D.Gray-Man (HALLOW) Episode 104 (a.k.a. Episode 1): A Chess Game, a New House, and Blood
D.Gray-Man ran for 103 episodes from October 2006 to September 2008. If you missed them, you can buy the Super Amazing Value Edition of season 1 here from Amazon and the Super Amazing Value Edition of episode season 2 here, also from Amazon. Together, these cover the first 51 episodes. If you prefer streaming, Funimation has them starting here.
HALLOW picks up almost right where the series ended up in 2008. We get to see most of the old gang in action, from the bookmen Lavi and Bookman to the exorcists like Lenalee Lee, Arystar Krory III, Miranda Lotto, and, of course, the star of the show, Allen Walker. This episode starts with a high-stakes game of chess in a graveyard and moves to the Black Order’s new headquarters. It ends on a shocking development in Walker’s relationship with his master, Cross Marian.
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What Happened (Spoiler Free)
The series opens with our heroes protecting an Inspector as he plays a game of chess against an Akuma for the prize of Innocence in the form of a ring. Miranda casts a shield around the game, but a huge Akuma pounds against it. Can Lavi, Lenalee, Krory, and Kanda push the Akuma back? Will Allen Walker’s arrival tip the balance of power?
Their happiness arriving at their new headquarters is short-lived. Malcolm C. Lvellie, an Inspector overseeing the Black Order, takes Walker into custody. It’s not clear why until Walker’s former master, Cross Marian, questions him. It’s clear that Lvellie is playing some twisted political game, but what’s his angle? What is the secret from Walker’s past that explains key events from the show’s first run — and casts doubts on his loyalty now, despite everything he’s done to benefit the Black Order?
In his room that night, why does Cross Marian draw his sidearm when he hears a knock at the door?
The rest of this review may have spoilers, so please be careful!
What Happened (Spoilers!)
The show opens in a graveyard where Miranda protects a chess match. An Inspector is playing an Akuma for Innocence in the form of a ring. Lenalee, Krory, Lavi, and even Yu Kanda (still as cheerful as ever!) fight to hold back various sorts of Akuma. Even Walker shows up and fights. After he downs the Akuma, Walker prays for its salvation and elicits Kanda’s scorn. The Inspector wins the match and Kanda collects the Innocence.
The victorious exorcists take a steamer to their new headquarters, which they’ve not seen before. The support staff puts Walker to work helping power the teleportation gate from the old headquarters, from which they’re still sending material. But though he’s doing a great job, and though he’s done well in the field, it becomes clear that certain elements within the Black Order just don’t trust him. Malcolm C. Lvellie, an Inspector overseeing the Black Order, takes Walker into custody. Walker’s friends and allies, including branch director Komui Lee, are clearly unhappy. But they can’t stand against Lvellie.
Lvellie’s henchmen take Walker to be interrogated by his master, Cross Marian. Walker, in an attempt to confirm his suspicions about what’s going on, gets straight to the point: he asks Cross Marian about Mana Walker, Allen’s adoptive father, and his relationship to the fourteenth Noah, Nea D. Campbell. Keep in mind that the show’s first run ended with Allen Walker and company destroying Noah’s Ark and defeating the Millennium Earl’s latest plan. Cross Marian tells Walker that he’s under suspicion because the the fourteenth Noah (now called just the Fourteenth) had magically implanted his memories into Allen Walker, and those memories will likely overwhelm him. As evidence, Walker’s master points out that the only way Walker could have stopped Noah’s Ark was by using memories from the Fourteenth.
Cross Marion tells Walker that once he becomes the Fourteenth, he’ll have to kill someone he cares about. Aghast, Walker demands more information, but his master only observes that there’s more to this war than it appears. The henchmen try to make the master leave, but Walker says that he’ll stay true to who he is; he rejects the Fourteenth plans, whatever they are, in favorite of the promises he’s already made.
