Episodic Review: Deadman Wonderland episode 2
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!
Having survived his first ‘accident’ using strange powers reminiscent of his schoolmates’ murderer, Ganta begins to learn some of the intricacies of the system that dictates the lives of the inmates at the prison. He becomes acquainted with Takami Yoh, who ran into him (as well as the the sharp end of Makina’s sabre) previously.
Shiro appears once again and suggests that Ganta and her sign up for the Dog Race that is scheduled for that day, one of the many attractions that Deadman Wonderland is known for. After learning that the currency earned from participating and winning in these events is key to not only obtaining food, but also extending his life, Ganta agrees to join; what he would have spectated had his school trip happened, he is now about to experience first-hand…
We’ve had our introductory episode which had some key events that were well animated and set the scene for a bloody, violent show and our next instalment does not fail to follow suit. This episode kept a great balance between the focus of Ganta’s pain and reminiscence of his past life and the progression of the messed up events taking place in this bizarre carnival prison.
Given more insight to the workings of Deadman Wonderland this episode, with the explanation behind the sweets’ effect on the collars and the prison’s currency system, I feel that there is a strong premise for intrigue, so long as you can suspend some disbelief, of course. I also relished the visceral quality of the Dog Race event, as I was given the impression from the first episode that these events were all going to be mild performances on stages by convicts dressed as clowns. So long as the rest of the series doesn’t fall into a pit of showing us a new event each episode and failing to progress the main arc, I look forward to more of this!
So far, Ganta is a reasonable main character, despite falling into the clichéd middle-school boy category; the emotions and conflicts that Ganta experiences while facing danger and accusation are well portrayed (to someone like me that hasn’t actually faced anything remotely similar, anyway,) neither pissing me off from him whining too much, nor lacking a feeling of weight in each situation.
I am still wondering what the motives are behind our primary antagonist, Tamaki; we see further scenes in which he proclaims that Ganta will die, in one way or another, but the reasoning behind his desire for this isn’t entirely clear to me yet. There will surely be some connection between the red man and Tamaki that will become evident further down the line and I am pleased with the pacing of said plot development thus far. As always with series this early on, everything relies on the meticulous upholding of the pacing throughout in order for it to really shine. A promising start has definitely been made here.