A description of Nanbaka is probably going to make it sound real dumb. This is likey because it really, really is. But the fact it is dumb does not preclude it from being entertaining, and I assure you that it is nothing if not that. I 100% recommend watching it if you are:
A.) In the mood for something funny.
B.) Unbothered by something being really stupid.
C.) Equally unbothered by anime being weird for weird's sake.
I can best sum up Nanbaka thusly: it is pretty much what would happen if you transformed the Looney Tunes into bishy anime twinks with FABULOUS hair and threw them into a
facility that is simultaneously the worlds most secure prison and the worlds most liberal Montessori preschool. So like Tiny Toon Adventures meets Orange is the New Black. Specifically those two shows, because like Tiny Toon Adventures the characters seem to have the impulse control of infants and can pull seemingly whatever they want out of Hammerspace and like OITNB everybody is kinda compelling and pretty fabulous and kinda gay and in prison. If that doesn't sound fun to you, you probably won't like it. We would probably also not be friends, because it sounds like a whole bunch of fun to me.
Art: OH MY GOD REALLY GOOD! It is a joy to look at. The color is hyper-saturated, lime green and hot pink and crazy in the best way possible. It is exciting and surreal, which helps you suspend your disbelief over the antics of the ridiculous plot and characters. The art puts me in the mood to have fun, which the show then offers. 10/10, this is what art should do for an animated show: inform you by design alone what kind of show you are watching.
Sound: Also awesome. The opening song is pretty cool: rocky J-Pop paired with some fun imagery indicative of the mood of the show. The ending, however, is the shit. It's more or less chibi versions of the characters running around escaping from prison while they all sing a song together. I love it and watch it every time. It is charming and funny, and always made me want to watch the next episode.
Character: Over the top and too much, but so is the show and consequentially it more or less works. The main 4 are all pretty funny and engaging, although main guy (#15/Jyuugo) is kind of a sad sack these days. Everybody has more or less exactly one joke that they are used to tell over and over, but the joke seems to always land despite being repeated ad nauseam. They are either manic and adorably annoying, or unvarying serious to the point that they cannot themselves be taken seriously. Sometimes both at once (The Warden). Special shout out goes to Nico, the hyper kid who takes a bunch of drugs and is really into stupid anime, because he is basically me. I just wanted to hang out with him and smoke a blunt and watch G-Gundam (secretly the best Gundam despite what everybody else who has ever watched it beside me and Nico might say).
Enjoyment: Loads. This show isn't going to teach you anything. It's not going to tell you anything profound, it will just make you laugh a bunch. If that is enough for you, give it a watch. I did and do not regret it in the slightest.
Now that that's out of the way, I found enjoyment in this show though the hilarious imagery and funny jokes.
THE STORY is mediocre at best, but it's a comedy, so there's not much you can expect.
THE ART is great. It's the main focus of the comedy element and sometimes is a bit too lenient on it. The art by itself though colorful and wild is sometimes a bit eye bleeding.
THE CHARACTERS aren't varied. They are all just comic relief, which makes them seem bland overall.
OVERALL I liked this show, not to where I'll be recommending
it, but it made me laugh and I think a comedy shows goal is to make you laugh and this show accomplishes it's goal.
The action/comedy multi-genre is saturated with great shows and awful shows. The great shows are not only deliver brilliant action scenes through the quality of the technical aspects, they’re also hilarious and consistent with the comedy. The poor action/comedy shows either skimp on the quality of the art and sound involved or lack consistency in the comedy or both. Action/comedy shows are at their best when they’re funny or exciting but not when they drift off into needless drama.
Nanbaka falls between the two; it starts out great with an interesting premise and acceptable comedy. But it loses its focus along the way near the end
of the series and slowly becomes boring.
[Repeated prison escapists]
Nanbaka is an action/comedy anime series based off a web manga originally created by Futamata Shou and his influence glows throughout the show. It is directed by Takamatsu Shinji, who’s directed brilliant comedy series like Gintama and The Daily Lives of Highschool boys. The series is revolves around the daily antics of four inmates in the self-proclaimed, most formidable prison in the world. The inmates of the infamous ward 13, Juugo, Uno, Rock and Nico, often try to escape the prison’s walls and are always stopped in their tracks by the fearsome guard, Sugoroku Hajime. But Juugo is also on the lookout for the man who gave him his unremovable shackles and his colleagues question their motives for trying to escape the prison.
