Deadman Wonderland Episode 2
What this is about: Watching all of the anime shows so you don’t have to! For more information about me and my reviews, click here for details on what I am reviewing.
Series Premise: Deadman Wonderland is a weekly anime television series that started airing in April 2011, based on a popular manga series by Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou. Ganta, the sole survivor when his classroom is attacked, is convicted for murdering all of his classmates. Sent away to a private prison called “Deadman Wonderland” where the convicts entertain the public, Ganta must fight for his own survival with an unlikely ally.
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ep. tl;dr review: Ganta takes part in deadly obstacle course, where a win secures three more days of life; Running Man redux.
Episode Summary: Set in a totalitarian society. Ben Richards is a cop who was blamed for a massacre which wasn’t his fault. He would be sent to prison and breaks out with some other inmates. He tries to escape but the woman whom he dragged into his plan turns him over to the authorities. Damon Killian, who is the host of THE RUNNING MAN a game show wherein convicted felons are given the chance to run to freedom but have to elude the stalkers; men who hunt them down and kill them in gruesome manners. When he learns that Richards has been caught, he wants him to be the show’s next contestant. After being brought to Killian, Richards turns him down, Killian then reveals to Richards that his two friends who were in prison with him and who broke out with him have been caught, so unless Richards does the show they will. But on the night of the show, Richards is set to go but Killian also reveals that Richards two friends are going with him. Richards tells Killian that he will be back.
Oh…wait a minute. Sorry, that’s the summary for the movie The Running Man, starring Richard Dawson and Arnahld Schwahtzahneggah. I get them confused all the time. Ahem. Ganta learns he must earn “cast points” in order to buy stuff while in prison, including a special antidote candy he must consume every three days to counteract a slow-acting poison being fed to him. Along with Shiro, Ganta enters the “Dog Race”, where prisoners traverse a deadly obstacle course until one man is left standing. As the other competitors are killed, Ganta, Shiro, and a big bruiser named Kouzuma face off in the final competition. In the end, given the choice between getting the ball and winning enough cast points to live, or letting Shiro fall to her death, he chooses the latter.
My Impressions: WHO LOVES YOU?! AND WHO DO YOU LOVE?
The comparison to The Running Man was pretty painfully obvious to me from the get-go, and this second episode just puts the cherry on top. A dystopian future where for-profit prisoners compete in deadly games for the enjoyment of the public? Check. Mind you, the comparison is actually a good thing, since The Running Man was quite enjoyable in a cheese, ham-handed, over-the-top Eighties action movie sort of way.
The whole premise of the show is so insanely crazy that I am able to suspend my belief (there’s no way something like this could exist in the future…uh, right? Right? Please?) and simply enjoy the silliness of it all. Ganta is stil in unbelieving shock over his predicament, having trouble processing what is happening around him to save his life…literally. Yeah, Ganta, claim innocence all you like, doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not, that ship has already sailed. Time to grim up and get with the program. Also, your high-minded ideals that led you to save Shiro at the last moment instead of earning enough moolah to live another day may be laudable, but that leaves you T minute one day to certain death.
Shiro herself is a strange mystery, sort of a joker character that gets a pass among all the prisoners and staff. It’s clear she’s something special, almost like a court jester for the prison, allowed to run around and have fun while everyone else suffers. Her ever-cheerful naivete is somehow infectious, and Shiro is very, very much similar to the doppel Nessa in Fractale, which I am concurrently watching. The real question is exactly how is she tied in with Ganta? I’m sure that mystery will be revealed in due time
Back to Ganta, his whole “special ability” that emerged in the last episode was absent this time. Another big mystery waiting to be explained. In the mean time, just sit back for the wild ride that is Deadman Wonderland. As long as you don’t think to hard about the logic behind the premise, all is good.
- My earlier reviews: Episode 1 (May 21st)
- Info resources: My Anime List, Anime News Network, AniDB, and Wikipedia
- Watch full episodes online: on Crunchyroll
Sampling of Online Reviews:
- “Shiro also happens to be the epitome of optimism: very happy go lucky and seems to have fun no matter what happens. She’s so bubbly it’s becomes a little bit creepy sometimes given the situation they are in. Shiro is interesting, but I am also looking forward to seeing some of the other deadmen, as there’s no lack of colorful characters in Deadman Wonderland.” – Random Curiosity
- “This show is crazy. It’s complete purgatory. The creators here take a boy, give him convenient excuses not to die and then proceed to torment him completely, while also making sure that he doesn’t get insane. This is like taking candy from a little kid, only to repeatedly kick it in the groin afterwards. Grade: Good.” – Star Crossed Anime Blog
- “Overall another decent introductory episode, but of course the show hasn’t gotten into the “real” story yet. This episode didn’t mention the Red Man and Ganta’s special powers very much, but of course there should be more focus on that strange destructive power in the future. ” – A Product of Wasted Time
- “I really hope Ganta has a mini breakdown every episode, because I love watching them. Deadman does such a good job of conveying genuine feelings of oppression and despair without making Ganta seem like a crybaby. I can’t get enough of the deadly atmosphere!” – Metanorn
- “Whatever the case, it’s still a decent ride so far, and I’m really looking forward to the introduction of more characters. Even with all the censorship and cheap looking Ganta, it’s still sick and twisted and it’s definitely a different flavor to all the other fluff series in Spring. The shock factor is sort of there but the intensity only ramps up from here on.” – Sekijitsu
- “DEADMAN WONDERLAND IS THE SHIT. An epic OP with epic graphics and epic theme song (surprisingly) – it’s definitely got that Manglobe feel to it like that of Samurai Champloo, The World God Only Knows and Ergo Proxy. But unlike the three, DW’s OP was much more punk, blood-splattered and smoky. Blood and smoke – have I not said enough?” – The Otaku’s Blog
- “This was a nail biter of an episode. I realized that when it suddenly hit me that I was nibbling on my thumb nail = =;;; ON MANY parts i found myself biting down on my nails and in other bits I was just going “uuuuurgh thats sick!” at the whole Dog Race bits. I mean jeez, this show needs to come with a warning label. Grade: A/A+.” – Anime Evo
- “The sheer amount of deaths and cruelty here certainly is attention grabbing, but if you look beyond that, the characters are very generic with little making them interesting as of now. I may just be being too picky this early on in the series, but both Ganta and Shiro are pretty generic main characters as of now. The only point of interest here is the bizarre prison itself, Deadman Wonderland. Grade: 3.2/5.” – Emory Anime Club
- “Yeah, uh, I’d rather make gay jokes about TaigaBun than suffer through Ganta whining any more or clumsily bumbling through death traps, survivng mostly on protagonist power. The animation and general production for DMW was significantly better this week, but the direction was remarkably awful. Blatant info-dump in the first half, montage of silly Takashi Castle events in the second (but with blood!)…Usually it’s the production/animation that lets action scenes down, not horribly inept direction. Ugh.” – Tenka Seiha
ROUND TWO RESULTS FOR SPRING 2011 SHOWS:
Thumbs-up for Round Two: Steins;Gate, Deadman Wonderland
Thumbs-down for Round Two: None yet.
Coming up next (in this order): Hanasaku Iroha, Dog Days, Moshidora, Ano Hi Mita no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai, Tiger and Bunny, Fireball Charming, Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko, A Channel, Sengoku Otome Time Paradox, Nichijou, Yondemasuyo Azazel-san, C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control, X-Men, Blue Exorcist, Kaiji Season 2, Hyouge Mono, Showa Monogatari, Appleseed XIII, Fujilog