So my best friend Ashleigh came over for the Bank Holiday Weekend, and as well as devoting ourselves to vodka two nights in a row, in our semi-hungover states we managed to devour all twelve episodes of this amazing series we found called Deadman Wonderland (デッドマンワンダーランド). This series had us hooked within the first few minutes of the first episode, as it started the whole series off with a bang, and leaves you genuinely needing to watch every single episode for some clue as to how and why these events occurred.
The series revolves around a fourteen year old boy called Ganta Igarashi, whose entire class was slaughtered in front of his very eyes by a "Red Man". This Red Man embedded a red crystal within Ganta's chest as a parting gift, and left him as the sole suspect of the massacre, with Ganta being given a Death Sentence in prison for this crime. Ganta is then sent to Japan's only privately owned prison: Deadman Wonderland, a theme-park style incarceration facility...
The prison has a few ways of life, in particular the three Cs: Collars, Candy, and Cast Points. Every inmate wears a Collar that slowly injects a lethal poison into the wearer's bloodstream; three days of this and you die, unless you eat a Candy. These Candies are peculiar sweets that combat the Collar's poison, and can be acquired via various prison activities, or purchased with Cast Points. Cast Points are the prison's currency, which are also earned via prison activities. These activities are mainly spectacles for the public to enjoy, and are performed in front of live audiences, as well as involve death for a lot of the prisoners who compete.
Thankfully for Ganta, he has the help of Shiro, an odd and mysterious girl who he used to know as a small child, and who possesses amazing strength and agility, and appears to live in the prison somewhere, despite not being a prisoner. Shiro is an excellent contrast to the dark and gory aspects of this anime series, as she acts like a child, driven only by her love for Ganta and snacks. Whenever it seems like things are getting a bit too much within the prison, Shiro is there to provide childlike wonder and innocence, effectively neutralising any feelings of depression felt by Ganta (or by the audience) as best she can.
The gore is ever present within Deadman Wonderland, especially given the abilities of the Deadmen and now, thanks to the Red Man's crystal, Ganta of being blood manipulators. These Deadmen are special prisoners hidden from the rest of Wonderland, who possess the Branches of Sin, which gives them the power to transform their blood into weapons. Each of the Deadmen are forced to participate in fights to the death using their Sin in horrific one on one matches knows as Carnival Corpse, which are run by the Promoter and bid on by anonymous spectators. Despite the dog eat dog world of Deadman Wonderland, Ganta manages to befriend some of his fellow Deadmen, and continues on his hunt to find the Red Man and prove his innocence...
So, basically, Deadman Wonderland is AMAZING. Neither I nor my friend could get enough of this series, it's beyond interesting and we spent half as much time analysing every little detail as we did actually watching each episode. Its storyline is so freaking unique, and kept us guessing with every twist and turn. I've never seen an anime like this one before, and ignoring the OVA, I wish that more episodes could be made! This kind of leads me on to my next point;
As I've found with a lot of one series animes, a hell of a lot of questions go unanswered. I do wish some more things had been covered, but I feel that this may be due to the fact that they're only allotted twelve episodes to get their whole story out, and some things need to be cut in order to properly develop some characters, or to get to a semi-conclusive ending. The ending was, in fact, a really intriguing and ambiguous way to end it, they didn't just cut out some characters or abruptly end the series like I've seen with some, and instead gave it what I think is the most perfect and suitable open ending that Deadman Wonderland could get. Overall:
Recommendation: YES. I cannot stress this enough. DW is an absolute home run. I had to add in Characters as a new category because this anime did a supremely good job at fleshing them out with a backstory, save for the one you want to learn about the most, but that was kind of the point. This anime keeps you on the edge of your seat all the way through, and if you like anime, for the love of crap watch this one right now.
Have you heard of Deadman Wonderland? Do you like watching anime?