A survivor of the devastating magnitude 11.4 earthquake that sunk 75% of Tokyo (which he has no memories of), middle school student Ganta Igarashi lives an ordinary and peaceful life — until the day a mysterious man in blood-soaked crimson armor comes into Ganta's school, slaughters his entire class, and implants a strange red crystal on his chest. Ganta becomes the only suspect in the slayings; even though he proclaims his innocence, the court convicts Ganta and sentences him to life imprisonment at Deadman Wonderland, a privately-owned penal facility (the only one in Japan) disguised as a theme park to attract tourists.While serving his sentence, Ganta befriends Shiro, a strange albino girl who knew Ganta as a child, and discovers the truth about Deadman Wonderland: the facility houses "Deadmen" — people endowed with an ability to turn their own blood into a weapon (the "Branches of Sin") — and the sadistic proprietors of the prison force the Deadmen to fight each other to keep them occupied and to entertain the tourists willing to pay large sums of money to watch them fight.As the days drag on, Ganta — the Only Sane Man in the facility — finds himself forced to make a choice: he can either lose whatever remains of his sanity or learn to stand up for himself.Thus goes the tale of Deadman Wonderland, a monthly Shōnen manga written by Jinsei Kataoka and illustrated by Kazuma Kondou (who both worked on the Eureka Seven manga). The manga received an anime adaptation from Manglobe in the Spring 2011 season, and Crunchyroll simulcast the series (with English subtitles) an hour after broadcast in Japan. FUNimation licensed the anime in the US and Canada, and its dubbed version premiered on Toonami as part of its revival on 26 May 2012. Now available on DVD, Hulu, and YouTube (Rated TV-MA though there is a unique censorship difference between the sources. On DVD/Blu-Ray, the series is uncensored; on YouTube, the violence is censored as much as on Toonami; and on Hulu, the censorship is somewhere in between with less blurring and blackening of the screen than on YouTube or Toonami.)Tokyopop had the rights to the manga and published the English translation of the first five volumes before going under in 2011. However, thanks to its high ratings onToonami, Viz Mediahas picked up the manga.They began republishing the manga from the first volume on February 11, 2014.After 58 chapters, the manga series and storyline ended in July of 2013. The last anime episode (#12) is about at chapter 21 of the manga, making for over 30 chapters that are unadapted. The OVA deals with Senji (aka Crow) and is set two years after the Red Hole event (8 years before the main story).
Deadman Wonderland contains examples of the following tropes:
The English dub considerably changes the interactions between Hummingbird and Ganta. In the manga she is more cunning attempting to injure Ganta before the fight, while making it look like an accident, for the purpose of weakening his stamina. Furthermore, while still sexually explicit, it seems to be more of a tactic to weaken Ganta's morale. In the English dub she's just crazy: triggering an accident for shits and giggles, manipulating him purely for fun, genuinely being turned on by Ganta's pain and suffering, and has an actual brother complex (or is just turned on by any suffering period). Additionally, in the manga she has a breakdown, because her brother knowing her crimes loves her anyway. In the dub she just decides to kill Yoh because the opportunity presented itself, also because his suffering doesn't "excite" her anymore. This is one of the few cases where a dub rather than censoring actually increased graphic content.
All of Them: "Toto, just how many branches of sin did you copy?"
All There in the Manual: Chapter 0 has joke schematics for Necro Macro robots, where they're shown to be powered by three hamsters and are the offspring of Ultraman parents.
Ambiguous Gender: Toto, deliberately, although s/he tends to slip up and use gendered "I"s. May have to do with all those body parts s/he has to keep replacing... and the fact that s/he's actually the elderly Chairman.
Blade Below the Shoulder: Senji has a variation of type 1; it comes from his lower arms, and it's removable, yes, but that's only because it's made from his own blood. This still includes his BFS version as well.
They use blood as murder. Let's face it, if you can combine the words 'blood' and 'murder' in a sentence this manga's probably got a visual description in it somewhere.
Body Surf: Toto is really the original chairman, who downloaded his brain into Toto's body, and he's now attempting to do the same thing to Ganta. His ultimate goal is Shiro ("Could this be 'love'? I want to become her!"), seeing as he's the original scientist who experimented on her to create her powers.
