Home > Deadman Wonderland, Episode Reviews > Deadman Wonderland Episodes 4 and 5 – Friendly Enemies

Deadman Wonderland Episodes 4 and 5 – Friendly Enemies

Last episode introduced a new player into the scene, the cheerful psycho Kiyomasa Senji. Like Ganta, he’s gained the “branches of sin” ability of blood manipulation; unlike Ganta, he’s perfectly happy with having become a superhuman killing machine. He, and apparently several others like him, are imprisoned within the isolated and hidden G Block, when Tamaki has his real fun.

Tamaki basically keeps the prison running for what happens in this block: all the inhabitants have been put on death row (whether guilty of any crimes or not) and all received the branches of sin ability from the Red Man at some point or another. Tamaki’s interest is both pecuniary and scientific: By having the “deadmen” fight each other, he gains valuable data, along with dissection specimens (that is, the losers). But the fights also provide him with a great moneymaking opportunity, a chance for the world’s elite to provide funding in return for watching the “Corpse Carnival.”

What’s interesting about Senji is that he doesn’t care about any of this. Despite having been turned into a modern day gladiator, he doesn’t seem to have any resentment toward Tamaki or his situation at all. All he cares about is the thrill of the fight. Like everyone else in the prison save Ganta, his moral system is completely busted. And yet, he’s very likely only the first of the various misfits, freaks, and psychopaths that are about to become Ganta’s band of support when he finally takes Tamaki down.

Technically, Corpse Carnival battles are fought to the death or until one side is incapacitated. Guess what type of conclusion Tamaki's orientation video (which he forces Ganta to watch multiple times) chooses to highlight

When they first meet, Ganta mistakes Senji for the Red Man (since both have the same ability, and a creepy smile); by the time that gets worked out, Senji is sufficiently psyched about a fight that he decides to do a quick battle just to test Ganta’s abilities. After the conflict is rudely interrupted by tranq-armed guards, he makes sure to pass his medical tests—by threatening to kill the doctor who would disqualify him—to get a second round.

Despite his love for battle, by comparison Senji doesn’t seem like too bad of a guy. He is willing to explain things to an obvious newbie, is easily flustered by girls, and—when finally fighting with Ganta in the Corpse Carnival—declines to finish him off after seemingly incapacitating him. He’s a killer, and extremely dangerous, yet not utterly malicious.

Senji gets flustered by girls, but that doesn't mean he isn't capable of threatening them with violence in pursuit of what he wants. His basic combat technique is to use his blood as giant blades, which means he doesn't have the blood loss problems of Ganta's projectile method

And the sad part is, that’s about the best Ganta can hope for in a friend and ally. When, even weakened from blood loss and the shock of his wounds, Ganta manages to neutralize Senji through a combination of smart tactics and sheer determination, he clearly wins the latter’s respect. Although Senji would later lose a body part (his right eye, removed without any anesthetic) as a punishment for losing the match, there’s no resentment as he congratulates Ganta on his victory.

Granted, the defeat means friendship trope is practically a requirement for shounen battle manga, and whatever else you can say about Deadman Wonderland, it more and more reflects the conventions of that genre. But I’ve never seen a show quite as brutal in execution and content as this one—and rarely have I found one this well plotted, either. And however much Senji respects Ganta, that doesn’t mean he won’t try to kill him again the next time they are scheduled to fight.

I don't feel too sorry of the doctor Senji threatens, as she not only gets to remove Senji's eye, but also gets a noticeable sexual rise out of it—and about anything that involves hacking up or dissecting people

Such is friendship in Deadman Wonderland, where everyone, and I mean everyone, is crazy. Ganta’s previous two friends, You and Shiro, are respectively a backstabbing money-grubbing opportunist and superstrong addled child. Yet this two episodes, particularly episode five, hint that both are so much more.

You, for example, has been searching for someone in the prison, and when he gets word that she might be in G-Block, he sends Shiro on a suicide mission as a distraction, and proves he is more than willing to kill with his own hands to further his goals. Each episode has revealed more and more of his conniving, plotting, utterly selfish mind, and he’s clearly much more than a simple thief.

You also has some sick twisted stuff in his history, if this flashback is any indication

But it’s Shiro whose backstory might be the most shocking. We already know that Shiro and Ganta grew up together, a fact which Ganta does not remember even though Shiro does. Even as a child, Shiro was a work in progress, part of some experiment which made her stronger and faster than any human should be. But none of that explains why she’s at Deadman Wonderland as an undocumented prisoner.

When You’s plan to getting into G-Block involves getting the local wing’s power shut off, Shiro, oblivious to those concerns, notes that “the song stopped playing.” She’s likely referring to the same song she sang in the premiere, the same song that Ganta heard shortly before his class was annihilated. But with the power off, the song stopped, yet only she could hear it in the first place.

Incidentally, Makina attempts to visit the warden, only to be completely rebuffed. That's the extent of her role in the last two episodes

You, understandably, is shocked when the kill team sent after Shiro rains down in a shower of blood and body parts, as Shiro, previously strong, becomes seemingly unstoppable. Previously violent, she becomes a mass murderer. And although nothing of this had been noticeable before, she too has some form of the branches of sin, which serve both as weapon and as a method of regeneration.

Of everyone Ganta has met in Deadman Wonderland, Shiro—whether despite or because of her insanity—seemed the most pure, the most friendly, the most admirable of the lot. More than anyone else, she seemed like the one who would stick with Ganta to the end, as he finally avenged his classmates by defeating and killing the Red Man. That’s just how this sort of show normally plays out.

The grin might not completely give the similarity away, so the script also has Shiro make the same part-snicker, part-laugh that the Red Man is known for

This show is far too twisted (and brilliant) to give us such a simple revenge plot. I never expected, however, that not only would would Ganta’s greatest friend become his greatest enemy, but that she was his enemy, even if unknowingly, from the very start.

You can watch the episodes here and here.

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