In the last volume of Deadman Wonderland we learned the truth behind the prison’s origins and what it held within: myriad individuals with blood powers known as the Deadmen.
There, they are forced to fight one another for a mysterious audience to test the limits of their strength and powers and if they lose, they lose a part of themselves. What will we see this time? Is it good?
Deadman Wonderland Vol. 3 (Viz Media)
Written By: Jinsei Kataoka
Drawn By: Kazuma Kondou
Translated By: Joe Yamazaki
American Publication: Tokyopop (originally) and Viz Media (currently)
After the events of the Punishment Game in the last volume, Ganta really hasn’t been feeling too well and naturally wants to find a way out of his current predicament. However, he’s not the only one who isn’t feeling too well about the situation everyone’s in and that is fellow Deadman, Minatsuki. She’s a rather shy and quiet girl who spends most of her time gardening (admittedly, the G Ward where they are all confined is pretty upscale for a prison). She’s completely horrified by the situation and wants out as much as Ganta, so he proposes they find a way to escape together. It’s a good thing too because both of them are set to fight each other the next day.
Meanwhile, Yō Takami has gotten away from Shiro after the nightmarish shock she gave him at the end of the last volume. Takami is still shaken up from the experience, but he must keep on going and descending in the G Ward. He’s after Minatsuki for some reason and he is determined to help her get out of Deadman Wonderland. However, just like Ganta very soon, he’s going to be in for a very nasty surprise. Also, where exactly did Shiro go?
Yeah… you are so never going to forget that.
After the last volume, you might be wondering how the series planned to shock us this time around. This volume does have some really interesting surprises within, especially with something related to the Red Man. On that note however, this volume does take a step back from the shock value offered by the two previous volumes (not to say that it doesn’t surprise… just not as much) and focuses more on developing side characters and their history.
Most of the story is centered on our new character (briefly showed up at the very end of the last volume), Minatsuki. The first half of the volume is the buildup and confrontation between she and Ganta, while the second half deals with the fallout of the fight and introducing another level to the prisoners’ world. Like I said, most of the story doesn’t progress all that much outside of a few very surprising moments and puts more emphasis on developing the characters. What story we have here though is still very good and engaging like usual. The only other negative I found with Deadman Wonderland Vol. 3 was that one chapter ends on a cliffhanger that seems like it should be surprising, but you could easily see coming due to the fact that early on the characters reveal that information to us.
Ganta, our main character from previous volumes, fades into the background while the rest of the cast takes front and center. There’s not much of him besides his toughening up a bit and more revelations concerning his connection with Shiro. Shiro also isn’t as much in the spotlight in the volume either, but she still somehow manages to have the most characterization and development out of everyone. We finally get a bit into her backstory: Some very shocking information arises regarding her that you’ll have to find out yourself.
Aww, look at those big adorable eyes; they can’t possibly belong to someone totally nasty, right?
The characters that get the spotlight this time around are Minatsuki and Yō. We get a good amount of backstory for each and it’s rather interesting stuff. Yō’s backstory in particular attempts to show us that he might not be a completely terrible person (how well it works is up to you). When it comes to Minatsuki — she is the standout and possibly second most memorable person of the series so far. She has a more distinct personality than most so far, with a seemingly sweet and shy girl exterior being the facade for a twisted and abrasive demeanor therein. She definitely has some of the most memorable moments and interactions in the volume.
The writing with the volume is still generally good. The scenes are shorter than in previous volumes and the story feels like it is moving faster with all the new characters and concept introductions. The fight scenes are also far more energetic and rapidly paced. The tone feels better here as well, keeping things serious and lighthearted at the right times instead of mixing them together at odd moments. While horror wise, it’s not as scary or shocking like the last volume (though it certainly has its moments), it really ups the action and drama with lots of fight scenes and more dramatic and personal scenes throughout. Also, some of the new concepts and characters here are interesting and seem to have potential as well depending on how the series uses them. Bottom line: there’s plenty to like here writing-wise.
Hmm… that honestly looked like it hurt.
Just like I did with the first two volumes, with Deadman Wonderland Vol. 3 I looked at the translation differences between Viz and Tokyopop; the differences mostly come down to rewording of the same sentence that don’t change the meaning at all, though I certainly wouldn’t refer to Minatsuki as an innocent girl like in the Viz version. The Viz Media translation does translate the sound effects so you see American words instead of Japanese characters, while Tokyopop keeps in the original sound effects. Again, the biggest difference between both versions of the book is the fact that the Tokyopop edition contains far more liberal use swearing and vulgar language. Back in my review for the first volume, I was wondering how the Viz Media translation would handle a particular character’s dialogue since that character is extremely vulgar, swears a lot, and really talks in a sexually aggressive manner; to its credit, it does manage to capture it well, though some lines sound a bit awkward and the use of stronger vulgarities would be better.
My take on the artwork: The characters and their designs look great, the layouts are solid, and the angles and scope are decent. The real highlight goes to the action this time around: with the increase in action scenes this volume the series really gets to cut loose with some intense looking fights. They feel much more energetic, chaotic, and creative looking (especially with the new blood powers on display). There’s just a real great sense of detail and kinetic energy to be found there in those scenes.
This volume isn’t nearly as gruesome or graphic as the previous volumes of the series, but then again, it was going to be hard to top the way it ended last time. There are a few graphic and downright creepy images here, but not as nasty as before (fear not those with weak stomachs). What has increased instead is the fan service — “eye candy” or partial nudity and scenes of Minatsuki dressing or… not dressing. This is probably the one thing that feels rather out of place given how serious everything is here.
Prepare for sandal to the face in three, two, one…
Is it Good?
Deadman Wonderland Vol. 3 is another fun and very engaging volume of the series. It steps back a bit from the main character and turns its attention to developing and building the supporting cast of characters, while also delivering on some incredible, intense fight scenes. It’s an enjoyable change of pace, especially with some of the shocking twists therein.
Deadman Wonderland Vol. 3 is currently available from Viz Media, with the fourth volume arriving in early August. The Tokyopop edition, along with four other volumes, are out of print and go for some high prices (though if you got them for their original price, they’d be about dollar more than these new editions). There is also an anime/TV adaption of the series out as well from Funimation, though it has a different ending than the series does. Maybe one day, we’ll get a new version of the series to get the real ending…