Posted on 14 October 2011 with categories: Deadman Wonderland



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)

Posted on 3 July 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews, Deadman Wonderland




Suspense of disbelief is this tricky thing. It’s because of that that it’s hard to recommend, but if you’re not bothered by the fact that this series show doesn’t make any sense at times, it has a lot to deliver in return.

The thing with Deadman Wonderland is that it has a completely insane setting. The creators really tried to create a prison that would be the equivalent to hell on earth. There is so much morally wrong with this series and just about every episode is filled with practices and protocols that would cause a complete outrage normally. The way in which the prisoners are treated in this series is reallly imaginative, but also completely dark and twisted.

Now, just throwing in some dark and twisted stuff is nice and all, but those alone don’t make a good series. What makes Deadman Wonderland so interesting is that it’s got a very likable and diverse main cast where everyone has his or her own purpose. There’s a lot of overacting, but that is to be expected in this kind of setting. There is a nice amount of character development for 12 episodes, and the pacing of the story hardly ever leaves a dull moment.

As for not making any sense, this series does need to pull a few things here and there to make sure that its main character doesn’t just immediately… die. He’s a fourteen year old kid and while a decent lead for his age, a number of deus ex machina need to be pulled in order to keep it that way. The show is rushed, so it doesn’t have time to explain every single detail while also devoting enough time to its characters and the few quiet moments here and there.

So yeah, this series has cheese, deus ex machina, overacting and a rushed plot. On the other hand it has amazing action scenes, excellent characters, an engaging and imaginative setting and a great plot. It’s really going to be a matter of balancing the flaws and stenghts here, but personally, for me it really worked and I enjoyed ths show a lot.

Oh, but this show does cut off a the end with a huge cliff-hanger with no hint to a sequel in sight. That sucks.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Uses Deus ex Machina, but makes up for it with a grat plot and an intense style.
Characters: 8/10 – The acting isn’t the betst at times and there is some cheese, but it makes up for this by great characterization, character development and a diverse and likable cast.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Not up to Manglobe’s standards and it becomes clear that the earthquake left its mark here as well, but makes up for it with gorgeous money shots and very fluid animation.
Setting: 9/10 – Imaginative beyond belief, and the creators really succeeeded in delivering a second hell on earth.

Suggestions:
Blassreiter
Blue Gender
Jyu Oh Sei

Posted on with categories: Deadman Wonderland



Well, this episode did stretch the suspense of disbelief again, but I liked it. There is of course a problem with Owl mowing down a small army in an instant, only to take a minute to punch Ganta, but heck: if it’s established that the Deadmen have superhuman healing powers… I guess it could have been worse. It’s a cheesy episode in any case with this episode relying a lot on the vaguely defined rules of insanity, but in the end the characters were good enough to make up for it. As a final episode though, this one left a lot to be desired.

To the people who are hoping for a second season, just based on that final scene: I’d like to introduce you Yumekiu Merry, Kuragehime, High School of the Dead, Densetsu no Yuusha no Densetsu, Sekirei Pure Engagement, Uragiri, Durarara, Darker than Black, Aoi Hana, Umineko, 07-Ghost, Guin Saga, Pandora Hearts, Tytania, Skip Beat, Blade of the Immortal, Amatsuki, Shigurui, Mushiuta and Zombie Loan: all ended with a huge cliff-hanger, all ended with the promise of another season, and all of them didn’t deliver. It’s probably all going to depend on the DVD-sales, but I’ve yet to find any data on that. Will the sponsors be able to give enough money for the sequel to actually be animated? Those are going to be important questions.

In any case, when a second season DOES come out, I’ll definitely blog it because I enjoyed this first season a lot.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 26 June 2011 with categories: Deadman Wonderland




Holy crap! Now that’s some awesome animation worthy of the label of Manglobe. This episode was really well produced, the camera angles were strong and the animation for once was dynamic throughout the entire episode, instead of leaving that just to the money shots. That really was the kind of animation that brings something extra to the characters.

And this entire episode was just wonderful. It had neat ideas, and even though Ganta’s new powers made no physical sense whatsoever they were damn well animated, and I like that the creators used his anemia to just prevent him from going all out. This should have been used better by other characters though, like how does the Branches of Sin armor work? that also looks like it drains a lot of blood there.

But… unfortunately we’re nearly at the end. The problem with this episode was that it asked some really intriguing questions that it’s never going to be able to answer in just one episode, even if they go with an original ending. There are like, what? nine villains left at this point who all still need to be wrapped up? Yeah, that ending isn’t going to be pretty. Not to mention that little girl, who I just realized has a father in the ED that looks a bit too much like one of the members of the resistance.

