Home > Deadman Wonderland, Episode Reviews > Deadman Wonderland Episode 3 – Wheels Within Wheels

Deadman Wonderland Episode 3 – Wheels Within Wheels

I mentioned in my last review that it wouldn’t be realistic (even within the rather generous bounds of realism a sci-fi dystopia like this has to play in) for Tamaki to have so many non-death row inmates killed without consequences. As it happens, the only reason it wasn’t addressed last episode is because there wasn’t time; this episode begins with the prisons various shadowy sponsors chewing Tamaki out for his depraved little show, asking why they should tolerate his behavior.

Tamaki, however, has a powerful enough hand to keep himself in business; as the highest ranking figure in the prison aside from the Warden (who seems to be ineffectual, and has been off screen since the beginning), he feels he has the authority to do whatever he wants so long as the place’s primary purpose is fulfilled. That purpose, apparently, is the continued imprisonment and study of the Red Man.

How good Tamaki is at this job is debatable; Tamaki may have let the Red Man out deliberately to massacre Ganta’s class (with or without the connivance of the other men at the table), but he certainly didn’t want the Red Man to break out right then, which is conveniently what happens. Neither that nor his browbeating from the sponsors, however, seems to keep him from having his way. The role of challenging Tamaki falls to one person. And surprisingly, she’s not Ganta.

The sponsors of Deadman Wonderland seem not just annoyed by the PR fallout, but genuinely morally upset by some of Tamaki's antics. One would think they could find someone to replace him

Makina, chief among the guards of Deadman Wonderland, is the only person in the prison who seems to have a separate power base from Tamaki. She’s kept in the dark about several things about the facility (including the Red Man and lab that imprisons him), but she’s getting increasingly angry at Tamaki’s imperial style.

Last episode showed her genuinely upset that Tamaki would kill off three normal inmates just to off Ganta a bit early—and oddly enough, she’s even more upset when he drops the matter. Her reaction to the Dog Race was never shown, but I doubt she appreciated the slaughter there either. She doesn’t know what Tamaki is up to, but she does know it centers around Ganta, and that’s not good for the latter’s health.

The Red Man descends into a courtyard, kills and maims some people, has some more fun with Ganta, and then leaves. I think he's sentient, but he certainly doesn't seem sane

So when Ganta is once again at a scene of carnage (as the Red Man appears and hacks up some inmates before exchanging blows with him), Makina decides that neutralizing Ganta might be the only way to restore order to the facility. It’s a logical decision from what limited evidence she has; what she doesn’t realize is how much has been going on under her nose from before Ganta even arrived.

Ganta himself, newly … motivated by the knowledge that the Red Man is somewhere within Deadman Wonderland, finds himself equally motivated by the hunter-killer robot Makina activates to target him. Along with You, bribed by Tamaki to keep Ganta safe—with strong threats about the consequences for failure—he flees with Shiro into the ventilation system, which is apparently how Shiro moves throughout the complex without restriction. (The architect needed to read the Evil Overlord List, it seems.)

Despite Shiro's unique appearance and choice of dress, no one (even Makina) seems to pay much attention to her or even check if she is a registered prisoner—which she isn't

In the resulting chase Shiro leads Ganta to the mythical G Block of the complex, where prison scuttlebutt said the Red Man was likely being held. There they don’t find the Red Man, but they do find someone else, who rips apart the death robot with the same blood manipulation power that Ganta and the Red Man seem to have.

With the robot destroyed, Makina is out of tricks to deal with Ganta, as she doesn’t have security clearance to access the cameras around G Block, or even the clearance to know there is a G Block. By losing contact with her robot even before its destruction, she’s learned that there’s parts of the prison she doesn’t know about, revealing to her she has bigger problems than Ganta anyway.

Makina's a bit of a control freak, so finding out there's something in the prison she doesn't control is not something she'll just shrug off

I’ve talked far more about the internal squabbles of the prison’s senior staff than Ganta and his development, so I do want to mention that once again this episode has Ganta coming to a revelation. Just as earlier this episode Ganta once again reflected on the loss of his friends and the destruction of his old life, Shiro’s actions toward the end help remind him that, even here he has friends in the form of Shiro and You, who not just help to keep him alive, but offer a sense of companionship.

Of course, Shiro is off her rocker and You is only pretending to be a friend; the latter returns the candy he stole (claiming to have “found” one at great personal expense) only because Tamaki bribes/forces him too. But, in the crazy world of Deadman Wonderland, you need to have trust in someone to stay sane. Besides, Shiro can kick tanks around, which counts for something.

Shiro spends most of her screen time this episode pouting because Ganta inadvertently implied they weren't friends. The conflict seems out of place with the dark, gritty story but everything about Shiro's personality conflicts with dark and gritty, so I'll let it slide

Ganta also learns about his own blood manipulation ability in his battle with the Red Man, but he fails to utilize it again when fighting against the robot, even in a similarly desperate situation. Clearly he has a long way to go to master it, but it seems there might be people around to teach him.

That ability will likely be a key for Ganta eventually turning the tables on his persecutors, but equally key will be the support he can find from those around him. Ganta might have decided how he was going to live, but he’ll need every advantage he can get to succeed. The series is smart enough not to make that road too easy—nothing in the world of Deadman Wonderland is going to be easy. But three episodes in, it now seems like it might be possible.

The new guy is still nameless, and not exactly friendly looking. Still, he's probably an improvement over Tamaki

You can watch the episode here.

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