Friday, September 21, 2012

Deadman Wonderland Anime

Who was the moron who ended this anime on episode 12???  I'm going to find you, and write the most beautiful story ever, just for you.  Its going to be a work of soul and magnificence, both clever, entertaining, and soul wrenching.  Then, at roughly, let's say, a third of the way through, I'll just cut off mid-sentence.  No conclusion, no nothing, I won't even finish that particular thought, the manuscript is totally blank after that.  You'll never know anything after that.  THEN YOU'LL KNOW HOW IT FEELS, YOU MONSTER.  SUFFER!  SUFFER FOREVER!

"Deadman Wonderland" actually isn't a bad anime series... its just a complete waste of time.

This was one of the two big new shows for the revamped Toonami for Saturday Night, along with "Casshern Sins"*, which accompanied Adult Swim's surviving anime series of "Bleach", and reruns of "Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood" and "Ghost in the Shell".  So it wasn't, honestly, the strongest line-up, at least at first.  "Bleach", to my great shock, actually got watchable again once it managed to focus on a battle between the main hero and a villain that actually matters.  "Casshern Sins" started really poorly but has gotten much better now it has a plot.  But really, for awhile, "Deadman Wonderland" seemed like the star of the line-up.  It had a dark bloody storyline, but also a great sense of irony, since all this brutality and slaughter was taking place in a tourist trap theme park.  And it was all going well... until it just ended.

Now, what I didn't know was that "Deadman Wonderland" is an adaptation of an ongoing manga - always a bad sign, by the way.  So they started adapting for only twelve episodes, hoping this would be the first season, then they'd take a year break, and presumably do another season and another and another, until finally the show was finished.  This is, in comparison to "Bleach"'s method of adapting a comic, which is make a new episode every week, never stop, and throw in a million dull awful filler arcs, because for some reason they can never stop animating.  Unfortunately, "Deadman Wonderland" was a huge flop in Japan, like a catastrophic disaster - which is strange since this show was pretty awesome - and they managed to sell like 1000 DVDs.  So the show got canceled, and we're watching an anime the truly hasn't been finished.  Yeah, it was a fine anime... while it lasted!  Then it just ends!  What the hell?

The secret here is:  don't watch the anime.  Read the comics instead.

Now, I guess I gotta feel bad for the animation studio since they only had twelve episodes to adapt a huge epic storyline that has reached something like fifty comic chapters now, which was pretty much impossible.  But they had to know how much cartoon they had to make, they could have reached some kind of emotional or logical conclusion.  They could have at least tried to finish the first arc of the manga, at least have reached the point where something has been accomplished.  Or they could have forced their own original ending, which would have been sloppy and random, but it would have at least been some kind of conclusion.  Instead, this is an anime that literally ends on just a random episode.  Like, imagine "Bleach", and it just ends after Ichigo fights Renji the second time.  Or "Dragon Ball Z" ending after Vegeta beat up the little green guy on the Ginyu Force.  They defeat a single boss - nobody of particular importance, the guy was just a crazy killer - and the show ends.  Its as random and sudden as the ending to "The Bourne Legacy".

Weirdly, from what I've heard from the people who read the manga, is that "Deadman Wonderland"'s storyline actually was rushed moving at full speed, skipping over a few important characters, in order to accomplish... something.  So actually, the anime itself comes off quite schizophrenic.  We start with a sadist theme park, which in two episodes disappears to become a battle tournament between superheroes, and then that plotline disappears to be a full revolution against a group of evil villains... who aren't even the first villains we meet.  Then it just ends, suddenly.  Plotlines are everywhere, characters just disappear, everything is floating in the air.  Its the biggest goddamn mess I have ever seen in my life.

If "Deadman Wonderland" was just a terrible unwatchable show, I wouldn't even be mad, I just wouldn't care.  But it actually is a really compelling storyline with unique characters and a really sick edge.  Like, this was a show that was probably too mature for Cartoon Network, since they had to throw in bleeps over nearly every curse word.  And there is editing all over the place, since this show is massively gory.  Most characters are psychopaths, some of them are so wonderfully insane that I was rolling on the floor laughing.  Like, this is an actual line:  "Poor widdle piggywiggy. Why don't you just jack off in a bottle of Formaldehyde and call it our first born!?"  That is some of the most insane shit I have ever heard in my life, and it was glorious!

The plot is that in the future, Tokyo has been destroyed in a mysterious earthquake.  Yeah, big shock, every anime opens with that, sorry.  But Japan's solution to this new expansion in real estate is to build a theme park called "Deadman Wonderland" over flooded ruins of the world's largest city.  This theme park is also a super dystopia prison.  Anybody who gets locked up in there has to basically fight to the death every day in order to stay alive.  Nobody has any rights of any kind, the super hot Warden can just cut you in half whenever she wants.  And you fight to the death for the entertainment of the tourists who come visiting.  Deadman Wonderland is now the centerpiece of Japan's economy.

Our hero is this regular kid named Ganta, who is hanging out with his friends in a regular Japanese High School.  They're all going to go on a field trip to Deadman Wonderland.  Now, at first I panicked, worried that the show would devolved into another terrible highschool anime.  But then, wonderfully, a mysterious crazy dude in red armor pops up, and KILLS EVERYBODY.  Ganta is the only survivor, everybody else is dead.  He's then accused of killing his entire class, and after a laughable corrupt show-trial, is locked up into Deadman Wonderland.  So you'd think Ganta would be dead in seconds, since this prison runs on slaughtering its own immates.  But he has two advantages:  one is this insane white chick named Shiro who seems to have superpowers, and the other is his own latent superpowers.  He can do "Dragonball Z" ki blasts.

Unfortunately, the blasts are made out his own BLOOD.  Just in case you were thinking any one part of this series wasn't completely perverted and deranged.

Of course, though, Deadman Wonderland is full of deep secrets.  There's actually a hidden prison within a prison where the superpowered immates live and kill each other for the entertainment of high-bidders.  And if they lose, they cut out a body part.  And there's that crazy dude in red armor.  And probably a million other things going on.  Its actually a really deeply plotted story with all kinds of plot twists and dozens of characters.  But if you watch the anime, you won't know how any of it ends.

The ending couldn't be more sudden if it was ma------