What a surprise: a Deadman Wonderland episode that actually takes its time.
This was actually a very good premise of how an OVA should be done: this neither was pointless fanservice or random gags, but it also wasn’t just “another episode”. Instead we get to see the background of one of the side-characters: Senji. On top of that, this episode did not have the rushed pacing of the TV-series, and it actually gave ample time for Senji to show who he was before he ended up in the Deadman Wonderland prison.
What’s even stranger though is that the creators didn’t decide to show how he ended up in the prison, but instead focused this episode around the time when the prison got built (it was definitely a nice touch to see the setting of the TV-series still in its building stages by the way; that’s a neat way to flesh it out), focusing on how some of his friends got killed by some asshole who also happened to have those special blood powers.
This episode may not have been as interesting as the episodes of the TV-series, but it’s nevertheless a good source of background. The bad guys here were very stereotypical, but Senji got out of it as a better character. We also learn that there are more ways for people to get their special powers, compared to how Ganta got them in the first episode.
Here is the thing, though: Deadman Wonderland has completely bombed in terms of manga sales. Seriously, I couldn’t find sales numbers about this one at all, and that indicates that they were abysmally low. I’m much less bitter about this compared to Michiko to Hatchin not selling well, but the problem is Manglobe overall: they once were among the best animation studios out there, but they have really gone downhill since. Deadman Wonderland was their last chance, with the adaptation of a popular manga, but that too completely failed. With moe shows like Seiken no Blacksmith and TWGOK selling moderately well… the result is Mashiro-Iro Symphony. What a bloody shame.
Rating: * (Good)