Another day, another murky volume of creeped-out action soup.
Writer/Artist: Hoshino Katsura
Translated by: Toshifumi Yoshida
Adapted by: Lance Caselman
What They Say
The battle on the sea continues, with the swarm of evolved akuma pressing hard on the Exorcists. Lenalee tries to tackle one akuma on her own, but realizes she can prevail only by unleashing the full force of her Innocence. Back on the ship Lavi prepares to call on a special attribute of his own Innocence. Will any of this be enough? Can the Exorcists hold on, or will they need help that may or may not come?
D. Gray-Man is a series that isn't entirely without good ideas, but it seems to be entirely without any sense of what to do with them. This volume is heavy on action, but it's filled with the kind of fighting that refuses to be comprehensible, no matter how closely you follow the near-constant commentary by the combatants. And even the parts of the fight that should be perfectly straightforward are badly executed, or even glossed over. You start to get the impression that the artist relies on energy blasts and swirling wind because he can't or won't draw physical combat. Yet physical combat still occurs, somehow, even if it isn't always portrayed. Here's an example of what I mean. Lenalee gets kicked by her assailant in one panel. But instead of showing her getting kicked, she's overlaid with an impact burst. I can't help but wonder: if you're not going to do even that much, why bother?
There's very little time for characterization this go-around, but that doesn't bother me since I haven't managed to really like any of the characters yet. What does bother me is what happens to the ship. (No, I'm not going to tell you what that is.) In a way, that incident epitomizes what I dislike about D. Gray-Man. There's a really good idea in there; it's a situation full of pathos and shows imagination. But the way it's handled almost throws it away. After it happened I just felt miserable in a way that's the opposite of pathos. And that's what makes this series bad in my eyes. It's not an amateurish piece of work with no good ideas. It's a blunderer that ruins good ideas when it gets them. And in the long run that's a more frustrating thing than mere incompetence.
But readers who don't share my point of view will at least find a transition to a new phase, with the gang finally arriving in Japan and that much closer to General Cross. Hopefully the next part of the story will have a little more story in it.