D.Gray-man Hallow
Episode 12

by Anne Lauenroth,

How would you rate episode 12 of
D.Gray-man Hallow ?

He always puts others first. He gets hurt trying to save others from their sorrow!

To Lenalee, the proof of Allen's virtue and loyalty as an Exorcist is just a critical flaw in Tyki's eyes. Allen embraces his destiny as an Exorcist despite the not remotely unambiguous nature of Innocence, and Allen rejects his Noah memory even if it obviously connects Nea to Mana. Allen has no idea who he is, so he compensates by trying to save everyone else, blaming himself for things he has no control over while clinging to the words of a dead man who might be as far from the purehearted clown Allen wants to remember as Tyki is from being his friend. I actually have to remind myself of what Tyki did to Suman Dark and all his other victims in the first series, since his concern feels so genuine and his words are so necessary for Allen to hear. It's time to stop playing the hero to avoid dealing with your own issues.

The shonen hero having powers of both light and darkness isn't exactly a revolutionary concept. So far, however, it doesn't look like being a part of both worlds will help Allen become the designated champion to save the world in the typical vein. Rather, it looks like fate simply managed to screw him twice. Brief flashbacks to better times rub in the tragedy of Allen losing what remains of his surrogate family. Despite the new art style and changed cast, these are still the same people we laughed and suffered with (even if Kanda's younger self looks unconvincing with Hallow's character design). But it's not the visuals that make this well-trodden device work so well. Just like at other crucial moments throughout Hallow – Kanda thanking Allen, Alma's death, and now Allen and Lenalee's goodbye – Kaoru Wada's music plays a key role in triggering emotions I didn't know I still remembered from years ago. These are the few moments when an almost too-faithful adaptation manages to briefly elevate itself beyond its source material.

Hallow also deserves props for giving characters like Miranda and Krory at least a nod, when the manga had mostly forgotten about them at this point. One of D.Gray-man's strongest suits had always been its colorful ensemble, and while the introduction of new players was necessary to finally tell the carefully built-up and long overdue backstory of one of the main characters, it nonetheless meant other favorites would disappear into the background for a while. It's nice to see how well Timothy has grown into the responsibility of being an Exorcist, just as it is sad to see Miranda still limited to her timid, insecure self after all that she's been through and proven herself alongside her comrades. Krory, meanwhile, is allowed to be a real badass, and Lenalee finally gets to kick some Akuma butt again before breaking down in tears once more for the scene I originally assumed to be Hallow's endpoint.

While Allen's decision of going away to avoid putting the people who want to fight alongside him in danger is probably necessary for him to figure out who he is, it also means the same people he's doing this for will have to fight against him eventually, something Lenalee finds impossible to cope with. Leaving our characters here would have ended Hallow on a rather depressing note, so the idea of at least a glimmer of hope is comforting, even if the preview gives reason for both pleasant anticipation and concern in the face of what's left to come – and how much ground they intend to cover in a mere 23 minutes.

If one thing has been consistent throughout this adaptation, it has been inconsistent pacing. We're obviously not going to have enough time to solve all the remaining plot threads, so opening up a new box of the Thirds' mystery in the penultimate episode feels frustrating rather than suspenseful. With the content of at least 3 manga chapters featured in the preview (hence my concern about the possibility of emotional payoff), I'm still an advocate of Allen's mantra:

Don't stop... Keep walking.

And maybe ask the subtitles to agree on a consistent plural for the Noah(s) in the next season.

Rating: B-

D.Gray-man Hallow is currently streaming on Funimation.


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