What especially intrigued me abut this episode, aside from the obvious excellent direction and characterization, is the scars on both Mockingbird and Shiro. What happened to them? How are they still fine after the crazy kinds of operations that this show likes to perform on its prisoners?

Oh, and take that, Sailor Moon!
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 18 June 2011 with categories: Deadman Wonderland



I’ve heard that the anime skipped a lot of content, so where exactly are we at this point? Have we reached the halfway point of the manga, or did this thing race so fast through the story that we’re already at the end?

I don’t read any manga, so I can not comment on how good that manga must have been, but at this point I consider Deadman Wonderland to be a good adaptation. I disagree that cutting out a lot of material makes it a bad adaptation: that’s just something that was unfortunately inevitable considering the difference in length of both mediums. Instead, I’m much more interested in whether the creators actually managed to tell a story, or whether or not they’re just randomly copying and pasting events without thinking of how they’d translate over to animation. What Manglobe is currently doing with TWGOK, for example, or the way in which Yumekui Merry tried to resolve itself last season, or an even better example: Togainu no Chi; those are what I consider to be adaptations who seriously missed the mark. They just don’t come together at all. I do admit that this series doesn’t show Manglobe at its best, though: they really need to make another original story again, because that’s what they really shine at.

Having said that though, this episode wasn’t as good as the previous ones due to Ganta being a bit too emo through its course. And angst on its own isn’t bad or anything, but it rather prevented him from doing anything. The beginning of the episode also created drama using failure in communications, which really aren’t my favourite. I can understand that it wasn’t obvious to everyone that the microchip was bugged: they clinged to it as their ticket out of the hellhole that is Deadman Wonderland, and with everything that was thrown at them, an extra explosion doesn’t sound weird. But why didn’t Shiro just say that the chip was bugged? There would have been much better ways to keep her out of the scene that followed it, although that bit of tension between her and Ganta was really good.

Also, surprisingly this episode did what I hoped: it brought life to the surviving members of the resistance. It didn’t show their background or anything, but in the aftermath scene this series surprisingly treated them not like disposable test dummies, but rather as actual characters. The kind of people you can have a nice chat with.

And really, apart from Ganta and perhaps that information leaking dude (who lost his mind a bit too much here), I enjoyed all of the characters here. For me, they’re a huge strength of this series, remaining genuine despite the madness that gets thrown at them.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 12 June 2011 with categories: Deadman Wonderland



So this wasn’t meant to be the most surprising episode: right from the start it was clear that everything would go to hell in this episode, with a traitor right in the middle of everything, just about every part of the plan was set to be sabotaged and brutally murdered, which is exactly what happened.

And yeah, I guess that the way in which Ganta survived was pretty plausible. On top of being lucky enough to have the single most powerful character in the series as his ally, he also was the only child in this operation: it makes sense for the others to want to protect him, and at least make him end up outside. The whole explosion also made sure that the priest didn’t just go and murder him on the spot. Really, as long as things remain this way I have no problems with it. This show just needs to avoid pulling another Olympic medallist.

Also, the death scenes: they also were well done. The fact remains that Ganta went together with just a bunch of unnamed characters, but this episode made sure to at least give them a character as a group, and highlight some of their personalities even though we don’t know anything about them. I was actually surprised that some of them actually survived (but then again the question will be for how long? I really hope that this show won’t see them as just cannon fodder after this point).

Also, the gore. This episode did not have any particularly well animated scenes, but it’s here where the script and scenarios were enough for the disturbance factor.

In any case, Manglobe: in terms of the biggest flaw of anime (ending in the middle of the storyline), this season has been really generous: out of all of the series that are about to end, only Deadman Wonderland really need a continuation, since TWGOK at the very least just got an OVA announced. Incidentally, both are Manglobe series. The manga at the very least still seems to sell surprisingly well, but I stopped uselessly anticipating these unannounced sequels a long time ago. I’ve just seen too many awesome series that didn’t get their continuation.

At the very least though: Deadman Wonderland will not be a pointless series. This past season has had enough points that made it worth watching. That’s quite rare for the series of this length.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 5 June 2011 with categories: Deadman Wonderland



As much as I like this show, it does have its share of plotholes: Ganta hasn’t been eating any candy lately, has he? In fact, how do all these death row inmates rake up enough cash to buy these candies? Or are you immune to the poison they inject with the branches of sin? With these kinds of plotholes it’s always the context determines whether they’re an eyesore or a minor annoyance, and with Deadman Wonderland it has been the latter so far. There’s just so much else that makes up for it.

