Welcome to Nanba, the most advanced prison in the world. Four inmates attempt to break out almost every day, Jyugo, an inmate who escapes out of boredom; Rock, an inmate who loves food and fights; Uno, a lady’s man and gambler; and Nico, an inmate who lives Anime and manga. Together these four inmates will do anything to escape prison. But, there is more than meets the eye with Nanba. Between the traps, highly trained guards and unique inmates Jyugo, Uno, Rock and Nico may have a harder time than they thought.
This season was jam packed with comedy action and drama. The first couple of episodes were all humor with the series becoming more serious towards the end. The inmates are an absolute riot. Nico is my favorite as he is an otaku and that is easy for me to relate to. The guards are serious but not to serious, sometimes the guards even have fun with the inmates and treat them as equals. Almost all aspects of this anime are perfect. This series was one of my favorites from last year. In the following paragraphs, we are going to cover the animation/art, sound/music, and story.
The animation is first rate to say the least. The opening scene follows our four inmates running through a slew of traps in the prison. Each trap and encounter is captured in marvelous and colorful animation. Almost all the characters have a special ability or skill. These skills and abilities are also portrayed to the highest degree, and at times over the top animation. For example, Jyugo has mysterious shackles around his wrists, ankles, and neck; with these shackles, he can transform his feet and hands into large blades. No one including Jyugo knows where these shackles had come from. All Jyugo knows is that a man with a scar put them on him. The animation is one of the biggest draws of the series, the animation and art go far beyond the norms of anime. Very few anime has similar art/animation styles. The art and detail of each individual character is worth noting. No two characters look alike, each character has unique features and abilities.
The music fits almost every scene and event. The theme song is one of my favorites from an anime. Any time something exciting or dramatic happens the music fits the scene almost 100% of the time. Even during the most serious or humorous scene the ambient background music does not disappoint. It is easy to say this as the music is not cumbersome or out of place. The ending theme is also very well done.
The story is one of weaker aspects of the series. Not to say that the writing was poor, rather the series tried to pursue to many directions at once. As I stated above the series started out as a funny anime, the episodes were full of jokes and gag humor. As the series continued the story began to take a more dark and dramatic turn. Even in the darker episodes some humor was presented, though it felt out of place. Then after several dark and serious episodes, the season finale attempted to return to its roots and tried to be funny again.
The season finale was a disappointment, in my opinion. The series just couldn’t make up its mind if it was a comedy or a drama. Some would say it was both, and I would agree if the series started out with both elements instead of going from one extreme to the other. All in all, I am willing to overlook this as the season was enjoyable and I was hooked from the first episode.
At the end of the day this is still one of my favorite series of 2016. I eagerly look forward to season two, and sincerely hope that the writers are more conscientious of the story and overall tone of the series. I would recommend this series to most anyone and expect them to like it if not love it as not everyone is as critical as I am when it comes to anime.