Deadman Wonderland is an anime directed by Koichiro Hatsumi. It is based off a manga series, and revolves around an 8th grade Japanese student: Ganta Igarashi. He is accused of murdering his entire class, while the responsibility for the crime in fact lies with a mysterious “red man” who snuck in. Ganta is convicted of the crime, and serves out a death sentence in Japan’s only private prison: Deadman Wonderland.
Deadman Wonderland is a prison that makes a profit as an amusement park, with all its prisoners serving as its carnies. There is an institutionalized currency in place: Cast Points. These are received through a variety of ways, and can be used to buy anything from food, to years off off your sentence, to “candy”. Candy is a bitter tasting antidote that prevents the execution of death-row inmates by 3 days.
Ganta is a deadman. Deadmen are people who have the ability to control their own blood, and use it as a weapon. Most deadmen were brought to the prison by Tsunenaga Tamaki, the major antagonist as well as the ruler of Deadman Wonderland, who arrests the deadmen under false pretenses. They fight in the main attraction of Deadman Wonderland: the Carnival Corpse Arena. The winner receives a piece of “candy” as well as a large sum of Cast Points. The loser has a body part, chosen at random, surgically removed.
Ganta’s two main friends in Deadman Wonderland are Shiro and Yo. Shiro is an albino girl from Ganta’s past that, while acting very immature for her age, is capable of fighting most anything when she so feels like it. Yo is a kleptomaniac who works for Tsunenaga as a spy in exchange for Cast Points. He secretly views Ganta with contempt, at least in the first few episodes.
For an anime about people turning their blood into whips and swords, it has a very improbably plot. For starters, not even an American prison would sentence a minor to death, no matter what the crime. Additionally, nobody seems to hold any suspicion of a 14-year-old boy being capable of slaughtering a class of over 20 people, despite living in a nation where guns are a rarity. I know it may seem unreasonable to hold an Anime of flying blood-wielding convicts the standards of logic, but that’s no excuse for sloppy plot writing!
Rating: 3 out of 5
Well, I was hyped for this series. I had heard about it, read about it, and watched the opening credits. It looked right up my alley.
The basic premise is that 14-year old Ganta Igarashi is wrongly sentenced to death for the murder of his twenty-nine classmates. In fact, the slaughter was caused by Wretched Egg, a mysterious red-cloaked figure that seems to constantly break free from its containment. Anywho, Ganta is sent off to Deadman Wonderland, Japan's only (I think) privately owned prison. Deadman Wonderland, or DW for short, acts as a prison and a carnival. The inmates are forced to put on shows or perform in deadly games in order to please spectators, who in turn donate money to the prison. Prisoners who do such activities are rewarded with Cast Points, the currency of the prison. Cast Points are used to buy everything from meals to freedom to candy, the last of which will prevent the poison leaking into the bloodstream from an inmate's collar from killing the inmate for three days. Such inmates are those on death row, such as Ganta.
After an emotional show at the beginning, Ganta soon seems to be somewhat, well, calm is a bit exaggerated, but unworried seems to fit. At times, the writers make him sob his eyes out, but at other times he seems perfectly fine with his predicament.
Almost immediately, Ganta befriends two inmates: Yo and Shiro. I won't say much about these two, as that would be spoiling (not that anyone is actually going to go watch this series because of this review). Shiro though is basically a "crazy" girl that runs around in a body suit, while Yo is a kleptomaniac with certain intentions regarding Ganta. Through the escapades of these two, as well as some other characters, Ganta learns that he is a Deadman, one who can wield his or her own blood as a weapon. I don't really know what to say here except that, well, it seems a bit reused, but I guess it works.
Next on the list is the music. It's wonderful. However, it really depends on taste. If you prefer more soothing background music, then you will be heavily disappointed. Deadman Wonderland features . . . hard music? I don't really know how to describe it. But it's definitely intense. If you like heavy music, it's for you.
Overall, Deadman Wonderland suffers a bit from its shaky premise. However, it tends to carry itself well despite that. The director(s) can tend to get lazy with the scenes, as a lot of the plot is only comprehend-able if you have knowledge of the manga or re-watch an episode a couple times, paying extreme attention to detail. I'm actually referring particularly to episode 6 here, but some parts in the episodes in question are shaky as well. The opening sequence garners bonus points in my opinion, as it is probably the most astounding opening I have scene, both in music and in image quality. The series was not the dream series I had hoped for, but it has proved to be enjoyable thus far. On a last note, I would not recommend this to younger audiences, even if the language is bleeped at times (and subtitled). The violence, while not extreme, can be a bit disturbing for the more squeamish. Honestly, I like the series, but I suppose I have to give a score for the general public here, don't I?