Like most of its Shonen Jump brethren, D.Gray-man is weakly balanced on a thin line between generic and fun. Just this evening I’ve caught up to episode 12 and feel torn by the somewhat superficial character development. Moody bishonen Kanda is a good example of how utterly archetypal some of these characters are – to put it bluntly, Kanda is a carbon copy of Sasuke from Naruto, right down to refusing to give up a fight until he has killed "that man"; no doubt an older brother much like Sasuke’s psychotic nii-san Itachi is to blame.
It’s lucky then that Allen Walker is an interesting, conflicted and likable main character. Much like Himura Kenshin, Allen is an idealistic pacifist in the wrong line of work. Having been cursed since a childhood, he slays akuma to free the human souls they enslave, but now that his enemies are human too, his job is about to get a whole lot more interesting. That Allen has a heart of gold makes D.Gray-man that little bit more unpredictable and involving, his decisions and sacrifices take on an added weight, knowing that he is suffering through conscience as well as body. All the other characters are basically window dressing, but D.Gray-man is worth watching if just for Allen’s struggle against himself. His face off against sadistic little girl Road Kamelot in episode 12 has been the best so far because this is the first time we really see his philosophy stretched to breaking point, there is even a quite surprising moment when he nearly smacks Lenalee out of frustration (with himself).
Another aspect I loved about episode 12 was Lenalee and Allen happily accepting their (potentially fatal) wounds to protect Miranda’s health; that they did this without a shred of doubt was reassuringly heart warming, and now that she has become an exorcist and all, I hope to see more of Miranda; her power must be both amazing and utterly frustrating — to have a gift to temporarily heal a mortally wounded person only to see them regress back into the throes of death moments later will inevitably lead to some massively dramatic decisons later on.