Studio/Creator: Manglobe/Jinsei Kataoka (story) and Kazuma Kondou (art)
Distributor: FUNimation, streams on Hulu and aired on the Toonami reboot
No. of Episodes: 12
Suggested Age: 17+
My Rating: 4/10
Summary: Ganta is a boy who is framed by the mysterious “Redman”. He is sent to a prison that was once an abandoned theme park. There, he must participate in death games with the other prisoners. He also discovers that he can turn his blood into weapons and meets Shiro, an energetic and enigmatic girl who claims to be his childhood friend.
Review: I have to admit, this was not something I liked.
First, let me give you the positives. The animation was pretty good and had a good flow to it. Ganta was a great hero. I liked how determined he was not only to survive the games, but also to escape the prison.
Shiro kind of reminded me of Edward from Cowboy Bebop. She had a cheerful personality that made me like her. What made her work for me is that she was unpredictable. This was refreshing, It was implied that she had a secret past and that made her interesting.
The plot was actually pretty good. Right at the start, we’re shown the massacre caused by the Redman that Ganta gets framed for. For some reason, everyone thinks he did it, and there’s even video of him gloating to prove it. I found that interesting, but then we never got any info on exactly how the video was faked. It was good to see them start with the murder since it was an important point.
Finally there’s Yuu Tagami. The prison is ruled by a man called the Promoter, who works the games as a way to entertain the crowds who come to watch. The Promoter wants him to be Gante’s ally, which he agrees to. This is mostly because the prison fits the criminals with collars that inject them with prison, but they are given candy that has an antidote.
Now for the negatives. Firstly, I have an aversion to overtly violent stories. I start to wonder if the overdone violence is even necessary, and that interferes with my enjoyment. I have to say I felt this story was too violent for my liking. I’ve liked some graphic titles like Ghost in the Shell and Now and Then, Here and There. I don’t mind the violence in those stories because it’s not overwhelming. It’s necessary for the story, and, most importantly, neither series glorified what was shown. Deadman Wonderland glorifies and revels in its bloodshed. In order for the prisoners to be released, they must participate in the death games that the Promoter exhibits. One example was a race on platforms that are precariously built over spikes. And of course, there was a sadistic person at the controls removing platforms so people would fall onto the spikes. The crowd wasn’t the least bit concerned, thinking because these people are criminals, they’re not worth compassion.
Another problem I had was the length, or lack thereof. I normally don’t like shows that are less than 24 episodes, and this one was only 12. Shows like this are often too fast, and I find them too hard to follow. This was no exception. The plot can move way too fast to comprehend and I don’t get much chance to get to know the characters.
I really feel this one should be skipped.
Music/Score: The music for the opener was pretty good, and reminded me of Soundgarden, one of my favorite bands. I also thought the closing was good.
Sub/Dub: I only watched the dub, but I found it good. I was glad to hear Aaron Dismuke.
Violence: 8/10–As I said, this show really overdid it. The death game with the spikes was a good example of glorified violence, especially with the cheering crowd urging even more violence. Then there was a little girl with a way-too-big sword who enjoyed being violent toward the prisoners when they were trying to escape. She didn’t care that she was killing people, in fact she enjoyed it.
Language: 5/10–Adult Swim’s dub used the bleep button a lot.
Sexuality: 5/10–Warden Makia’s uniform leaves little to the imagination. You can practically see her huge breasts. She looked like a hooker in a police uniform.
Nudity: 2/10–Shiro might as well be naked, considering how pale her skin is and her white outfit with strategically-placed spirals.
Related Media: Based on the manga of the same name.
Trivia: This aired on the Toonami reboot!