Deadman Wonderland Vol. 1 (Story and Art by Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou) (a J!-ENT Manga Review)
March 1, 2014 by Dennis Amith
A thrilling, violent and delightful first volume for Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou’s “Deadman Wonderland”! Recommended!
Image courtesy of © Jinsei Kataoka 2007. Kazuma Kondou 2007. All Rights Reserved.
MANGA TITLE: Deadman Wonderland Vol. 1
STORY AND ART BY: Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou
FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Kadokawa Shoten
PUBLISHED IN USA BY: Viz Media
RATED: OT for Older Teen
Available on February 11, 2014
Framed for the brutal murders of his classmates by the mysterious Red Man, middle-school student Ganta Igarashii finds himself sentenced to death in the bizarre and fatal theme park/prison known as “Deadman Wonderland.” The inmates of this insane penitentiary fight for survival every day to provide entertainment for the masses. Ganta is determined to survive Deadman Wonderland and clear his name, but the price may be his soul…
From the creators of “Eureka Seven” comes a violent sci-fi prison anime series known as “Deadman Wonderland”. Created by Jinsei Kataoka and illustrated by Kazuma Kondou, “Deadman Wonderland” was a manga series published in Shonen Ace back in 2007.
With a total of 13 tankobon volumes released in Japan, while the manga was released in the U.S. via Tokyo Pop (a total of four volumes were released), the complete series will now be released in America courtesy of Viz Media.
“Deadman Wonderland” takes place during a time when Tokyo has been ravaged by a massive earthquake and 3/4 of Tokyo is now submerged in the ocean.
Ten years later, we are introduced to a kind middle-school student named Ganta Igarashi. Ganta loves hanging out with his friends and all was going great one day, until some man clad in red is seen floating outside of the school window and destroys the classroom.
When Ganta wakes up, his classmates are all dead, including his best friend, who’s head is being held by the man in red. The man in red then implants something into Ganta’s chest and he collapses.
When Ganta wakes up in the hospital, he is accused of murdering all the students at school. Ganta tries to plead his innocence but the authorities do not listen to him. Despite having a lawyer represent him, footage is shown to the judges and parents of the deceased students of Ganta bragging about killing all his school classmates. Knowing that is not him, Ganta is shocked that there is video of him saying such a bad thing.
Unfortunately, due to the number of people killed, Ganta is sentenced to death and will be incarcerated in a theme-park like prison known as “Deadman Wonderland”. A prison that houses prisoners from all over Japan and raises money from its brand of violent entertainment among prisoners to raise money to rebuild Japan.
At “Deadman Wonderland”, all prisoners must wear a special collar which monitors their activity and location. The special collar injects poison into his bloodstream but can only be neutralized if he eats a specialized candy every three days. And the only way to get access to the candy is by performing activities in prison.
But the most significant activity is winning Cast Points which allows a prisoner to purchase ordinary lunches, furniture, take years off their sentence and also purchase the specialized candy.
But Ganta quickly learns that at “Deadman Wonderland”, Chief Guard Makina is the law. Harsh, cold and has no qualms of slashing prisoners for disobedience, she is known for being severely harsh and also being well-endowed. Also, within the prison, prisoners are used for entertainment courtesy of Assistant Warden Tsunenaga Tamaki, a sadist who butchers prisoners for amusement and profit.
While in the prison, Ganta makes friends with a mysterious albino girl named Shiro, a girl that reminds him of his best friend Mimi. She has become good friends with Ganta and seems to possess special abilities which include superhuman strength and also knowledge of the prison.
Ganta also befriends Yo Takami, a thief and informant sent to watch over Ganta by Assistant Warden Tamaki.
But what happens when Ganta sees the man in red once again while in prison?
From the creators of “Eureka Seven” comes a new, violent and bloody anime series titled “Deadman Wonderland”!
But while the manga series may be a bit violent for some readers, the concept is quite interesting. Because Japan is in dire need to rebuild after a devastating earthquake, one of the popular areas of entertainment is the “Deadman Wonderland” theme park facility.
While the place attracts many people and makes quite a bit of money, not many people realize that inside the theme park is where gladiator battles between Deadmen take place. And of course, the scientists of the facility are experimenting on the prisoners for the sake of monetary and political gain (of course, in the effort to help rebuild Japan).
What is interesting about the series is that the prison is home to vicious criminals, but somehow, Ganta Igarashi, a middle school student is targeted and framed for murdering his classmates and then being injected with the Deadman power, which is utilizing one’s blood to become a weapon of destruction.
And so, this meek boy must be put in a prison full of dangerous criminals. Ganta is your banal weak character who gets stronger as he learns to become brave and wants to protect the people that he cares about.
Then you have Shiro, a mysterious albino girl who loves being around Ganta. We know that she is gifted with amazing power but at the same time, she is naive and is always cheerful, wanting to play or eat pudding.
But the series features really interesting characters. Some who are jerks and badasses, and some who are are just really wicked looking. But the question is how can Ganta survive in this corrupt prison that is bent on having those incarcerated murdered in their televised games and you also wonder how is this character, Shiro, able to get access around the prison freely and why is she so interested in protecting or being around Ganta? Is she a prisoner?
Overall, a thrilling, violent and delightful first volume for Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou’s “Deadman Wonderland”! Recommended!
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