Episodic Review: Deadman Wonderland episode 1
24 April, 2011 Leave a comment
Upon a massacre that occurs at Igarashi Ganta’s school, which results in all of his classmates’ deaths, Ganta is falsely accused and sentenced to death. Now on death row, he is sent to the privately owned prison, Deadman Wonderland, a prison that doubles as an amusement park, utilising its inmates for entertainment.
Having found new powers that seem to have been given to him by the red man who murdered his friends, he decides to prove his innocence and avenge his classmates. Why was he the only one left alive? Has this something to do with his history in the now demolished Tokyo? Who is this mysterious girl, Shiro, who resembles one of his dead friends?
This review may contain spoilers regarding events of previous episodes. If you wish to read a general synopsis and review for the series thus far, click here. Otherwise, read on!
Our main character is introduced with a mention of having previously been a resident of ‘old Tokyo’, where Deadman Wonderland now is. The red man doesn’t kill Ganta, but shoots him with some sort of red crystal, which seems to have left no wound when Ganta attempts to prove that he did not commit the slaughter.
Tamaki is introduced as Ganta’s legal representation in the trial. During the trial, Ganta is shown a video taken in Tamaki’s office from a secret camera, showing what seems to be Ganta boasting about the massacre. We then see him again in Deadman Wonderland; he apparently had intended to get Ganta on death row and in his prison, though for what reason?
Shiro is first seen in Deadman Wonderland, singing a song that seems to refer to Ganta, suggesting that there is some reason for his ‘beak’ having been transformed into a ‘poisoned dagger’, perhaps his past life in Tokyo?
Having seen many school settings in anime over the years (that could very well be the greatest understatement I have ever committed,) I did groan upon the opening of the story, though the setting was quickly killed off, quite literally!
I felt that the story set out to establish how unfair the Ganta’s persecution was too forcefully. Obviously there are a couple of factors that could explain away this issue (namely that this may very well be the way people react in Japan, as well as the defence lawyer actually intending to get him sent to the prison,) but I still felt that Ganta sort of stood there and ‘took it’ without really fighting back at all, plus the violent outburst from the public added to the sense of unrealism. It may well be that I saw it emphasised due to having seen it a lot in anime as a stereotypical method of inciting empathy for a character who is in an unfair situation.