So, after poking around the internet forums, I can say that most of what I found were complaints about Hoshino not updating very frequently and gossip about her health, which is what is causing the slow output. Not that I don’t understand both of these topics, but I figured I’d address the manga itself.
I originally started the following document for my own benefit at Chapter 220, so I wouldn’t have to go back and reread the last three chapters every time one came out, and so that I could try and figure out the big picture of what has been going on in D. Gray-Man based on the rather sporadic comments the characters dole out. It incorporates information found throughout the manga, and I’ve added on to it as new chapters are released. However, I decided that others may find this information useful, so I’m posting it here. I would like to remind everyone that this started out for my own benefit, so its not the most elegant writing, but I hope its coherent and helpful. It includes some of my own theories about some of the current unanswered questions in the manga. If you have your own theories, or can find a reference that I haven’t been able to (like that skull merging with Allen, seriously, its bugging me) please leave them in the comments!
Obviously, major spoilers through Chapter 224 of the manga. (That’s the entirety of the anime, and beyond.)
The Big Picture, Through Chapter 220
4,000 years ago the Earl defeated “that person” who used the Heart and has been waging war ever since with the other Noah. This was right after the Flood, and all of humanity is descended from the Noah and carry their DNA, which is how the 12 disciples can awaken every generation.
But the only original is “The Millennium Earl”. He has never died or been reincarnated.
The Earl split into two babies from his single existence.
These babies were named “Mana” and “Neah” and were raised by Katarina Campbell.
The Earl appeared before Mana after killing (probably devouring, actually) Katarina Campbell. Mana looked about 17. The Earl declared that it was all Mana’s fault.
Mana and Neah tried to destroy each other at age 17.
Mana succeeded and “devoured” Neah, at the urging of the Earl (since the Earl is a separate entity in one panel showing Mana crying over Neah’s body, which might be symbolic, or inside heads, I don’t know) because Mana was convinced he had to fulfill the role of the Millennium Earl and destroy the Heart because if he didn’t he might die (this is only implied from internal monologue).
The Millennium Earl is all that stands between the Heart and it destroying the other Noah.
Therefore, The Earl and his Noah are trying to destroy the Heart.
Afterwards, the Earl destroyed Mana’s memories and face, allowing the Earl, which is pretty much the Noah memory (how this works when there’s only ever been the one incarnation of the Earl, I don’t know), to act freely.
Shortly before Neah was “devoured”, when he knew what was going to happen, I believe Neah was thrown in prison (there’s a panel; it also shows Neah still holding the same sword the Earl uses).
Neah apparently killed a lot of the Noah trying to kill the Earl (this was referenced earlier, and is thus unclear until I go back and find the references). Road Camelot is the only one who survived that time who is still alive. Demon Eye Wisely also remembers. The other Noah don’t know what the exact circumstances of the betrayal were either. Cross said that Neah AND MANA were on the run after trying to kill the Earl, and fought the Noah together. Neah at least was captured and thrown in jail, and then devoured.
Allen apparently met Neah in the prison (I think), and offered to host his memories, “even if it took dozens of years for them to awaken”. Neah also calls the Allen of that time a friend.
Afterwards, Allen apparently gained Innocence and lost his own memories. We know they were gone by the time he joined the circus and met Mana, before he started aging.
He also somehow gained immortality or “long-lasting youth” for about 35 years (with the Innocence?). He only started aging recently, triggered (I believe) either when he met Mana, or when Mana died/was turned into an akuma and cursed Allen. (The cursing is sometimes accompanied by an image of a skull joining with Allen, perhaps indicating the addition of death? Though I can’t seem to find it in the manga now that I’m looking for it. I was never sure how to interpret that, and this is the first good explanation I’ve thought of. This would be in addition to the cursed eye that allows Allen to see akumas’ souls, which I believe was mainly a preventative measure to stop Allen from making such a folly again.)
Allen looks a lot older now than he did at the beginning of the manga series. I originally thought this was just a developing art style (and Allen gaining access to hair gel), since it was not as obvious in the anime, but now I think it might have been intentional for Allen to seem to go through a growth spurt. He’s supposed to be 15, at least physically. Though time must have been passing in the manga as well.
However, Mana still existed as a separate being from the Earl with fragmented memories, who raised Allen (whom he was drawn to because he contained the memories of Neah) and then died. Mana contained at least fragments of his old memories, since he was able to teach Allen the language of the Musician.
This separate being was what was summoned by the Earl when Allen turned Mana into an akuma. Mana being a part of the Earl was also probably what allowed him to curse Allen. However, neither Mana nor the Earl seemed consciously aware of the fact that Allen hosted Neah’s memories at the time.
