In Friend, episode 6 (or 109) of D.Gray-Man HALLOW, we learn the chilling story of Yu Kanda’s birth and lineage; Allen Walker finds it more and more difficult to trust the hierarchy; the viewers learn a new definition for callous; and Road Kamelot comforts Allen — for now.
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What Happened (Spoiler Free)
Allen finds that he’s not alone in Kanda’s memories, where Wisely’s power had sent him at the end of last week’s episode. Road’s there, too, and she tries to help Allen orient himself. He watches as Alma Karma’s initial happiness at Kanda’s awakening turns sour as the two constantly fight. A little time later, though, Kanda undergoes a procedure that leaves a huge impression on him. During it, he learns that Alma Karma, too, is being subjected to the same thing. Kanda feels his antagonism fade.
Kanda begins to see a ghostly white figure of a woman. As the frequency of the encounters climbs, Zuu Mei Chang, head of the local Black Order branch and in charge of the project experimenting on Kanda and Alma Karma, becomes increasingly agitated. What are they really trying to do to Kanda and Alma Karma? What will Chang decide if Kanda continues to see the apparition?
The rest of this review may have spoilers, so please be careful!
What Happened (Spoilers!)
The show begins with a shot of a young Yu Kanda looking up at the blue sky. He and his sword are covered in blood. Alma Karma, terribly wounded and apparently dead, lies behind him. Kanda is weeping.
Allen is trapped within Kanda’s memories. He finds that Road has come into the memories with him. She helps Allen understand what’s happening, then allows him to watch the story unfold.
When Kanda first awakened, Alma Karma was ecstatic to have a friend. However, Kanda soon shows that even his younger self is not very personable: he constantly picks at Alma Karma. That wall of hostility began to weaken during an experiment in which Kanda was the subject. The scientists, lead by a younger Zuu Mei Chang (compared to the older self back in the “real” world), were trying to force some Innocence into his body. His body convulses in agony and explodes to throw him into a bloody pile on the ground. However, given his regenerative capabilities, he can try the whole thing again in minutes. Just before another attempt, he hears the scientists say that Alma Karma, too, was undergoing similar tests.
Even though their regenerative powers were great, they were not infinite. Sometimes, the two needed breaks. During one such break, Kanda see a ghostly figure of a woman who not only seemed to know him, but seems to care very much for him. After seeing her a second time, he breaks down. Chang is furious; this means the experiment, after having come so far, is a failure, and they would have to kill Kanda. Alma Karma learns of their plan and tries to escape with Kanda.
They didn’t get far before the CROWs catch up with them. Alma Karma manages to kick Kanda over a ledge and into a canal just as the CROWs finish their binding spell. But that only gives Kanda a little more time free. Coming out of the canal, he comes across a blind Noise Marie, wounded after a battle, playing his weapon as a musical instrument and waiting to die. As Marie picks up the young Kanda, the aroma of battle and death finished the process of reawakening Kanda’s memories. Just as the CROWs find him again.
Kanda reawakens on a medical table. He’s strapped down. Twi Chang, one of the scientists and Zuu Mei Chang’s niece, is about to cast a spell that will kill Kanda. By now, he’s remembered everything: how he was an Exorcist in his previous life. How the woman who had appeared to him as a ghostly figure in the incubation room was the love of his life. How an Akuma had slaughtered him.
His last words before the spell plunges him into agony are, “Aren’t you my allies?”
Allen, watching from within Kanda’s memories, begins screaming along with Kanda. He can’t bear to see what he’s seeing: the resurrected Kanda being murdered by members of his own Order! Road, fearing for Allen’s sanity, comes to him and helps him regain his composure.
The two of them jump to another perspective: Alma Karma’s memories. Road’s happy because that means Alma Karma’s waking up if his memories are available to probe. He’s mounting a rescue operation to save Kanda. He dives into the room holding the lab’s Innocence. The room’s filled with what look like upright coffins. The CROWs try to burn him alive to stop him, but his regenerative power saves him. He fuses with some of the Innocence and destroys the CROWs. But he stops, aghast and staring.
Road explains that Alma Karma has seen what’s in the coffins: the brains of Accommodators who can no longer fight, force-fitted into new bodies, in an attempt to keep a ready supply of Exorcists.
Allen, as appalled as he was at Kanda’s treatment before, has no words for what he sees now.
What I Liked
Starting the episode with a banged up Kanda, weeping and staring at the sky, gave the whole episode a tragic and oppressive feel. It really drove home the episode’s theme.
