Allen is also a very special Exorcist, and the Earl knows that.
As D.Gray-man, Vol. 25 (entitled Chapters 219 to 222; “He Has Forgotten Love”) opens, the Earl searches for Allen. The Black Order, of which Allen had been a member, expelled him for being a Noah, which is a special class of demon. Now, the Order, is also searching for him. Allen is a wanted man because “The Fourteenth,” the legendary Noah, resides inside Allen.
Once upon a time, the Earl was split into two duplicates, male infants that were named “Nea D. Campbell” and “Mana D. Campbell” by their “mother,” Caterina. Now, Mana resides in the Earl, and Nea a.k.a. “the Fourteenth,” resides inside his host, Allen. But Nea has practically taken over Allen, and now, Allen/Nea wants his revenge against Earl/Mana. Can Allen's allies save him?
THE LOWDOWN: I am presenting this review of The D.Gray-man manga because Vol. 26 is due to arrive in different outlets over the next two weeks. With its publication date of March 2020, that is almost three years after the May 2017 publication date of Vol. 25, the subject of this review.
D.Gray-man Graphic Novel Volume 25 is partly battle manga, but much of it is about the origins and back story of Mana and Nea. Series creator Katsura Hoshino gives the four chapters that comprise Vol. 25 a cosmic feel, and much of the volume does indeed take place in other-worldly places. There are, however, so many interesting elements in every panel of Hoshino's gorgeous art, with its precisely drawn compositions, that make this an exciting read.
John Werry (translation) and Lance Caselman (English adaptation) do a fine job grounding the text and melding the surreal with the earthy and keeping this coherent. Susan Daigle-Leach uses her lettering to create a powerful “soundtrack” for this volume that drives this volume from beginning to end.
I READS YOU RECOMMENDS: Readers looking for stylish shonen battle manga and action-fantasy will enjoy the Shonen Jump Advance title, D.Gray-man.