In Alma Karma, D.Gray-Man’s 108th overall episode and the 5th episode of Hallow, we learn more of Yu Kanda’s tragic origin; we see how depraved the leadership of the Black Order has been in its treatment of Alma Karma; and worst of all, we learn of the Noah’s plan to use the Black Order’s own sins to destroy them.
What Happened (Spoiler Free)
As was foreshadowed in previous episodes, the Black Order stores the comatose body of Alma Karma in the North American Branch. Renny Epstain, Malcolm C. Lvellie, and others disclose how the Black Order manipulated and experimented on Alma Karma and Yu Kanda when they were children. Johnny Gill, a scientist from the European Branch, becomes ill and the others ridicule him for it. His boss and chief European scientist, Reever Wenhamm, encourages him never to lose his sense of morality. Then the alarms go off. Who was attacking the North American Branch? And how could they shatter the defenses so easily — almost without a fight?
The rest of this review may have spoilers, so please be careful!
What Happened (Spoilers!)
Led by Renny Epstain and Malcolm C. Lvellie, a team of scientists examine a body in amber liquid. The body’s that of Alma Karma, who we learned earlier is host to an Akuma Egg and is the cellular father of the Third Exorcists. Supposedly, Alma Karma had died years ago at Kanda’s hands, but the Black Order stitched the body back together and has kept him in a coma ever since. Johnny Gill, a scientist from the European Branch, is so overcome with horror that he vomits and is ridiculed by some of the others.
European branch Science Chief Reever Wenhamm tries to comfort him, saying that as a scientist Johnny should continue to observe and not give up on his ethical sensibilities. Then an alarm goes off. Someone’s attacking the North American Branch, and they’re waltzing through the defenses. They’re cut off and can’t escape.
Sheril Kamelot, the Noah known as Dezaiasu, seizes control of the Black Order and support staff and forces them to march into the room holding Alma Karma. A badly wounded Yu Kanda lies on the floor within inches from Alma Karma’s unconscious face. The Millennium Earl is there with the entire Noah family. They’ve set a trap to lure Allen Walker, and moments later, he teleports in, ready to fight.
But the Noah don’t want to fight him. They want to welcome him home.
The Earl pins Allen to the floor and squeezes the Exorcist’s neck until the spirit of the Fourteenth, Allen’s dead adopted uncle and cast-out member of the Noah family, appears. He causes quite a stir when he says he intends to kill the Earl and take his place!
Allen shakes off the Fourteenth’s influence and head-butts the Earl to gain some space. Defiant and unwilling to give up his body, he and Kanda try to fall back and regroup, but the Earl vows never to let him go back to the Order; in fact, he says he’ll make Allen quit of his own volition. The Noah display the extracted body of Alma Karma, and they expect everyone to be shocked. Everyone is, except Kanda. He doesn’t recognize the body because he trusted the Order’s story that he himself had killed Alma Karma years ago. He’s angry, as only Kanda can angry, when the Noah tell him that the Order kept the body alive for the sole purpose of breeding the Third Exorcists.
Then the Noah plunge Allen (and presumably Kanda) into the memories of the time when Kanda, himself a Black Order experiment, first awakened and met his friend Alma Karma.
What I Liked
Johnny shows signs of human conscience. I think that’s redemptive for the Black Order. Heaven knows their salvation won’t come from their leadership (at least the North American and Vatican leadership!). Reever’s support was a big plus in my book. Reever demonstrated the real purpose of leadership: to support those around you. Good for him!
The Black Order’s decisions indicate a deep loss of morality. I’d say those decisions also indicate a serious lack of understanding of who they are in the world. They’re certainly not representatives of the light. They’re no better — and perhaps worse! — than the Noah! I like how the Noah are using the Order’s own decisions to undermine and attack them.
The trauma the Akuma inflicted on Johnny toward the end of the last series still affects him in this episode. I love that kind of continuity: it’s realistic, and it helps me buy into the characters. Johnny’s a minor character, but his struggle really pulled me into this episode.
The Earl figured out that Allen wasn’t just channelling the Fourteenth; he is becoming the Fourteenth. What I like most about this is that Allen’s unwilling to cede his body to the Noah, at least not yet.
Woah! The Fourteenth, growing in power over Allen’s body, wants to kill the Earl and become the Millennium Earl himself! Thats intense. Everyone present, Black Order and Noah alike, seemed shocked.
To break the physical stalemate, Allen head butts the Earl and tells everyone he’s not going to give in. Then he tells the Earl not to involve him in his bickering with the Fourteenth because it was “annoying.”
Kanda didn’t recognize Alma Karma (though he seemed to earlier, when he first regained consciousness). He seemed to believe completely in the lies that the Order had fed him. When he realized that Alma Karma wasn’t dead, and that he had been deceived, he was angry. It was even worse when Road told him that the order had kept Alma Karma alive simply for the purposes of breeding the Third Exorcists.
What I Liked Less
I really have no patience for any leadership that claims moral superiority, and then acts hypocritically. For just a moment in this episode, the narrative presented such damning (in the spiritual sense) evidence against the Black Order that I found myself asking if the Noah were really the bad buys here. The Noah have goals they’re willing to do anything to achieve; the Black Order has goals they’re willing to do anything to achieve. If both behave in such depraved ways, how can either make an objective claim to being “right?”
Thinking about it a little more, the answer’s obvious: neither can. To the extent they’re willing to kill indiscriminately, they’re not worth following. To the extent they experiment on children, they’re not worth following.
But that’s not really the point, is it? The point is the relationships between the Exorcists and their support staff. It’s the commitment Allen and the other Exorcists make to each other and to the world. It’s the web of dependencies and affection between people, human or otherwise, that are important. Those relationships are worth saving. Those are the things worth fighting for. Not bringing about the end of humanity, and not bringing about the end of the Noah.
Because in the end, it’s the dedication between people that will move humanity forward. Energy spent bringing people together into a mutually beneficial web of relationships will return that energy a thousand-fold. And that’s what Allen’s fighting for, even if he can’t articulate it yet.
Next week should be interesting in a tragic sense. And did I see For in the preview for next week? I love her character. I hope she didn’t have anything untoward to do with the experiments…
Other Posts about This Series
Other Anime Sites
- Reddit: D.Gray-man Hallow – Episode 5 Discussion
- Anime Evo: D.Gray-man Hallow – 05
- AngryAnimeBitches: D.Gray-man Hallow Episode 5: [Alma Karma]
Reviews of Other Hallow Season Episodes
- Episode 104 (episode 1) HALLOW: The Fourteenth
- 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 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