Ganta Igarashi is a middle school student who survived an earthquake 10 years earlier but has no memories of it. One day at school, the “Red Man” floats through the classroom window and murders everyone in the room except for Ganta. Instead, the “Red Man” embeds a red crystal shard into Ganta’s chest.
Deadman Wonderland Volume Seven
Written by: Jinsei Kataoka
Publisher: Kadokawa Shoten
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: February 10, 2015
Ganta becomes the sole suspect in the murder of his classmates, is given a quick and unfair trial, and is sentenced to death. He is incarcerated in Deadman Wonderland, which is a massive theme park-like prison. While at Deadman Wonderland Ganta is befriended by a mysterious girl named Shiro. She says she knew Ganta a long time ago, and that they’d made a promise that they’d be friends. Ganta has no recollection of this promise. Even so, Shiro does what she can to help Ganta out.
Volume Seven sees Ganta trying to find his friend, Azami Mido, unaware that she is a Ninben, an artificial Deadman created by Tsunenaga Tamaki. Makina, the chief guard at Deadman Wonderland, gets Ganta to scout out the Ninben hideout to get information and to confirm a target.
At this point, the volume puts a lot of focus on Azami, starting with a flashback sequence of her childhood and teen years. Through this flashback, the reader learns why Azami has the attitude and mannerisms that she has, as well as why she makes such a great test subject for the masks that the Ninben are forced to use. I found myself feeling sorry for Azami, since she ultimately ended up in the situation that she finds herself in now due to circumstances beyond her control that go back to her childhood. As a parent, I also found myself wondering how different Azami’s life could have turned out if her parents had actually paid attention to her. To me, having these reactions to Azami’s backstory shows just how effectively it was portrayed in the manga.
When Ganta is discovered intruding in the Ninben hideout, Azami is sent out to deal with him. Ganta is surprised to see Azami, but is even more surprised when she starts attacking him. He gets her mask off, but Azami is addicted to the stimulation that it provides to the pleasure and addiction controls of her brain. A strong emphasis is placed on the back and forth between Ganta and Azami and their differences in opinion. I thought the art during this confrontation helped to illustrate the confusion and desperation that the two of them feel during this exchange, and I especially thought that the close-ups of Ganta and Azami on pages 82 and 83 looked especially convincing.
Makina also plays an important role in this volume, when we see her renouncing Tamaki’s schemes and Deadman Wonderland. Together with her friends Eko Kaido, Kashima Toraichi and Bonbu, she forms the DW Special Jager Squad. When I saw Kashima in this volume, I couldn’t help but think that his design bears a strong resemblance to that of Naruto Uzumaki from the Naruto franchise. Personally, I find it distracting when I see a character design in a manga that strongly resembles a character from another franchise. Unfortunately I just couldn’t shake that thought whenever Kashima appeared in this volume, so it lessened the impact of the scenes that this particular character appeared in.
To be honest, I hadn’t anticipated Makina deciding to rebel against Tamaki. But I found it even more surprising that when she tried to relieve the guards of their duty after admitting to them that she plans to destroy Tamaki, the guards all decided that they wanted to stay and join her in her rebellion. I hadn’t realized just how strong of a devotion Makina’s underlings had for her. To be honest, if I had been in those guards’ shoes, I’m not sure that I could have risked my life and my career in the way that they are. At this point, I believe that Makina’s rebellion is going to end up playing an important role in the next volume.
Volume Seven also sees Ganta being captured by Tamaki and he learns about his mother’s connection with Deadman Wonderland. But when Ganta refuses to work with Tamaki, he is sent to be a guinea pig for the scientists working on the Ninben. The volume ends with an unexpected alliance of characters going on a rescue mission to save Ganta.
With Tamaki’s revelations, the reader finally starts understanding why the “Red Man” may have targeted Ganta, as well as why he and Shiro have the connection that they do. As I read Volume Seven, I also realized that the pieces are falling more and more into place for the story to head toward its climax. I suspect that the climax is still a few volumes away, but the foundation for it began to be laid with the events that take place in Volume Seven. I’ve also got a feeling that there’s still more revelations to come, although I can’t even begin to guess as to what they might be.
With each volume of Deadman Wonderland, the story becomes more and more interesting. At the end of Volume Seven, I was genuinely interested in wanting to read the next volume in order to see what will happen to the characters and how the story will progress going forward.
If you’ve read and enjoyed the previous six volumes of Deadman Wonderland, then I think you’ll really like the action and character development that takes place over the course of Volume Seven. Fans of the series will want to read this volume of Deadman Wonderland as soon as they possibly can.
The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media
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