This episode was quiet for this series’ standards, but it did take advantage of that buy fleshing out the different characters. Shiro is back, she got some quality time together with Ganta, the priest got interesting, the resistance got some depth. And holy crap the ending of this episode contained some disturbing gore. This isn’t a matter of just showing a little blood: the way that the acid ate away that guy’s skin and muscles. Usually at those points, you see the camera pan away to not show the bloodiest parts. This show didn’t. The animation of this series can really be divided into two categories: really unimpressive, or really good.

This episode was laid back, but at the same time it didn’t destroy the mood that has been built up by the previous episode. Especially because it just kept dropping hints at all hell breaking loose in the next episode. They were surprisingly subtle for this series, but it just kept giving hints that many people are going to die horribly next week.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 29 May 2011 with categories: Deadman Wonderland



It’s still a bit strange to have someone claim that she lost a stomach and all, but I liked this episode a lot again. For the first time it actually brought in a bit of hope. People started to treat Ganta kindly, and for once he wasn’t alone. It will be interesting to see how this series will develop this.

Beyond that, this was an episode of backgrounds as well: there were a lot of flashbacks or characters telling about their pasts and when or why they ended up at the Deadman Wonderland, tying in neatly with the ED. I didn’t like the ED for this series at first, and I still think that Nirgilis did a much better job on Birdy the Mighty and Eureka7, but it’s actually quite interesting to see images of the past of the cast.

I’m not sure what’s up with the priest in this episode. He’s weird in any case, and while he may not be as bad as the Olympic medallist, he still needs a lot of work at this point. Still, this series has a habit of only explaining motives after someone does something strange, so this should be fine. In the end I’m getting more worried about what was originally meant to be the biggest potential pitfall for this series: the length!

The thing with Manglobe is that there is no pattern whatsoever in how their sequels. Their original stories always get the right amount of episodes they deserve, but in terms of their adaptations: Sarai-Ya Goyou condensed the final chapters of its manga so that it could fit everything in. The World God Only Knows came with a sequel that was actually planned in advance, while Seiken no Blacksmith just ended with no intention to fully animate its story. It can be anything at this point, but as great as these past episodes were, episode 12 will be a very bad point to end this series.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 22 May 2011 with categories: Deadman Wonderland



This series is crazy.I mean, this was already apparent and all, but this episode again was just completely out there. This episode was again disturbing and again in a different way than before.

The use of a cute girl for a fourteen year old boy… as if he wasn’t tortured enough already. It’s a good thing that this girl likes to make her victims suffer and all, but that act of hers was great on hindsight. Sure there was fanservice and all, but that was more like functional nude than fanservice. I’m not sure whether the manga had an explanation of why her brother found her at exactly the right time and all, but even then this was a ridiculously intense and crazy episode.

It’s just a shame that the animation in this series wasn’t up to the usual Manglobe standards. Because of that the distorted faces of that girl sometimes became a bit stupid. At the same time though, Ganta cursing his heart out at the end was just awesome.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 14 May 2011 with categories: Deadman Wonderland



Okay. That was just insane. This was by far the best episode of Deadman Wonderland yet.

You know how usually series blow their biggest budget on the first episode of a series? This episode showed that Deadman Wonderland was not one of those series. The animation was by far the best and most consistent of the series so far. Of course it’s still nowhere near Manglobe’s usual characters, but for once there were no distorted faces getting in the way, the action scenes all looked gorgeous and most importantly: the inbetween animation at times really brought in this extra bit of life out of the characters.

Usually the characters like Ganta are really annoying: the ones who don’t do anything. But heck, in this context the creators actually made his character work. He actually does try enough things, and yet every time he does he only gets pummeled down again by this series, which always manages to find some way to become even harsher than it already has. I mean, this episode was absolutely brutal, both for Ganta and the Crow Character. I really have to praise this show: gore alone gets boring really easily; the characters here are the ones who give it its impact and keep this entire series together. Of course they lack depth compared to other series, but they’re all great to watch, and especially diverse. The creators did an excellent job of getting us to sympathize with this fourteen year-old kid, the type of character who usually is really unlikable.

Now, the big flaw here still is the way in which the creators keep shooting themselves into the foot: yeah, the series is brutal, so it’s going to be really hard to keep Ganta alive. Still, this episode was nowhere as bad as episode 2, and instead was very shounen-ish. In other words, cliched, and we can thank the animators and writers for doing a really good job on it to generate enough suspense of disbelief to actually give it impact, rather making it tedious.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

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