Review: Deadman Wonderland


Anime: Deadman Wonderland
Animation Studio: Manglobe
Number of Episodes: 12
Length per Episode: Approximately 24 minutes

My surgery to get my wisdom teeth out is tomorrow morning. Not really looking forward to it, but at least I’ll have a bunch of free time, right? Though I guess I should also apologize ahead of time if my posts for the next few days are incoherent babbling. I don’t know what the vicodin will do to me.

Deadman Wonderland was… well, it was pretty bad.

The first thing that went wrong with it was that it seemed like the author had ADHD or something. He couldn’t focus on one thing. At first the prisoners did random obstacle course things and circus entertainment. Then it turns out the prisoners with powers have gladiator-style matches with each other. Then the prisoners try to break out of the prison. It’s just a whirlwind of events. I don’t mind a plot having multiple layers to it, but this just moved so damn quickly it was tough to keep up.

What else? Well, Ganta also had plot armor thicker than a black hole. Remember that one scene in one of the last few episodes where Genkaku shows up at the meeting room and is about to kill Ganta, but then suddenly Senji shows up and saves him(and the show completely ignores the whole “blood moves don’t work on us” deal)? What was up with that? Senji said afterwards he had no intention of joining and just left, so why did he even go there in the first place?
Also, Ganta’s necklace was going off in the last episode and he still got to fight for about ten more minutes and even saved himself. Remember in the first episode when that one prisoner takes a worker hostage, then ten seconds after his necklace starts beeping he instantly dies apparently the author doesn’t.
And don’t get me started on Ganta “I like to pull power-ups out of my ass when I should have died of anemia doing so” Igarashi’s asspull at the end.

However, what’s most reprehensible about the show was just the sheer joy it seemed to take in being bloody and gore. It was like it was jacking off to how dark and edgy it was. It became obvious it was doing this as the end approached. It was ignoring its own rules to do it. For example, we were reminded nearly every time Ganta fought that anemia sucks, but then when Owl fights that one little girl Undertaker, he losses absolutely gallons of blood. He rips his own goddamn arm off.
Anemia? What’s that? I don’t remember anything about that.

There’s a good difference between needed violence, wanted violence, and unnecessary violence; just like how there’s a difference between (video game comparison time~) Madworld, Grand Theft Auto, and Postal, respectively. All three games a pretty violent, but there’s a good difference between how it’s handled.
With Postal (I’ve never actually played Postal, so sorry if my perception is wrong), it’s all about, “Well, how many people can I torture today?” There’s no necessity to the cruel actions, it wants you to enjoy them.
Grand Theft Auto, on the other hand, despite popular opinion, isn’t about, “How many cops can I kill today?” It’s about freedom. You aren’t killing cops because doing so is fun, but the act of being able to do whatever you want, to give the finger to the rules, is what’s fun and refreshing.
Now what about Madworld? It’s just as violent as Postal, if not more so. So why is it on the other side of the spectrum? While Postal took pleasure in its violence, Madworld just has fun with it. You see, Madworld is a parody of overly violent games. Some of the things you can do are absolutely ludicrous.

…What was I talking about again? Oh, right, Deadman Wonderland. So, you see, Deadman Wonderland is a lot like Postal in how it revels in its blood and gore. Just like I said in my Light and Dark: The Stereotyping of Anime Genres post, being dark does not automatically mean that something is good. Deadman Wonderland is the perfect example of that.

BUT WAIT! For you see, while Deadman Wonderland is objectively quite terrible, it was enjoyable to watch. For Deadman Wonderland’s case, it has a very interesting setting. I mean, come on, a prison that secretly houses super-powered inmates that duke it out? That’s some awesome shit. The interesting setting for the show practically manages to hold its own through all of the criticisms I could come up for it. It’s just a shame that the good/intriguing writing couldn’t carry over into the actual execution.

It’s kind of like Transformers. Transformers has an awesome setting, but the actual writing for the movies is quite dreadful. But in the end, you got to see some giant robots beating the shit out of each other. The setting is so interesting, it’s hard not to enjoy the show even with its bad writing.

I have actually heard the anime cut out a lot of material from the manga, though. So some of the writing problems could just be due to that. Perhaps I’ll give the manga a shot.

Anyways, all I’m saying is, like your stereotypical summer movie, just because something is bad doesn’t automatically mean you can’t still enjoy it. Deadman Wonderland is also the perfect example of that.

RATING: 7 out of 10.

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2 Comments on “Review: Deadman Wonderland”

  1. Nadja says:

    What exactly did you like about the show?

    I know there’s that whole “it’s objectively bad, but I still enjoyed it” thing, but could you elaborate a bit? The art looks pretty good, and I heard some of the action was cool, but what did you personally enjoy about the show? I know you’ve been shortening your reviews lately because you don’t have a lot of free time, but your reviews have been neglecting the good parts of shows. Some of your most recent reviews address all of the bad things (all reasonable points,btw), and in the end, you just say that you enjoyed the series in an unexplainable way. The only problem with that is the reader feels as if they just shouldn’t watch the show.

    Again, I’m sorry if I come off as being too critical (my reviews are certainly not perfect).
    But your writing is fantastic either way. It’s just that, as someone who reads these reviews and has to decide to watch it or not, I want to know not only the bad points, but the good ones as well, so I can weigh my decision a bit more and see if the series is for me.

    Oh, and good luck with getting your wisdom teeth pulled. I don’t mind the dentist, but just thinking about getting teeth pulled makes me wince.

    • Riyoga says:

      Goddammit, I KNEW I was forgetting something. I even know exactly what I was going to say for that. It’s a good thing you pointed that out before I started writing my Hen Zemi and Gosick reviews, otherwise I would’ve had to fix this while on vicodin.

      Editing post now. Gimme about ten minutes.

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