Deadman Wonderland is the first anime I reviewed on my blog back in 2015. A lot about my layout and writing style has changed since then. I recently rewatched the anime to update my screenshot collection and decided it was time to update my first ever anime review. I kept my synopsis mainly, tweaking it here and there. I then expanded upon my thoughts on the anime itself as well as including more information about the series.
- Genre: Action, Horror, Sci-Fi, Supernatural
- Type: Series
- Episodes: 12
- Duration to watch: +/- 4 hours, 30 minutes
- Age restriction: R – 17+ (violence & profanity)
- Release date: 2011
- Animation Studio: Manglobe
- Does it have a manga: Yes
- Kanji: デッドマン・ワンダーランド
About Deadman Wonderland:
A massive anomaly happened in Japan destroying most of Tokyo. Right in the centre of the destruction, a privately-owned prison was constructed, Dead Man Wonderland. The prison is designed like an amusement park that is open to the public for them to visit. The inmates work to keep the park running and are part of the main attraction. They do this to earn cast points within the prison.
Skip ahead ten years and the story jumps to Ganta as the sole survivor of the massacre of his class. He has no memories of the massacre, he can only remember the ‘Red Man’. He is sentenced to death and is imprisoned at Deadman Wonderland. On Ganta is fitted with a collar that releases poison into his system. To survive, he must accumulate cast points in order to purchase an antidote in the form of a piece of candy, which he must consume once every three days. Ganta needs to participate in deadly games to earn enough cast points, and he is helped by a mysterious girl, Shino, who claims to be his friend but only seems interested in food.
While Ganta struggles to survive he intends to clear his name by finding the Red Man. In a bizarre twist, Ganta begins to develop the ability to manipulate his own blood, turning it into a weapon. Unknown to Ganta, he has become one of the prison’s “Deadmen”. The Deadmen are an isolated group of prisoners possessing the Branches of Sin which makes them capable of controlling their blood. Once his ability is discovered, Ganta is forced to participate in brutal gladiatorial death matches known as Carnival Corpse, whose anonymous spectators pay large amounts of money to watch. During his struggles and battles, Ganta manages to befriend some of the other Deadmen. With their help, Ganta continues his quest to uncover the identity of the ‘Red Man’, why he turned into a Deadman, and the dark secrets the prison authorities are hiding.
My Thoughts on Deadman Wonderland:
Deadman Wonderland is a really rough anime and it is quite happy to show gore and graphic deaths. The things that happen in this series are seriously disturbing and twisted on many different levels. I love it. Plus, the storey is simple enough to follow that you really do not need to think while you watch it.
Considering how volatile the lives are of the inmates, I understand that they are out for themselves and unhinged. The characters in this are well put together and really captivating to watch. While the action is fun and the shock value is there, it is the characters that keep me coming back to the series time and time again. Well, the core characters.
The series throws a lot of characters at you in a short time and events happen really quickly. There is not enough time to form bonds with most of the ‘new’ characters in the later episodes. The twelve episodes did not have enough time to cater for all of the new characters and events that were happening.
The anime was interesting but annoyingly it is left incomplete. The graphicness and brutality often made me flinch, especially when they did the punishment game for the losers of Carnival Corpse. I hate this segment of the anime, it gets under my skin badly. I skip past it when I do my rewatch of the anime. The anime chooses parts to censor and parts to leave gory which I question at times.
No matter how many times I hear it, I am still obsessed with the intro song, One Reason. I also enjoy the outro song, Shiny Shiny. I was shocked at the rate the other deadmen accepted Ganta into their escape plan and even more surprised to discover the entirety of the time in the anime that Ganta is in Deadman Wonderland is eleven days. Even though the anime does deviate from the source material, the manga, the last half of the anime was rushed. It would have been better had the events been paced better throughout and if there had been possibly 24 episodes instead of 12, even with the anime deviation.
As I mentioned, there is not really any complexity to the overall plot in this. Rather, it relies on the gore and the horrific everyday reality of the inmates to carry it. Which is enough. This focuses on the high stakes and tension.
The way the events end in this and the way the anime wraps up is a massive letdown. It is too open-ended, and no critical questions have been answered. As an introduction to their world and thus the manga, the anime did a great job. Not taking the manga into consideration, the anime alone ends on a bad note with its viewers.
Favourite Male Character: Senji Kiyomasa (Crow)
He is so precious and I adore him. The fact that the OVA episode, Deadman Wonderland: The Red Knife Wielder is all about Senji Kiyomasa made me incredibly happy and is probably what prompted him to be my favourite male character of the series.
Favourite Female Character: Shiro
Other than the split-personality thing she is such a sweetie. I feel so bad for her. Her innocence and genuine feelings for Ganta are in such a contrast with the violence going on around her, she brings a much-needed balance to the show. This also really enhances the impact of her other-self.
Would I recommend Deadman Wonderland? This is not a show for the squeamish. I have frequently recommended this to friends and strangers. I also tend to recommend the English dubbed version. The dub itself is really decent. I would happily watch the second season of this anime if they ever make one. I also hope for a revamp true to the source material to come about one day.
What do you think of the anime Deadman Wonderland?