Story: Jinsei Kataoka
Art: Kazuma Kondou
Translation: Joe Yamazaki
Touch-up art & lettering: James Gaubatz
Design: Sam Elzway
Editor: Jennifer LeBlanc
What They Say:
Framed for the brutal murders of his classmates by the mysterious Red Man, middle school student Ganta Igarashi finds himself sentenced to death and sent to the bizarre and fatal theme park / prison that has risen from the ruins of the Great Tokyo Earthquake—a hell on Earth known as “Deadman Wonderland.”
The residents of G Ward have won their battle with the KO Unit but have been badly injured by the intense fighting. Meanwhile, Ganta gathers what strength he has left and joins Makina. Together they head for the top level of Deadman Wonderland to attempt to deliver the Ende Faust—the final fist—that will put an end to the insane plans of promoter Tamaki. But what they find waiting for them may lead to even more despair…
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The very thing that Ganta and everyone else has been fighting toward—whether they knew it or not—is literally original sin. The Red Man, the original Deadman…whatever you call it (and it seems more appropriate, both based on action and its own gender in question by several who’ve observed it), it’s evident that it’s the perfect embodiment of that original idea: original sin.
The problem with the kind of turn in narrative that Deadman Wonderland just pulled (Tamaki, the physical embodiment of the injustice the prisoners have been fighting, isn’t actually the one pulling the strings because he was just a puppet) feels a little cheap to me as a reader of this comic for now nine volumes. There was little to no indication of these little machinations on the part of Rinichiro Hagire, the apparent true mastermind.
Things like these—and before I continue, this could just be due to my terrible memory and the huge time gap in between reading these volumes—should have some indication that they’re happening (there apparently were and I don’t remember or they added / changed those panels later) or need to change the current paradigm in a big way by the twist.
With this one, there is only a greater enemy to face. Someone stronger, and someone actually pulling the Red Man’s strings (at least as much as he can). Not that this couldn’t lead to more excitement and cool fight panels, something that Kazuma Kondou excels at, but I’m left wanting more. More from a story that started as a false imprisonment of a junior high school student, the pitting of prisoners against each other, which would surely be a violation of the Eighth Amendment were this in the US, and his eventual release in what seemed like a very fast retrial on the basis of what I said in the preceding paragraphs (*pant*) yes, but more still.
The fights, trials, and tribulations up until this point have been some of the most thrilling I’ve read. It hasn’t been the best ever, but it’s also incredibly competently executed, and it’s been a very pleasing read as a result of that. I can see the succeeding volumes reaching those heights of entertainment yet again, but Deadman Wonderland has lost a lot of good will from me in this volume. I’m still high on the series overall, but let’s step it up and step it up quick.
Content Grade: C
Art Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: June 9, 2015