Allen Walker with Timcampy, by Katsura Hoshino
|First appearance||D.Gray-man manga chapter 1 (2004)|
|Created by||Katsura Hoshino|
Ayumu Murase (D.Gray-man Hallow)
|Notable relatives||Mana Walker (guardian)|
Allen Walker (Japanese: アレン・ウォーカー Hepburn: Aren Wōkā) is the fictional protagonist of the manga series D.Gray-man, which was created by Japanese artist and writer Katsura Hoshino. In the series, which is set in the 19th century, Allen is a teenager who joins the Black Order—a group of soldiers known as exorcists. Allen uses an object called Innocence to fight demons known as Akuma. Allen's Innocence initially assumes the form of a gigantic left arm and evolves to give him new abilities, which he uses to fight the Millennium Earl—who created an army of Akuma to destroy the world—and his superhuman followers the Noah Family. Allen learns he is connected to the Noah and might become one of them.
Hoshino based Allen's characterization on Robin, the shorter-haired female protagonist of the one-shot comic Zone. She designed Allen's clothing to resemble that of the nineteenth century, giving him a ribbon tie and other accessories to make him appear gentlemanly. Hoshino gave Allen a calm demeanor in contrast with her typical rambunctious, rude characters; and to make him look intimidating she gave Allen a pentagram-shaped scar. The manga was adapted for television as an anime series in which Allen was voiced by Sanae Kobayashi. The voices were recast for the 2016 anime television series D.Gray-man Hallow, in which Ayumu Murase replaced Kobayashi. In the English adaptation of the anime series, Allen was voiced by Todd Haberkorn.
Allen is popular with D.Gray-man readers; he is usually ranking in the top three in the series' popularity polls and reaction to the character in manga and anime publications and other media has been generally positive. His characterization has been praised; critics said his calm demeanor and mysterious origin are atypical of a shōnen protagonist. Some reviewers enjoyed Allen's multiple voice actors. Merchandise featuring Allen's likeness, including plush dolls, figurines, clothing and cosplay pieces, has been offered. In addition to the character's appearances in the anime series D.Gray-man and its sequel D.Gray-man Hallow, he has appeared in three light novels, two video games and several crossover fighting games.
Manga creator Katsura Hoshino originally had no plans to create Allen's character in D.Gray-man; she wanted the Millennium Earl to be the story's protagonist. Hoshino found the Earl unsuitable for use as a main character in a manga magazine aimed at teenagers so she created Allen. Hoshino thought a mature design would be better; although she believed his final design looked best clothed with a Black Order uniform, she wondered whether it should be more masculine.[vol. 1:61] Hoshino said she did not know how Allen originated; she likes her main characters to be rambunctious, rude idiots.[vol. 1:61] She said the general idea for his design was an "energetic youth with messy fly-a-way hair", but when he was drawn with the uniform of the Black Order—the group Allen joins—she sensed a "lack of coordination". To make a bigger impact with Allen's arrival to the Black Order, Hoshino gave him the nickname "Destroyer of Time", which has no relevance to the story.
Hoshino based Allen on Robin, the protagonist of her one-shot comic Zone.[vol. 1:61] Comparing the two, she called Allen a "different kind of boy". According to Hoshino's first editor, Allen was originally going to be a modified Akuma who looked like a boy. Her editor advised her to make Allen more vulnerable by depicting him crying, which led to Allen's gender being male to make a bigger impact with the readers. As the manga continued, Hoshino called him a comrade and found a relationship between herself and the character, although Hoshino still admired the Millennium Earl.
While creating the character, Hoshino was afraid readers might dislike Allen because she wrote him as a hypocrite; even though Allen is a human, he has sympathy for his enemies, the souls trapped inside the Akumas and the Noah clan. Hoshino did not like Allen because of his negative actions despite his caring words. She also wondered whether readers would care for a protagonist who is friendly with both his friends and his enemies. Despite her worries, Hoshino's editor said it would be positive if Allen remained as a hypocrite until the ending. Despite difficulties in writing him, Hoshino liked the challenge of writing Allen, expecting that future manga protagonists also provide authors with this problem.
