Well, we can push Ganta further over into the Flawed Hero circle, now, can’t we? I honestly don’t know how the rules of chivalry (or bushido, perhaps?) differ over the Pacific, but socking a girl right in the face is a severe, automatic demerit in my book.
And that’s actually fine here - - don’t misunderstand me. I don’t subscribe to the thinking that every protagonist has to be some paragon of moral virtue. Quite to the contrary - - it’s honestly a lot more interesting to see the spotlight put on borderline villains and I’ll be first to roll my eyes over anybody getting into a tiff about fictional characters’ suitability as role models.
That said, no matter how uncompromising you want to be about your edgy gray morality, it’s been shown, time and again, that your lead still has to earn some brownie points for the audience to care about him - - and presumably watch your show.
So yeah… Ganta hitting Shiro is condemnable. It’s still believable, though. Kid's been put through the most nightmarish wringer imaginable for however many weeks-unto-months already. At yet another moment of high tension, he’s not going to be in the clearest frame of mind. Smart people act stupid all the time and, while it’s patently obvious that Shiro was trying to save them from a bomb, you can understand why this kid wouldn’t make the connection that the explosion was actually caused by the chip and didn’t just randomly coincide with it. And you can understand why a character who’s been demonstrated to have a pretty nasty mean-streak throughout all these gladiatorial bouts would be quick to raise his hand in such a situation.
All these qualities could be the making of a solid character study in our over-the-top thriller. I could see it building to some intense climax where Ganta massacres all the corrupt devils running Deadman Wonderland (and showing just how hardened his heart is in comparison to the countless other teen anime protagonists). However, that seems like too tall an order to fill in the two remaining episodes, and I suspect this show will seem like [C] – CONTROL by the end - - a mess of promising, provocative ideas that don’t quite come together in a satisfying way.
Watch this episode, “Undertaker” below and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode here.