If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Author’s Note: While this is a review of an anime show and a discussion on the recent revamp of Toonami and their possible future, this doesn’t count as an “Anime Discovery” review because most of the stuff I cover on that blog is anime that you don’t see on TV and “Deadman Wonderland” is considered as something you saw on TV at late night.
On April 1, 2012, Cartoon Network / Adult Swim did pull out a huge prank that nobody ever expected to happen in a long, continuous time. Now, usually Adult Swim would air “The Room” on that day but as if it were to play, suddenly you heard the voice of one man. His name is TOM. Many people recognize that voice of his, courtesy of voice actor Steven Blum and on that day, Toonami was brought back right into our TV sets. Many fans was pleased that the beloved block of action anime and western cartoons were brought back for that night and after that, people began to send letters to Williams Street to bring back the block and there has been an enormous amount of help from the internet from well-known internet celebrities and even Blum joined that cause.
Then on May 16, 2012, one tagline changes everything: #ToonamisBackBitches
Yes, on May 26, a press release confirmed the revival as a Saturday late night anime block with the return of all new bumpers, game reviews, and updated animation of the 3rd incarnation of TOM.
Now things may seem that everything is going to be hot like dimes but unfortunately for the internet, when they announce what’s going to air, that’s when the bitching starts and I don’t know when it ends but yeah, it happen.
The lineup is consisted of the current Adult Swim lineup on Saturday including Bleach, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. & Cowboy Bebop while premiering two new shows Deadman Wonderland & Casshern Sins.
Now, I have seen the forum posts and comments on Anime News Network and MyAnimeList and people were not having the fact most of them have seen the anime before or they’re not playing the old favorites for most nostalgia-heads even though they can just buy the damn DVDs or Blu-ray’s of the show or better yet go to NeoToonami. Most people did wanted shows like Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, High School of the Dead, Tiger & Bunny and/or Inuyasha: The Final Act on that block, although rumors say the latter might have a spot after CS ends but the problem was Toonami wasn’t exactly on a high budget, they couldn’t have afford the licenses of those anime straightforward like that and since the only new-ish anime on the block was Deadman Wonderland, which was released in Japan in 2011 (Casshern Sins was made in 2008), and now I’m going to get to that point…….
Now, like any other anime you heard before, this was based on the manga series by Jinsei Kataoka & Kazuma Kondou (he wrote and illustrated the Eureka Seven manga). People have said that this series has remind them of Elfen Lied with the same blood-and-gore factor added in but none of the existential creepiness you find after watching it (or reading it in case of the manga of that). I didn’t go in with high or low expectations. I just want to see if this series is turning out to be something to remember or to just past the time while you’re falling asleep.
A massive earthquake ravaged Japan's mainland and destroyed most of Tokyo, sinking three-quarters of the city into the ocean. Ten years later, the story shifts to Ganta Igarashi, a seemingly ordinary student attending Nagano Prefecture's middle school. As an escapee, a survivor of the great earthquake, Ganta has no memories of the tragedy and has lived a normal life and that all changes when a strange person covered in blood and crimson armor floats through his classroom windows. Grinning madly, the Red Man massacres Ganta's entire class but instead of killing him, embeds a red crystal shard in Ganta's chest. Within days of the massacre, Ganta is declared the sole suspect. Following a quick trial, Ganta is sentenced to death and is incarcerated in Deadman Wonderland, a massive theme park like prison.
Okay, now the main character Ganta Igarashi is portrayed rightly as a character who knows he’s been wronged for what happened that day and like any teenager, he’ll be scared shitless of what’s coming to him as he goes into Deadman Wonderland (Speaking of that, is it me or does that sound like a rock band to you?) from the stuff he heard from his friends. Now, in the character development department, once Ganta enters the prison as a scared boy, as of now, he is still a scared boy. He does tried to defend himself against the prisoners but I don’t know if got anything to do with his whining, cracking voice or the fact you would be scared, too, if you see what he has seen in there.
Shiro, or as I call her, my favorite character of the show. She is a mysterious albino girl who has the resemblance of one of Ganta’s deceased friends, who I assume he had a crush on before any of that happen. She also possesses inhuman physical abilities and has an intimate knowledge of the prisonWhile the other prisoners are threatening, blood-thirsty, and/or murderous, Shiro’s mannerism is very playful like a child but she doesn’t go overly annoying about it. Matter of fact, if anything, it makes the show calmer than what it is now but the show is still tense on its subject.
Other characters include Yō Takami, an ally of Ganta during his stay and his story was that he became a prisoner of buying his sister’s freedom with the Cast Points he received while playing these games of life and death, and speaking of his sister, Minatsuki Takami, also known as, Hummingbird, she may seem like the innocent, scared girl but when she show her true colors, damn, she can fight like hell out there and curse like a f***ing sailor while she’s at it. Oh yeah, one more thing, when hearing this version of TV, expect a lot of bleeps to happen on this show (think about that, people who wanted PSG on Toonami/Adult Swim).
Halfway into the series, there is a rebellion group Scar Chain who’s determined to escape the prison and expose the illegal actions of the prison with themselves having their own struggles to deal with the prison, especially the leader of the group, Nagi.
The animation is done by Manglobe, or as the previews quote, “From the studio that brought you Samurai Champloo and Ergo Proxy”, and the quality is shown to be not quite a visual feat but there was a great effort of amount thrown in, although the blood does like less bloody and more like fruit punch but that’s not a deal breaker, just a minor tidbit of the style. The opening music sequence used in the Toonami version was nothing more than a quick tease, only showing 20 seconds of the theme song. Why does Bleach airing in its umpteenth season has a full opening but Deadman doesn’t? The full opening theme sequence can be found on YouTube and that and the opening song "One Reason" by DWB feat. Fade completely fits the tone of the series and wow, it is glorious to listen in your ears but I can’t say the same thing to the ending song "Shiny Shiny" by Nirgilis. It’s a very calm and upbeat J-Pop song but hearing that after watching an episode feels like an emotion whiplash and for the voice acting for the English dub…..
Greg Ayres as Ganta = mostly whiny but fits the character; Monica Rial = very decent as Shiro, one of the reasons why I like her in anime roles; Aaron Dismuke = last time I heard him was in Cat Planet Cuties, this is an upgrade from that; Jamie Marchi = somewhat okay but passable; Eric Vale = he tried.
FINAL VERDICT: While it’s not a great series, I managed to enjoy the series regardless of that. Some of the characters are not very relatable but there is a good amount of character development even if it does go by fast with what little episode order they gotten. I personally would rate this over Elfen Lied in the psychological horror department of anime.
So, in other words, I rate Deadman Wonderland a…
Planet Tyro rating: SOLID B.
And now with Deadman Wonderland ending Saturday/Sunday on Toonami, people wonder what the new anime to fill their shoes is and their replacement happens to be……
An anime that is based on the Akira Kurosawa film, it is also been 8 years old as of this point, already aired in IFC and FUNimation channel (although I don’t think many people subscribe to those channels) and I’m also covering that on Anime Discovery in September…..coming soon by the way.
People are going to bitch about that, aren’t they?
But, really, I'm glad that Toonami is back on TV screens where they belong and hope it'll last. Just don't expect instant stuff just like that or you're gonna be back begging and moaning for it.
Well, until then, this is MAK2.0 aka The Hybrid, and I speak for my damn self.
I still do like this video.........so there.
DEADMAN WONDERLAND – animation by MANGLOBE / distributed by FUNimation.