Tag Archives: Skull Man

Deadman Wonderland: This Ain’t Your Average Alice…

This show was ridiculous. Not exactly a fall through the rabbit hole, but this was a wonderland all its own. Ganta Igarashi is not your typical Alice and there’s no white rabbit to lead him along his way. With a endless repertoire of  metal instrumentals and scenes of excruciating death, this show comes almost as close as Metalocalypse does with its protagonists, Dethklok. In some ways it almost goes farther. Pretty scary, right?

This show is sparked all by one little middle school massacre. A mysterious Red Man (if you remember way back when in my reviews, kinda looks like Skull Man) comes bursting through the window of Ganta’s school and kills all of his classmates. And you know who gets blamed? Ganta. Put on a trial and given the death sentence, Ganta must attempt to survive the Hell on Earth that is Deadman Wonderland.

And I would venture to guess that Deadman Wonderland is worse than Hell. There are dog races in which any participating runners have to dodge death in all forms and only one can survive to win cast points. Cast points are the

The Deadman Wonderland Prison. Fun, huh?

currency in which an inmate can buy and survive in Deadman Wonderland. It is especially important to gain cast points (not magically nerdy, mind you) so you can buy Candy. Candy are capsules of disgusting sweets that counteract the poison in your metallic neck leash. So despite being on death row to be executed, Ganta has to attempt to survive, every day.

Are we all really just prisoners of life? (Joke)

Inmates, other than being subordinate to the guard staff, are given free reign to destroy each other. Ganta is constantly in fear for his life, being a scrawny middle school midget with quite a rap of offenses that would piss most guys off. And it’s not only that. The Red Man Ganta encountered bestowed some strange crystal upon his chest that allows Ganta to use what are later referred to as Branches of Sin. This use of the blood as a weapon become quite helpful with Ganta’s “body type,” but the fallback (as there always is) is that Ganta has to fight in Carnival of Corpses (pronounced by the Japanese as Cannibal Corpse. Coincidentally, songs similar to the huge body of work Cannibal Corpse has created play during these fights) which could kill him at any moment. It just looks so promising for Ganta doesn’t it? You’ll have to watch to find out.

The voices of some of the characters are fantastic. Romi Park, famous voice actor of the Japanese version of Fullmetal Alchemist, Edward Elric, is a bit whiny, but gets the job done as Ganta. Tsunenaga Tamaki is wonderfully twisted and done by Junichi Suwabe. And finally, Senji, the badass, ripped Branches of Sin fighter Crow, is admirably done by Masayuki Katou. I was overall impressed.

Now let’s talk about that animation quality. It’s dark and bloody. Very

Pretty sick, right? Good old Red Man

reminiscent of  Metalocalypse. I guess that’s why I liked it so much (look for this review in the coming months). The fluidity of the blood coursed throughout the veins of this sadistic fighting sci-fi anime in every scene. With more swearing than I’ve ever read in any subbed anime, I gotta say it was ridiculous to hear bleeps in Japanese. With other problems that probably cut this show short to 12 episodes, its unfortunate that the show was cut so abruptly short. But it ended in a way I didn’t expect either.

The realest.

Azuma Genkaku (Toshiyuki Morikawa) was a fantastic way to end it. Tying the whole metal music themed anime together, Azuma wields an axed guitar that allows him to supersonically bend the Branches of Sin wielders to their knees. His tragic past is explored and brought to the forefront to end the show (an unfortunate end, both for the show and Azuma) although I found him to be one of the most compelling and interesting  characters in the show. With nothing certain and a future in Deadman Wonderland ahead, what will happen to little “Alice” Ganta? Check out this show, it’s definitely worth the horrific watch. A solid 9.7 out of 10.

What will happen "down the rabbit hole?"

The Skull Man

Okay, so I really can’t talk about much of the plot without revealing a lot of what is revealed over this 13 episode anime. But I’ll say what I can. Hayato Mikogami is a journalist, sent back to his hometown of Otomo to investigate the mysterious killings committed by the notorious Skull Man. Hayato is followed by an curious and rambunctious photographer, Kiriko Mamiya. The two of them together, over the course of an all too short show, uncover the mysteries and secrets that lie under this dark town.

And that’s about all I can say. I watched this with my friend and we thought, “Hey. This’ll be pretty badass. It’s an anime about a man with a skull for a head.” I know what you’re thinking. I thought it too. Japanese Ghost Rider. Turns out not. I’m a real sucker for Ghost Rider, and I guess you could consider this an equivalent.

The show starts of kind of slow. But that all ends about six episodes in. After about episode 7, every episode becomes nonstop discovery and thrills. There’s one scene in episode 6 that surprised me so much I came close to crapping my pants. You really don’t know what to expect when it comes to this show, so when something happens, it flies at you from out of left field.

After some research, I found that this wasn’t the first rendition of Skull Man. There have in fact been 2 mangas that take on a slightly different approach. The original in 1970 was a one-shot manga that told the story of Skull Man and his quest for revenge. If you look at it, Skull Man is a really dark and sinister brother to Batman. In the 1998 version, we are given the Skull Man’s rise to power through mutation experiments and his battles with evil animals. Neither of these really have anything to do with the anime. If you’re expecting that/read the mangas, I apologize.

Besides that, the anime is really quite good. It has a detective style approach with dark undertones, coupled with violence and the outrageous discovery or two. The voice actor for Skull Man is great, and it’s really enhanced by the lines from Hamlet that end every episode and the theatrical judgment laced lines that Skull Man delivers. You don’t want it to end by the last episode, and at the same time, you want the back story. You want more. You want everything explained step by step. In a word. Hooked. You become hooked on what’s going on, and quite literally, you could watch this anime in one sitting and not be disappointed. The fight sequences and art direction are fantastic and give this great otherworldly feeling, yet tied into reality. Definitely something cast right out of the abyss. 7 out of 10.