In Memory of Innocence: A Guide to D.Gray-Manby Anne Lauenroth,
Almost eight years have passed since Allen Walker and his fellow Exorcists vowed to continue fighting before the screen faded to what, back then, felt like a permanent fin. As the memory of even the show's most loyal fans might have faded with it over the years, it's time to look back at who these characters were and what their fight was all about before diving in to the new season.
The first time the world vanished was during Noah's flood. According to ancient prophecy, it will be destroyed once again by the mysterious Millennium Earl. But alongside said prophecy, the ancient ones who fought and defeated the Earl left instructions on how the end could be prevented by harvesting a hallow gift: Innocence, the Crystal of God scattered throughout the world after Noah's flood. The Earl's goal is to find and destroy all the remaining pieces of Innocence to bring about the next darkness, and he is not alone on his quest.
The Millennium Earl and the Noah
Followed by the clan of Noah, humans who inherited the original Noah's memories from the time of the flood, the Earl sets out to create his army of Akuma, living weapons born from sorrow. They are the souls of the dead brought back to life by courtesy of the Millennium Earl. Tricking their grieving loved ones into making a pact with him, he binds their resurrected souls to dark matter, turning them into his unwilling slaves whose first order is to kill the ones who brought them back. Henceforth bound to do the Earl's bidding, the Akuma remain as tormented souls trapped inside their demonic appearance. Conscious of their sins, the more they kill, the more they evolve, until their souls become so twisted they barely retain their humanity.
A human soul trapped inside an Akuma
The only weapon capable of killing a Noah and releasing the soul of an Akuma is a weapon forged out of Innocence. And so, a hundred years ago, the Black Order was formed to search the world for Innocence fragments and create a force of soldiers to fight the Earl and his retainers. But only the few chosen by God can become His Apostles as wielders of these sentient anti-Akuma weapons. They are known as Exorcists, destined to fight the Millennium Earl and prevent the prophesized apocalypse. If they lose, the world will cease to exist. But if they betray God by failing to synchronize with their Innocence out of fear or self-preservation, God's Chrystal might turn against its host and devour them alive.
Those who fight
As a little boy, a grieving Allen unwittingly turned his deceased adoptive father, Mana, into an Akuma by making a pact with the Millennium Earl. When Mana's soul came back from the dead, Allen's latent Innocence activated and slayed his former guardian. Cursed with a left eye that can see the true soul inside an Akuma, he is driven by the desire to save them, ending their tormented existence and granting them peace. Residing in his left arm, his Innocence can take the form of a claw or giant sword. The latter is only able to cut Noah and Akuma, but harmless to humans. Allen has been dubbed the "Destroyer of Time" by the Black Order's oracle, and he possesses the ability to control the Ark, a mystical teleporting device created by the Order's enemies several millennia ago.
Kanda is an Exorcist who, while taking his responsibilities very seriously, shows little regard for his comrades or respect for his superiors. Allen's sentimentality is often object of Kanda's ridicule, and he does not allow anyone to call him by his first name. Despite his coldness, Kanda values promises and despises people who make them carelessly. His Innocence is Mugen, a sword which can create illusions and summon creatures from the netherworld to devour the Akuma. It can also drink its wielder's life force, temporarily enhancing his strength or increasing his speed. Kanda has the ability to heal his wounds in exchange for shortening his life span. He knows a lot about lotus flowers and refuses to die until he finds a certain person. Kanda is one of the Black Order's strongest fighters and the only living Exorcist known to have killed a Noah, at great cost to his life.
When her ability to accommodate Innocence was discovered as an orphaned child, Lenalee was forced to join the Order against her will. Traumatized by the experience, she only gave up on trying to escape after her brother joined the Order's science division so that they could be together. Lenalee is scarred from witnessing experiments intended to create new Exorcists, resulting in the deaths of children unable to accommodate the Innocence forced upon them by the Order. She suffers from recurring nightmares of an apocalyptic landscape where all of her comrades are dead. Her Innocence is an evolved crystal type, appearing as rings of crystallized blood around her ankles. When activated, the rings change into her Dark Boots, greatly enhancing her physical mobility, strength and speed. She is one of the Order's fastest and most agile fighters and deeply cares about her friends.
Lavi is the successor of the Bookmen clan. Observers of history, they've only ever recorded the wars of humanity without getting involved or taking sides before aligning themselves with the Black Order in the holy war against the Millennium Earl. Lavi has witnessed many battles, and he has learned that the ways of people never change. Believing that everyone will eventually vanish from history, he is hesitant to form deeper bonds with his companions despite his cheerful appearance. His dual identity as a Bookman and Exorcist has led to internal conflict, causing Lavi to feel torn between his mission and personal attachment to his friends. His Innocence appears in the form of a small hammer, which Lavi can extend and use to control nature via elemental seals.
The remaining Exorcists at the beginning of D.Gray-man Hallow
With only a handful of Exorcists left in the world, the Order grows ever more desperate. Their battle is defined by sacrifice, but Allen, Kanda and their comrades must continue the fight against the Millennium Earl and fulfil the pledge to keep walking on their path, no matter the cost.
Daily streaming reviews of D.Gray-man Hallow begin Monday, July 18.
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