Reviewed by: Voxie
Released by: Manga Entertainment UK
Age Rating: 15
Region: 2 - UK
Length: 325 minutes
Audio: English 2.0 Stereo
Ganta is the only survivor after a mysterious man in red slaughters a classroom full of teenagers. He's framed for the carnage, sentenced to die, and locked away in the most twisted prison ever built: Deadman Wonderland. Then it gets worse. At Deadman Wonderland, convicts are forced into brutal deathmatches for the amusement of the masses, the cheers of the crowd drowning out the screams of the dismembered. Even when Ganta befriends Shiro, an unusual female inmate, his dark fate crushes all hope - until he discovers a strange ability to wield his spilled blood as a weapon. Ganta learns his new skill might be related to the murderous man in red and uncovers disturbing secrets that could expose those who stole his freedom. He's determined to see justice served - but first he'll have to fight for his life in a prison that holds a million ways to die.
When your world throws your innocence into chaos, what will you do? We follow the accused and imprisoned teenager Ganta as he battles his sanity in Deadman Wonderland.
It was a normal day at school, but not too long after Ganta is joking with his friends, the whole classroom is demolished, with just himself alive. He preaches his innocence, but it's not long before he's thrown into a sparklier than usual jail and set on a path to deathrow. This jail is aptly named Deadman Wonderland.
As the hopeless Ganta drags his feet across the prison grounds, he meets the strange but cheerful Shiro. Unlike everybody else, she has long, bright white hair, white skin-tight lycra, spends most of her time airborne, and feels rather alien. Suddenly, Ganta realises a special power within him that saves them both from falling debris, and from there they become close friends.
Deadman Wonderland is no ordinary prison. Ganta learns about its reward points system, with which you can buy goodies not normally on offer to prisoners. How to earn those points? Risk your life in a death ridden obstacle course. Think 'Crystal Maze' or 'Takeshi's Castle', only that you die. In addition, it's treated as live entertainment, which thousands of visitors relishing the comedic deaths of these apparent dregs of society. The meaning behind 'Deadman Wonderland' becomes clearer at this point.
As episodes go on, the action gets and messier and messier, rising from a 'Hunger Games' tone up to a more 'Battle Royale' standard. Dismemberment is the norm in Deadman Wonderland, so be prepared for lots of blurred out violence. It's not too noticeable, and isn't done in a way to interrupt the cinematic experience.
Violence aside, Deadman Wonderland has a decent plot riddled with strong characters, each with their own personal issues. For Ganta, it's a tale of revenge and battling morality. He is at a stage where he is being forced to grown up and become an adult, but underneath everything he is still very much a kid. However, it's his inexperience and childish insight that makes him so selfless in this box of hell-bent criminals. The question is, how long can he hack it? Who put him in here in the first place? And what are these special powers he's attained?
The series' focal point becomes Ganta's multiple learning curves. To go into more detail, Ganta's power enables him to use his own blood cells as a hardened projectile. This is titled by onlookers as 'the Branch of Sin', and so the setting shifts from prison, to obstacle course, to laboratory experiment, leaving a confused Ganta to lead us through the mist. It's not long before he comes face to face with others like him, and the truth beckons us further.
Featuring a host of wonderful character designs, from a rock 'n' roll monk and sensitive muscleman, to a little girl with a giant snake sword, and a senior with a playroom for an office. There's also a decent soundtrack with a great opening theme from DWB feat. Fade. The English voice actors provide a great performance, with a special hand to Greg Ayres for representing a Ganta who feels genuine and not overly whiney, despite the character being overly whiney by itself! My only thumbs down would be a lullaby, which Shiro (Monica Rial) sings throughout the series, I just found it a little cringe-worthy.
My one negative with 'Deadman Wonderland: The Complete Series', is that it was left feeling a little incomplete instead, open ended, with too many unanswered questions. All in all, Deadman Wonderland turns out to be a great watch, never too distracted from the beacon of hope that is Ganta, with his innocent yet vital reflections on what is good and what is bad. Indeed, underneath all the bloodshed, there's an endearing fight against morality, insanity and against a money -spinning corporation using deathrow as entertainment. And if that doesn't catch your attention, Shiro's dropkicks will!
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