If you’re a fan of action with a scary edge and shows with characters that may be clinically insane, these two go hand-in-hand. Both originally airing in 2011, but from different studios and based on manga by different authors, they share a similar style – their characters and even the basic idea behind their storylines are comparable. Oh and blood – both shows are pretty heavy in the blood department. However, it’s not possible to say that either is a rip-off or copy of the other. It’s definitely worth it to watch both. While they have similar elements across all areas, they also both have features which set them apart.
Without spoiling too much of either – both are based on a Battle Royale-type life-or-death premise, the major difference being that one seems to have taken a leaf out of Eden of the East’s book and the other is set in a more bizarre location. They’re both pretty solid, although Deadman Wonderland suffers from being only 12 episodes long (plus an OVA). Mirai Nikki (The Future Diary), however, clocks in at 26 episodes (plus an OVA) and has better development and more interesting and shocking twists as a result.
The main male leads of both are pretty similar, being for the most part whiny kids with a Shinji-complex relying on their female supports most of the time and generally just letting the plot happen to them, although they do have their moments. The support cast for both shows was a highlight, with special mention going to Nikki’s Minene Uryuu and Wonderland’s Karako Koshio. The two are very different but you might find yourself rooting for them (which may surprise you for one of them).
Ultimately both of these shows are pretty great if you like action and general anime weirdness. The animation and art for both is solid and they both have great opening sequences (if those don’t draw you in, I doubt anything will). You may find it hard to get attached to the main characters at first as they can be kind of wimpy, but overall they are both pretty thrilling.