Blu-ray Review: Deadman Wonderland – The Complete Series

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We travel deep down the rabbit hole as we explore the UK exclusive Blu-ray release of Deadman Wonderland, but what did we find? Well find out in our Blu-ray Review of Deadman Wonderland – The Complete Series.

Synopsis:

Ganta is the only survivor after a mysterious man in red slaughters a classroom full of teenagers. He’s framed for the carnage, sentenced to die, and locked away in the most twisted prison ever built: Deadman Wonderland. Then it gets worse.

At Deadman Wonderland, convicts are forced into brutal deathmatches for the amusement of the masses, the cheers of the crowd drowning out the screams of the dismembered. Even when Ganta befriends Shiro, an unusual female inmate, his dark fate crushes all hope – until he discovers a strange ability to wield his spilled blood as a weapon. Ganta learns his new skill might be related to the murderous man in red and uncovers disturbing secrets that could expose those who stole his freedom. He’s determined to see justice served – but first he’ll have to fight for his life in a prison that holds a million ways to die.

Our View:

First of all this anime series isn’t for children and for those disliking Violence, Gore, Blood, Profanities and decapitations might as well stop reading now as Deadman Wonderland is one big brutal blood bath that can (and will) rival most gruesome horror films. It’s rated 18 for a reason and the series makes a damn good job of making sure you know that fact.

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Warning messages aside Deadman Wonderland follows the story of Ganta Igarashi, the lone survivor of a brutal massacre whose wrongly accused as the murderer and sentenced to imprisonment within the walls of Deadman Wonderland, a privately own prison complex. Deadman Wonderland however is not your ordinary prison, as inmates compete in life or death circumstances to not only entertain the public but to also earn money, known as Castpoints, which can be used to buy out their sentence.  Castpoints are an important part of the prison, a fact Ganta soon discovers for himself, as not only can these points be used to purchase food and luxury items, but more importantly can be used to buy pieces of Candy. This candy must be consumed by inmates every 3 days in order for that person to survive; if not then he’ll die. In Deadman Wonderland it’s always about life & death, with deceit and treachery around every corner as Ganta soon discovers when his lawyer, Tsunenaga Tamaki, is actually running the whole complex.

There is more to come however, as while Ganta starts to become accustomed to his new surroundings with acquainted friends Yō Takami and a girl from his past, Shiro, the redman that brutally murdered his classmate appears and causes havoc within the prison. Out for answers Ganta, Shiro and Yo start to explore in the inner depths of Deadman Wonderland and soon discover its true purpose and its darkest secret, G-Block.  G-Block, a special area within Deadman Wonderland, houses prison inmates who have the unique “Branch of Sin” ability, an ability that allows them to use their own blood as a weapon, something which Ganta has recently discovered about himself when protecting Shiro. G-Block has another purpose as well, as all inmates must participate in random life or death fights that are broadcast to paying customers (Pay Per View styled) with the promoter (Tsunenaga Tamaki) seeing Ganta as the star attraction. As with all games in Deadman Wonderland losing has consequences with the loser having to have a part of their body ‘painfully’ removed while awake, and it’s not pretty. When Ganta finally puts all of these painful facts together, as well as discovers that he was framed by Tsunenaga, he tries to find any means possible of escape, which ultimately leads him to the group known as Scar Chain, who plan on escaping the facility in any possible way thinkable, and so a daring escape plan is formed but at the ultimate consequence.

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What’s interesting with Deadmand Wonderland is that it’s 12 episodes can be split into three separate story segments, there is the introduction which sets a full throttle pace of information and blood, the second story segment which sees Ganta entering G-Block and taking part in even more brutal fights with other Branch of Sin users and then finally the final story segment which sees Ganta join forces with Scar chain in an attempt to escape the facility. As a whole though (excluding the final few episodes of the series) Deadman Wonderland mimics the events seen in ‘Death Race’ which sees a honest person framed for murder and sent to a hell hole of a prison, with his only chance of survival being to abide by the rules and form friendships in order to escape.

