Thoughts on the Ark Arc
Yeah, this is a bit of a rant, but I guess it's a question, too...
I don't know what made me realize this, but - as much as I love D.Gray-Man, at this point, I really dislike it too. It's a great series with a great plot, but somehow all that seems to have been changed somewhere between volumes 8 and 10, and turned into a genuinely less interesting shounen.
Obviously, it interests me, but what is upsetting is that everything has completely changed so this seems like a different manga entirely, and I didn't notice.
Think about it. D.Gray-Man for seven or eight volumes was an amazing, unusual plot. Everything that people complain about, though, is in the more recent chapters - in the Ark. And it's not surprising, because nothing is even remotely close to what it used to be like.
For one, all the characters are completely different:
*Allen used to be an average character with a deformed arm - but not really standing out in personality or power. That's why Jean was so surprised to see him as an Exorcist. By this time, he's become some sort of androgynous overpowered man with a giant sword whose personality seems to have been left in China. The only thing that's really consistent there is that he likes Rinari. o_o
*Rinari was cool because she actually FOUGHT, and her friendship-worry took the form of a slap to the face. Even her character weaknesses were unique. Unfortunately, losing her power made her into the stereotype of female heroine in shounen manga - strong personality but can't do a thing, and often requires rescuing. Sure, it worked for Allen, but that's because it was unusual! She's also wearing way too little for her character; can you really see the old Rinari dressing like that?
*Rabi seems to have been given Rinari's old personality, complete with the friendship morals and extreme worry over Allen. So much for comic relief - we now see his dark twisted past and yet the thing that freaks him out most is... seeing Allen's head blown off. If we hadn't seen him right there I would swear those are Rinari's thoughts.
*Crowley isn't emo anymore. T_T
*Kanda looks like a man now! =D He didn't seem too different, except he went shirtless and then disappeared for another 20 chapters. Well, at least SOMETHING is consistent.
*Tiki was once the mysterious calm villain - we saw him as the real antagonist of D.Gray-Man. That is, until he became mad and overpowered. >_> The real Tiki seemed far more rational than that.
*Road is probably the best example of character changes. She doesn't look scary anymore - great (now I can actually read chapters with her in it). However, she's... NICE. She glomps/kisses Allen, saves everyone from death... What happened to the Road who nailed Miranda's hands to a clock, Allen's arm to a wall, and then stabbed his eye out? We're expected to believe this is the same Road who can't hurt Rinari or Allen (...note that these were her EXACT targets before) and whose idea of pain and death is turning on Rabi's conscience?!
Oh, and we haven't seen akuma. So what was the point of the story again? Fighting Noah? Wow, that makes so much sense - considering that we didn't see them until volume 3, or even know that they exist!
So much for the creepy scary settings and fighting-akuma missions - they're gone with the old uniforms. Instead, we have typical shounen battles involving giant swords and strange power-ups, with weapons that don't even look like the old ones (Allen's arm actually looks kind of normal now. Wasn't it supposed to be deformed and creepy? Did the curse migrate to his fingers or something?).
...I can't see the story going back to the way it was, as much as I loved that part. The only thing that could be done to redeem it is to introduce lots of evil - make Allen into a Noah who commits mass murder or something. It wouldn't be the old D.Gray-Man, but it'd have unique aspects that made it a great manga in the first place.
So - thoughts? Do you think the current chapter arc is consistent with characters and plot, or do I actually have a point? ^_~
While I agree it should revert a bit, I doubt Allen will snap. Also, by this chapter I'm almost positive he, if not most of the characters, has DID. (Dissociative Identity Disorder) (Road has to be bipolar or something, she's like "Allen kuuuuun!~ne! *hugs*" one minute and "*laughs evilly while dismembering someone*" another.) This chapter is very soapy, not to say that isn't good in certain aspects. Soapy as in "Allen's almost dead! Dun dun dun!", "Crowley and Kanda are dead! Dun dun dun", "Rabi is dieing! dun dun dun", "Oh no Chaoji's dieing! *no response*......well Linali's more useless! Dun dun dun!". If that made any since that's good. (I'm not good at explaining my opinions without going into a typed montage XD)
I agree with some of what you're saying digi, but I also have to disagree =P
concerning the character changes:
Allen's change wasn't that surprising. After almost being killed, seeing his friends killed, having his potential girlfriend rendered useless, and a bunch of other things--he's going to go through some changes. He can't be the head-in-the-fluffy-clouds-with-deformed-arm forever. Maybe he was made an average character without an outstanding personality or powers because his character was meant to grow. It is better than starting out with a super-character just getting more super x.o
about Rinari.. I agree with you here. However I believe she's one of the reasons why allen changes so much. His new powers compensates for her loss of them.
Rabi isn't so comic-relifish because they're digging into his memories. He can't always be the happy one (the happy ones always seem to be the most miserable on the inside). oh, and the blowingheadoff thing, I think he'd be pretty freaked out if anyone's head got blown off in front of him (he did freak out when he first saw rinari *dead*).
Crowly and kanda.. well I'll agree with you here about them ^^
Tiki's character was begging to be pissed off somehow. He was always calm, and he had to be pushed to his limits sometime.
I agree when you say she doesn't look scary anymore xD Road is still one of the characters we don't know much about, and who knows, maybe allen changed her in some way?
Manga ALWAYS has some sort of 'greater evil'. The main characters will fight the 'seemingly evil monsters' for a volume or two, and then they run into the mastermind of it all (although I don't know if the earl can be compared to a mastermind =P).