[An interesting premise abandoned]
Nanbaka begins as a ‘gag’ comedy with an interesting premise: the main characters frequently try to escape from the prison. In the first few episodes, we see them break through several high security gates only to be caught and beaten by the head guard, Hajime. The hilarious execution of this premise coupled with the diverse skill set of the inmates makes these episodes interesting to watch. The premise also leaves a lot of room for creativity; the prison could be viewed as a dungeon, for example. As thin as the plot was, it was replaced by a pointless intra-prison arc.
The intra-prison arc was not boring by any chance; it was even more exciting than the initial episodes though less creative. The event introduced most of the cast of the show and showcased the abilities of the inmates and guards alike. It was hilarious and full of explosive battles with fluid animation and lots of special effects. It was pointless but still fun to watch. Unfortunately, the show slides into a series of dramatic sketches following the last battle in the arc.
The last few episodes seemed like the opposite of the first episodes; they had direction but were boring. They just seemed to tick off all the common tropes for drama present in an action show; a self-deprecating main character who learns to lean on his friends. It wasn’t awful; it just wasn’t what was sold by the show at the start. Also, the drama would have been better had there been more characters involved.
[A diverse and wild cast]
Nanbaka has a large cast of characters from various nationalities. Some are declared in the show like Juugo’s British and American fellow inmates. Others are inferred from their design like the inmates of ward 5. With this comes a variety in the design; some inmates wear their prison clothes while others do not. Unfortunately, the personalities aren’t as diverse. Almost all the characters, inmates and guards alike are hyperactive and aggressive; most of the inmates have no motives at all. Only the main characters seem to want other things hang out in prison.
Juugo likes to break out of his cell, 13, for the fun of it; it’s later revealed that it’s the only skill he has. He’s also in search of the man who placed shackles on him but this only becomes a focus of the show much later. Uno is the self-proclaimed pretty boy of his cell; Rock is the muscle who likes to eat and Nico is playful and immune to drugs. That’s about all there is to them although they reveal other skills that only last the duration of the intra-prison event arc. The other characters of note are ward 13’s head guard, Hajime, who’s a workaholic and the warden who has a crush on Hajime. Fortunately, what Nanbaka lacks in characterization, it makes up for in its art and character design.
[Glitter, gloss and pretty boys]
The art style of Nanbaka is distinct and loud. The background and character art is sharp and colourful; the colours are bold and bright; the characters are drawn with prominent outlines. It’s artstyle is similar to that of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure but it’s recognizable for the tones of colour used. It’s uniqueness lies in its overall theme: femininity.
It’s difficult to miss the glitter that pervades the environment in the show. The characters glitter, the prison walls glitter, even the ocean that surrounds the prison glitters. In addition to the glitter is the gloss that’s also on everything, from hair to their clothing. The characters also tend to wear more jewellry than the average male and often have painted fingernails. Then there are characters that are effeminate in their appearance, voice and mannerisms. This art style, coupled with the jazzy themes, gives the show a 70s feel.
[Jazzy with a spice of rock]
The opening (Rin! Rin! Hi! Hi!) gives away the catchy jazz style that pervades the entire show. It’s a brilliant intro to the flamboyant show and one of the most memorable for me in the Fall season of 2016. Sadly, only Uno’s melody (a score that plays when he’s about to play a trick) comes close to being as memorable as the opening music. The rest of the scores are either gentle jazz tunes or generic rock music that’s designed for fight scenes in anime.
I wouldn’t say I enjoyed Nanbaka in its entirety as some of the episodes were a chore to watch, often because of the obvious drama. The comedy grows less hilarious past the halfway point; it even loses its most popular running gag. The show was mostly enjoyable for its first few episodes and its flamboyant art style. It did get its technical aspects right and would have been a much better show had it stayed on course.
