Deadman Wonderland: The Red Knife Wielder

Alt title: Deadman Wonderland: Akai Naifu Tsukai

OVA (1 ep x 25 min)
3.64 out of 5 from 7,929 votes
Rank #2,819

Before Senji Kiyomasa was a prisoner at Deadman Wonderland, he was a police officer, using his Branches of Sin powers to put a stop to criminals that stood in his way. After helping an orphan escape the clutches of a notorious local gang called Goreless Peace, Senji finds himself courted by Keigo, the very mastermind behind the violence. But little does he know that his refusal to join forces with evil will have dire consequences...

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Earlier in the year I blogged the dystopian horror series Deadman Wonderland. In a nutshell, it was a completely insane show that was written as frenetically as possible and pretty much disregarded by a lot of its fanbase (going by the manga forums I've read). It was a simple concept - kid gets thrown (with nary a shred of evidence to support his trial) into a cruel maximum security jail where the prisoners have no human rights whatsoever, and must try to survive with the help of an albino girl called Shiro who seems connected to the mainframe of the prison. He must also try to figure out the incident which landed him in this predicament. Oh, also, prisoners who are found to have the mysterious Branches of Sin superpower (in which they can actually control their blood), are cordoned off to another block and made to fight each other for the amusement of some very rich lowlifes. So rather than go into any of the questions that the awful ending of the anime series needed answering, it focused on Senji's past as a policeman during the time before Deadman Wonderland was built, and Japan was reeling from the aftershocks of a massive earthquake that had pretty much destroyed most of Tokyo. And now for character bio time! Senji/Crow was one of the first people that Ganta/Woodpecker had to fight in a Carnival Corpse, the tournaments I mentioned above. He usually made these massive scythes out of long cuts in his arms, and helped to train Ganta to refine his new powers. Anyway, in episode 5 or so, he loses the Carnival Corpse to Ganta, and after the results of a punishment game slot machine, he gets one of his eyes ripped out by the doctor. From there on in he keeps himself to himself, refusing to join the anti-prison group Scar Chain and training himself and Ganta whenever need be. Senji as a police officer pre-Deadman Wonderland wasn't quite as good as I'd hoped it would be. It mostly concerned Senji being kind of ostracised by the rest of his colleagues for having such a weird power, and finding solace in his boss. Then this little kid he kept running into, then a new street gang called Goreless Peace. Goreless Peace? What the hell kind of a name is that? You know, sometimes I swear names for things are basically picked on the basis of the author closing their eyes and flipping to random pages in the English dictionary, to see what they could put together. Just like how in Gravitation, we got a song called 'Spicy Marmalade'. (Cue my best friend and I rolling our eyes and talking about how the song may not have had much appeal if it were simply called 'Chutney'.) Well, whatever, the basis of the name comes through the group's desire to see a peaceful world without violence or hatred. Their leader is also a Branch of Sin user, and he uses it like giant cobwebs. Senji manages to defeat him and get him arrested, and voilà, the episode ends as the police officers look over the bay to where Deadman Wonderland is still being constructed. Meh. Senji wasn't really a character I cared too much about when watching Deadman Wonderland all those months ago, so this OVA just made me shrug a little. Until the day they release a second series or even of OVAs that attempt to closely follow the manga, à la Hellsing Ultimate, I don't think we're ever going to get closure on the story of Deadman Wonderland. Might as well hope and pray that someone licence-rescues the manga from TokyoPop. Or read it through the more dubious means, I guess. 4/10

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