Brought Up to Eleven in Chapter 56-b. In chapter one, Ganta said he wanted to die, and Shiro convinced him otherwise after pressing her hand to his heart. It happens again in Chapter 56-b, with the roles completely reversed.
Break the Cutie: Happens to Nagi after Genkaku reminds him that he has no hope of seeing his child by escaping out of Deadman Wonderland. And then there's Genkaku himself, who was shown in the past to have been a timid, cute monk that got repeatedly beaten and raped by bullies, with the elder monk in charge being unsympathetic and uncaring, and seeing the little wounded kitten he was taking care of die - all of this causing him to go insane.
Considering what happened to Genkaku, it's understandable how he became the Ax-Crazy psychopath. A serious example of what happens when the cutie snaps.
Ganta's been repeatedly broken as the manga progresses.
Madoka gets his whole "pain-sponge" ideology from his Freudian Excuse below.
Azami. Neglected by her parents, she becomes part of a delinquent girl gang who then leave her to take a murder rap, leading her being consigned to Deadman Wonderland which in turn results in her becoming a Forgery and being killed by Hagire. Jesus.
Senji, of all people. Turns out that trying to enforce order and justice amidst anarchy in a pseudo-post-apocalyptic society can get you and all your cop buddies killed.
Call Back: The random English letters on Senji's face are actually a memorial to his four friends who got killed by criminals.
Calling Your Attacks: Played straight when the Deadmen call out their Branch Of Sin's names before using them. But spoofed in an Omake by Aceman.
Chained by Fashion: Minatsuki goes around with her wrists loosely chained together for seemingly no apparent reason. Evidence seems to suggest it's because she 'likes' it.
Character Development: Very evident in the ending, which incorporates and concludes the central lessons each of the main ensemble learned over the course of the series through a series of short scenes focusing on each character. They typically involve the concept of determination.
Idaki is no longer apathetic, and emphasizes the concept of the will to survive when lecturing his class on existentialism, which came to him after coming to terms with his daughter's death.
Karako still shows the philosophy of Sweet and Sour Grapes that she learned through dealing with the loss of her friends.
Makina regains the use of her legs and when instructing the army, she seems to have softened some and emphasizes the importance of personal strength over weaponry, a stark contrast to her formerly militant reliance on firepower and violence.
Sukegawa is a playwright and director, and seems to embrace her femininity in a healthier manner, no longer playing to the aggressive transsexual stereotype to deal with trauma. She's come to terms with her status as a (reluctant) murderer and a Deadman as being a result of her love of life and her will to survive.
Yoh can finally catch his sister's lies and is no longer fooled by her attitude, and is otherwise more laid back.
Minatsuki is going to veterinary school, a profession involving empathy and care, and desires to continue her education even though she finds it difficult rather than avoiding her troubles.
Senji no longer relies on his violent Branch of Sin, embracing what strengths he has and overcoming his amputee status, drawing on Ganta's example of stubbornness and drive. He also refuses to run away from his past like he did when he previously embraced being a Deadman.
Ganta persists in living his life happily while caring for a comatose Shiro, in contrast to when he first escaped Deadman Wonderland facing depression and PTSD. Notably, he states that the song of the Woodpecker isn't finished yet and that he'll continue it past all the destruction and despair that previously defined the song.
Shiro finally gets to live a life outside of her prison and the last images of the series are of her genuinely smiling for what is probably the first time, alongside a falling feather finally coming to rest on the ground.
Chekhov's Gun: Ganta's symbol that he draws on his most prized possessions. He draws one on Shiro in Chapter 56-b, after refusing to finish her off in the Final Battle.
The Chess Master: The Chairman, who was using/toying with Tamaki the whole time.
Crapsack World: Ganta watches his entire class get slaughtered, is found guilty, and sentenced to captial punishment. And that's just the start. He learns he was framed so he could be forced to fight in death matches.
World Half Full: Ganta ultimately survives and while Shiro is in a coma in a prison hospital, she does eventually wake up. The surviving members of La Résistance move on to fulfilling lives with no apparent ill effects.
