What’s it about ?
In the near future, over the ruins of a cataclysm-destroyed Tokyo lies Deadman Wonderland, the first private prison/attraction park combo. Come with your whole family to see the inmates getting humiliated in deadly attractions ! Oh, and they’d better play along, as their locked collars are programmed to kill them if they don’t eat candy for three days.
Ganta, our poor middle-schooler protagonist. His class got massacred by “the Red Man”, who left him as the lone survivor. Of course, he was immediately designated as a scapegoat, got the death sentence, and got sent to Deadman Wonderland in the meanwhile. The (presumably fake) footage of him incriminating himself while talking to his public counsel probably didn’t help. For some reason, the Red Man injected a glowing red stone into his chest, which gives Ganta superpowers in a pinch. He’s gonna need them.
Tamaki, Ganta’s public counsel AND the warden of Deadman Wonderland. Now there’s an obvious conflict of interest that suggests he’s got enough clout to get away with it. This smiling snake makes for a lovely villain to hate. He makes arrangements for Ganta to have an “accident” as soon as possible, which seems like overkill given the poor kid’s death sentence and his complete lack of popularity among the other inmates. This is because he seems to actually know quite a lot about the Red Man, and is quite curious about Ganta’s survival.
Makina, the hardass, sadistic security officer at Deadman Wonderland. She made me wince a bit by loudly claiming a G cup.
Shiro, the weird albino girl who makes a beeline for Ganta. I’m not even sure she’s actually an inmate, what with her wearing a different collar from anyone else (though to be fair, we don’t really see any other female inmates yet). Getting around in a supposedly max security facility seems to hold no problems for her, and she’s quite the martial artist (although a shovel to the back of the head still puts her down). She’s voiced by Kana Hanazawa in her cheerful mode, which is actually an inspired choice for a character who’s obviously completely bonkers.
At the end of the episode we get flashes of various other inmates that’s probably be important later on.
Quite good. The opening massacre scene is marred by some censoring that makes portions of it completely impenetrable, but after that it’s golden. In particular, the action sequences are quite impressive.
Hey, this is pretty good ! The premise is obviously completely insane and outrageous, but this first episode makes a good job of selling it as an interesting starting point our protagonist must fight against. It’s very well-paced indeed, speeding through the trial to make it seem even more of a joke, and presenting lots of exposition without it feeling too clunky.
Now, I of course have some reservations about a 12-episode adaptation of a still-ongoing manga, especially given how plot-driven this story seems. Is it going to find a satisfying endpoint, or are they gonna strand us with a cliffhanger for a second season ? Time will tell. But so far, so good.