Though dragging Mana back as an akuma could not have been a routine decision for the Earl. I think the Earl believed that with Mana chained inside an akuma, he couldn’t come back as a memory like Neah did. However, Allen destroyed Mana, probably allowing him to reform inside the Earl (since he was either the Earl or inside the fatsuit Earl ever since).
It was only after Allen destroyed the akuma Mana and met General Cross that he decided he wanted to become an Exorcist –a goal at odds with his decades-old agreement to help Neah.
Cross didn’t know who the memory of Neah was implanted in. He only promised to watch Mana until someone appeared at his side, who would be the bearer of the memory. He wasn’t even sure he believed it – which probably lead to infrequent check-ins and the whole resurrection fiasco.
Cross was not expecting to find a kid, and was thrown on what to do with him. (Hence going to the Granny in England for help. Probably was one of the reasons for all the drinking as well.) Cross probably went with the “become an exorcist” thing in order to keep a hold on Allen and so be able to help when Neah awoke. Also, so Allen had combat training that Neah could use.
In that final conversation with Allen before he was killed by Apocryphos with his own Innocence, Cross said that Allen would kill someone he loved when he awoke as the 14th, and that he should listen to the 14th, since “there’s another side to this war.” Kamui, at least, didn’t have any idea what he was talking about. Somehow I suspect Central (Leverrier) doesn’t either, and I doubt they learned much more from Cross than Allen did. Though those conversations were never shown. We now know that Leverrier agreed to help the 14th and pick up Cross’s commitment. He sent Link.
The Earl wants to enact “The Scenario” – the “Three Days of Darkness”. Which sounds like something ominous out of the Bible.
Neah still wants to destroy Mana. Neah also wants to keep a promise to Mana. Neah wants to take over Allen, and force his host into the background, like what the Earl did to Mana. I believe this is in direct response to Allen forgetting his offer and becoming an exorcist, and therefore a “natural enemy”; he can no longer be counted upon to be an ally.
Neah is in a difficult position, since he awoke without the allies he was expecting, and is instead surrounded with enemies (exorcists). Regardless, he is determined to follow through with his original goal of killing Mana.
Timcanpy is at least 35 years old, and reaches back to the time when Cross and Neah made their deal. Cross made him over 35 years ago. Which made Cross older than he looked (not surprised – sorcerer). Apocryphos killed Timcanpy as part of his plan to weaken Allen mentally so Neah would take over.
Apocryphos wants to “assimilate” Neah. He wants to rid Allen of emotional supports so that he will fade and the 14th can take over.
Innocence wants to protect the Heart, since if the Heart is destroyed, so is the rest of the Innocence. Therefore, it wants to kill all the Noah, especially the Earl. To that end, it takes exorcists as hosts, moving on when they die. However, it has recognized that the end game is nearing, since it has switched tactics to further assimilating with its hosts to form blood weapons instead of taking the time to find a new host like it has in the past. I think Innocence, through Apocryphos, wants to assimilate Neah because Neah has the ability to destroy the Earl, probably because of his unique existence as part of the Earl.
This may be why the Earl wants Neah destroyed, to eliminate a potential weakness.
Apocryphos knows the Heart, and serves as the Heart’s guardian. The Earl has been trying to drag Apocryphos, the “hidden one,” out of hiding for seven thousand years. By letting Allen go back to the Order after the North American branch fiasco, he does succeed in luring Apocryphos out of hiding. Apocryphos drained Link’s memories during his confrontation with Allen and the Noah, causing Link to have to reinvestigate. Apocryphos claims he is the “Shinigami” of Noah. I suppose this means that he’s killed a lot of Noah over the millennia. Leverrier and the head of North American branch both suspect the existence of Apocryphos and the duplicity of the Vatican.
I believe that Crowned Clown didn’t evolve into a blood weapon because of Neah’s presence. This theory is further supported by the evolved form Crowned Clown took, which mirrors the Earl’s own (and Neah’s old) sword. It may also be because the Heart hadn’t yet sent out the order to form blood weapons yet. (Lenalee, the first, occurred shortly after Allen started awakening as the 14th after playing as the Pianist. Though both Lenalee and Allen were able to survive what should have been fatal blows because of their Innocences’ interference, so I believe the Heart had already begun moving.)
Both Allen/Neah and the Earl/Mana have internal mindscapes. Allen’s takes the form of a lake with the moon and ruins besides it. Mana’s is the mirror. Both include reflective surfaces which allow the residents to interact.
Finders are idiots. And Neah apparently doesn’t want (relative) innocents to get caught in the crossfire of his fight with the Earl.
So the Earl devours human souls through DNA. This is his power, and how he “devoured” Neah previously.
The Earl claims that he sent Mana somewhere he could never return from, but Neah thinks that Mana is still a part of the Earl and was the Mana who spent time with “Allen” as a child.
General Cross knew he wouldn’t be able to fulfill his promise and help Mana, so he made a pact with Levellier for him to help in his place, who passed it on to Link. And now Link is helping Neah.
