OP: 「Key -bring it on, my Destiny-」 by Lenny code fiction
There’s that feeling one gets when a chance meeting occurs and you reunite with someone you haven’t seen in a long time. There’s a part of you that can’t really believe what’s going on, yet there they are in the flesh, right in front of you. Seeing D.Gray-man again after nearly eight years—yeah, it’s kind of like that. As a big fan of the original series, this was a franchise I was sad to see go (especially after we finally got to see the Generals in action), and one I hoped would return after everything sorted itself out. Having now survived various publishing issues/switches, hiatuses, and creator sicknesses—D.Gray-man has finally returned, and the first thing to note is just how much has changed since then.
A different backdrop comes on the heels of a newly built HQ, the cast returns with fancy new uniforms and new character designs, and a brand new voice cast takes the spot in lieu of the original. The fact that there’s been a long hiatus lowers the impact of these changes, but there’s a lot to get used to here in this new iteration, and it’s decision to resume almost immediately after the events of the original also makes it a bit difficult to get into the swing of things given all that’s happened in the series so far.
Thankfully, they’re all things you’ll get used to by the time the episode’s done (or hopefully in the near future), and it’s important to note how not everything has changed in regards to the overall content. The dark atmosphere’s just as foreboding as it was previously, the musical compositions are similar stylistically (you’ll note how little Kanda’s Mugen theme has changed), and many of the character interactions remain unchanged. Lenalee and Allen continue to be one of my favorite potential pairings, Allen and Cross continue to bicker with one another in a way only Master and abused Pupil can, Kanda’s still ribbing the former on his bean sprout status, and the rest of the cast generally fits in nicely in the ways we’ve come to expect.
It’s just too bad that the band’s reunion comes on the heels of the franchise’s most significant developments, and this first episode wastes no time in emphasizing how wary the Black Order’s higher ups are now that it’s confirmed that Allen not only holds the Fourteenth’s implanted memories, but will likely be consumed to become his host as he resumes his attempt to kill the Earl with his own hands. Not knowing the Fourteenth’s motivations and whether or not he’d be a threat to the Order despite their common enemy only makes things harder, and for Allen himself, it’s even more significant given how it’s impossible to know whether his motivations and choices were his own or something controlled/influenced by the Fourteenth. Cross’s ominous comments regarding there more to this war than it seems adds yet another potential twist to it all, and the fact that Bookman seems to have at least some clue as to what’s going on makes you wonder when Lavi’ll have to make a choice between influencing events in a significant way versus observing them as a Bookman in-training.
At the moment though, Cross Marian’s fate given the end of the episode is the more pressing issue, and it seems far from a coincidence that he gets taken out (I use this lightly for now given his significance in the story, although the fact he’s drinking a Death branded whiskey isn’t exactly subtle) shortly after saying what he did. Allen being asleep likely means he’s not the culprit despite Cross’ suggestion that he’ll kill someone close to him at some point, but you can be sure the Black Order’ll have their eyes out for him even more so than ever before, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was instigated by someone higher up in the first place to set the stage for Allen’s elimination/expulsion.
And so continues the story of D.Gray-man, which notably returns with the Akuma being more on the colorful side than what I originally remembered. The OP/ED themes don’t quite match up to Brightdown (Nami Tamaki’s certainly faded out after this one didn’t she?) and SNOW KISS (NIRGILIS!) of the original, but they’re fitting in their own right, especially that Lotus/Kanda themed ED song/sequence.
Just as a note, coverage for the series isn’t in the books at the time, but I’ll certainly be watching it with an eye for a finale post at least at the end of the season. Guess we’ll see. Why couldn’t it air on a different day of the week!? Also, please make sure to put any future spoilers of content not yet covered in spoiler tags!
ED: 「Lotus Pain」 by Mashiro Ayano