So, I’ve been thinking about it since chapter 229 came out:
The heartbreaking thing we’ve been told is that Allen doesn’t grieve anymore in fear that the Earl will try to get to him again, just as he did when Mana died.
We’ve seen Allen cry many, many times during the manga. He cries whenever something unfair happens or someone suffers, or people die. What we can gather from this, is that Allen does not grieve for those people. He cries out of pure empathy, because he feels their pain as it was his own. He cried for Lala and Gsor, for Suman, for those who died at the Order during the attack of the Level 4; he cried for the Third Exorcists and for Alma, once Kanda told him he did, in fact, die. He never grieves them, he just cries because he feels for them.
It hasn’t always been like this, of course. When he was a child, he grieved for Allen (the dog) despite barely knowing him, just because the dog had been his friend for a little while. And, of course, Allen grieved for Mana. He grieved so much that the Earl heard him and came for him. What changed, in Allen’s grieving process, is that indeed: his grieve was used against him once already in the past. If this isn’t some PTSD sh*t, I don’t know what is. And I think this is one of the most well written things in DGM, and we all know what a mess that manga is.
And now Hoshino told us that Allen doesn’t grieve anymore. He bottles things up so much, so many times, that his own grieving process is completely broken. And why is it? Because he is terrified to be used again by the Earl, to have his own, legitimate grief used against him. He doesn’t cry when he grieves because he believes the Earl will hear him again. And it is an irracional thing, because the Earl would never try to trick an Exorcist (capable of evoking Innocence, mind you) into calling for a lost loved one. At least, he wouldn’t try it on an Exorcist in their right mind, because they would know his offer would be of no help. A desperate Exorcist would probably fall for the trap, and they would do it consciously. (Suman consciously sold the Order for his own life, for example). We’ve seen Lenalee and Johnny cope with grief, some time during the manga, and I think we’ve seen others do that too. They cry, they grieve, and they move on in their own way. Allen doesn’t. He doesn’t cry, doesn’t grieve. He simply bottles it all up and moves on, he keeps on walking.
When Cross died, he didn’t grieve. We have a lot of those non-grieving moments after his Master’s death, but these are the few I gathered:
This is the moment when Allen finds out of Cross’ death. This is shock, and to say it’s understandable is an euphemism. But then we get… nothing. Allen never grieves for Cross. Or, to be honest, he grieves him in his own, broken and unhealthy way. The next time we see him, he’s on a mission and dealing with Cross’ death (and the fact that he’s got a Noah inside himself ready to take over). And, well, knowing you are bound to die sooner or later is going to kick start another grieving process, of course. But Allen just… doesn’t let it out.
After this mission, they are immediatly sent to Paris to investigate on Phantom Thief G and we get a few pages of Allen listening to Cross’ voice, which Tim recorded. We know he is supposed to be grieving like everyone else, maybe even shed a tear or two, but he doesn’t.
We see him in almost the same predicament than in chapter 229: he is thinking about Mana and listening to Cross’ supposed last words to Tim. He looks like he’s going to cry, but instead he seems to brush it off, like he’s already in the final stage of grieving.
Allen often does that: when the pain is too much, he holds it tight within himself and play the cheerful and carefree one. In the next page, in fact, he jokingly asks Link if it’s okay for him to eat the last donut.
Everyone grieves, it is part of life and humankind. Scholars recognised up to 5 stages of grief and loss: 1) Denial 2) Anger 3) Bargaining 4) Depression 5) Acceptance
Allen seems to be stuck between denial and acceptance, often without even going through the other three stages. Most of the times, he just avoids thinking about his loved ones; and when he does think about them, he kind of attempts barigaining a little bit and then goes straight for acceptance. We all have our own grief process, it’s fair to say, and it may differ from one to another. But Allen’s is just unhealthy.
And then, finally, we have this page in chapter 229.
This is the sum of what Allen’s grief looks like. They finally put into world what we’ve been seeing for more than 50 chapters, since Cross’ death. And, after seeing this one page in particular, it is pretty safe to assume that he had been grieving Kanda right after the Alma Karma Arc.
He even passes briefly through stage 2 of grief & loss when Kanda showes up again, and you can tell from that that he believed Kanda died alongside Alma.
We know Allen is a very complex character, despite all the clichés he seems to be bathed with. We know he hasn’t really been himself since Mana’s death and that his true personality only comes out a few times, mainly with Cross and Kanda. This moment in chapter 229 is, maybe, the closest we’ve got to understand Allen in depth since the beginning of DGM.
As for now, I’m very curious about what’s to come: Allen has gotten pretty close to a breakdown before opening the gate at the end of the chapter, and I’m wondering if we will finally see him get to stage 4 or if he will bottle it all up again, even though Kanda is completely fed up with his sh*t.
I didn’t see the room omakes anywhere online, so I scanned and cleaned the ones I could find in my volumes. Also translated the little info texts at the bottom, though do take them with a grain of salt since I translated them from German > English and not the original Japanese haha
Hope you enjoy! There’s a lot of easter eggs too（=´∇｀=）