Gabbing Geek Manga Review: Deadman Wonderland #1

I’ll say this for the manga I’ve been reading lately:  some of it is pretty damn weird.

That’s a good thing for something like Deadman Wonderland.

14 year old Ganta Igarashi is having a normal day at school when a fellow he refers to only as the “red man” shows up and slaughters his entire class, leaving Ganta alive but blasting him some sort of red glass ball of some kind.  Ganta then wakes up to find out he is on trial for the murder, and before he knows what’s happening, he’s being sentenced to Deadman Wonderland with an eventual death penalty.

What is Deadman Wonderland?  Well, this series is set at some point in the future, and after a massive earthquake destroyed most of Tokyo, Deadman Wonderland was built as a combination prison and amusement park, where the inmates put on (occasionally lethal) shows, exhibitions, and gladiatorial combat for the entertainment of paying guests and all profits go towards rebuilding the city.  It’s a prison where the absurd happens on a regular basis, and Ganta still isn’t sure why he was sent there since he says he’s innocent.

Actually, the book makes it look like he is, but it’s also an anime, and I watched part of the first episode where Ganta was shocked—SHOCKED–to see himself giving a video confession where he casually related he did the whole massacre thing that he says he didn’t record.  Did he?  I don’t know.

As it is, there are a few gaps in Ganta’s memory, much of which may revolve around Shiro, a very odd girl with white hair and red eyes who keeps popping up, treating him like a longlost friend, and saving his life in the most obnoxious way possible.  Deadman Wonderland (the prison) doesn’t exactly separate inmates by gender or age, so young Ganta is right in there with adult psychos, and being in there is making Ganta a little rebellious even though he swears he’s innocent.

Oh, and he’s got the death penalty.  And the red man may also be in there.  And he may have some unpredictable superpowers thanks to that red glass thing the red man shot him with.

What’s going on?  Well, this first volume only covers the basic premise, but creators Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou are off to a good start, so I think I’ll be continuing this one.  It’s gory and violent, not for kids, but I dug it.  Nine out of ten shifty wardens.


Defender of the faith, contributing writer, debonair man-about-town.

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