Deadman Wonderland

Genre: Thriller/Action
Format: 12 Episodes
Allegiance: Manglobe
Director: Koichi Hatsumi
Vintage: 2011
Intelligence Agency Report by: Hikari
Igarashi Ganta is having a normal school day with his friends, talking about their upcoming visit to the DeadMan Wonderland prison. Out of nowhere, a sadistic red man with superhuman powers appears, massacring everyone in the class but Ganta. Ganta is then wrongly accused of a murder he didn’t commit and placed in DeadMan Wonderland, where he meets his childhood friend Shiro and discovers a rare blood power known as the Branches of Sin within himself. He must then fight other Branches of Sin in the Carnival Corpse in order to earn enough for his freedom.

Field Agent Report by: Hikari
Overall 6.00
(not an average)

My boyfriend recommended this anime to me, and as always, I took his recommendation to heart. He has great taste in anime, I know he does—he introduced me to Gurren Lagann, after all—but this anime wasn’t up to my standards.

This anime starts with a clear-cut picture, the usual introductions, and all the information necessary to get the viewer hooked. The animation is well done, which is pretty much the standard for recent anime (as you know, I review a lot of those). The effects and animation for the Branches of Sin are also well done, and the combat is organized nicely. I also really enjoyed the realism of Ganta’s power: once he uses a lot of blood, which is the catalyst for the Branches of Sin, Ganta becomes weak.

The series’ music is standard; nothing special stands out to me other than the ending song, “Shiny Shiny” by NIRGILIS. NIRGILIS is well-known for her ending music, and she does not disappoint. The song reflects the characters’ pasts as well as their could-have-beens, and the ending animation accompanies the song’s message perfectly. I got a lot of background information from the ending sequence that is otherwise not shown over the course of the series.

This leads me to my next point: as the series progresses, you get the impression that there is more to the story than what is shown. I had this impression at many points in the anime, but the ending is what really killed it for me. I won’t give anything away, but it really makes you wonder. As I read up on the series’ background information, I discovered that the manga is more in-depth and ongoing. This made me realize that the anime is meant as a companion to the manga rather than a stand-alone. This really irks me because I feel that DeadMan Wonderland could be great as a stand-alone series that follows the manga closely. All the great character dynamics are there, but since the anime is just a show-off piece for fans of the manga, it disappoints those of us who haven’t had the opportunity to read the series.

This alone really lowered the impact for me, as did a few other points in the series. For example, the battle between a six-year-old girl and a grown man really disturbed me. How it was decided that it’s okay to show children not only being sadistic and insane, but also severely injured by adults, I have no idea. A lot of this anime is meant to shock and provoke you into questioning the humanity of certain people. What is man’s true motive? Is it really okay to torture someone if he or she is a criminal? While the questions that DeadMan Wonderland raises are ones that would be interesting to pursue, however, I feel that the series crosses the line with some of the topics it uses to express its ideas.