Ashita no Anime

Anime of Tomorrow

Deadman Wonderland (last thoughts)

Final impression – poorly executed 4/10

Spring 2011

It’s just an ordinary day at school for Ganta Igarashi, when the frightening Red Man flies into his class and murders everyone around him.  After being accused of the murders himself and a farce of a trial that leaves Ganta public enemy number one, he ends up in the infamous spectacle prison, Deadman Wonderland.  Here, prisoners are forced to engage in deadly games for a bloodthirsty audience.  But there’s at least a small glimmer of hope.  He meets his long lost childhood friend, the albino girl Shiro, who also happens to be imprisoned with him.

Shortly after being placed in this dangerous minefield of a jail, Ganta encounters a life-or-death situation and he finds out his surviving the attack with the Red Man gave him superpowers called the branches of sin.  He’s now capable of turning his own blood into deadly projectiles.  Filled with hatred, depression, disgust and indignation for his unbelievable series of misfortunes, when it’s revealed to him that the Red Man is also imprisoned in the Deadman Wonderland, there’s only one goal on his mind – revenge.

Deadman Wonderland had a good idea, but didn’t implement it very well.  The falsely accused prisoner sentenced to death row is a very compelling story hook because it makes the viewer want to know how the protagonist is going to escape his upcoming fate.  Additionally, a curse that grants double-edged superpowers creates terrific tension during fight sequences.  The final gimmick that pulls you into this anime is the macabre setting of a prison where the inmates are forced to put on grisly shows for hooting spectators begging for blood.  However, this gets really watered down when Deadman Wonderland injects way too much hope into a plot that was just begging to be dark.  Despite Ganta’s extreme misfortune and his very low lows, he has way too many victories to offset his depression.  Why should an ordinary kid have so many friends in a prison?  But the most egregious problem is the huge plot hole of having an army of superhuman characters unable to make any effective progress at a coup.  While the guards carry effective “kryptonite”-style weapons to keep the deadmen from running wild, it seems far too ineffective a hindrance to truly keep the prisoners in check.  In the end, Deadman Wonderland is just poorly written.

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