So now Neah has taken control of the body, and Allen is stuck in Neah’s memories. The memories are “leaching” into Allen, and according to Cross, Allen is going to become Neah. Neah’s inner world is the wheat field w/ the mansion and the climbing tree. Dream Cross also tells Allen to head towards the real mansion, where Katarina Campbell still exists and can answer his questions. So it sounds like Lavi left, and Bookman just woke up, and he has all the answers.
Chapters 223 & 224
Link catches up with Neah and declares himself an ally of the 14th after fighting off the Earl. Two of the Noah show up and extract the Earl back to their Ark. Neah declares that the next time he sees Mana, he’ll track him down and kill him.
My Questions and (More) Theories
Why does Neah want to destroy Mana? Is that the promise he made?
Why is Neah going against the Earl’s prime directive?
I think Cross ran into Neah and Mana while they were on the run. He only learned what Neah told him, but that was enough for Cross to agree to watch Mana and help Neah when he reincarnated. At this time I think one of Neah’s primary concerns was for Mana. This must have been before the Earl “devoured” Neah. Had Mana had his own identity and memories shattered? Did he still have his face? When did Mana lose his face? We assume from the manga that it was directly after he shattered Neah, but is that necessarily the case?
Why did Apocryphos appear next to Neah the first time he really woke up when Neah looked at the Crowned Clown hand? Was Apocryphos somehow responsible for Allen gaining Innocence? I suspect Apocryphos was responsible for Allen’s memory loss, since the eyes-bleeding-feathers thing is supposed to steal memories-and give them to Apocryphos, which would give him the knowledge to pursue Allen when Neah started to awaken! And Apocryphos can track Innocence, especially Allen’s. Apocryphos implanted Allen with parasitic Innocence just to make it easier to track him down when he awoke. And Allen is able to resist Apocryphos’s mental probes and even backhack him because he’s already got experience resisting Apocryphos. Did Apocryphos specifically implant the Innocence so that Allen wouldn’t age?
What is the Heart? Where is it? Who has it? The Vatican, or someone else?
What exactly did Mana’s curse entail?
Does Neah want to protect the Heart? Does he have some kind of connection with it? Or is he simply trying to keep the promise to Mana to destroy him? Why would he make such a promise?
I suspect Mana and Neah are like Coyote Stark – the first Espada with the wolves from Bleach – in that the Earl was lonely and subconsciously divided himself into two so that he wouldn’t be alone. But now the Noah memories which make up the Earl (distinguishable from Mana by the presence of the mask, I suspect) did not agree with this split in the host and are trying to “devour” Neah so that the host is whole again, and to get rid of the risk that Neah possibly represents.
I feel like the Earl presented Mana and Neah with a choice 35 years ago, and they each chose a different option. Mana chose to follow the role of the Earl and destroy the Heart, while Neah for some reason disagreed, and this is the source of all conflict between them. Or there was some type of blackmail/threat involved, given that Cross seemed to intimate that the two were inseparable.
The kind of rage Neah evidently harbors isn’t something that comes just from being “devoured”, I don’t think. Something happened before the devouring that made Neah absolutely bloody enraged and made him work out the logistics of his own reincarnation just so he could come back and do something about it. Since the “doing something about it” evidently entails keeping a promise to destroy Mana and rebelling against the Earl – both before and after the reincarnation, I think that the big thing had something to do with the Earl manifesting when Mana and Neah were 17, unhappy with his host being divided in two, and convinced Mana (who apparently holds the Earl’s memory, and likely held at least the majority of it at the time) that he needed to devour Neah in order to reestablish a full host and memory. Mana and Neah went on the run (I suspect a lot like Allen has been doing the last few chapters, trying to get away from anything that could trigger the Noah memory) which is when they met Cross, which is when Cross got the version of events that led to him promising to help Neah’s reincarnation, probably because Mana got separated from them and became the Earl, and then came after Neah and Cross. Neah was captured, made the deal with Allen, was devoured, reawoke in Allen, who went to Mana’s shell, who was spotted by Cross, though a lot else went wrong in the time before he reawoke in Allen that he didn’t plan for. But from Neah’s point of view, this supernatural parasite existence killed their mother, consumed his brother and turned him against him, forced him to fight his possessed brother (see every reach-the-possessed-person tearjerker scene ever) and was finally captured and consumed by this alien entity alongside his brother. Who he was likely very close to, between growing up together in the countryside with few other potential playmates, and then learning they were both supposed to be hosts for this possessive entity, then fighting off NOAH – and evidently exorcists, from that “natural enemies” comment – together. This could be sufficient cause for a lot of rage, equal to that we see in Neah. If Neah also sees the other hosts as unwilling as he is, or even knows something else about the Noah/Innocence war that most people don’t, that could give him even more cause.