Shannon, here – Halloween is my favourite holiday and to honour it I’m counting down 13 manga throughout the month that I think best capture the Halloween spirit. They aren’t all horror manga, as to me Halloween is about more than scares: it’s about a sense of fun and wonder. It’s about discovering that there may be more to this world than meets the eye. So with that in mind, there’s everything on this list from action-packed shounen to romantic-comedy to children’s manga to some lock-the-doors-and-leave-the-lights-on horror. (See all 13 Days of Halloween so far…)
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So many shounen series deal with monsters in one form or another, from Bleach’s hollows to the ghosts and demons in Yu Yu Hakusho. So what makes D.Gray-Man more Halloween-y than any other shonen action series featuring the supernatural? In the end it comes down to aesthetics. D.Gray-Man is partly set in an alternate version of Victorian England, a setting already ripe for gothic horror which the manga then amps up to eleven. The buildings are all crumbling and the perspectives skewered. Even inanimate objects have a sinister, childish look, like they might come alive and attack at any moment.
As for the characters themselves, the akuma (the monsters the main characters must fight) are all uniformly creepy. However, there is one character in particular that stands out.
That would be the Millennium Earl.
Only Naoki Urasawa’s Johan has a creepier smile. Giving a sinister character like the Earl with such a fantastical, weird look only makes him scarier. The little flourishes like the hearts that litter his dialogue make him seem even more heinous as talks people into doing horrible things, like resurrecting their dead loved ones so they can be living weapons.
The series is basically a fairy tale set to a shounen action series formula, and everyone knows that not all fairy tales have happy endings. D.Gray-Man embraces the darker, bloodier aspect of classic fables and runs with it. It’s this aspect and the Tim Burton like art that makes D.Gray-Man a worthwhile Halloween manga.