Warning: Contains spoilers!
I made a mistake in my last Nanbaka post. I mistakenly assumed that the last episode of season 1 would be 12 episodes, like the other two series I was reviewing. So when I found out an episode came out today, I was really surprised!
I think I’ve already covered all of the stuff I might think about the series, and this episode didn’t do very much to change my opinion. I will retract all the stuff from last time about how the last episode didn’t feel like a last episode—because, well, it wasn’t a last episode.
This one, though, fit the bill, with ending credits that summarized what happened during the course of the series and Reddit billing it as final. The episode felt like a very intense thriller: Jyugo is trapped face-to-face with the blond Elf who had performed experiments all that time ago. Elf wants to come back, and believes that Jyugo’s friends would make very interesting subjects. Jyugo then tries to escape by himself—his friends wake up and follow him—and the episode finally culminates in a tense battle between Hajime and Jyugo. Surprisingly, they’re pretty even, and it’s no longer a silly, lackadaisical attempt performed for sport. If it weren’t for the other inmates stopping them, Jyugo may have been beaten to a pulp.
My criticisms still stand, but by itself this episode was definitely above average. I couldn’t look away from the screen at all. I loved the way the series circled back to the scenes of the very beginning, where the inmates were just escaping from the prison for fun, only to be stopped at the very end by Hajime. With this gesture, the storyline was reset and redefined with a much more serious tone.
Don’t get too excited. The first episode of season 2 is called “Nanbaka is a Comedy Anime!” This series is so aware of what people might say about it, and charges ever on forward.