Deadman Wonderland left you with an odd taste in your mouth, like a bad candy if I may. The story (a term I am using loosely) felt torn and divided, albeit enticing. The concept is very unique and creative, though I wouldn't accuse it of being groundbreaking for character plots or even it's plot as a whole. The elements that make this show so different are the Deadman, their Branch of Sin, their counterparts; The Undertakers, their personalized weaponry, Shiro and her 'ability', and of course Deadman Wonderland. The problem with the story, despite the array of interesting elements is their lack of seamless transition. The story is jerky right off the bat. Before the first episode is over we have been thrust through; schoolboy anticipating school trip, massacre of class, hospital, trial, Deadman Wonderland, scheming, major plot twist, Shiro, AND a final major plot twist. Not to mention in this episode The Warden is played up to be a big part of the series yet we see her a combined total of maybe 4 more prominent times (*cough cough Raditz Syndrome cough*).
In short every episode moving forward is fast paced character development that is very interesting to watch however that character is generally seen once more. The latter half of the series feels like a rushed schoolyard plan you and some friends came up with to cheat on a test. A vast majority of characters are glossed over or receive little to no character development. This trade off comes with a more sound plot though. Now, instead of watching Ganta struggling in his day to day survival at Deadman Wonderland we are chronicling Ganta during his time with Nagi Kengamine's (The Owl) ragtag rebellion. I felt as though in this portion of the story characters were a dime a dozen. Additionally the development of characters and adapted fighting styles felt forced.
Overall though, the story is interesting though it should have been lengthier. I enjoyed Deadman Wonderland and would recommend it but not to anyone who isn't an avid fan of anime. I would like to see a second part to this series someday so that it may flesh the story out more all while redeeming its plot faults.
Pretty standard stuff here, never sloppy, pretty seamless though no use of anything truly bumping this portion to the next level (like 3-D CGI scenes). I give it a 7.5 though because the way it is animated/illustrated often sets the mood and it sports 1080p (even though that is almost obligatory nowadays). There really is no criticism due for Deadman Wonderland's animations.
I loved the soundtrack. Plain and simple. It had a dark feel with 1 or 2 exceptions. The opening Theme is fantastic. I think any fans of Rock or Metal should like a good chunk of this soundtrack. Of course there is something for everyone, even the lullaby played by the Mother Goose system is melodic and worth a listen. The music is all well composed and well picked in my opinion.
One of the most promising aspects of Deadman Wonderland by far, however, one of the most disappointing aspects of Deadman Wonderland as well. Ganta is probably the best place to start; the jerky growth makes him an unreliable pool of potential. His constant crybaby attitude is boring and when he gets some confidence and makes a stand it's generally short lived. His ability to control his Branch of Sin is never explained, he just suddenly can. This holds true again when he is “learning” from Kiyomasa Senji (The Crow).
Shiro is another character who desperately needed explaining but was almost entirely explained in passing through subtle implications. Although it isn't to hard to pick up on these implications for some viewers I think it was a mistake on the writers part. Presumably you want your show to appeal to the biggest audience possible, however this lack of explicit information can turn some viewers off. It's the very reason that I never watched Ghost In The Shell when I was 10 yet now, 10 years later it is my favourite Anime, if it had been easier to follow I may have spent the last 10 years buying GITS merchandise.
The last two characters that really need to be broken down are Nagi Kengamine (The Owl) and Karako Koshio (The Game Fowl). What the f**k were the writers thinking? To quote a silly old Disney movie: These characters are like onions. They had layers! But they were just accessories to the blubbering mess that is Ganta. I just finished the series an hour ago and I still know NOTHING about Karako. She (Secretly) had a lady-boner for Nagi and was able to oxidize the iron in her blood or something in order to use her Branch of Sin as plate armour. Also she looks like Brock from Pokemon if he could open his eyes. That is it. That is all we are provided with for Karako, we aren't even given the decency of being told how she lands in Deadman Wonderland. Nagi on the other hand is a man who has been broken and has nothing left to live for. Now if there is anything I have learnt about humans both from life experience and social media, it is that when someone is in as perilous a position as Nagi is we don't falter. Our resolve is immeasurable and when we set our mind to something we are adamant about that. Then Nagi shows up and flip-flops twice. First he is unconditionally trusting anything with a heart beat and a Branch of Sin, then he is a mindless destroyer of life, then he literally throws his life in harms way only to roll over and die. Terribly frustrating to have to watch.
Despite the blatant flaws in the main characters, Secondary characters were done well. And even with these flaws the story progressed all the same so if you don't mind a bumpy ride it shouldn't be the selling point for you.
If you like gore, fighting, 'superpowers', whiny preteen Asian boys, and other such shenanigans then I would recommend Deadman Wonderland. If your going to be super critical and go out of your way to find things wrong then avoid this. It is a diamond in the rough as far as anime goes and should be watched with that expectation in mind. Do not come into this expecting a 10/10 performance. Additionally I would not recommend this to someone who's is just getting into anime. At the end of the day just take it for what it is and you should enjoy it.