Thursday, February 11, 2016



STORY: Jinsei Kataoka
ART: Kazuma Kondou
LETTERS: James Gaubatz
ISBN: 978-1-4215-6419-7; paperback (February 2016); Rated “T+” for “Older Teen”
212pp, B&W, $9.99 U.S., $12.99 CAN, £6.99 UK

Deadman Wonderland is a science fiction manga written by Jinsei Kataoka and drawn by Kazuma Kondou.  It began publication in the Japanese manga magazine, Shonen Ace, in 2008.  TOKYOPOP began publishing an English-language edition of the series, releasing five volumes before shutting its North American publishing division in 2011.  Then, VIZ Media picked up the Deadman Wonderland license and publishing the series in English.

Deadman Wonderland focuses on 14-year-old Ganta Igarashi.  He is framed for the brutal murders of his classmates; then, he is sentenced to death.  Ganta is imprisoned in Deadman Wonderland (DW), a privately run, carnival-like penitentiary built on the ruins of Tokyo.  This bizarre and fatal theme park is a place where the prison bosses force the inmates to perform in notorious gladiatorial fights to the death.  This is the near-future, ten years after the Great Tokyo Earthquake put 70% of Japan underwater.

As Deadman Wonderland, Vol. 13 (Chapters 53 to 57) opens, the notorious prison begins to collapse and sink beneath the waves.  Meanwhile, Ganta faces off against Shiro, as she begins to reveal her past.  It is intimately connected to Ganta's and is the reason that Shiro wants Ganta to kill her.

Now, learn the origin of the Great Tokyo Earthquake.  Why did Ganta's mother conceive him?  Who bought Shiro?  What is the source of Ganta's powers and why does he have them?  Can either Ganta or Shiro have a happy ending?  Can both their wishes come true in the end?

The English-language publication of the Deadman Wonderland manga has finally been completed.  VIZ Media published the entire series in a graphic novel format over the course of 13 volumes on a bimonthly basis.

Deadman Wonderland Volume 13 offers a satisfactory ending, in a battle manga fashion.  Still, this dark series does not push aside its cautionary tale side, as to the end, it warns about the dangers of ruthlessly ambitious scientists and savagely opportunistic politicians.  Like many sci-fi shonen manga, Deadman Wonderland offers a finale that is merely the end of one part of the story.  The theme park and prison Deadman Wonderland has legacy, and the part that creators, Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou, revealed to us was a darn good read.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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