Anime Vice News

DEADMAN WONDERLAND #1 -- Special Review

What the F@#$ did I just watch?!!?

Whoa… how did this ever get cleared to air on American TV? I don’t care if it was at 3AM on a late nite programming block that’s explicitly marketed to adults - - this a toon with a middle school massacre as its inciting incident. People have kept saying that DEADMAN WONDERLAND is an intensely bloody and, damn, if they weren’t kidding.

This is also a damn good pilot that’s got at least five razor sharp hooks dangling off of it - - at least five. I’d definitely group it with titles like DEATH NOTE, BATTLE ROYALE and GANTZ that start off with very morbid, button-pushing premises that take your usual escapist fantasy thriller and push far outside the comfort zone immediately. No dressing it up - - the set-up here with this kid’s entire class getting butchered and him getting the blame made me pretty uncomfortable.

However, as I’ve said about T&A in the Vice Pit, if there’s intelligence behind the material and an understanding of how to properly use the more exploitative ingredients, then nearly any subject matter can be handled tastefully. This definitely is a smart show and, I guess, it’d be a bit of double standard to draw the line over this sort of violence when we’re OK with almost every other sort.

More than anything, I’m incredibly intrigued to see what comes next. This isn’t a case of me saying, “Yeah, I guess I’ll check out the next episode.” I’m legitimately hooked.

How does this diabolically satirical prison-cum-amusement-park actually work?

How long will our poor, poor lead be imprisoned in this waking nightmare?

How does candy extend prisoners' lives?

What other points of demented wisdom will the psycho girl extoll once she’s come to?

These are answers I need to have - - now!

Watch this episode, “Death Row Inmate” below and decide for yourself.

Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk

AURON570on Aug. 8, 2012 at 4:59 p.m.

Good in concept, doesn't deliver. It's easy to watch and understand though since it's so full of cliches.

FoxxFireArt moderator on Aug. 8, 2012 at 5:05 p.m.

I was actually rather surprised by the TV airing of this on Toonami. So much of the gore was shows. Even the disembodied head of the girl Mimi. It sort of drew back my confusion of our Puritanical-based culture. Why is it that we can have such graphic violence shown on TV, but any nudity is strictly prohibited? It's a twisted value that allows for violent gore, but somehow nipples will bring about the downfall of society.

I was also surprised when "titties" appeared in the English dub uncensored. I was confused how that got past the censors. This is a pretty good series. It's just too bad the way it ends doesn't follow the original story it's based upon.

Greg Ayres does a lot of good voice work, but he I just wasn't feeling him as Ganta for some reason. Romi Park is a tough act to follow.

Lurkeroon Aug. 8, 2012 at 5:09 p.m.

I tried to enjoy this series, but Ganta was such a whiner and there was a lot of cliche. Ended up dropping it. I wouldn't mind reading the column to see if there is something worth watching later on in the series.

Nightwolfon Aug. 8, 2012 at 5:15 p.m.

Love this show, sad to see it end to soon.

EganTheVile1on Aug. 8, 2012 at 5:39 p.m.
One of my favorite moments in the series so far was two undertakers being killed by Crow in a second after they were given a crazy disturbing bloody backstory and you thought holy s**t this is going to be sick, and then bam, they're dead. This show loves throwing you curveballs
sickVisionz moderator on Aug. 8, 2012 at 6:24 p.m.

This episode grabbed my attention too. The rest of the series was entertaining as I'd some it up as Rainbow x Naruto. I didn't find it to be all that smart of a show. It's got some beat you over the head obvious social commentary, but that's about as close to smart as it came to me. Good for shock value and dumb fun but not much else.

I think it would have been better if the setup didn't involve magic sci-fi blood monsters. That becomes a focus later and reduces it down to kinda generic anime insanity. On top of that, it starts introducing a bunch of high school romcom elements into it that make it feel even more generic at times.

Not a bad show though.

CapeBarneson Aug. 8, 2012 at 7:36 p.m.

Good to know that I'm not the only person on the internet who thinks "this show isn't nearly as bad as haters say it is."

No_name_here staff on Aug. 8, 2012 at 9:24 p.m.

@CapeBarnes said:

Good to know that I'm not the only person on the internet who thinks "this show isn't nearly as bad as haters say it is."

Well, you know me. Never one to bow to peer pressure.

@sickVisionz said:

I think it would have been better if the setup didn't involve magic sci-fi blood monsters. That becomes a focus later and reduces it down to kinda generic anime insanity. On top of that, it starts introducing a bunch of high school romcom elements into it that make it feel even more generic at times.

Yeah, I wasn't as keen on the look of the monster at the beginning. Though, from your description, this sounds like the most bric-a-brac show, ever.

@Lurkero said:

I tried to enjoy this series, but Ganta was such a whiner and there was a lot of cliche.

Man, I don't know... I think you'd do some whining too if you were framed for massacring all your classmates.

@FoxxFireArt said:

I was actually rather surprised by the TV airing of this on Toonami. So much of the gore was shows. Even the disembodied head of the girl Mimi. It sort of drew back my confusion of our Puritanical-based culture. Why is it that we can have such graphic violence shown on TV, but any nudity is strictly prohibited? It's a twisted value that allows for violent gore, but somehow nipples will bring about the downfall of society.

