Deadman Wonderland Episode Two Review
By: Prince Lammy
Deadman Wonderland Episode 02: Antidote (Candy)
After learning what Candy means from episode one, I expected to hear more about it in this episode, as that is the title. But well, I guess I already got substantial knowledge about it.
This episode reminded me of some gladiator-like movies I'd seen before. And no doubt, it gave me a bit of a cliff-hanger at most moments, especially when the Dog Race started. And seeing a new inmate go against experience inmates in such death games kept me sitting at the edge of my chair.
Story | 8/10
In a narration explaining what happened in episode one, the narrator mentioned that this series is based on the year 2023. This brings to mind that Deadman Wonderland is the only privately-owned prison in Japan and that it exploits its inmates for profit.
Captain Makina sits in her office watching the footage of the accident and wonders if the strange outcome was Ganta's doing. After recalling one of her meetings with Tamaki, she is left to wonder what is unique about Igarashi Ganta, also known as Death row inmate #5580.
Igarashi Ganta is seen sitting on his bed in his cell, his belongings scattered on a table, as he gets lost in thought. During a visit to the health center, the female doctor that attended him inquired if he had eaten his Candy, to which he feigned ignorance and said he hadn't.
The guy who'd bumped into him earlier was lying on a bed not too far from him, got his attention, and apologized for making him lose his Candy. While the two were talking, Shiro showed up from a ceiling vent.
The guy on the bed explained the race, some prison norms, and rules to Ganta as Shiro went around, playing with tissue. Reluctant to join the race, he immediately changed his mind the moment when he heard he would be given sweet bean bread just for entering.
Takami Yoh calls Takami to inform the latter that Ganta is entering the Dog's Race. While the entrants were in the dressing room, Kouzuji Kazumasa and his boys walked in. They started threatening the other new entrants to desist from entering the game. Captain Makina walks in and stops him.
As Ganta took up his position at the starting line of the games, Tamaki ensured the game's difficulties were set to their highest. At the shot of the umpire's gun, the inmates set off and started running to start the games.
As Ganta got to the Heads Chopper, the first obstacle course of the game, and was cut by a blade, he finally realized it was all real. Seeing other inmates get sliced through further opened his eyes to reality. Even inmates that wanted to run away were shot dead by soldiers wearing costumes on the line stand.
Then comes the Bungee Lottery, the second obstacle course of the game. Discouraged after seeing an inmate drop dead from the top of the beam, Shiro pushes Ganta, and the duo dive off the beam and land safely.
When they get to the Arrow Valley, the gamers must dodge a hail of arrows and pass the stage or fall into pits where they'd get electrocuted and die. As Shiro helps Ganta dodge the arrows, Kouzuji uses two of his guys as human shields to protect himself from the wave of arrows shot at him.
The next obstacle course involves them jumping on balls over an acid-filled pit. As Ganta slips and makes a mistake, Shiro comes to the rescue, playfully directing them to a safe landing. The duo manages to scale through some other obstacle courses and reach the final stage.
When the game is set into play, they realize that the boards fall off one after the other. And whoever is holding onto the ball when there's just one board left is the winner. As Ganta runs around with the ball, Kouzuji chases after him, and Shiro signals for him to pass the ball to her.
As the board under Shiro drops and she falls, she passes the ball to Ganta, urging him to win the game. The game, however, ends with no winner. (But I'm not going to say how it ended)
Art | 7/10
The opening scene showed an aerial photograph of Deadman Wonderland, but that was almost like an amateur's painting. But for the rest of the show, Manglobe (the studio responsible for its production) did an excellent job with the animation.
Even when there were crowds and lights and other amusement-park-like features had to be shown, the blend of colors, lines, and other artistic effects was so perfect that nothing seemed out of place or excessively done.
I especially liked the toned image of the park's center building, the prison with lights all over it. The aesthetics give off an effect that sometimes makes you forget that the place is more of a prison than an amusement park.
Sound | 8/10
The background music in Deadman Wonderland is a diverse mix of dramatic heavy metal and electronica, as well as a few introductory notes performed on a piano. The music and the sound effects have remarkably high fidelity, and the dance demonstrates that careful consideration was given to the order and timing of each track.
The opening theme, One Reason by DWB (with Fade), arranged in a well-designed sequence that utilizes red, white and black as a three-color foundation, has been included in the overall presentation. To NIRGILIS's Shiny Shiny, the end credits depict a slow-moving Ferris wheel with photos of several characters before they were inmates of Deadman Wonderland.
Character | 8/10
Past episode one, a little more is revealed about these characters, especially about Takami Yoh. This guy bumped into Ganta in the previous episode. Yoh is sly and is spying on Ganta for Tamaki (he gets his rewards, of course).
Then there's Kouzuji Kazumasa, one of the craziest bullies you've ever seen or heard about. Apart from intimidating others to make sure he emerges as the winner of the game, Kouzuji even used two of his loyalists as body shields to protect himself from the hale of arrows shot at him in the course of the game. But seeing as he died at the end of the game, I'm happy I wouldn't see him anymore.
Not much (or anything at all) is done to the character development of Ganta, and Shiro comes off as being his protector and friend also. And it's funny how she mainly helps him, and she does it like it's easy and with a carefree demeanor.
But one thing I came to like about her at the end is how she tried to sacrifice herself for Ganta. She tends to be very childish and lackadaisical about her approach to things. And let's not forget Tamaki, the crazy manager of the prison, who wanted to test Ganta's will and ability to live.
Enjoyment | 8/10
The games are made to seem like play-acting to the spectators, who think all the blood and gore are just special effects made to use the games seem more realistic. And while the game would have started simple, I like that Tamaki had it set on the highest. But doesn't that mean there's nothing harder than that now?
I guess it's okay to say I had as much fun as any of the park's spectators during the games, except that I saw more than the spectators did. So, aside from enjoying such a game, I also had an experience with the emotions relayed.
So yeah, I enjoyed this episode to some okay extent.
Overall | 8/10
All factors being considered, it's not a bad episode. Though I'm rating it 8, it doesn't strictly come off as the "entirely memorable" type of episode, but it's okay. However, with the games, I think Ganta was deliberately given an edge over an experienced player like Kouzuji. Still, well, it is what it is.
Till after I see that, Domo Arigato Guzeimasu😊.