Not to compare plights this season, but If AnoHana’s Jintan thinks he has it bad…Igarashi Ginta blows him and everyone else’s problems way out of the water. He’s having a nice quiet lunch in his junior high class with his two best friends, when some crazy “Red Man” (no relation to the rapper) fires purple hexagons into the classroom, slaughtering all thirty students in a whirlwind of blood. Only Ginta survives…and he soon wishes he hasn’t. When he wakes up in bed, he’s arrested for the mass murder.
The media has a field day, and he’s conviced and sentenced to death in a laughable show trial. He’s basically guilty of surviving. This is a parallel to those once-every-couple-years horrendous, inhuman crimes from someone you least expect – they don’t just happen in America, but Japan too on occasion. Only in this crazy-ass version of Japan, the worst of the worst are sent to Deadman Wonderland; part supermax prison, part carnival.
The inmates perform for the amusement of audiences. It’s fun for the whole family! The warden is a short-fused sadistic bitch with a sabre, and the prisoners, including Ginta, wear collars with timers. If they don’t win “candy” by performing at least once in a three-day period, it’s instant death when the timer hits zero. I like these rrrrules!
Things are made even stranger by Shiro, a lithe, spandex-sporting white-haired version of Ginta’s dead friend Mimi, who is a kind of out-of-place guardian angel to him, assuring him they’re friends. If she is his friend, it would seem she’s his only one left in this world. He may look like an innocent, earnest little kid with funny hair, but the world apparently sees something we don’t. Never at any point does Ginta’s plight seem fair, but he’ll have to deal with it nonetheless.
What will probably help him moving forward his his newly-acquired power, based within a red gem the “Red Man” thrust into his chest after massacring his class. This gem gives him the power to save himself and Shiro – via purple polygons – from an intentional “accident” set up by the park administrator (also his public defender) in which a huge pylon comes mere feet from crushing them.
What we know so far is that supernatural powers are at work, and the world is not on Ginta’s side at the moment. Fortunately, he has powers which will make his life a little easier, even if it will never be the same again. Unlike your typical shounen junior high kid, Ginta doesn’t come off as whiny or annoying; his reactions to his situation are natural and he’s very sympathetic as a result. But why on earth did Red Man choose him? Why was he framed? Who wants him to die, but not immediately, and why? Is HE Red Man now? Lots of questions. I’m sure we’ll get answers in the balance of this stark, gut-wrenching, unrelenting series. Rating: 4