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The Animated Voice
D.Gray-man May 8th, 2009 9:21 PM by Kimberly Morales
Most secondary characters for this show are given a lot of depth and endearing personalities, and poor Miranda is no exception: she can't hold down a job for more than a few days due to being horribly clumsy, and feels trapped in her own personal hell repeating the same depressing day over and over again. Her only companion is a large grandfather clock that she saved from being trashed. It's up to Allen and Lenalee to convince her to help them solve the mystery surrounding the Innocence, and Miranda finds herself in deep when a dangerous new foe draws her into a battle that will—quite literally—change her life forever .
It goes without saying that the religious themes play a major role in the story. Katsura Hoshino puts her own spin on the story of Noah's Ark, incorporating it into her versions of the Devil and his quest to destroy God. The Black Order's main overseeing governing body is the Vatican led by the Pope, though this is only mentioned, and not a real presence in the progression of the story.
The Exorcists are defined as "apostles of God" whose job is to bring salvation to the souls of those the Earl (Hoshino's Satan) has enslaved to darkness. Biblical names, phrases, and symbolic motifs are present throughout the Order as well as the attacks the various Exorcists use to destroy Akuma.
Innocence is a divine material which had been given to humanity at the beginning of civilization as the only means of destroying the Millennium Earl, which was last used at the time explained in the Bible as Noah's flood. It was prophesied that the Earl would return and again endanger mankind, and with that time now imminent, the Black Order was established to dispatch Exorcists with the only means of saving the world. Think "The Second Coming." Is Allen a "Christ figure"? It's a question everyone has and a particular element to the development of Hoshino's storyline. His role intensifies as the series progresses, leading those around him to look upon him as "the one most loved by God."
The extras included with this set are rather disappointing considering the material FUNimation has been releasing lately. There is one commentary included on the first disc, with the "rest" of the extras on the second disc—the usual textless opening and closing credits.
The voice work is decent, with some roles matched spot-on to their English voices, and others bringing to question:
"What were they thinking?" Todd Haberkorn as "Allen Walker" does a fairly decent job that seems to match well to the original Japanese casting. Luci Christian ("Lenalee Lee") and Jason Liebrecht ("Lavi") do passable performances. Travis Willingham as "Kanda" however, just does not work. Travis is a talented voice actor, but his portrayal of the cold and mysterious Kanda makes the young man sound more like a bodybuilder than a lithe swordsman. Hands down, the best match so far is J. Michael Tatum as "Komui Lee." He perfectly blends the serious and comedic sides of the Black Order's supervisor.
Whatever this release may lack, the story certainly makes up for. Crisp, dramatic animation (the quality of which seems to change slightly between arcs) and a bold soundtrack are well worth the attention. Compelling characters, rich visuals, and solid story create a mystery set in a world conceived in a "steampunk" gothic horror style. This show is one you definitely can't miss.
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