They're not going through creepy scary settings hunting akuma with regular weapons anymore because they're no longer against the same enemy. New enemy, new clothes, new power-ups, new weapons. And allen's arm... it was supposed to be deformed and creepy... but that doesn't really have to do anything with his curse does it? His innocence got stronger..and he got a less-creepy polished arm instead =P
I don't know how if the story would go back to the way it was, but when they get out of the ark, there's got to be zillions of akuma everwhere.
.... I hope I answered everything...
(it took me so long to write this I got logged out...xD)
I think Allen has gone through the least personality changes. It's his Innocence that I dislike - and that's not something that is really dependent on the experiences so much as the shounen stereotype. He's just had less time to show his personality, I guess.
Nevertheless, if Rinari doesn't get powers again and soon, it won't be enough to say that she helps Allen...
The problem with Rabi is that his character role is for comic relief, friendship, and fighting. In recent chapters, he's gained Rinari's former obsession with friends and worry about losing them, which is understandable but not present at all prior to Japan, let alone to the extent that it is. And it's not just that Allen's head was blown off... it's that he saw Rinari get attacked yet Allen dying was the cliffhanger that presumably will set him off next chapter.
Tiki did need to be irritated, but he completely lost all his credibility as a villain.
I don't think Road was really changed, I think that was just a change in character that the manga-ka made. I can't see anything explaining why she cared so little about hurting people in one volume and then not only does not attack them but SAVES them in a later one. Even her methods of torture are nicer and more necessary compared to what she did then.
I understand that they will meet the greater evil at some point - and I like the concept of the Noah - but I just don't want the akuma to be fully eliminated or used as "let's just stick a minor annoyance here" characters. I mean, they're what's responsible for injuring half the cast. I do hope we'll see them after this arc, since their lack of appearances is definitely not improving the story (even showing Tiedoll and Mari fighting would help).
I want Allen's old arm back. It just fits him better. T_T (I meant a general curse of having a weird skin texture... yeah, wasn't too clear on that. His arm used to be rough and now it's smooth, although his fingers look more deformed and creepy than they used to.)
Sorry about that, Kaze-sama. ^_^;;
Tsi: DID? Perfect phrase! =P Completely true, although Road hasn't even gone into evil mode yet (if so, she'd probably be cutting Rabi open while actually pinning Allen to a wall with those candles... again). And yeah, it does feel "soapy". There's so much angst without it being really dark that it's hard to remember and appreciate that D.Gray-Man WAS once dark and scary. (Maybe Allen won't snap... but over time, degenerating? I kept thinking it should be like a less sexual version of Berserk. o_o Well, you've got the giant sword, the now-helpless and traumatized female, some annoying other characters who do nothing... xD)
Amen. It seems that most of the big shounen series have gone quite seriously downhill in the last 1-2 years.
It's all become so bland, though I did like the Crowley fight...
Anyhow it seems a shame that quite a good manga would burn out so quickly. I hope that Cross and the other general's appearance sometime in the future will breath some life into the series.
@Digital_Eon, how about giving Jojo's Bizarre Adventure a try while you're waiting for D.Gray-Man to pick up?
I wouldn't say that D.Gray-Man is really going downhill in general - the arcs prior to this one were either decent (Suman) or boring but fit with the general tone of the manga (Asia branch and fighting akuma on the boat). It's possible that things will return to normal once everyone gets out, although Allen's power-ups are, sadly, something that won't go away (I think).
...Yeah, maybe I'll read that manga this summer.
My quick thoughts.
Allen changing was nice, finally getting serious to accomplishing his goal
Rinari losing her powers sucks, so i'll agree with Digital there
Lavi is starting to get on my nerves not being useful and this emo crap ain't cutting it.
Tiki needed to be challenged since he seemed to be the most powerful noah (so far). His thoughts on human kinda sucked and he could have "snapped" better (without the lunacy).
I cant really decide with Road because i like her character.
The biggest problem is no Earl dammit.
...Allen becoming more like the boring overused shounen character whose personality is never shown - that's a good thing? Well... Most of my problems are with his new character design, which I used to love but upon further examination (more recently, after having a second look at his arm, hence the comments here) have made me realize that while the art is nicer, it's just not Allen. Well, that and he looks like a girl now.
Tiki had an awfully weak ending for such a cool character. Purple Filth, you like Road as she is now? She's not at all like she was in the Rewinding Town arc. (I agree, the Earl needs more screen time. Er, page time? Even to make a cameo or two and show his awesome power and inhumanity.)
Its cool to see him serious, as long its not permanent (like Kanda) and he also had that look for a long while though. lol
Originally Posted by Digital_Eon
As for Road i like her in Rewinding Town (crazy, almost sadistic) but i like parts this change also, so i'm at a crossroads here.
And bring Cross since we hardly know ***t about him.
Allen hasn't looked like that for a while - not in the manga-storyline, anyway. The art style changed around the time of the Japan arc to what it is now (basically), which is about how long Allen has appeared that way - you're referring to Allen, right? ^^;;
I'd just like to see Road with a stable personality, no matter how messed up that single personality happens to be.
Maybe what we need is some nice manga filler back at the HQ? Have a volume or so for interactions, some high-level staff talk, maybe an akuma mission or two... the revealing of the more boring moments of people's pasts (in other words, anyone but Rabi)... that'd be nice. And then they could go off and fight the Noah again or whatever will happen afterwards.