Allen was introduced as a "gentleman" but his characterization changed to the point that Hoshino wrote an interview between the character and herself. In the interview she complained to Allen about his change from "pure and innocent" to a "corrupted" character, calling him "Dark Allen". "Allen" replied that the change must be due to the series' dark setting.[vol. 9:191] She demonstrated Allen's dark side when the character struck his master Cross Marian in anger at his inability to learn how he would become the 14th Noah descendant: Nea D. Campbell. According to Hoshino, Cross Marian was angry with Allen for the attack but enjoyed seeing this side of his student. While Allen became a darker character, Hoshino also wanted to symbolize his own fear in the way his persona became afraid his late guardian Mana Walker did not love him. As a result, Hoshino made a minor design change and rearranged the scar Mana's Akuma placed on his forehead in a berserker state; by having the scar show more clearly, Allen's disturbance about his love for Mana was more clearly expressed. For the arc involving the Third Exorcists, Hoshino's editors advised her to draw Allen as a fighter for the sake of the manga's characters Yu Kanda and Alma Karma, who are heavily featured in the saga.
Hoshino drew Allen with hair longer than Robin's and found it difficult to decide on a hairstyle.[vol. 1:61] She parted his hair in the center to emphasize his facial expressions. Because he is an exorcist, she wanted him to have a "very scary-looking image" and added the scar on his left forehead; the scar changed shape several times before becoming a pentagram. Since Hoshino wanted the Order and its enemies to have visual contrast, she gave Allen and the Exorcists black cloaks to convey a "gloomy" impression. Allen's clothing is drawn from Hoshino's general impression of the late 19th century; his ribbon tie and other accessories are intended to project a "gentlemanly image".
According to Hoshino, later in the series Allen's hairstyle becomes similar to that of a Super Saiyan—a transformation in the Dragon Ball series in which the character's hair becomes spiky.[vol. 11:2] Hoshino said that early in D.Gray-man's publication, Allen was one of the most difficult characters to draw.[vol. 3:86] By the tenth volume, she said the character was more difficult to draw than Yu Kanda.[vol. 10:204] In the manga's first chapters, Allen's eyes have had different colors—red and light blue—due to a discussion between Hoshino and her editor; it was later decided to give him silver eyes.[vol. 4:72] The series' title D.Gray-man is intended to have several meanings, most referring to the state of Allen and the other main characters.[vol. 3:26]
During a story arc in which Allen tries to save a former Exorcist named Suman Dark, Allen's own Innocence—his deformed arm "Cross"— is destroyed in a confrontation. Because Allen trains in a sub-branch of the Black Order to regain his Innocence, Hoshino wanted to show Allen's real powers. Hoshino said she experienced a lack of inspiration in what it would be its true form to the point of feeling Allen's frustration at not being able to fight again. Eventually, Hoshino was inspired to draw Allen's real Innocence—the Crowned Clown—which is based on the Italian Pierrot. She was satisfied with Allen's dialogue that he would fight for both humans and Akumas, symbolized by his two hands, and drew this scene carefully. By the series' beginning, Hoshino intended Allen's weaponry to evolve because she started feeling that Allen's first weapon, Cross, might be appealing to the readers. Crown Clown was created to be a more stylish and cooler weapon for Allen. Because Allen hides his identity from the Order but still claims to be an exorcist in a later arc, Hoshino conceived a new design for him that represents his self-proclamation of being one.
Allen leaves the Black Order because the previous story arc had too many characters and required too much effort. Hoshino was pleased with her portrayal of Allen's valediction to comrade Lenalee Lee because it connotes the character's maturation. She noted that Allen had grown taller; early in the series he and Lenalee are depicted at the same height. Hoshino said although Allen's departure fits the series' tragic theme, he would always have comrades. Allen and Kanda, despite their frequent arguments, part on good terms; Hoshino said Kanda would assist Allen in the next story. Allen's withdrawal from the Order had been planned since he encountered the enemy Road Kamelot because Allen's nature conflicts with those of the other Exorcists, who unlike him do not wish to save the Akumas.
When Allen left the Order, Hoshino said the character had become difficult to write. Allen is a philanthropist; Hoshino said she was not equally kind. Because Jump Square—the manga's host magazine at the time— was aimed at a young male audience, Hoshino said she wanted to characterize Allen as a cheerful person rather than a troubled teenager. She found this depiction difficult because his life became more complicated as the series progressed. Hoshino tries to balance Allen between "strength and sorrow", and has required occasional hiatuses. She said the most challenging part of Allen's face to draw is his smile; he often smiles, sometimes when he is lying or unhappy. After Allen left the Order, Hoshino told readers his life might be arduous and that he would cheat at gambling, which learns while training with Cross Marian. As the plot progressed, Hoshino still found difficulties in writing him because he is suffering while remaining cheerful. Chapter 222 proved more challenging for Hoshino because Allen's life was becoming difficult. During these moments, Allen's mind starts being erased from his body because he is being possessed by the Noah Nea D. Campbell. In an inner world, Allen feels he wishes to be erased and freed of pain while interacting with an illusion of Cross Marian. He remembers his beliefs and smiles at Cross' illusion despite crying at the same time.