The root question of all this is... "Does it get you off?"

Fat_Magnumon Aug. 8, 2012 at 10:28 p.m.

@FoxxFireArt: I feel you on the issue of the strange dichotomy that is American sensibility in regards to censorship.

Perhaps I'm sickly inured and/or have no soul but the violence in the beginning didn't affect me. What must I do to feel again?!

This show seems intriguing thus far and, whatever else it might be, will most certainly provide a welcome change of pace from School Days.

EganTheVile1on Aug. 8, 2012 at 11:57 p.m.
I think American censorship is gradually being phased out. Comedy Central has been a big example of pushing the limits, they have discovered that past 10 pm they can say s**t on air, and between 1 am and prior to 6 am they can say f**k or whatever they want. Other networks like Spike TV air Scarface uncensored, and now Cartoon Network airs Deadman Wonderland with only language censored and no visual edits. The thing is with each new generation more and more is viewed socially acceptable. I doubt anyone reading my post would actually be offended by the words I starred out, but some would so I did. The same is the case with American censorship, honestly I am more offended by ED commercials that air at 10 AM with some old shmuck that cant get it up for some hot 20 year old. Well that's more being disgusted by old guys dating woman my age but you get the point.
Om1kronon Aug. 9, 2012 at 3:16 a.m.

@Lurkero said:

I tried to enjoy this series, but Ganta was such a whiner and there was a lot of cliche. Ended up dropping it. I wouldn't mind reading the column to see if there is something worth watching later on in the series.

Show seriously fell flat. I was just watching it to kill time after the 4th episode.

Lurkeroon Aug. 9, 2012 at 5:17 a.m.

@Tom_Pinchuk said:

@Lurkero said:

I tried to enjoy this series, but Ganta was such a whiner and there was a lot of cliche.

Man, I don't know... I think you'd do some whining too if you were framed for massacring all your classmates.

I'm okay with his worries during that part, although the trial seemed to ignore the implausibility of the situation. Suspension of disbelief I guess.

I didn't want to reveal anything to you if you continue watching the series, but at some point for me Ganta became an annoying rather than sympathetic character. It didn't help that he had the hackneyed mysterious girl companion that knows things and can be used for exposition. The sci-fi elements of the plot came on hard and made the show seem generic despite the extreme plot setup.

Waleson Aug. 9, 2012 at 10:42 a.m.

I still hate it.

LordTerminalon Aug. 9, 2012 at 12:29 p.m.

Wow. Talk about late to the party. The last episode is literally airing on Toonami this Saturday at the time of this post.

But yeah, great to know we share the same reactions towards this show. Except the whole "I want to see more" part. I almost wanted to drop the show after the first episode. Until a certain line in the next episode kept me from doing so.

Marshal Victoryon Aug. 9, 2012 at 2:44 p.m.

Watched it subtitled last year.Its good but ... well it could have been great.Yes i fell into the if only an what could have been trap on this show.If you dont fall into that trap the rides fun enuff... bloody enuff.. fun bloody? No thats just wrong.

Don't think it ever get its second season tho.

takashichea moderator is online on Aug. 10, 2012 at 4:09 p.m.

As my colleague said: Deadman Wonderland is like a bag of skittles. It's sweet at first, and after you finish the bag, you get sour aftertaste.

AgentJon Aug. 10, 2012 at 5:30 p.m.

Thanks to the magic of DVR, I have finally caught up on this series, with the final episode airing tomorrow. There are a lot of things to like, but unfortunately not enough episodes to show them all. It felt like there was a ton of content that was skipped over in order to help the creators fit it all into 12 episodes. At the end of the penultimate episode, there is well more than 20 minutes worth of story that needs explaining, not to mention that there still needs to be a finale.

I guess Kanta's whining didn't bother me as badly as it usually does (like with the protagonist for Guilty Crown) because he always fought through it and did what needed to be done, but the truncated nature of the series is what leaves me disappointed. It does make me interested in the manga, however.

Are there a ton of cliches? Certainly, but I think there was also a lot to like in the few original bits, and many of the characters were just too fun.

@EganTheVile1: Were there really no edits? Because I found some distracting shadows covering up the worst of the gore throughout that didn't look like they just belonged.

takashichea moderator is online on Aug. 10, 2012 at 5:38 p.m.

@AgentJ:

I still use a VHS and an alarm clock because I can't stay awake late at night.

AgentJon Aug. 10, 2012 at 5:40 p.m.

@takashichea: Thank the lord that these TV networks in part use the boxes to figure out how many people are watching shows, because there's no way I could stay awake until 1:30 every Saturday-Sunday like I used to do. Some of us need our beauty rest.

takashichea moderator is online on Aug. 10, 2012 at 5:44 p.m.

@AgentJ:

What characters do you find are good in dub?

I find Crow, Minatsuki, Shiro, Owl, and the uber monk good. I just can't stand Ganta's voice.

Dig Deeper into Deadman Wonderland

Deadman Wonderland is a dark-action series about a young boy who's framed for the slaughter of his classmates and sentenced to the privatized prison that doubles as an amusement park for the public called The Deadman Wonderland.

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