Crash-Into Hello: Yoh Takami and Ganta, although Yoh is just trying to steal from Ganta; later he's ordered to keep an eye on Ganta as his "friend".
Creepy Twins: Ichi and Hajime, who at first seemed to be a single, creepy Forgery kid with a lollipop.
Chan and En, the two guardians of DW's upper management. Their Branch of Sin involves manipulating connections, so they can use their blood to mind-meld to one another or "download" the chairman into other people's bodies.
Critical Existence Failure: The poison injected into the death row inmates causes no physical ill effects until enough has been injected to kill them, at which point the result is sudden death.
Deadly Upgrade: Branch of Sin is blood-based. Ganta doesn't have a lot of blood, although whether the blood diamond caused or merely unlocked his Branch of Sin powers is unknown. Additionally, the Counterfeit Deadmen: normal people who were given a virus plus a mind-control chip.
Death by Irony: The Director is killed by Shiro, whom he's been perfecting as a weapon. He doesn't stay dead, though.
Death Course: The Dog Race—winners get 100,000 cast points; participants get sweet, delicious bread...if they're still alive to eat it!
Death Seeker: Yosuga, before becoming Toto Sakigami'sMorality Pet. To the point where she actually questioned if her Branch of Sin was keeping her alive against her will.
Chapter 55 reveals that this was Wretched Egg's entire motivation for empowering Ganta and dogging him since the very beginning of the series. Ganta's Branch of Sin is the only one that could possibly kill her; she can't even kill herself, and yes, she's tried.
Dramatic Irony: Ganta promising himself to trust and believe in Shiro from now on, not knowing that Shiro is actually the Red Man.
Driven to Suicide: Hitara's disfigured daughter Yuki, after she interprets her dad's stoicism for uncaring. Tamaki shot himself in the head after discovering that he'd been played the whole time by the Chairman, although that may have had something to do with avoiding whatever the Chairman had planned for him next.
Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Subverted. He might have been in shock and she might not have been a nice person, but no one likes being second fiddle to the internet after being crushed by a pillar.
Expository Hairstyle Change: Minatsuki, who is a little less antagonistic after her Carnival Corpse punishment was manipulated at Ganta's behest so she only lost her hair rather than a body part that wouldn't grow back.
Expy: Anyone else think that Genkaku looks like a cross between Mello and fanon design Matt from Death Note?
Happened again with Yosuga. Though that's less of her turning evil than it is her wanting to protect Toto, who was probably her only real friend, from the protagonists.
Fake Memories: Turns out that child Nagi was fighting to see was never really outside; his wife was still pregnant when she was killed, and the baby was placed in a test-tube for laboratory purposes.
Fake-Out Opening: Episode 1 begins with Ganta planning to go to Deadman Wonderland with his classmates in a manner similar to an average, run-of-the-mill Slice of Life. That is, until the Wretched Egg arrives and proceeds to brutally slaughter all of his classmates onscreen.
Fan of Underdog: Senji to Ganta, after the former shows up at the latter's match with Minatsuki.
Fanservice: Despite the rather dark lyrics and design of the opening, we get to see a lot of shirtless characters, and Minatsuki has some minor Gainaxing to make up her somewhat censored fanservice-scene in the opening.
Makina suiting up for the prison inspection in "Scar Chain", combined with Male Gaze.
An example of Fan Disservice, however, is found all throughout the Return to DW arc, particularly in Chapter 42; Wretched Egg was depicted completely nude, with almost everything exposed... while Hagire Rinichiro touched her bare flesh. She barely made any kind of reaction to this, and almost seemed okay with it, while continuing to talk about her recent fight with Ganta.
Finish Him!: Carnival Corpse is often treated like a fight to the death, but there's no real requirement for the winner to kill the loser, although the audience prefers it over merely beating them into submission, and a lot of the contestants are happy to oblige.
Forgotten Childhood Friend: Shiro was Ganta's best friend when they were very young, but after being reunited ten years later, it takes a while for him to start remembering that he knew her. Toward the end of the manga, it's revealed that Ganta forgot about Shiro ten years ago, repressing all memories of her due to mental trauma from watching her Superpowered Evil Side slaughter a bunch of researchers.
Four Is Death: The earthquake happened on 4/4/2014, measured 11.4 on the Richter scale, and 148,000 people died/went missing.