Beneath all of its blood, gore, swearing and deceit there is a story to be told, and a good one at that, but you may find yourself spending awhile trying to unravel it as while this release contains all of the episodes released thus far the series ends on a bit of a cliff-hanger.

Extras:

Despite this Blu-ray being a “UK Exclusive” (for the time being at least) it features an impressive amount of extra content, with extras including original Japanese promotional materials, English Cast commentary and the OAV Episode which is set years before the first episode.

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Since there is such a variety of extra content it has been spread out over 2 discs, namely Disc 2 and 3 of this collection, with Disc 2 receiving most of the content, namely the bonus OAV episode and Cast Commentaries.

Disc 2:

  • Episode 6 Commentary with Leah Clark & Aaron Dismuke
  • OAV: The Red Knife Wielder
  • Original Commercials
  • US Video Commentary for Episode 7 with Joel McDonald, Greg Ayres, Monica Rial & Leah Clark
  • US Trailer

Disc 3:

  • Episode 12 Commentary with Monica Rial & Greg Ayres
  • Textless Opening Song
  • Textless Closing Song
  • Promo Videos

The highlight of the extra features is none other than the OAV episode, which is set years before the Red Hole incident that devastated Japan and sees Senji as a police officer trying to track down a murder, during which he comes to terms with his ‘Branch of Sin’ powers and the potential it could unlock. Another highlight of the extra features is the English cast commentary, with both Episode 6 and 12 having audio commentary while Episode 12 has a video commentary where you can see the English Dub cast, all of which discuss their favourite moments of the series and how they portrayed that scene on screen.

Finally to round out the extra content is the variety of promotional material for the series, such as original Japanese commercials and the original US English (FUNimation) Trailer. The Japanese commercials also feature ‘music-video’ styled trailers, most of which utilise the full version of the opening song.

Specs:

Media: BD 50 x3
Region: B
Running Time: 1:37:48 (Disc 1), 1:37:48 (Disc 2), 1:39:11 (Disc 3)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (English), LPCM 2.0 (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Aspect Ratio
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

Deadman Wonderland sees Ganta Igarashi wrongfully accused of a massacre and sent to the privately owned prison Deadman Wonderland which see’s capital punishment as a game. During the 12 Episodes Ganta comes to terms with his ‘in-human’ abilities and tries to prove his innocence by tracking down the Redman, however in the process discovers what Deadman Wonderland truly is and why it should be feared.

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The series as a whole provides a mix of violence, intrigue and a developing story that gets more interesting and entertaining as the story progresses; something which is further expanded with the superior High Definition picture quality and an English voice cast that provides the best vocal performance from the characters. The combination of a 5.1 Audio track and a HD picture quality makes this one of the best releases this year, and one that’s designed entirely for adults. The only real downside to this release is the chapter points for each episode, as each episode is separated into two halves (Part A & Part B) unlike the traditional method that sees six chapter points, such as Prologue, Opening, Part A, Part B, Ending and Preview. This lack of chapter points can become annoying if you are wanting to skip a section of the episode as it will either take you halfway through the current episode or to the next episode itself. For most viewers this won’t be a problem, as the opening is in English (and it is amazing) and there are no after episode scenes, just the next episode preview which can ‘sometimes’ spoil the next episode.

Overall Deadman Wonderland is violently Beautiful and Bloody Awesome but for those looking for an emotional story of hardship and troubles look elsewhere as this is just pure action-packed over-the-top adrenaline fuelled fun that looks fantastic in High Defintion.

Score: review-stars-5

Deadman Wonderland – The Complete Series will be available on Blu-ray and DVD from the 9th September 2013.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

2 Responses to Blu-ray Review: Deadman Wonderland – The Complete Series

  1. A.v. Nowak says:

    You never said anywhere whether or not this version of the series is actually fully uncut. I can’t find a version of this DVD set ANYWHERE that is uncut. Are there parts of the show that are blacked out, blurry, or somehow misshapen? Please reply and let me know ASAP.

    • Scott says:

      As far as I am aware this UK DVD & Blu-ray release is uncut, hence its 18 age rating. If it was cut then it would be mentioned on the BBFC’s website, but no cuts are mentioned.

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