In the first animated version of D.Gray-man Allen is voiced by Sanae Kobayashi, whom Hoshino praised for capturing the character.[vol. 9:187] During recording of the anime, Kobayashi befriended the Earl's voice actor Junpei Takiguchi as they chatted whenever their characters were absent from a recording, much to Hoshino's surprise.[vol. 11:76] For its anime sequel, D.Gray-man Hallow, Kobayashi was replaced with Ayumu Murase. Murase said he had positive thoughts about his work, hoping it would appeal to the audience. During recordings of Hallow, Hoshino was surprised by Murase's work, finding him suitable for Allen. Murase's switching between two personalities—Allen and the Nea D. Campbell—impressed the manga author, who thought at first Murase was using a machine to change the tone of them. Although Murase only appeared with the Millennium Earl twice in Hallow, his job left a positive impression. During a broadcast of Hallow, Hoshino made multiple illustrations of Allen interacting with the Noah clan to support the actors. Murase was moved by Hoshino's determination to develop Allen in the manga and thus felt a better impression of his character. Allen is voiced by Todd Haberkorn for the two series' English-language dubs; according to Haberkorn, he enjoyed voicing the character, and once cosplayed as him. In 2016, Haberkorn said that if he could voice Allen again he would pierce his ears.
Allen was born with a deformed left arm caused by the effects of a rare object known as Innocence. Abandoned by his parents, he was raised in a circus, where he meets Mana Walker, a clown who adopts him when his contract with the circus expires.[vol. 1:62, ch166] When Mana dies, Allen tries to resurrect him through a man known as the Millennium Earl. Mana is revived as an Akuma demon and cuts Allen's left eye. Allen's deformed left arm awakens, becomes an anti-Akuma weapon later called "Cross" (十字架 Kurosu, クロス lit. "Cross Stand") and destroys Mana. His left eye allows him to see the souls of Akuma. Exorcist General Cross Marian soon adopts Allen as a disciple.[ch. 3]
When Allen completes his exorcist training he is sent to Black Order headquarters.[ch. 7] With his new colleagues, he goes on missions to recover other lost Innocences. He fights the Millennium Earl, his army of Akuma and the Noah Family—a group of immortal humans who help the Earl and want to destroy the world.[ch. 8, 19] Allen and four other exorcists are sent to locate and protect Cross.[ch. 29] When Allen leaves the group to save a traitor from the Black Order,[ch. 53] a Noah (Tyki Mikk) nearly kills him.[ch. 56] Allen stays at the Black Order's Asia Branch headquarters to recover from the experience.[ch. 57, 59]
During his stay at the headquarters, Allen's Innocence takes its true form; the Crowned Clown (神ノ道化 Kuraun Kuraun, クラウン・クラウン lit. "Clown of God"), a cape-like armor.[ch. 187] He rejoins his comrades in Edo,[ch. 85, 89] where the group is trapped in Noah's Ark. Allen and his friends fight the Noah while trying to escape. In his rematch with Tyki, Allen transforms his left arm into a sword that exorcises evil.[ch. 116, 117]
Returning to headquarters, Allen's loyalty is questioned and he is given an inspector, Howard Link.[ch. 136, 137] The Noah then send Akumas to eliminate the Order; Allen and the Generals eliminate them but are defeated by the evolved Level 4 Akuma.[ch. 140, 145] Allen rejoins the fight with the help of his master and Lenalee Lee; they eliminate the Akuma.[ch. 155] Shortly afterwards, Allen learns he is the host of the late 14th Noah (Nea D. Campbell). Before his death, Nea implanted his memories in Allen so he would be reborn.[ch. 167] All Exorcists are ordered to kill Allen before he transforms into a Noah.[ch. 170] Allen controls his body but he begins turning into Nea; Crowned Clown's sword hurts him, despite it only affecting Noah and Akuma.[ch. 182, 184]
During a fight against the Noah, Allen is imprisoned by the Order, who fear the reappearance of Nea.[ch. 201] There, he is attacked by Apocryphos, a sentient Innocence that tries to assimilate Allen's Innocence.[ch. 203] Two Noahs and Link rescue Allen, making the Order believe he has betrayed them.[ch. 204] Allen refuses help from the Order and the Noah, but promises Lenalee he will remain an exorcist.[ch. 205] Allen goes into hiding and disguises himself as a clown. He is sought by his former comrades and the Noah.[ch. 212 ,216] Allen's mind begins to leave his body due to Nea's awakening; a Cross illusion tells him to meet Katerina Eve Campbell to learn the truth behind Nea and Mana.[ch. 222]
In addition to appearing in the manga and anime series, Allen is a playable character in two D.Gray-man video games. He is a playable or support character in the crossover fighting games Jump Super Stars, Jump Ultimate Stars and J-Stars Victory Vs, which pit Weekly Shōnen Jump characters against each other.
