Deadman Wonderland is a 12 episode anime series that debuted in the Spring. It follows Igarashi Ganta, a survivor of an earthquake that ravaged Japan a decade prior, once again finds himself the sole survivor of a catastrophic event when a mysterious being, the Red Man, slaughters his middle school class and bequeaths supernatural powers to Ganta. Ganta is soon framed for the murder of his friends. There are rumors of a season two coming around, as the manga is still ongoing, but as of right now the series stands at a very short 12 episodes.
With its mix of graphic gore packaged in a smiley-happy people theme park setting, Deadman Wonderland is a bit of a mind-f*ck, and it’s darn proud of it too. Going to an adult prison is scary enough for a young teen – but Deadman Wonderland throws curveball after curveball at Ganta to the point where he can barely maintain his sanity. However, what’s most reprehensible about the show was just the sheer joy it seemed to take in being bloody and gore. You can hardly blame the series for lacking a proper conclusion when there wasn’t really any major conflict going on. Ganta befriends a mysterious girl, Shiro, and engages in fights organized by the sadistic, bloodthirsty assistant warden, Tamaki Tsunenaga.
Personally, I’m more curious about Red Man, and the powers he imbued Ganta with. Is Red Man a psychopathic killer, and why give such power to Ganta? After you start to meet the other characters in “G-Block” where all the real baddies are held, you then get a pretty good barrage of stereotyped character after stereotyped character. Characters aside, odd anime series like this one usually demand a second watch to really digest all the bits and pieces fed too you. This series is no different. What does it all mean? Honestly, I don’t know, and that’s one of the awesome things about Deadman Wonderland. It really is a toss up between gore and actual plot. The story isn’t what this series is really about. It’s all about gruesome senseless violence.
Deadman Wonderland’s setting is interesting, especially the environment. A prison that secretly houses super-powered inmates that duke it out? Yes, I believe that the Deadman Wonderland anime could appeal not only to Japanese fans but also to overseas fans. After all, violence is cool in any language right? If anything, taking such a lighthearted approach at the beginning just managed to make the possibility of death in the future all the more impactful. Like its theme park setting, Deadman Wonderland is a strange, but exhilarating story — strap in and enjoy the ride. But first, make sure the kids are asleep before tuning in.