「救済（グレイトフル･デッド）」 (Kyuusai (Gureitofuru Deddo))
“Salvation (Grateful Dead)”
Nagi finally goes “sane”, i.e. maximum rage, and starts ripping the guts out of peeps left and right, much to the delight of Genkaku. Ganta finally mans up to protect Shiro, but unfortunately he is still pretty weak and only manages to become a punching bag that cries. A combination of a very emotional speech, the ringing of Karako’s “bell of hope”, and a well-timed slap finally calms Owl down and clears his mind though. Things start to look a little better, and perhaps even in this nightmare there is a ray of hope. At least, that’s what I thought the theme was, before Genkaku completely shattered it by stabbing Karako through her chest and blasting a huge hole where Nagi’s innards used to be. Perhaps it’s somewhat their fault for having a tender moment together with enemies still all around them. Nagi should have played along for a bit and backstabbed Genkaku (his rage would be well-directed too, and saved their reunion for later.
Now Genkaku is the one going on rampage (even more than he already was), and killing both allies and deadmen alike, with annoying black dots censoring most of the gore. Given the level of violence though, it was probably for the best, if not a bit distracting. What I wasn’t expecting was seeing a flashback of his past, detailing how he developed his love for death and hate for other people. I don’t recall seeing Genkaku’s back story in the manga, but this does show that he’s gone through a lot like most of the people in Deadman Wonderland, and some of his rationale would actually make sense if he didn’t take it all the way off the deep end.
Things were looking really dark, from my point of view, it looked like there couldn’t be anything but an ending of utter despair, but Ganta is finally able to pull off a final attack and give Mr. Super Priest the salvation he needs. I don’t know how he did it with all the blood loss and the poison in his system, and also how Nagi was still able to move after having his guts blown out, but I guess the human body is really tougher than we give it credit for. The stone in Ganta’s chest, the source of his power, was also acting up though, and it was probably the thing keeping him going, but I was really hoping that Wretched Egg was the one to save them. She was so close too, before Ganta took charge of the situation and used his ultimate attack.
In the end, Ganta makes
out up with Shiro, a lot of the Undertakers are dead, and some of the deadmen escaped, but it still feels like a very bitter conclusion. The situation he’s in is still pretty horrible, and Ganta still has no clue of Shiro’s true identity. “Why did the red man know that song?” It’s a creepy song indeed, and suits the Woodpecker quite well; those are some pretty dark lyrics for a song Ganta’s mom made for him though, and it’s no wonder he would rather not hear it. And so the Deadman Wonderland anime comes to a rather abrupt close, but I am very hard pressed to think of any bright things these characters have to look forward to.
In fiction, crazy is awesome, and Deadman Wonderland delivers some of the most demented characters that I have seen in animation. The titular private prison itself is equally brutal and violent, even for an insane asylum, and provides a very dark environment in which survival of the fittest is the absolute law, virtually overwhelming the protagonists. Out of all this comes some of the best villains I’ve seen in a while though, especially Genkaku with his guitar/machine gun, and also Mockingbird, who is largely still a mystery but is just as crazy. And finally there is Shiro, the Wretched Egg — the scariest villain of all and perhaps the biggest twist in the show, and her story is not even fully revealed yet. There’s also some great anti-heroes Crow, Hummingbird and Makina, all of whom I really enjoyed watching.
There is no shortage of violence and gore, and it never relents from the very first episode, with only the faintest glimmers of light showing once in awhile, only to be quickly snuffed out. Even though I’ve already read through the manga, I still found the anime very unsettling, and without the censoring I would have had to turn away from the screen many times. It’s gritty and it’s gruesome, but that makes the story all the more hard-hitting as the characters struggle the survive against forces that toy with their lives. The plot is full of intrigue and there is no shortage of mysteries and twists that I found quite riveting.
With only twelve episodes in this adaption, it leaves off on a rather ominous ending. There’s awful lot of story that is left unfinished, especially with all the different factions involved, each with their own cast, conspiracies, and back-stories. Even with the main character Ganta has an unknown past, and his scientist parents mean he’s connected more closely to the whole Branch of Sin affair than just an accidental user. As for the other primary character, Shiro’s status still a secret to the majority of the characters too, and little is known about the other villains such as Tamaki and Sakagami. Even with a lot of characters taken out though, and some disappointment with several of the episodes throughout the season, things really started ramping up after the revelation about the Wretched Egg, and I thought Manglobe did a fair job with the adaption. Hope for a second season! If not though, I have to say I strongly recommend the manga.