Frankenstein's Monster: Shiro and Toto are both stitched together from spare body parts after experimentation led their original bodies to start falling apart.
Freudian Excuse: Minatsuki loves to make these up as justification for slaughtering people, but what she doesn't tell anybody is that, during the earthquake, she was shaken off and abandoned by her mother as their home collapsed around them, only to find her dead later.
Heroic BSOD: Ganta, following Nagi's death and a week in solitary confinement. He can no longer taste things and has ceased to see the point of going on. He gets better when he realizes how hard Shiro is trying to cheer him up.
Much later, Ganta completely switches off after he finally learns Shiro is the Red Man, moments after blasting her out of the sky.
Kaiju Defense Force: Some of the characters in the show/manga used to be with the JSDF. Makina used to be a commando with the JGSDF.
Corrupt JSDF officers take advantage of the experiments in order to create supersoldiers that would be under JSDF control.
Kangaroo Court: Ganta's trial is ridiculously one-sided. He was the sole survivor of a mass murder, gets charged immediately without any chance to defend himself, and is sentenced to death even though he's only 14. All within the first 10 minutes of this show. This was done with false evidence used by Tamaki to make sure the judges would find him guilty of murder. Near the end of the manga, this is averted with him and most of the DM Wonderland prisoners. Ganta is not the only one to be placed in this kind of court...
Kids Are Cruel: Normal kids can be fantastically cruel, and in at least one case this was before the chaos of the mega-quake. Genkaku's tormentors beat/raped him, and Madoka's played Othello on his back with thumbtacks.
Kill 'em All: First, Ganta's classmates, then most of the Scar Chain.
Law of Disproportionate Response: Genkaku not batting an eye when a bunch of people (including his own soldiers) die, yet breaking down crying when Shiro destroys his electric guitar. He even goes as far as to say he'll have to hold a memorial service for it.
Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Ganta and Shiro bear close resemblances to Eureka Seven's Renton and Anemone. Although considering it's drawn by the same artist, it could be an accident.
Lovecraftian Superpower: The Deadman have the power to animate their own blood and use it to kill people. Even more so for the Counterfeits, whose blood is also poisoned and does stuff like melt people's flesh.
Love Hurts: Nagi, who tried to save his wife from the Carnival Corpse by losing to her on purpose, got his vocal chord chopped out in the penalty — and she was killed anyway.
Madness Mantra/Survival Mantra: Of a sort: Azami's "I'm alright. I'm alright. I'm alright." was just something to get her through her crapsack life, now it's what gets her through being a brainwashed Counterfeit.
Manchild: Would-be director Tamaki looks a lot like Willy Wonka, plays with dangerously modified toys, and has a dancing flower in his office.
Manipulative Bastard: When word of the Deadmen and the Carnival Corpse tournaments gets out, Tamaki takes a gamble by releasing the Deadmen into the general population while saying that they all need to be sealed away. He then creates "counterfeit" Deadmen using GenPop prisoners and makes the Carnival Corpse tournaments open to the internet. Because death matches aren't wrong if everyone thinks the fighters should be dead anyway, right?
And Toto/Chairman Hagire is manipulating everyone.
Marshmallow Hell: Unintentionally done to Makina's sidekick during a sneaking romp.
Meaningful Name: Mockingbird can mimic the powers of other Deadmen the same way the bird mimics sounds.
The Undertakers: Any Deadman that gets out of line is buried by them.
The Kanji for Ganta can also be pronounced as "maruta", which meanings "barkless wood". Because Ganta was planned to be the subject to all the experiments, until Ganta's mom switched him with Shiro.
Memento MacGuffin: Nagi has two of these - one being the locket that has a photo of his baby in it, the other being his late wife's scarf which he ties around his waist. The locket is actually empty; Nagi's simply insane.
Mind Rape: Genkaku does this to Nagi while interrogating him.
Also, Tamaki to all of the Deadmen, via the masks.
The Mole: Yoh, and to a slight extent Tamaki, as he was posing as Ganta's lawyer to get him into Deadman Wonderland in the first place, as well as Rokuro, who is a Mole in the Scar Chain leaking information to the Undertakers.
