Nanbaka Episode 1 Review

Summary. Meet Juugo, Uno, Rock, and Nico, four inmates who have a 100% escape record from every prison in the world. But that was before. It seems they’ve finally met their match at Nanba Prison: the most impregnable of prisons, the place where no one escapes. Watch them as they face off with the guards, attempt to escape multiple times on the same day for fun, and bond over hot girls and manga comics.

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The world’s most formidable prison.

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Just another gargantuan, rolling ball.

Impressions.  Nanbaka’s first episode is an exciting romp that just keeps you watching. Every character is incredibly colorful, both in terms of design and personality. The guards are more caretakers than security. The main inmates are doofuses, and I just wonder what they’ve been imprisoned for. These quirks are endearing and hilarious.

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The worst enemy.

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The dearest friend.

At the moment, only two of the inmates—effeminate guy and the any-lock-breaker—are only sort of memorable when you look at them by themselves, but I expect that will change with subsequent episodes. I think I liked the guards more overall, even if they didn’t have character designs that popped out as much. Nonetheless, there’s a great synergy and bromance between all of the characters, prison inmate and guard.

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“Oh hi.”

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“Yep. Whatever. Totally cool with it.” “”No way!”

That said, this is really a bro anime. All of the characters but one are male in the episode, and the protagonists gush over things like video games and trying to figure out what girls like (“Maybe some male on male action?”). No need to shoehorn political correctness or anything like that. It’s just the typical, straight male stereotype that’s been overexaggerated.

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Final boss mode, complete.

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This is how you tame the dogs from hell.

The animation is especially used to good effect. Bright and neon colors starkly contrast the dark and bland prison environment, allowing you to focus entirely on the characters themselves. From time to time, there’s glitter. Sparkles. Floating pink hearts. Dynamic action scenes parody the more dramatic action anime, and most of the episode doesn’t take itself too seriously.

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Why the sparkly shackles?

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The only girl so far.

There’s also a lead-in to a more serious background story at the end, which is intriguing and provides a fresh backdrop to the other scenes in the episode.

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The look on his face summarizes the anime.

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One last action scene for you!

To be honest, I hadn’t even planned on picking up this anime and watched the first episode on a whim. I’m really glad I did! It’s looking to be my favorite (read: guilty pleasure) of the season, but we’ll have to see.

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