“D.Gray Man” (Original 2006-2008) Anime Review: No Thumbs Up!

Featured Image Source: 2006 Promotional Image

D.Gray Man manga scan. Courtesy: Halle2528



Writer: Chrissy.C


A dark order of religious members hold exorcist that use the power of innocence and seek out more innocence fragments to create more fighting members to combat a man named The Millenium Earl and his demons.

The Main Characters. Animation: TMS Entertainment/Courtesy: only-anime-gifs


Back when I was younger, man, D.Gray Man was a great show. However now re-watching all 103 episodes in 2016 in celebration of the sequel anime. I realize how much of a big mess this is truly was.

Komui rising. Animation: TMS Entertainment/Courtesy: Allen-Walkers


*Minor Spoilers*


Writing – Reiko Yoshida (Known For: K-ON)/Original Concept & Story: Katsura Hosino

  • Minor Pro: D.Gray Man unlike many Shonen anime actually don’t sexualize their female cast.
  • The concept of Catholicism intertwining with these innocence abilities as a dark religious order goes to seek out other innocence fragments for new users to wield to fight against demons.
Lavi kicked by Allen. Animation: TMS Entertainment/Courtesy: ActiveRaid

Directing & Cinematography – Head Director: Osamu Nabeshima (Known For Directing: Yowamushi Pedal) & Co-Director: Nana Harada (Known For Directing: Detective Conan Episodes)

  • Especially towards the end of D.Gray Man we see better directing & animation. (E.G: Lavi & Allen’s fight take shots of their whole bodies turning and striking as they run against each other, rather than shots of them as a side scroller (2/4 view) attacking which reduces frame and complex illustrations.)Credit: Art & Animation Team, & Director-
  • The final battle looks and plays out great. A lot of rotating shots of characters interchanging spots in battle. We watch them fully animated and well illustrated as they rotate and turn with each strike. –Credit: Art & Animation Team, & Director-

ART & Animation: TMS ENTERTAINMENT (Known For: Detective Conan)

  • The first half of D.Gray Man saw a lot of poor illustrations & stiff battles. However in the other half half we see more frame work in battles, quality illustrations & less frequently do we see dynamic static frames. –Credit: Director & Art/Animation Team-
Better Directing & Animation. Animation: TMS Entertainment/Courtesy: CronaLover102


Directing & Cinematography

  • The director chooses a lot of dynamic static frames. Where a character is slashing and a light goes by to show that the character has completed an action with his hair and clothes flying in the wind. Instead of a character completing a strike frame by frame.
Bookman putting the smack down. Animation: TMS Entertainment/Courtesy: Active Raid