Makina intended to make Azami into one, too, though we can see how well that's turned out now.
When Ganta unleashes a megaton version of his "bullet" and just about kills everyone
Completely averted with Minatsuki. After she reconciles with her brother and realises that she might have been a little wrong about humanity being completely shit, she is still absolutely fine with all her life decisions, including the murders of a puppy who pissed her off, her school counselor, her father, her manipulation of her brother so he could beat up their father because she liked to watch.
Inverted with Shiro who still doesn't realise she's killed her grandfather or even that he is dead even after she walks past his decapitated head.
Played straight whenever Ganta realises the full impact of his actions these include: what happened to Crow after he beat him (the punishment gig), what happened after he tried to defend Azami (nearly destroying everyone), after the Scar Chain escaped (where he went into a Heroic BSOD for a while)...just a lot.. He doesn't seem to think ahead.
In Ganta's backstory, when his mother realized what she was originally going subject Ganta to and switched him with Shiro for experimentation, crying the entire time out of knowledge about what is about to happen to poor little Shiro.
Otaku: Tamaki is a gaming Otaku, and he wants to destroy the Wretched Egg because he sees it as a Final Boss to defeat.
Parental Abandonment: Ganta, the Takami siblings, and Shiro are orphans, and Azami's parents were neglectful.
Minatsuki was literally abandoned by her mother when the earthquake started and Minatsuki latched on to her, only for her mother to push her off and run to save herself.
Pet the Dog: Namely, pet the cat. Genkaku was shown in his childhood to not have always been a complete bastard (compared to a lot of children over in DW) because of his sweet care for the kitty. At least, until it dies.
Pilot Movie: The anime's OVA takes place before the series starts.
Psycho Serum: All of Genkaku's injections help reawaken Nagi's suppressed memories and tip him into an insane berserker rage.
Put Them All Out of My Misery: Genkaku qualifies: he seems to believe that killing people is the best way of saving them. Being raped and beaten by a group of bullies who hung around the temple did not help his sanity and when the Great Tokyo Earthquake hit and they were trapped under the rubble he saw fit to butcher them all. Strangely it was not out of revenge but because he wanted to grant them salvation, being free of pain in death being better than living in pain. He apparently came to this conclusion because of warped Buddhist ideas and having seen how peaceful a dead kitten was as opposed to when said kitty was wounded yet alive.
Rape as Backstory: Minatsuki, by her father. Subverted, as it's heavily implied to be a lie as part of her ploy to make Ganta feel sorry for her before their fight.
Genkaku, of all people. However, it seems that the rape was only the buildup to what turned him into a death-loving killer. The death of a kitten was the final nail in the coffin.
Reasonable Authority Figure: Makina is the closest you get in a series like this. Of course, in her first appearance, she sliced Yoh open with her sword, seemingly without provocation. Later it was because Yoh was stealing Ganta's candy, which everyone needs to live.
Refuge in Audacity: The ever-deadly Dog Race is played out in front of cheering crowds who have no idea that the competitors really are dying. They're convinced it's all special effects, because there's no way that a prison would get away with wantonly killing the inmates like this, right?
During the Dog Race, Ganta imagines what would have happened if his class hadn't been massacred. He pictures himself in the audience, sitting next to Mimi, with both of them enjoying the show utterly clueless that it's all real. He's disgusted that anybody thought this was a good idea for a field trip.
Satellite Love Interest: Inverted: Minatsuki passes herself as this to trick Ganta into hurting himself for her so that she'd have an advantage during their fight.
She Is Not My Girlfriend: Ganta gets asked if Shiro and Azami are both his girlfriends. Both of them. Azami and Ganta blushingly deny it, and Shiro is too innocent to realize what they were talking about.
Shout-Out: Rokuro is almost a parody of Death Note characters, constantly referring to 'plans' and 'percentage chances', striking Light-style extravagant poses when angry, and having a face similar to L's (esp the eyes).
The Stoic: Hitara, even before entering DW, even when his own daughter stabs him in the eye with a fork. He just wipes it off and returns it to her, which she unfortunately takes as a sign that he doesn't care about her.