Many have heard the old proverb, "If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one". By extension, the more rabbits one chases at once, the harder each is to catch. Nanbaka takes this a step further: it starts going after one rabbit, then gets distracted by a bird and later a fish. It unfortunately fails to catch any of them, but at least it looks cool trying.
At its core, Nanbaka is a zany, colourful gag comedy in a prison setting! ...Or is it an action shonen? No? A character drama? In practice, it frequently switches targets when it may have been wiser to
stick to one.
From the get-go, Nanbaka presents a fast-paced series of varied jokes, ranging from visual humour to ironic subversion to borderline non-sequitur. They weren't exactly original, and didn't get to me personally, but variety and quick pacing are handy tools for holding interest whenever a punchline doesn't quite hit the mark. At this point, I respected Nanbaka for what it was. It had a clear identity, and showed commitment to it.
However, the show quickly lost its focus from there. In my eyes, a lack of focus is one of the fastest ways to kill viewer interest, and often a sign of poor writing. Nanbaka soon falls into this trap; rather than continuing its gag comedy roots, it tries to take on multiple identities at once. As soon as the action and drama arrive, the pacing slows considerably and the jokes become less varied or frequent. This would be fine if the new elements meshed well, or were at least strong additions to the series, but instead, they just make things messier.
The action elements suffer from weak choreography. This is expounded on by mid-action cuts to narration by onlooking characters - an issue seen in many action anime. For once, Nanbaka could have made this trope work in its favour by filling the narration with its usual zany jokes. Alas, it's just the usual filler dialogue to stretch out the no-longer-action while explaining attacks that didn't really need to be explained and/or stating things that are obvious to the viewer.
Despite the action portion's weaknesses, the drama is where I find Nanbaka to be the least successful. At these points, the show suddenly takes on a more serious tone than the accompanying gag comedy and action. This results in a weird situation in which a viewer is simultaneously expected to take the show seriously while also not taking it seriously at all. It's not the tonal shifts that are the issue - rather, it's their frequency and the show's inability to sell them.
Furthermore, compelling drama requires compelling characters - something Nanbaka does not have. Most of them come down to one-dimensional quirks or hobbies and maybe the occasional simple backstory. They're too simple to be interesting on their own, and it makes investment difficult.
And this brings up what I believe to be Nanbaka's main weakness, and the source of nearly all its problems: it's characters. Even with its wildly differing subject matter, this show certainly wasn't doomed from the start. It simply lacked the tools needed to succeed. While there were several things that could have helped the show (improved action pacing and choreography, or a more memorable soundtrack to quickly and effectively shift tone), ultimately, I believe that characterization is the one key missing weapon it really needed to hit all its desired targets.
Stronger characters can create chemistry which helps to sell the comedy and elevate it from "gag" to "riot". In turn, these jokes can be a quick and effective way to show characterization. From there, these improved characters help to invest a viewer before the show switches to action, and when drama builds, the viewer will more readily buy into it. But without this depth of character, the act falls apart, undercut from its very foundations.
Despite all my criticisms of Nanbaka, one positive I can mention is the show's art. It has a unique, sparkly, insanely colourful style that immediately draws attention. I'll admit, this alone made it easier for me to sit through Nanbaka's weakest points. The style, however, is not nearly enough to carry the show on its own against its many weaknesses.
In the end, Nanbaka gets a tad too ambitious for its own good, and misses the fundamentals as a result. What could have been a notable series sadly ends up as a disorganized, zig-zagging mess, with no clear identity beyond its visual style.
- FINAL SCORES -
* Critical quality (includes story, characters, presentation, etc): 2.5/10 - Plagued with numerous crucial issues that hindered the show's success, but is slightly redeemed by its art.
* Memorability: 3/10 - While Nanbaka's style sticks out, the complete lack of notable or unique substance and disorganized handling of its content makes it unlikely to be remembered in 6 months.
* Enjoyment: 3/10 - In addition to Nanbaka's comedy not being my cup of tea, its lack of focus or characterization made this a chore to watch. Only the colours kept me from dropping it.
