Warning: Review contains spoilers!
This episode of Nanbaka focused much more on the guards, with some reveals about why the four inmates are in prison, and why they keep escaping. To probably no viewer’s surprise, they’re escaping for mostly stupid reasons. Unfortunately, none of these reasons are on the inmates’ record, making them appear much more threatening than their guard seems to indicate they are.
What did he do to gamble his way into jail?
“Uh. Yes. Nothing to see here.”
The guard himself is hiding some secrets, though. We find out he’s choosing not to report any of the prisoners’ escape attempts, even though they try every single day. Mixed into all of this, we find an overly imaginative second-hand man, a strong woman who turns into an annoying school girl on the inside, and many, many more interesting-looking characters.
Favorite dude of the episode.
I could literally hear people say, “Have some self-respect!”
The main contention I had was that this anime needs to start committing to something. Serious, silly, or a nice mixture in between. The first episode demonstrated the last option quite well. The second time around? Not so much. Every single “serious” moment is countered by much more silliness and jokes than is necessary. Both episodes pretty much followed a formula, where you’re about to reach the same exact main storyline at the end, before you’re cut off.
“Be oversaturated by my comic relief!”
Oh my goodness. Even the table sparkles.
Furthermore, this anime is incredibly sparkly. I mean incredibly. I commented last time on how lively and colorful the anime felt—how the colors and sparkles breathed life into the dynamic action scenes, but this episode they didn’t seem to do really much of anything. Glitter and neon backgrounds painted almost the entire episode, no matter what was happening. Heck, even if the guards are just talking to the prisoners, their hair sparkles. You could argue it’s just the style of the anime—that since everything shines like a starburst none of it stands out—but the anime would’ve been the same either way. In fact, because of the colors, we’re forced to take the anime a lot less seriously, destroying the heightening of the darker parts at the end.
Who wouldn’t like such a happy guy?
Or the kickassery of this image?
All of that being said, I did enjoy many parts of the episode. There’s something endearing about the interactions between guards and inmates, about how being in prison is more like home than other places. The part at the end describing all of the four protagonists’ reasons for staying in prison was also quite entertaining and makes you see that the guards aren’t just being stereotyped into bosses with no personality. And if you want to go another way, the anime might also be a satire on all the undeserving reasons that people are in jail. That’s all assuming that the inmates are the bozos the anime keeps making them out to be. There’s a lot of things to be said for Nanbaka, and at the moment I’ll keep watching.