I’ll kill you, cut you up, and cum in your formaldehyde!: Deadman Wonderland is pretty twisted

I have blazed through the 2.5 volumes of Deadman Wonderland currently available, this hit new manga from the author and artist pair of the Eureka Seven manga (Kataoka Jinsei and Kondou Kazuma, who seem to both do story and art collaboratively). The flaw with the Eureka Seven manga, or so I’ve heard, is not the actual storytelling or art, but rather the changes made from the anime timeline. And I can definitely feel the Eureka Seven influence in the designs for Deadman Wonderland–Ganta looks suspiciously like Renton, and Shiro looks suspiciously like Anemone–as well as the overall art style. Most of the other characters don’t resemble Eureka Seven characters, though.

The actual plotline runs something like this: Ganta, a normal high school boy, is thrown into a public prison called Deadman Wonderland, a sort of theme park/circus where the public can be entertained by nasty criminals. The reason he’s in prison? He killed his entire class, or, rather, a mysterious entity killed his entire class, and then he got accused of the crime. So, of course, like any wrongfully imprisoned person, he must fight to prove his innocence, but (of course) there is a Mysterious Conspiracy afoot that he has been ushered into.

The problem is, however, is that Ganta has been “infected” by something titled the Branch of Sin: a mysterious power that allows him to use his blood to form bullets. Many others in Deadman Wonderland have this ability (hence the “Deadman” in the park’s title, as this is what they are known as), and the powers seem to be stemming from a mysterious earthquake that sank 70% of Tokyo ten years ago. The backstory reminds me a bit of Scryed, except less Taniguchi Goro and more…twisted.

The fun thing about this series is that it’s a balance of cute elements and dark, twisted violence. It’s much more effective at being disarmingly cute/violent than Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, in the sense that neither side is amped up to ridiculous levels. For instance, you have Ganta’s mysterious childhood friend, Shiro, who talks in some kind of weird Yoda version of Japanese and is very childlike and disarmingly cute–until later, when she reveals her true nature and desire to protect both herself and Ganta. I shall have to remain silent about most of the rest–this manga is a bit like Narutaru in that if you have certain elements spoiled for you, the series as a whole could be ruined. Let’s just say that the part of the manga where the title of this post comes from is a bit, shall we say…devious. I will say this, though: that particular fight showcased some interesting depth of character.

The manga’s still serializing, and hasn’t been licensed yet, but it’s already pretty good. I think I need to read something less…horror…in a bit, because, well, I’ve read two seinen horros series in close succession (this and Parasyte), which is pretty impressive for someone who doesn’t really like horror all that much. Although, Japanese horror tends to get it right rather than be grotesque without a reason, so I guess I just like it more. Who knows.

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