Allen also appears in Kaya Kizaki's D.Gray-man light novel series. In the first novel, he searches for Black Order headquarters and then disappears. He kills Akuma and learns the Order's location from a woman named Mother. In the second novel, he is a supporting character who attends the Black Order's reunion party. Allen appears briefly in the first chapter of the third novel; he greets the Black Order scientist Rohfa, who is infatuated with him. The second chapter follows his life in the circus, where he was known as Red (レッド Reddo)—and befriends Mana the clown and his dog Allen. After an Akuma destroys the circus, Red adopts the name "Allen" and travels with Mana.
Allen is about 15 years old when the series begins.[vol. 1:61] Although most of his colleagues assume he is ageing normally, one of his enemies Nea, who later possesses his body, suspects he may be growing younger.[ch. 215] Allen is often accompanied by Timcampy, a small flying golem given to him by his mentor Exorcist General Cross Marian.[ch. 1] As a result of the trauma of attempting to revive his guardian Mana Walker, Allen's reddish-brown hair becomes white. Mana's curse of Allen's left eye allows him to distinguish Akuma from humans. Allen is devoted to helping the Akuma find peace until he meets the Exorcists of the Black Order, who become his friends. He fights both to save the Akuma's souls and for his human friends, and devotes himself equally to both causes.[ch. 83] Allen is originally cynical and rude but he adopts Mana's formal speech, mannerisms and personality.[ch. 173] Allen begins to speak less formally during the series, reverting to the speech style he used before he met Mana.[ch. 165]
Allen Walker is popular with D.Gray-man readers; he was the most-popular character in the series' first Shōnen Jump poll.[vol. 7:117] He dropped to second place behind Yu Kanda in a second poll.[ch. 121] The character returned to first place in the third poll[ch. 171] and fell behind Kanda again in the fourth. Allen has also been popular outside D.Gray-man, and was the 20th-most-popular anime character in an Animedia poll. He ranked 20th in a 2007 Newtype character poll. In Newtype, Allen was nominated as the fifth-best male character of the 2016 anime season for his role in D.Gray-man Hallow. The character was voted the 17th-best male character in an Anime News Network poll, and was 46th in a 2016 Animage poll of top 100 anime characters for his role in Hallow. Anime News Network listed him as the third-best anime exorcist based on his tragic backstory and weaponry used to exorcise Akumas.
Merchandise featuring the character, including key chains, plush dolls figurines, clothing and cosplay pieces have been marketed; he has also been popular with cosplayers. New merchandise, in which Allen is often disguised as a vampire, was developed for Halloween 2016, and a piña colada drink was based on the character.
Manga, anime, video-game and related media publications have praised and criticized the character. Sheena McNeil of the online magazine Sequential Tart liked Allen's design and called his anti-Akuma weapon "quite impressive". According to McNeil, the combination of his cursed left eye and his white hair make him "much more striking". Anime News Network's Casey Brienza also praised his design, saying he looks like a "visual kei rock star" and calling him "a nice change of pace" from other shōnen protagonists. His redesign for Hallow received similar reactions from Amrita Aulakh of Pop Wrapped, who stated he was one of the best Shonen Jump protagonists alongside Gintoki Sakata from Gin Tama. Kevin Leathers of the UK Anime Network noted that Allen differs from the genre's typical main characters. Leathers saw little character development, writing; "[he] is focused on his job, but will always make time for his friends, which while different, isn't interesting over a long period of time". Tom Tonhat of Escapist magazine called Allen a "good lead character". Active Anime's Sandra Scholes found him mysterious, citing his arrival at the Black Order and the anti-Akuma weapon. Critics have noted Allen's interactions with other characters during the series. IGN's Richard Osborn enjoyed the comic relief provided by his clashes with Kanda against the series' dark plot. John Rose of Fandom Post considered the team of Allen Walker and Yu Kanda is the greatest strength of the manga's second volume. In a later review, Rose said he enjoyed the plot in which Allen is unable to distinguish Innocents from Akumas.
