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Deadman Wonderland: The Complete Series

Deadman Wonderland

On DVD: 
Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ganta and his classmates can do nothing but talk about the upcoming field trip to Deadman Wonderland, a prison/carnival where the inmates act as the cast in, what they don’t know yet, some pretty gruesome entertainment. As class begins though Ganta begins to hear a song that is vaguely familiar and somewhat disconcerting, and then he sees him, The Redman.

In a disorienting flash the windows fly inwards and Ganta’s classmates, one by one, fall. The Redman wreaks havoc on the classroom killing everyone except Ganta, who he bestows with a gift, a red shard that he places in Ganta’s chest, and then…it’s over. Guards flood the room to find Ganta the only living survivor.

Later Ganta wakes in the hospital and soon finds out that he’s the prime suspect in the killings. Before he knows it he has lost his case and is being lead out of the court, but not before the parents of all the slain children rush him and begin beating him. One father drops as holographic video projector that displays Ganta, smirking and talking with his lawyer about his guilt and how, at his age, no one would believe that he in fact killed his classmates. Ganta doesn’t understand but that video seals his fate entirely. Now he’s off to Deadman Wonderland. Not as a visitor, but as a inmate.

I really enjoyed this anime. It manages to have a consistency that keeps the storyline coherent without wandering off on several other mysteries that can’t possibly be solved in the shows 325 minute runtime. It was also fun to spot all the pop culture film references in the show. The Running Man, A Clockwork Orange, Brotherhood of the Wolf, even the macabre games the prisoners put on for entertainment purposes had a strangely bizarre MXC or Wipeout (depending on which camp you prefer) quality to them.

The show takes place in a hardcore prison where guards beat the inmates, sometimes even kill them, and inmates are hardened criminals who’ve given in to the fact that they won’t be coming out alive. The show boasts some heavy language which only adds to the shows depth. I remember when I watched Panty and Garter Belt I thought the cussing was over excessive and sounded phoned in simply for the sake of slotting it in there. Here the language seems almost like a necessity to drive the point across that the inmates and the guards are ruthless, cunning, and most of all killers. There was never a moment where I felt it was unnecessary.

Overall the series is fantastic. The world of Deadman Wonderland is painted with the bizarre, filled with interesting characters, and has a story that’s strong and solid through and through. It was even interesting to get a prequel OVA that fleshes out the character of Senji Kiyomasa, The Crow. You can watch this before or after you start the series, it’s a stand alone episode pretty much. It may or may not alter the way you see the series if you do though, but probably not.

Bonus features include:
~Episode Commentary
~U.S. Video Commentary
~Promo Videos
~Original Commercials
~Textless Songs


AJ Garcia
Review by AJ Garcia
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