Knowing what’s coming for poor Alma Karma, it was really hard to see him being so cheerful and excited to see Kanda awaken. He seemed to carefree and untouched by the world.
The Zuu Mei Chang in the present seemed like a man who’d carried a heavy guilt for a very long time, and now wants rid of it. I don’t think that’s going to happen, though. The seeds he sowed with Alma Karma’s birth so many years ago are bearing dark fruits.
Kanda awakened in Asian Research Lab 6. That means a) there are at least 5 others in Asia and b) there are likely others in the world. Each one subjecting children to these painful, crippling, and ultimately fatal experiments.
The ghostly figure of the woman in the incubation room was a sad but effective way to reintroduce Kanda’s memories.
Kanda and Alma Karma finally bond — over their bodies being so beat up and seeping blood that they couldn’t fight between themselves anymore.
“…unknown to the current Yu,” huh? With this one line, the episode reveals that Yu Kanda lived before — and now they’ve resurrected him to fight again? That seems cruel.
Noise Marie, blind, horribly injured, plays his weapon like a harp and sits waiting to die. He’s actually looking forward to dying in the next battle; his spiritual and psychological wounds are that deep. He was the perfect one to find the young Kanda. Marie’s aroma of battle and death completed the process of reawakening Kanda’s memories.
Allen watches Twi Chang cast the spell that will put the bound Kanda to death. As Kanda writhes in agony, Allen begins screaming too, so horrified by what he’s seeing that he can’t help himself. Road came to him, apparently in genuine concern, and helped him remember himself. She, and the rest of the Noah, are interesting characters to me. They’re villains from the perspective of humanity, but I don’t see them torturing children in the name of salvation. Plus, I think her desire to help Allen is honest. She’s always had a soft spot for him, even to the point of earning the Millennium Earl’s wrath.
What I Liked Less
I was going to complain about no Lenalee Lee, This time out, I think I’m happy she wasn’t in the episode. I’m sure she’s strong enough to handle what Allen witnessed; but her heart’s still so warm that it leaves her open to certain kinds of attack. I’m afraid this revelations in this episode would crush her. Truth be told, I’m not convinced Allen’s going to come out of this sane.
In Dreams of Steel, Glen Cook wrote, “More evil gets done in the name of righteousness than any other way.” If the book sounds interesting, you can buy it from Amazon:
“About 580 seconds until Yu regenerates…” Twi Chang said as Kanda lay in a bleeding pile of flesh after the Innocence had rejected him. Again.
What kind of cruelty or heartlessness do you have to have to put someone through that kind of pain?
Put another way, what kind of dedication do you have to have to set aside your humanity to pursue that path?
See what a difference a little phrasing can make? Saying “dedication” makes the Black Order’s seem noble. They’re doing it for a greater good! They’re trying to save the human race! Faced with the two evils of their species’ death and torture of children, they choose the lesser of two evils. Right?
The Church tells the Black Order that they’re in the right. That they’re on a Crusade to bring good to the world; to save humanity and defeat the Noah.
Who really benefits in that equation?
I’m pretty sure it’s not the people like Kanda.
It’s easy to see the motivations of those in charge: pursuit of power becomes its own end. That explains people like Zuu Mei Chang. He gives orders to preserve the structures that give him power.
What about people like his niece? Or the lower-ranking scientists? Only a few of them appeared to have any hesitation about their jobs.
A failure of imagination should not constitute the totality of their choices. Just because they can’t see other choices doesn’t mean those choices are not there. Humans are amazingly skilled at rationalization. If they want to appear noble and suffering, even if it means inflicting pain (usually on others), they’ll find a way to do it. They’ve trapped themselves in a web of false options.
Kanda, ironically, embodies this attitude. He sees the Akuma as the enemy, and the only thing ones does to an enemy is kill them. Contrast that with Allen. He sees his work as freeing the souls trapped within the Akuma. Because of his choices, Kanda routinely ridicules him; others look askance at his seeming softness for the Order’s enemies. But that attitude opens a whole new world of possibilities to Allen. He can form relationships with people like Road, who’s technically his enemy. That friendship, such as it is, gives him some influence with her (and her with him). More than that, he can see his role as something other than a destroyer. He can imagine greater for himself.
And in doing so, he can create choices that let him treat everyone around him with more compassion.
At the end of the episode, Allen was speechless before the horrors that the Black Order had brought into the world. And I bet we see him take some action based on what he saw. That’s what makes him the hero of the series.
Do you believe that we sometimes have to choose between two evils? Or is that just an excuse?
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 108 (episode 5) HALLOW: Alma Karma
- 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