Sunday, 15 May 2011

Deadman Wonderland - Episode 5

As is perhaps befitting of a death row prisoner, Ganta sure doesn't get any lucky breaks as a new inmate of Deadman Wonderland - thanks to his new blood-based powers, his latest ordeal is a fight to the death against Senji Kiyomasa in the latest Corpse Carnival which takes place for the entertainment of those with a suitable fetish for violence.

Although Ganta has learned a little about how to use his Branches of Sin power, he clearly hasn't really thought things through too thoroughly as the match begins as he starts throwing his blood around as a weapons... a recklessly strategy as the loss of blood quite literally goes to his dead, leaving our Woodpecker at the mercy of Crow who wastes no time in tearing into him.  As we enter flashback territory and a vague suggestion of why and how Shiro knows Ganta from their past, so we learn the one cool thing about the otherwise whiny Ganta - he doesn't know how to lay down and accept defeat.  Of course, this leads to the inevitable turn-around that sees Ganta win the day, and without killing anybody to boot - a pyrrhic victory as losing in the Corpse Carnival without dying leads to a penalty "game", if you can call it such.  For once, I was actually a little relieved to see some censorship on-hand, squeamish about eyes as I am.

Away from this battle, Shiro continues to follow Yoh around, in a scenario that adds even more questions about these two characters to our card.  Firstly, it appears that Yoh is looking for somebody within G-block himself, and as he received more information to this effect so he uses Shiro's stupidity as a decoy to fulfil his own interests - a decision which peels away another layer about the sheer potency of Shiro's own abilities when cornered, although it makes her mere existence all the more mysterious.

I can't really pretend that I didn't quite enjoy this episode - as per the rest of the series so far it certainly wastes no time on frivolities as it races through its material at break-neck speed, and this fast pacing certainly works in its favour.  On the other hand, there are rather a lot of cliched elements starting to come together within the series - Ganta's Carnival Corpse battle was pretty much "generic shounen battle #5478575623", while the handling of both his and Shiro's story seems like the same kind of thing we've seen many a time before, only with more blood and guts (or at least, we assume so beneath that censorship).  This tends to give Deadman Wonderland the feel of your typical anime designed to use shock tactics to exploit the sensibilities (or lack thereof) of teenage males - not a bad thing necessarily, but I still feel that there are deeper veins to explore within the show that I'm worried are going to be put to one side in the name of creating a gore-fest.

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