Komui Lee, listening in on the meeting with Lvellie, says that the Fourteenth’s goal was to kill the Millennium Earl; that’s the same goal as the Black Order! Lvellie rejects that idea, saying there’s no guarantee that Walker won’t turn against them.
Lavi, communicating telepathically to Bookman, says it’ll be dangerous for anyone to stick up for Walker now that the Central Order, Lvellie’s organization, considers Walker dangerous. Bookman warns him to lock up even that thought for now.
After leaving Komui Lee, Lvellie tells Inspector Howard Link to continue investigating both Walker and Cross Marian.
That night, in his room, Cross Marian responds to a knock on the door. Morning finds Walker’s master apparently dead, or at last unconscious and severely injured, lying against the window.
What I Liked
The first we see Walker, he’s taking exception to the Akuma calling Miranda shabby. Good note to re-introduce us to his character! I’ve always liked how much he seems to care about his friends, and how he persists in that even though some call such affection a weakness.
I like their new uniforms. I think the black with dark-red piping looks more dramatic than the silver piping. I’m really not surprised I like the costume designs, because I’ve always liked D.Gray-Man’s designs.
After arriving in their new headquarters, Kanda and Walker get into a brief, alpha male-type argument that ends in a stare down. Miranda chides herself for being the adult present and not being able to intervene — until she remembers that she has candy! That instantly attracts Walker’s attention and ends the stalemate.
What I Liked Less
It seemed like overkill to me that the Black Order sent some of its top Exorcists to guard the chess match. Sure, there were a lot of Akuma around, but Miranda (despite her protests) seemed on top of the defense, and Krory and Lenalee seemed more than up to the task. I suppose the show just wanted to waste no time reassuring us that the main characters were still around, but the scene felt contrived to me.
While they’re in the boat, Lenalee says, “We can see it now,” meaning the new headquarters. The camera turns, and there it is: and it’s huge! It had to have been visible for several minutes (or longer!) before she said anything. Maybe something got lost in translation, but that scene shift felt awkward.
I remember watching the first series and being really disappointed when we here in the United States couldn’t legally purchase seasons 3 and 4, which contained the episodes after number 51. Apparently, Funimation has acquired the rights and plans to release them soon. Better late than never!
Many of the things I liked about that original run seem to be present here for HALLOW:
- Camaraderie: The banter between the characters, characters falling asleep beside each other on couches, and even silly little things like character greeting each other, give the show a warm feeling. It’s like I’m looking in on friends when I watch the show.
- Political intrigue: The show has always painted a realistic picture of politics in a monolithic, paternalistic organization like the old Church. Unrestrained by any checks and balances or transparency, those in power can exercise that power in whatever way they see fit — and that often means hurting or killing other people. Based on what we’ve seen of Lvellie so far, that trend’s going to continue.
- Interesting fights against bizarre Akuma: Akuma come in many different shapes with many different types of weapons. The fights are imaginative as the exorcists adapt themselves to whatever Akuma they’re fighting.
The ending really took me by surprise. I wonder, though: would D.Gray-Man actually kill Cross Marian? Is he really dead, or is he unconscious? What do you think?
Reviews of Other Hallow Season Episodes
- Episode 105 (episode 2) HALLOW: Lonely Boy
- Episode 106 (episode 3) HALLOW: It’ll be Fine If I Wash My Face
- Episode 107 (episode 4) HALLOW: Blood Crusade
- Episode 108 (episode 5) HALLOW: Alma Karma
- Episode 109 (episode 6) HALLOW: Friend
- Episode 110 (episode 7) HALLOW: The Truth about a Sterile Flower
- Episode 111 (episode 8) HALLOW: Awakening
- Episode 112 (episode 9) HALLOW: Little Goodbye
- Episode 113 (episode 10) HALLOW: Sinner in Despair
- Episode 114 (episode 11) HALLOW: Hidden One
- Episode 115 (episode 12) HALLOW: My Home
- Episode 116 (episode 13) HALLOW: Walker