With the finale volume released in English in North America this past Tuesday, now is a great time to fully talk about my love for Deadman Wonderland!
Now, this is my all time favorite manga! This actually beats Fullmetal Alchemist for me (if you can’t tell yet, this will be a little biased). So many things about this manga really solidify my love for manga. While there are so many flaws with the anime that it makes me wish they would make an actual season of it where the studio can bring to life what really made Deadman Wonderland special. That most likely wont happen since the anime Blu-Ray release sales in Japan was not the best.
Nevertheless, the manga in my opinion is one of the best. Coming in at whopping 13 volumes and 58 chapters this manga is rather short but a lot is conveyed in this shorter manga.
The beginning starts like a normal school manga with Ganta (main male character) talking to his friends in their classroom, then “Red Man” floats up to the window of the classroom. He proceeds to annihilate the classroom, leaving only Ganta alive. To make matters worse, everyone seems to believe that he alone is capable of slaughtering an entire classroom gruesomely. After this, he is sentenced to prison at Deadman Wonderland! Where he meets Shiro, a lovable, childish bad ass. She also happens to be a childhood friend as well (you’ve got to have a typical story trope like that in every manga right?).
As the chapters go on, you become more emotionally invested in every character and want them to succeed or fail depending on your view of the story. What I like the most about this story, which a lot of my friends hate, is that this story is not a happy story. I don’t like happy unrealistic stories where everything is all wrapped up with a nice pretty bow, I want something realistic (although, I’m alright sometimes if the story is based on science fiction or fantasy, but if the story is set in a realistic environment, it should have a realistic ending). Meaning there is no bullshit ending where everything is miraculously concluded into one nice little package that just really sucks you out of the story. It’s real, it requires the reader to think about what is happening and understand that everything is not okay and the characters act accordingly. I understand that this has sci-fi elements in the story but you get what I mean, right? right. moving on…
Back to the characters, there are so many good characters to talk about so I will just cover the main ones and let you get the full experience of the secondary and tertiary characters on your own. Ganta, like I said before, is the main male character and one of the few male mains that actually understands the gravity of the situation and knows he needs to be strong. It’s a nice change of pace to not have a dense main male character that is just stupid strong (I’m looking at you Infinite Stratos). Shiro is what really makes the manga beautiful. She was essentially a lab rat for the corporation at hand and over the course of the story, you uncover what she really is, what she is going through, and sadly what will eventually happen. During the whole manga these were the only two main characters. There are others of course, but you aren’t quite as emotionally invested to the others as much as you care about these two.
Visually, this manga is very pleasing as well. It has a very seinen feel to it without it being a full blown seinen manga. The art is very well done and there are a lot of things that can be missed if you don’t look hard enough. It also has the ability to go from serious to comedy on a panel-to-panel basis which can be jarring at times but ultimately isn’t too bad.
Overall, this is a manga that should be enjoyed and now that all volumes are out in English, you need to experience the licensed volumes from Viz Media. I have read the manga in both the viz media release and fan subs and no offense to people who do fan subs (they are the reason I was able to binge this manga in a weekend) but there is a reason they are licensed professional translators. And with that I give this manga a 9/10. There are a few elements that I think could be changed and characters that are just really unnecessary but overall this is something special that you should really read.
I hope you enjoyed! Have a wonderful day!