The Great Tokyo Earthquake put 70% of Japan underwater; that was ten years ago. Now, in near-future Japan, Deadman Wonderland, a privately run, carnival-like penitentiary, has risen from 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. Fourteen-year-old Ganta Igarashi is one of the newest inmates, sentenced to death for a crime that he did not commit.
Deadman Wonderland, Vol. 4 (Chapters 13 to 16) opens, Ganta is introduced to the members of the anti-establishment group, Scar Chain. The leader, Nagi Kengamine a/k/a “Owl,” informs Ganta that a government select committee is set to inspect Deadman Wonderland. Scar Chain will use the visit as an opportunity to get a data chip, containing information of the truth about the prison, to one of the visiting inspectors.
But there is a traitor in their midst. Awaiting their plot are The Undertakers, a unit specifically formed to mercilessly stamp out the rebels. Ganta is handed an important task, one that will affect his close relationship with a fellow inmate.
THE LOWDOWN: As I have written before, VIZ Media’s plans to publish the Deadman Wonderland manga on a bimonthly basis is a good move. Something is always happening; there is a big reveal practically every few pages. Thus, this 13-volume graphic novel series, which reads likes a serialized science fiction comic book, needs a short publishing schedule. We need to read it while the narrative and the reveals are keeping us piping hot for the next volume.
Deadman Wonderland Volume 4 reveals that allies can be enemies and that some enemies are not what they seem to be on the surface. Plus, there is a huge misunderstanding with some heartbreak. Deadman Wonderland is not escapist sci-fi, but it is a breathless read like the best escapist fiction. It is a good read, one that will demand that you do not miss a volume.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Readers who like shonen science fiction action will want to try Deadman Wonderland.