Release Date: April 17th, 2011
EPISODES: 12CONTENT ADVISORY: R (STRONG FREQUENT VIOLENCE OF ALL MANNERS THROUGHOUT, STRONG DISTURBING THEMES AND IMAGES)
SYNOPSIS:Going to high school and leading a normal every-day life, Ganta Igarashi is just the average teenage joe. That is until, one day, someone calling himself by the name of "Red Man", murders every one in Ganta's classroom. Ganta is framed for the murder and his punishment is to be sentenced to Deadman Wonderland, a sadistically inane prison. There he will have to fight, and even kill, for survival against psychotic prisoners and the psychotic people who run the prison.
IN SHORT: Deadman Wonderland, disgusting, frustrating and absolutely pointless
IN FULL:I'm not going to beat around the bush here. Deadman Wonderland is, simply put, a half baked pie steaming with atrocities highly detrimental to one's personal health and mind.
With the kind of premise Deadman Wonderlandhad, this could have been something enjoyable, maybe even remarkable. The series had the potential to delve into conspiracy theories, psychology, human rationality and morality, a deeper look into the prison environment, revolution, and the list goes on and on.
But as the series progressed it became apparent that Deadman Wonderland only existed to pander viewers with its gratuitous blood and gore. During my viewing experience, I got to witness the male lead get his eyeball ripped out, a young girl brutally maim an older man, innards pulled out, heads exploding and so on.
Deadman Wonderland is full of shocks, sick and twisted and with no taste and no purpose.One could make the argument that Deadman Wonderlandis filled with an abundance of copious violence to capture the dark atmosphere looming over the prison and to recreate a Hell on earth, but really, the series handles its shock values in the same nihilistic manner a subpar horror flick does. Or better yet, Deadman Wonderlandhandles their shock value the same way a teenage kid tries to prove how "cool and mature" they are by starting up fist fights, smoking cigarettes in the back of the school and shouting out to the world that they've already lost their virginity. By doing so, it creates the illusion that what they're doing is cool and people actually fall for it.
But anyone sensible should realize that it's just a desperate cry for attention and that the fundamentals of Deadman Wonderland are childish. Everything is cheaply plastered on and in reality it's all just a cover up of the immature. Plus, it doesn't help much of the violence in Deadman Wonderland is censored. So much, in fact, that it becomes ridiculous.
But being the fantastic critic that I am, I shouldn't judge a series solely based around the utilization of shock value, right? Shouldn't I try looking at the cast, maybe?
Yes, I did.
I stated earlier that I was hoping Deadman Wonderland to delve into some insightful look on humanity, but it's too caught up with its own sadistic mindset that some sort of real character study is never implemented.
It's attempted, but it falls flat on its face and we end up with a cast of utterly forgettable characters. All the male lead seems to do is whine, cry and win fights with a lucky sleight of hand.
Yes, it makes sense for his character to act like a wimp in the setting he's thrown into, but the series doesn't bother to flesh him out and any attempts of gradually developing him was void.
As for the rest of the cast, it's all black and white. There are the good guys and there are the bad guys. They're cookie-cutter clich s and not much more. Primarily, in the case of the villains, I wouldn't even call them characters. Rather they're plot devices, purely placed in the story to act as catalysts for revving up the violence.
And the only reason I forced myself to finish this abomination was because I was a little intrigued. I admit I did want to see how the story would tie itself up. I wanted to see whether or not our dull male lead would ever escape his confinements. Would he ultimately succeed or fail? And if he did succeed, what would happen next? But - and I should have guessed - with only twelve episodes, Deadman Wonderland screws up the ending too, and not by copping out, or pulling some Deus ex Machina.
Instead, the series just ends. Nothing is remotely resolved. Seemingly important plot points amount to nothing whatsoever and the series comes to a halt on the drop of the dime. Now I understand that the original source material hadn't finish running its course yet, but Deadman Wonderland didn't even try to construct some sort of conclusion.
Yeah, what a load of garbage.
STORY -Had potential but is ultimately wasted. The ending is frustratingly inconclusive with plot points that never amount to anything
CHARACTERS - Every single one of them is generic and utterly forgettable. Antagonists are thrown into the series simply to act as catalysts for more sadistic violence
SETTING - Again, it had the potential but is wasted. It's overloaded with horribly handled shock value, trying to pass itself as "cool and mature"
PRODUCTION VALUES - I like the artwork, I'll give it that much. It fits the setting nicely, but the action ranges from being well-choreographed to poorly choreographed. The voice acting is subpar.
DO I RECOMMEND?: If you're one who likes a dark and edgy show with a good dose of gore, there are better options than Deadman Wonderland. Go watch Baccano. Go watch Black Lagoon. Go watch Speed Grapher. So many other series have been dark and edgy, while tactfully handling its own shock value. So unless you really enjoy watching women slicing men's chest open with swords and people being pelted with acid, then by all means, be my guest.
RATING: 49/100 (AWFUL)