Deadman Wonderland 1 – Conspiring to Theorize
Still catching up on the rest of the spring crop, but Deadman Wonderland‘s first episode and premise are engaging enough for me to be interested enough to write about it. So here I am! I know the manga has plenty of fans, so I’ll say this out front: No spoilers. I mean, don’t even hint about that shit, even if you see me (or someone else) say something or express confusion about things that will be cleared up later. I know some folks are just trying to be helpful, but try to curb that instinct. Sometimes fans just need to grope around in the darkness, you know? If I catch the slightest whiff of a spoiler, I will come down on that shit like Makina putting the heel down on this guy here.
So there you have it! Before I watched Deadman Wonderland, I heard a few comparisons to Battle Royale, mostly due to the kill collars. Made me think of the Nintendo DS game 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, which has kill bracelets (sort of) rather than kill collars. Anyway! I dig this kind of scenario when it’s done well, because in the right hands it makes for a good thriller. In the wrong hands, of course, it’s cheap and exploitative, but hey. Seems like the TV station is nervous about the possibility, considering all the censoring going on in the episode. I don’t usually watch shows that are censored that heavily (I think the last one was Umineko no Naku Koro ni), so it was kind of weird to see at first. But I guess you can’t just show severed heads all willy nilly on TV like that. Yikes.
Pretty good way to open the series, though — I like when a show goes for the throat like that. Usually a decent sign. And of course there’s a lot to wonder about from the opening sequence: Why the Red Man chooses to give Ganta those crazy powers (aside from the fact that he wants the audience to watch an interesting story), why the class is blown up in the first place, who is behind the whole (if not the Red Man himself), etc. Not sure how much will be answered, especially considering that if MAL’s calculations are correct, this season is slated for 12 episodes. Then again, Deadman Wonderland is relatively popular (right?), so perhaps it’ll snag a second season.
Also heard talk from some expressing disbelief about the set-up and Ganta being railroaded so easily and conveniently onto death row, but it seems clear to me that there’s a conspiracy behind the whole thing. Maybe Ganta is chosen specifically for this, and maybe he wasn’t, but the way everything is set up screams that there is someone pulling the strings behind the scenes and manipulating the courts, police, media, etc. The show’s obviously asking the audience to stretch its suspension of disbelief, but I guess it’s easier for me to do that when the show has a fantastic base in the first place (crazy powers).
I mean, maybe it’s a BIT much that everyone is so insanely corrupt that a 14-year-old is sentenced to death like nothing without the possibility of appeal, but there are many dumber premises that fiction has asked people to swallow, so whatever. Doesn’t really bother me at all. Probably part of that is that the corrupt society also allows the privately-owned crazy prison scenario to happen. That’s always fun, even when there’s a heaping help of 1980s cheese like in The Running Man. (Shouldn’t that movie have been a million times better?!) If there’s a game show, I will snicker.