In the past it used to be when an anime ended, the story for most fans would end at the same time as the Western manga market tended to neglect all but the most popular series. Nowadays that is no longer the case and while Deadman Wonderland will never see a second anime season due to leaving out important characters that come into play here in Deadman Wonderland Volume 6, the story will continue in print form. So now that Deadman Wonderland Volume 6 has been released, does the story continue in a decent direction?
Considering this is a review for volume 6 of the series, anyone who has not caught up with the Deadman Wonderland manga up to this point should expect spoilers. Along those same lines, anime viewers may find that volume 6 is the easiest entry point to the extended story but, as mentioned earlier, various characters that begin to play prominent roles in this volume were left out of the anime and this may leave many in the dark.
That being said, a week has passed since Korako Koshi and the rest of the surviving members of Scar Chain managed to escape from Deadman Wonderland after defeating the Undertakers. In this time frame they have managed to pass along the horrible information about the Carnival Corpse to the press and the public has become aware of what the Deadmen are capable of.
Unfortunately since Ganta chose to remain in the prison with Shiro, he is surrounded by fellow inmates that fear him and his powers and to make matters worse, the unopposed chief of Deadman Wonderland Tamaki isn’t about to let the uncovered information about the twisted prison damage his plans. Instead, in a public display of power he unveils a Ninben, an artificially created Deadman that sadistically slaughters an unknown standard Deadman on live television. With the public now in mortal fear of what the Deadmen are capable of and the remaining Deadmen left with no choice but to do what they can to stay alive against Tamaki’s creations even while Ganta struggles with how to act when one of his first acquaintances is someone he must now face off against.
After the long running escape arc featuring the fight between Scar Chain and the Undertakers, Deadman Wonderland slows things down a little bit as there are moments of downtime in volume 6 that allow for humorous antics from Shiro as she tries to figure out how to cook something for Ganta who is dealing with the casualties of the Undertaker battle as well as a number of other humorous moments while some additional time for other less prominent characters to step back into the spotlight and interact with the rest of the survivors.
This is a nice return to form for the series that was known for providing moments of humor and highlighting the actual characters between all of the violence but that quickly ends once the Ninben appear. In fact, the appearance of the Ninben and the way that Tamaki chooses to taunt the surviving Deadmen by using psychological scars to draw out their murderous intent not only reveals more about each of these characters, such as the little known Chaplin and Idaki, and shows what twisted lengths Tamaki will go to to prove the power of his new creations.
Unfortunately the way that Ganta reacts throughout the latter half of volume 6 is an unfortunate return to the inept whining character that many might have hoped would disappear after the events with the Undertakers. Not only does he handle things so poorly with the Ninben that he ends up turning everyone except Shiro against him but when Shiro does reveal a little something she figured out, and is genuinely proud of, he shoves her away, shutting away the last piece of light that was still shining on him by the end of the volume.
After the bloodbath that made up past volumes, Deadman Wonderland Volume 6 can be found tame by comparison. There is still bloodshed of course, but the amount of gore is limited mostly to grotesque growth followed by exploding bodies that are mostly obscured by blood due to the one-note powers of the Ninben. The various Branch of Sin powers wielded by the surviving Deadmen remain very impressive looking while the character designs still remain quite memorable, especially since we see less prominent characters step into focus this time.
The change in scenery, as the Deadmen are let back out to mingle with other prisoners, adds to the variety of backgrounds that readers will see throughout the volume though it is unfortunate that a large number of panels feature completely blank or extremely simple backgrounds. Viz’s translation and editing of the series remains very impressive as their translations do not mar any of the artwork which is a must for the few action sequences contained in this volume.
The first page of this volume is presented entirely in color which is then followed by a colored two page spread featuring a, presumably naked, Shiro submerged in a bathtub full of jelly beans and surrounded by other sweets. Other than that, the only other noteworthy extra is the interesting way that the credits page for the original staff is handled, as it features various panels from the volume as if the characters were presenting the staff.
Deadman Wonderland Volume 6 takes some downtime to focus on the characters after the last major arc before heading into the next one. These moments of peace give us a fresh look at some characters that have been overlooked for volumes and also set up a horrific revelation that Ganta has to deal with alongside his fellow Deadmen. Unfortunately the way that he does end up dealing with it remains one of the consistent issues that Ganta’s character has, for every step forward he takes two steps back. That being said, thanks to a cliffhanger ending, the various hints that have been dropped throughout this volume as to what to expect and the hopelessness that is permeating the rest of the cast, readers should be eager to see where the story will continue in volume 7.
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