Which Is the Better Death Game Anime?


Deadman Wonderland and Future Diary are two of the biggest survival anime ever. They continue to stand out even as the modern trend of survival anime brings out other classics like King’s Game, Dranganronpa, High-Rise Invasion Tower of God, and Death Parade. As for which had the better survival game between the two of them, that will require a closer look.

Judging these two series together can be tricky as they take many different approaches to their storytelling. For one thing, one is an urban fantasy, while the other is a battle shonen with sci-fi elements. To understand which is better as a survival anime, it’s essential to know what each of them is trying to accomplish.

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Deadman Wonderland follows Ganta Igarashi after he’s framed for his class’s murder and incarcerated in the eponymous prison. While there, he’s forced to participate in a series of death games for the amusement of a live audience; these include fights to the death between Deadmen, prisoners with powers that involve turning their blood into weapons. To survive, Ganta will have to either find the real killer, who’s also in Deadman Wonderland, or break out.

Future Diary follows the story of Yukiteru Amano and his stalker, Yuno Gasai. They and ten others must compete in a battle royale to determine which of them is worthy of becoming the new god of their world. Their only tools are their wits, their future-telling cell phones, and whatever weapons they decide to bring.

Between the two series, Future Diary puts a lot more focus on the survival game aspect of its story. Deadman Wonderland quickly steers away from survival games; it instead focuses on other aspects of its story, like escaping the prison and solving the story’s overarching mysteries. In Future Diary, however, nearly everything about its story revolves around its death game, including its mysteries. If anime fans are primarily looking for a survival series, Future Diary is the place to start.

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Both series are somewhat flawed in how they handle their high stakes, namely in their life-or-death scenarios. Deadman Wonderland presents all kinds of ways for characters to die, but few main characters die by the end. Future Diary kills off plenty of people and then some, but then the series’ big plot twist renders just about all of them irrelevant. With this in mind, Deadman Wonderland wins by having its deaths meaning something rather than nothing.

As for which anime is better, in general, that might have to be Future Diary. With that said, it’s worth noting that the Deadman Wonderland anime is an incomplete story; the full story from the manga arguably surpasses Future Diary. In truth, this is more about personal opinion than anything.

One way Future Diary may definitively beat out Deadman Wonderland is in how both series resolve their problems and have their characters survive. Once Deadman Wonderland becomes a battle shonen, the main characters rely more and more on their blood-manipulating powers to solve their problems. Some situations require a smarter and more nuanced approach, but not many.

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The future-predicting phones in Future Diary are also used consistently, but they’re never relied upon to get the users out of crises. It’s the responsibility of the players to understand any bad future their diary predicts and think of a way out of it. These kinds of smart solutions are precisely what make a survival anime entertaining to watch.

Future Diary is the place to start if it’s purely about choosing the better survival anime. However, that doesn’t mean that Deadman Wonderland isn’t without its merits. Both series are worthwhile additions to one’s anime list in their own ways.

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