  • Minor Con: The anime is called D.Gray Man but Allen only uses this power one time.
  • The story is always switching between serious and funny, it doesn’t work. It’s not mature enough especially when they are around dangerous enemies. (E.G: The twin gunmen are used in a comical sense when dealing with Marshall Crosses bills. When they are encountered by bill collectors they don’t kill them or shoot them like they should because aren’t they the dangerous Noah family?)
  • There are power flaws. (E.G: Allen & Lenalee try so hard to kill Level 3 Akuma but with some effort Lavi & Crowley happen to destroy “three level 3 Akuma” in one strike.)
  • None of these characters do anything special, all they fight for is friends. It’s ridiculous when a character is too weak and just a burden but they want to go back and help their friend even if it can cause multiple deaths and they clearly can’t doing anything to help at all.
  • Chaoji is an unnecessary character that doesn’t need to be in the story what so ever. Chaoji is your typical character that usually plays the lead role in every anime. The one who cries that he can’t help but for some reason is the chosen one. (Master Tiedoll’s innocence piece somehow manages to fly to Choaji but no one else.) (E.G: He is a normal human that enters an extremely dangerous level 3+ Akuma territory and can barely assist as he has no powers. Somehow he manages to get tied in with the main story and does not die for some reason but many others do in this dream/room arc vs the Noah’s. The reward given to him is just an excuse for him to fit in with the main story. The dialogue writes him so much on the side that he almost sounds like he is inserted in and is barely respond to.)
  • There are always big elephants in the room that are hardly or barely acknowledged. (E.G: Allen’s return, Allen’s innocence evolution, Allen’s sword evolution, and Lenalee’s hair.)
  • The Noah family are supposed to be the feelings & sins of Noah the biblical figure. But they barely even show it. (E.G: Tyki is supposed to be pleasure but he doesn’t indulge in any vice or anything really differently pleasurable than anyone else. Lulu Bell is lust but she isn’t ever expressed sexually or in anyway erotically as her character theme should.)
  • There are way too many unanswered questions by the end of the show. (E.G: What is Kanda’s lotus flower past, Lenalee’s family, Allen’s adoptive father Mana, & more.)
  • Some battles wage on forever. A lot longer then they should. It can get boring to watch them do the same thing over & over. Get stronger, enemy gets scared, enemy gets stronger, good guy gets scared and then one will power over the other and basically say “What is this might?!” and die.
  • A ton of stories that don’t fuel the main plot line. (E.G: Painter episode, 1st Episode, Pirate Kids, Kanda & Witch, & etc.)
  • One of the Noah’s are defeated with a knife that has no innocence in it. When innocence should be the only thing that hurts them. (even if they appear later.)
  • Some of The weapons (innocence) are so tacky and cartoonish. They are just basic items tossed in the bunch. (E.G: A big huge hammer, boots, a door bell, & vampire fangs.)
  • A character’s death at the last episode is not emotional because we barely ever interact or experience anytime with them.
Reaction To The Score. Animation: TMS Entertainment/Courtesy: Allen-Walkers

4/10- D.Okay Man!

+ Directing at the final.

+ Concept.

– Art & Animation in the first half.

– Weak story telling.

– Unbalanced characters.

Well the sequel looks great, check it out below!




6 thoughts on ““D.Gray Man” (Original 2006-2008) Anime Review: No Thumbs Up!

  1. I do agree with a majority of your points. Especially the character portayal. The unanswered questions are hopefully being answered this season, if they actually include the i formation. So far they have omitted a great deal of information.

    That being said, it remains my favorite series. Im dissapointed in the new season, because DGM left an impression on its viewers long ago and this season is missing so much of the story we have been waiting for.

    That being said, i totally agree with your citisisms. Thanks 🙂


  2. Savage. Personally I wave the sometimes-icky animation given the time period. Other than that, you do have a mountainous list of very valid points, which only a few I would argue against.

    I would agree that some things this anime offers up as “improvement” or “difference in power” are ridiculous (having different level of difficulty fighting the same Akuma one minute to the next). Same goes to the large events being relatively unmarked. Long battles are pretty typical of shounens, so I just take them with that in mind. Most of the D. Gray Man arcs don’t span more than 5 episodes (a number of which are filler), but the last three arcs do take up almost 40% of the series.

    On the other hand, I have to argue the point of unimportant arcs. A lot of the nonsense arcs in the begining are original work and was not actually part of the storyline. Trying to work them in just weakened the anime, mostly by hacking the pacing to bits and tacking on unwanted characters and themes. If you ignore those random arcs, D. Gray Man improves.


    1. The part with the animation is that it only is required of many frames to compile smooth animation. As there were a fair amount of anime that looked great in terms of movement at the time. (E.G: “Samurai Champloo” & “DIEBUSTERS”) Though I do agree that even anime till this day isn’t given the budget to perform smooth animation tasks.

      Yeah I agree the arcs just really bogged me down.

      Yes but I am reviewing the anime rather than the original story. So as much as the original piece may be better. It’s fine for me to write it as I am reviewing the animation rather than the manga.

      I appreciate you reading the whole review and coming to visit our write ups. Thank you for your time, Sloane.

      Liked by 1 person

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