Before jumping into this review, I can honestly say that Deadman Wonderland knocked me off my feet, and was unexpectedly, the most interesting anime I've seen in awhile.
Story: 8 out of 10
Deadman Wonderland started off insanely interesting to me, but lost a little steam as it continued. We start with a boy named Ganta, whom while in class, had all of his friends butchered in front of his eyes. This is fairly brutal, and depressing, but it gets worse. Due to some higher ups wanting him, he gets framed for the whole ordeal, and is now known as the boy who butchered his classmates. Now he has to go to the deathrow at Deadman Wonderland, a privately owned prison/amusement park.Very interesting so far, no? Well, while at the prison, Ganta discovers that there may be something different about him. During a time of despair (saving a friend) he discovers a peculiar power, and is soon after transferred to a special wing: Block G. This is where others with powers like him are held, and he is forced to fight them for high paying customers.
So now we have deception and conspiracy eh? Well Ganta ends up finding a group of like-minded individuals that wish to leave the prison, and inform the world of whats being done to him, and Ganta joins them. This is much how the series carries on, but the focus seems to shift towards the CAUSE of the powers near the end."Red Holes" sprouted up around the world one day, and people near them attained the powers, now scientists want to extract and harness them, blah blah blah probably world demonination etc. Although you may enjoy it, it sort of bored me, and dropped my rating just a little.
Animation: 10 out of 10
Absolutely breathtaking. Gorgeous character design, gorgeous landscapes, unnique architecture, brilliant action scenes, gritty gore. Everything about this anime looks good. The only problem I had at all, and this is no reflection of the series at al, there was several moments in the series where I spotted inconsistincies. There would be a flower vase on the table, and then when the camera moved, it would be gone, or the like. These things happen, even in million dollar budgeted movies, so it's not suprising to see in anime. I just have never really seen as many as I did with this series, but perhaps that's just me, haha.
Sound 7 out of 10
I believe sound to be lower, but then again, it may just be because I don't have the necesarry tools to properly evaluate the sound department (in any anime). I believe the sound should be rated on Opening and Ending song, how well the music being played during the show flows, and voice acting, The OP and ED songs were catchy, but nothing out of the oridinary, and the music during the series was never an attention grabber to me. The voice acting was fairly good though, you definitely do not get annoyed or uncomfortable with anyones voice in the series.
Characters: 9 out of 10
Deadman Wonderland knocks the ball out of the park with this one. It's very rare that I find a series that I enjoy every character so much. Even Ganta, the main 16(?) year old protagonist, who is a whiney, weak little coward, stands up for what he believes in, and instantly gets cheered on by the audience for this. He's young, and his actions and mindset mimic this. 16 is a confusing year for most, no longer a kid, but not quite an adult. I believe Ganta was a perfectly created character.
Other characters like Owl, and Hummingbird are damaged and sad, but they are not at all cheesy. When you find out why Hummingbird is the way she is, and both Yoh and Ganta still want to help her, she doesn't immediately break down and lose 15 years of insanity. she starts to warm up to them, but you can still see that she is crazy and depressed. Same with Owl. When you finally hear his story, he doesn't magically become a new person, he stays the same, only a little more sane. It's a great device for adding a human depth to your characters.
And of course, my personal favorite, Shiro. Shiro is cutem happy, fun, and best of all a great combination. You have the light-hearted and childish Shiro, who only wants to eat sweets with Ganta, and then you have the dark side of Shiro, which has been hidden by the series, and only given to us in small samples. Having these opposing forces makes us as the audience more interested in "who exactly is this girl?"
Overall: 8.5 out of 10
Overall, I would recommend Deadman Wonderland to anyone who enjoys a little action. It's a futuristic take on the "wrongfully accussed" idea that so many shows have used, but quickly sets out to show it's different, and it will show it's teeth to do so. I hope all of you give this series a watch.