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Deadman Wonderland Volume 1 (manga review)

ItemDescription-3Title: Deadman Wonderland Volume 1

Writer: Jinsei Kataoka

Illustrater: Kazuma Kondou

U. S. Publisher: Viz Media

U. S. Release Date: Feb. 11th, 2014

Format: Manga / Paperback / 216 pages

Genre: Thriller, Supernatural, Bio Punk, Action, Psychological Drama

Age Rating: T+

Overall Personal Rating: B+

 

Synopsis:

Framed for the brutal murders of his classmates by the mysterious Red Man, middle-school student Ganta Igarashii finds himself sentenced to death in the bizarre and fatal theme park/prison known as “Deadman Wonderland.” The inmates of this insane penitentiary fight for survival every day to provide entertainment for the masses. Ganta is determined to survive Deadman Wonderland and clear his name, but the price may be his soul.

There is also an added mystery for Ganta because a small white haired girl befriends him right away and is positive that they know each other. She seem to appear at random times and does some of the strings things just to be close to Ganta. The real question is how can he survive this place that is determined to take his life?

 

Commentary:

Deadman Wonderland is not new to our shores, but to have Viz reintroduce it just might be the best thing that has happened to it. Most people are familiar with the TV stint for it, but walked away less than satisfied. Well the only way to get more in-depth is through the manga versions and maybe just maybe we will learn something new about this enigma of a series.

I must warn anyone not well versed with the series that it is rather brutal at times and the manga help downplay the violence just by being in black and white and less interested in the graphic impact of the violence. This simple change has helped the story step up and present something a little different than the TV series. After finishing this first volume I am both happy and sad to see it back on the market. I am happy because of the possibilities, but sad because I am still seeing some rather disturbing missteps in the character development already. I was hoping that Ganta was not going to come across as the wimpy whiny little punk that he was jun the TV series but I guess that he is who he is and the slower development of a manga is not going to help a rather flawed main character. I see this failure in Neon Evangelion and other top series and I have never understood that reluctant whinny hero personality and guess have never really appreciated it for what it is. I understand that this kid has been handed a situation that most of us would crumble under, but that doesn’t mean that he must show his frailty every time he is confronted with a stressful situtation.

Overall Gade: B+

Even with the disappointment of with the Ganta character I still found this first volume to be a great start for a series that has found some acrimonious responses from the U. S. fan base. I know that several of the first volumes had made it out on print several years ago by a now defunct publisher, but I doubt if Viz will walk away from this series before all of the volumes will be released and who knows maybe just maybe there might be some revelations in the later volumes that could shed some light on the mystery known as Deadman Wonderland.

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