Deadman Wonderland is based on the Manga by Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou and is the directorial début of Koichi Hatsumi (key animator on Cowboy Bebop and Ghost In The Shell: SAC) and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next!
It tells the story of Ganta Igarashi (Romi Park – Fullmetal Alchemist, Bleach), a middle school kid wrongly accused and imprisoned for the brutal slaughter of his classmates.
With a mysterious shard embedded in his chest and vague memories of a “Red Man” who he thinks committed the crime for which he is being punished, Ganta is shipped off to the notorious “Deadman Wonderland”, a high security prison / theme park, where the inmates are forced to compete in ever more outrageous and dangerous games, for the entertainment of the masses.
Accompanied by a strange yet powerful little girl, Shiro (Kana Hanazawa – Bodacious Space Pirates), Ganta must quickly learn to adapt to his new found abilities and employ them to fight for survival.
This is an 18 certificate in every sense, the language is very explicit, there is nudity and huge amounts of blood and gore. Even the concept itself is disturbing in an entertainingly twisted sort of way. The characters are thoughtfully written and the storyline constantly has you on you toes. There is just the right amount of humour (very black, of course) to offset the bleaker moments, so that it never feels too heavy.
There is also a brilliant theme song – “One Reason” by fade, which sets the scene for the whole series really well and all of the music serves to enhance the experience.
Deadman Wonderland is a real roller-coaster ride, colourful and full-on, with slick animation and a fast paced, action packed story. This is certainly not one for the faint-hearted, but if you are into the old school, “in your face” Manga, you’re going to love this one.