Allen's abilities were described as "rather inspired" by Michael Aronson of Manga Life magazine. Brian Henson of Mania Beyond Entertainment wrote that Allen's mysterious, cursed eye might appeal to readers of the series. Carlo Santos of Anime News Network wrote that Allen did not use "cleverness" to defeat Akuma but let his arm "overpower the enemy". Allen was described as a "solid" hero by A.E. Sparrow of IGN. Todd Douglass Jr. of DVD Talk wrote that the character's use of the anti-Akuma weapon might seem clichéd; he found its anime depiction entertaining. In following fights, Allen's rematch with Noah Tyki Mikk was praised by Casey Brienza of Anime News Network, who also liked his new abilities, the Innocence Crown Clown and Allen's sword—which he compared with a sword in Final Fantasy VII wielded by protagonist Cloud Strife. Reviewing the same fight, Otaku USA's Joseph Luster praised Allen's development during the series and enjoyed his battle with Tyki.
Manga Retcon said Allen's activities in the manga are one of the deepest parts of the 13th volume because of his interactions with his friends despite the scene's apparent simplicity. According to Anne Lauenroth of Anime News Network, the growing camaraderie between Allen and Tyki during Allen's imprisonment for saving Alma is interesting; it leads to Allen's decision to leave the Order after putting his comrades in danger. Allen's valediction with Lenalee in Hallow has been described as one of the season's best scenes because of the way it was directed, noting Allen's growth and the apparent romantic tone between both characters.
Reviewers were also impressed with Allen's betrayal of the Order and his transformation into the 14th Noah; Grant Goodman of Pop Culture Shock found the discussion as intense as a battle. Anne Lauenroth of Anime News Network noted the revelation has a powerful impact on Allen because of his future and because he starts doubting his guardian Mana ever loved him while it leaves Allen's mental state while dealing with it mysterious. Chris Beveridge of the Fandom Post enjoyed the appearance of the 14th Noah in Allen's mind, praising the character's internal conflict.
Leroy Douresseaux of Comic Book Bin liked Allen's situation in volume 21 and wanted to see more of the same, rather than the focus on Kanda's fight against the Akuma of Alma Karma. In the next volume, Chris Kirby, also of The Fandom Post, was impressed by Allen's possession by Nea. Alex Osborn of IGN was shocked by Allen's first possession by the 14th Noah, seeing in previous episodes a "beam of light in an otherwise dark series" and finding the possession "disturbing". According to Osborn, Allen was becoming "an increasingly more complex and interesting character". Anne Lauenroth wrote that the struggle between Allen and the 14th Noah left the character in need of a friend; Cross Marian's words and care give Allen a "path". In the book Representing Multiculturalism in Comics and Graphic Novels, Jacob Birken wrote that Allen's use of his powers illustrates the series' theme of identity; although Allen seems to become more human through his Innocence, the revelation that he is the 14th Noah mutes that humanity.
Allen's voice actors have also been reviewed. Animation Insider's Kimberly Morales wrote that Todd Haberkorn, who voiced Allen for the English version of the anime, does a "decent job" matching the original work by Japanese actor Sanae Kobayashi. Michael Marr of Capsule Computers also enjoyed Haberkorn's work and agreed with Morales that it is as appealing as Kobayashi's. Because the series begins in Europe, Casey Brienza criticized Haberkorn for not giving Allen a British accent. Neo found Kobayashi's work more engaging than Haberkorn's. Lauenroth enjoyed the voice work of Ayumu Murase, who replaced Kobayashi for the second D.Gray-man anime D.Gray-man Hallow. In a later review, Lauenroth praised Murase's work for voicing two characters; Allen and the 14th Noah. Thanasis Karavasilis of Manga Tokyo stated that while many fans of the series were bothered by Murase replacing Kobayashi, he did not mind the change in Allen's voice. Aulakh expressed similar thoughts based on Murase's career, believing the actor would fit the character.