Stuff Blowing Up: How Rokuro, The Mole, managed to fit a bomb into a USB-drive sized data chip is an unsolved mystery — especially since it explodes with enough forced to blow out a pair of metal doors.
Ganta, once he figures out how to use his power.
Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum: The Great Tokyo Earthquake wasn't an accident. It was Wretched Egg trying to destroy her own body faster than it could regenerate, which would have required every ounce of power she had (which is a whole-freaking-lot). It didn't work.
Talking the Monster to Death: Apparently, Ganta's strategy for dealing with the Wretched Egg, who, without the Mother Goose System, is virtually unstoppable. But now that Ganta knows the truth about Shiro, he might finally feel some sympathy towards her.
Torso with a View: Nagi dies this way. A little bit of dark humor is had as he passes along some candy, wryly saying he no longer needs it as the camera focuses on the giant hole where his stomach used to be.
Torture Technician: The sadist doctor, Rei Takashima. Removing a body part or an organ from a living person ('without anaesthesia') is her favourite part of the job. She likes it so much she's hugely disappointed when she can only cut Minatsuki's hair as a punishment for losing a match because it's not "exciting".
Tragic Keepsake: Nagi, with his dead wife's scarf, which he apparently managed to grab just before her body was taken to remove his child as experiment fodder. For better or for worse, it's later used to cover his face after he dies.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: Madoka, revealed to be one of the Group A Counterfeits, was bullied so severely that he got to thinking that pain "helped" the world in that if one person was in pain, another person wasn't (imagine an "idealistic" Johnny the Homicidal Maniac). Considering that he put Shiro in an Iron Maiden and crucified Ganta, he probably prevented the next mega-quake.
Tamaki, at least to himself; he justifies being a Manipulative Bastard on the grounds that he's looking to defeat the Red Man and avenge the people who died in the earthquake.
Wham Episode: Chapter 55. Just about every single question you've ever had about Shiro and Wretched Egg is answered, and yes, let's just say it's as bad as you think it is.
What Happened to the Mouse?: A rather jarring example at that. In episode eight Yoh, who had been a main character up until this point, is last seen unconscious and getting his wounds treated in the Scar Chain hideout. After this he's never seen or mentioned again. He was seen getting carried out of the Scar Chain hideout in the same episode (episode eight) by two other Scar Chain members for about a second or two. After that he was still never seen again and was only mentioned once by his sister in episode eleven.. As luck would have it, the manga just happened to have him out of commission for that period; he still plays a part after the point at which the anime ends.
What the Hell, Hero?: Chapter 26 is essentially one extended What the Hell, Hero? for Ganta, who can't even remember what he did. Even nameless Muggles get in on the action. Ganta should consider himself lucky that the Deadmen just yelled at him/vandalized his room/beat him senseless rather than just kill him.
Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Now that we know the entire backstory? Shiro/Wretched Egg. Even Ganta agrees, and by Chapter 54 onward, his feelings towards her lean much more towards 'pity' than 'hatred.'
Hagire's feelings for Wretched Egg probably qualify, too. Especially in the more recent chapters of the manga.
SHIRO.Yuno might have just found her apprentice once Chapter 55 spilled the beans on Shiro's true personality.
You Are Worth Hell: Is this really a spoiler considering all they've done for each other? Shiro and Ganta.
Younger than They Look: The Chairman isn't that old, he's just had a rough life of getting maimed by Shiro/Red Man's earthquake and later experimenting on himself. He's actually around the same age as Ganta's mom.
It's also revealed that the body we first saw him in wasn't his original. Judging by his appearance, it seems that the young-ish Chairman's previous host (who is known to have been the Carnival Corpse champion before Toto) may have been the Albatross, who was an older man. This may explain his apparently advanced age when the series starts.
Your Days Are Numbered: Every prisoner on death row has a collar with a timer initially set at exactly three days. When the timer runs out, the prisoner gets immediately killed by this collar. It is possible to gain extra three days added to the remaining time by eating candy, which prisoners receive as a reward for winning in all those hellish tasks and games imposed on them.
Played straight with Ganta. His Branch of Sin is so unique that Makina, Karako and company don't know how to save him from it shutting down his involuntary systems, like say, his nervous system orhis circulatory system.