Critic’s Log - Earthdate: October 31, 2013. Review #66: Deadman Wonderland
What happens when you combine Alice in Wonderland, The Hunger Games, Prison Break, and something that Stephen King could’ve written. You get Deadman Wonderland!
Ganta Igarashi has been convicted of a crime that he hasn't committed, (Trust me, it’s not like Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo). He is sent to a new, privately owned and operated prison facility, where the inmates are the main attraction in a modern day twist to the gladiatorial coliseums of ancient times. Ganta meets a weird girl named Shiro (he he, because she’s Albino, go figure) and he discovers a new found super power powers, and a little conspiracy theory. Welcome to Deadman Wonderland.
To be technical, this is a Studio Manglobe production. Ever heard of Samurai Champloo? Well, this studio worked on that anime and it was a stylish anime. This anime has some stylish action and the animation looks really good for the most part. Maybe too good, Samurai Champloo had some hiccups, but the animation is Deadman Wonderland’s greatest strength and sadly, it’s the show’s only good factor.
The music by NARASAKI isn’t really as memorable as some would hope, the soundtrack does have a couple good tracks, but there are some pretty forgettable themes in the show, so don’t expect a spectacular soundtrack out of this one, but here’s one highlight of the music and that is the opening theme song. The visuals are pretty badass, but the song really kicks ass. Some of the imagery is kind of messed up, but what do you expect when it’s about someone competing in something that is similar to the Hunger Games but in Prison and more brutal. The Closing theme is ok but nothing much. The music is fitting, has some memorable themes, but mostly forgettable.
As for the Japanese casting, Romi Park is pretty damn good as Ganta. Kana Hanazawa sounds fun to hear as Shiro, and I really don’t want to go over the entire cast, as small as they are. Noteworthy seiyus include Junichi Suwabe as Tamaki, Yuji Kaji as Yo Tamaki, Daisuke Ono as Nagi Kengamine, Jun Fukuyuma as Rokuro Bundo, and Toshiyuki Morikawa as Higashi Genkaku. As for the English dub, It is performed very well… But I am probably going to get flamed for this but here goes… Greg Ayres is not a bad voice actor, but he was not a good choice as Ganta. Every time I hear his voice and see Ganta’s voice, I just don’t see it match. My only complaint with the dub is Ganta. So get used to hearing his whiny voice while watching the dub. Monica Rial on the other hand was terrific as Shiro. Noteworthy Dub voices include Aaron Dismuke as Yo Takami, Colleen Clinkenbeard as Chief Makina, Eric Vale as Tamaki. J. Michael Tatum as Nagi Kengamine, and Patrick Seitz as Senji. The Dub is good, but I would suggest the subs if you don’t like Ganta’s english voice. But the ADR direction by Joel McDonald is pretty good for the most part.
As for the characters, Ganta is pretty whiny from time to time and this is excused for quite a while because of what Ganta goes through. But as it progresses…He does stay whiny, and doesn’t necessarily toughen up as he should be. As for Shiro, I really find her adorable. She is cute, she can kick ass. But that is all I will say about her. Yo Takami is a pretty decent supporting character, but the complication between him and her sister was a bit interesting. Tamaki is a bastard, but Chief Makina is a badass, even if she’s not fully developed. I wouldn’t screw with her even if she has G cup boobs.
Nagi Kengamine is interesting along the way, but there is one major problem.
The premise may have been very interesting, and there were some interesting flashbacks. But there are some things that were not fully explained that needed it, and the ending is abrupt and makes the series unfinished. The ending to this show is one of the worst I have ever seen. But that is not really the show’s fault, oh wait. It was their fault unfortunately… You see, the anime adaptation sadly did not fare well in Japan and even though this anime ends with a possibility of a sequel, we are most likely never gonna get it. If you wanna take my advice, stick with the manga on this one. But I still recommend the anime in case you are unsure of the manga. Yeah, it is odd that I am recommending you to see this anime even though the manga is more complete than this incomplete show. I was contempt that it wasn’t a masterpiece, and I was entertained as well as in for a twisted ride, but unfortunately. The ending is the greatest disappointment to this show, after all that much potential of seeing Deadman Wonderland as a great series. But it isn’t meant to be.
Deadman Wonderland is available by Funimation, the manga written by Jinsei Kataoka and illustrated by Kazuma Kondou was available by Tokyopop but was rescued by Viz Media, the 1 episode OVA prequel “Red Knife Weilder” is also available by Funimation which was released with the show.
With all that said, Deadman Wonderland was a twisted series that manages to entertain and frighten. It has damn good animation, a somewhat generic soundtrack with some memorable themes and a kickass opening, some interesting characters, and a plot that is kind of like Hunger Games, Prison Break, and something that even Stephen King could’ve written… all mixed together. But sadly, the ending just flat out killed everything the series was going for and has made Deadman Wonderland turn from being something that would have standed out into a show that became a huge disappointment.
I give Deadman Wonderland a 5.2 out of 10, it is SO and SO!
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