Deadman Wonderland Episode One Review
By: Prince Lammy
Deadman Wonderland Episode 01: Dead Man Walking
For the first piece of a 12-episode anime series, this episode had done well to get me hooked to the series and build up questions when it came to an end. And seeing that the plot is just so intriguing is another fact I love about this series.
But like all first episodes, it's just the beginning, but what is my opinion about Dead Man Walking, the first episode of Deadman Wonderland? Don't take this as a critique opinion but as a review. So, here it is.
Story | 7/10
Nota Bene: You have to understand that reading this review isn't quite the same as watching the episode itself. I'm not giving a complete story here, just a brief recap. But of course, this would prep your mind for what's to come.
The scene opens up in a school, with children walking around like in a typical school setting. Then Mimi walks into a class and greets Ganta, who's watching a video on his phone. After enquiring about Yamakutsu from Ganta, she drops her bag and occupies the seat in front of him.
As the duo started talking about how fun it would be to visit Deadman Wonderland, an amusement park, Yamakutsu walked in and grabbed the last piece of Ganta's breakfast. Then the trio reminisced about how much fun they've had on previous school trips.
As the bell rings and the students settle to start the day, we see a man with a shredded cape and blood-dripping hands slowly coming down from the sky and looking into the room. Ganta sees him and falls back at the sight of someone floating on the third floor of the building.
As the rest of the class stands up to see the man in the red hood, he creates some ring around him and whips it into the class, throwing all the students into disarray. Then it was all a blackout (or a white out if you'd prefer). Ganta later wakes up to see the shredded bodies of his classmates.
Shortly after Ganta wakes up in a hospital bed, he is charged with the murder of his 29 classmates. He tried telling them that "the Red Man" was responsible for those murders but didn't succeed. After a hearing in the court, he was found guilty and sentenced to death! (He did try to resist, though).
As the prison transport is driving to Deadman Wonderland with Ganta and the other new inmates, a white-haired girl sits on a giant ball, singing. Then an in-voice narrator tells the story of the prison.
At the lineup of new inmates, the guards' Captain, Makina, walks in and briefs the inmates on basic info about the place. She then disciplines a klutz who bumped into Ganta and stole from him (I think she did that to show just how ruthless she is).
In a meeting with Ganta's supposed lawyer, Makina reveals that Ganta would die in a planned accident, which was part of some plan. Meanwhile, Ganta was at a work site somewhere in prison when the white-haired girl jumped down and came to him.
While the two of them were talking, three other inmates stepped up to them, apparently to stir up trouble. Shiro tries to defend him but is knocked out when one of them hits her with a spade, leaving Ganta open to the other three inmates to be stomped on.
Suddenly, the beam above him explodes, and the big red ball that reads "Deadman Wonderland" starts falling. The inmates scamper off, leaving Ganta Shiro on the spot. While thinking of how badly he wants to stay alive and prove his innocence, a red vein-ish gem gleamed from his chest. Then somehow, he created some barrier that broke the ball boom…blackout!
While that was happening, an inmate had held someone hostage and requested candy, as he was out of cast points. Makina left him to die, as he had just a few seconds left to live. When Ganta woke up and looked around to see the other inmates dead, he woke Shiro up.
Art | 9/10
Sometimes some shadings might seem mildly off-angle, but generally, it was a good piece of art. Every piece of the animation made it so lifelike it was almost tangible. And coupled with how 3D it seemed, it also helped exaggerate some of the scenes.
Some artistic effects were used in scenes where I saw blood gushing out, bruises, injuries, and how messy the classroom was when "The Red Man" murdered the 29 pupils in Ganta's classroom. It was so surreal and similar to real-life murder scenes (I'm talking about those gruesome murders).
Sound | 7/10
The episode lacks an opening theme, which I think makes it unique from most other anime series. And this is probably so because it just started from Ganta's classroom scenery. I guess the producers just wanted to hit the nail and skip any shenanigans.
The sound effects are just superb, as seen in most scenes, one of which includes when Makina slashes the klutz that hits Ganta. And every time a clang or drop or a sound effect is needed, the product seen is always good, not too extra, and not under. It's just correct and exact for what's needed.
Voice acting also seems to fit the profile of all characters seen in this episode. From the voice alone, you already know that one character is up to no good, one shouldn't be trusted, and another is a stern disciplinarian. At the same time, someone else is just cheery and carefree.
The closing theme, however, isn't something I can vibe with. It has its vibe, in its way, but the way it starts like a recital or a nursery rhyme might make you feel like ditching it and moving on to the second episode. But when the beat dropped, and the tempo changed, I felt it (it's pretty good)
Character | 9/10
Here I will give brief accounts of all characters that caught my eye (quite a number of them did, anyway).
Ganta, the main character, is a normal kid, has two friends, and isn't the troublesome type. It's only ironic that he later ended up in the same place he'd wanted to go for a school trip but as an inmate. And like most other MCs in anime, not much is known about him at the moment. Still, with some plot and schemes revolving around him, there's no doubt we have more to see and uncover about him.
His two friends: Mimi and Yamakutsu, are almost of the same character as Ganta. Still, Yamakutsu is lazy and reluctant to go to school. And apparently, the trio are very close, so their parents know about their friendship.
Tamaki, Ganta's court-appointed lawyer, is more than just a lawyer and even one of Deadman Wonderland's owners. He, however, comes off as sly and has some ulterior motive or game with Ganta, but that is unknown at the moment.
Other characters worth mentioning are Shiro, a mysterious girl who became Ganta's friend in the prison, and Captain Makina, the crazy prison warden. But apparently, there's more to discover about everyone as the series progress.
Enjoyment | 8/10
I felt great pity for the main character for most of the episode. However, there were still moments when I had a bit of a laugh or nodded my head because I could relate to what happened or was said in the scene.
And indeed, I enjoyed this episode, and I'm not even sugar coating or hyping it; it is interesting, and who's to say I didn't enjoy it. If episode two were as enjoyable as this, I would invite friends over and watch it with them.
Overall | 8/10
Having a rating of 8/10 (my score for this episode), it's enough to say that all hands have gone on deck to make Dead Man Walking an exciting reality. Who would've thought that I would be itching to watch episode two of the episode already?
It's been a good ride, no doubt, and likened even so by the fact that amidst all the irony and tragedy, exciting characters like Shiro came. Surely there would be some chemistry between that duo, but let's see what would go down or on.
And seeing as this has ended, let's move on to episode two, shall we?