Oh boy. Guess what this is all about. Go on, guess.
Didn’t get it? Aww.
Put simply, Deadman Wonderland is a series about an amusement park/high security private prison wherein the inmates compete in games (usually deadly ones) for people’s amusement. People think it’s all very clever CGI, but the inmates are actually dying.
The anime was aired between April 17th 2011 and July 3rd, while the manga has been serialised in Shounen Ace since 2007. The English manga has been around since 2010, published by Tokyopop, but I’ve found it rather difficult to get my hands on the first issue (I think it’s on hiatus at the moment as well).
While prisoners of all kind seem to ‘play’ these games, the main group are the Death Row inmates, of which all the main characters (who are prisoners) are. They wear collars which inject them with a poison that, if the antidote is not taken, will kill them in three days. The antidote takes the form of a piece of red and white striped sweet, simply referred to as candy. How do they get the candy? By playing the games! If they lose in the games they die. If they win, they get points, which they can use to get more candy so they can then play more games.
In amongst the Death Row inmates are another group called the ‘Deadmen’. They don’t show up on any roster anywhere, and the area they are kept in doesn’t officially exist. Even the head of security has no idea about it. These inmates are special. They all contain a thing called a ‘Branches of Sin’, which gives them a blood-based ability. Yeah, blood-based. There is a lot of blood in this series, anime and manga, a lot of it from the fact the Deadmen have to make themselves bleed in order to utilise their ability (Ganta, for example, bites his thumb).
While I’ve watched the anime (it’s up on Crunchyroll), I’ve not yet read the manga which means I’m not overly sure about a lot of things. The anime leaves a few things unanswered. That’s not to say it’s not thoroughly enjoyable, though. I found it absolutely amazing. But yeah, blood. Lots and lots of blood. And maiming.