* Overall: 3/10 - Of the Fall 2016 shows I watched, this was my least favourite for all the reasons described above, and I can't recommend it. It wears itself out quickly, and when it does manage to catch a rabbit, it's not a particularly tasty one.
If you want to try watching something different from what you usually watch, then this anime is perfect for you. I would recommend this anime to you 1000%
~Spoiler Alert~ (Not much tho)
~Read at your own Risk~
Story(8)- It's about 4 guys who break out of prison with their special abilities and their desires. But after they find the things they desire for, they stop breaking out of prison and stay in the prison, because it provides them with the things they want (not all of them).It mostly focuses on Juugo (MC), who doesn't have something that he wants.
Art(10)- I cannot explain how amazing
the characters and backgrounds are drawn. (The sparkles are everywhere) The prison is very beautifully drawn/ designed. The art in this anime matches perfectly with the situation. It's bright, vivid, colorful and stands out the most. The art is really different from the other anime we see. (THE CHIBI VERSION OF THEM- ITS TOO CUTE!!!)
Sound(10)- The characters sound really hot and the opening song and ending songs are very catchy. (I usually skip the opening songs but the opening song in this anime is so catchy and good that I don't skip it)
Character(9)- Some of the characters are really weird but that's what good about it. The character are very recognizable because of their unique features. (Big hairs, huge body, strange scares or strange spots.)
Enjoyment(10)- This anime will cheer you up no matter how sad you are. (It worked for me C:) It also gives a message like "It doesn't matter how skilled you are with a lack of desire."
Overall(9)- I would give 9/10 overall because I really like how its funny but serious. The story is gives a mysterious yet joyful vibe which is very unexpected. What I am trying to say is that, this anime is very different from the Anime that we all usually watch.
This anime, for me, is the epitome of the 'well you had us in the first half' meme.
The tonal shift in the 6th episode gave me whiplash and made me feel like I had all of a sudden started watching a different anime.
At its best Nanbaka is a fun show about a group of lovable morons. The group dynamic was so fun to see and made me love all of the characters. At its worst it casts aside all of that for a much darker and more serious action type anime and in doing so loses all charm from the characters and any
attachment I had to them.
Pretty good anime, at least good enough to watch without feeling bored. There were a few laughs to be had here and there. I like most of the characters, although I pretty much hate hajime the guard, that bastard can go and die somewhere. I also dislike the female boss, she just can't stop being lovestruck all the time and it pisses me off, especially since I hate the one she likes.
The story is so-so, kinda average, nothing special at all. The art is pretty nice, I like the style although the colors feels a bit too flamboyant. The sound is great, well, at least
the opening song, I was really fond of that one. The characters are nice in some ways, at the very least they feel kinda unique, but I feel like too much effort was put into making them too extreme, the author should learn some moderation, medicine in great quantities becomes poison, that concept applies to pretty much everything in this world. Too much is never a good idea(well, at least in normal circumstances). Overall, my enjoyment was pretty nice for most of the anime.
What annoyed me the most here is that the author chose to screw up big time because he wants to put serious stuff and drama into the anime. It just DIDN'T work at all, it ruined the entire anime. Maybe I should've lowered my score even more, giving it a 7/10 is very generous considering the huge flaws. This show was never meant to be serious, at least it shouldn't have. The only good part is the comedy and interaction between the characters, but the decision to put drama, tragedy and whatever else into it as well and drag it out for WAY too long was a horrible one, utterly horrible. The real tragedy here is that they felt it was a good idea and thus murdered a show that could've been so much better.
This is especially the case since I couldn't care less about these characters, I'm used to extreme tragedies after reading certain stuff and this shit can't even make me feel anything at all. If I wanted drama and tragedy, I wouldn't watch a screwed up anime like this. I would watch a proper serious anime or read a manga or novel like that. Putting stuff like that into a f*cked up anime like that? Come on. That's like putting a bloody beef into your sweet, creamy cake. Who would want to eat that crap then? It's incompatible, it's either one or the other. Changing styles suddenly is just bullsh*t and always ruins things. Not saying comedy and tragedy/drama is always incompatible, but when it's done like this, it indeed is.
I saw that a lot of people say the second season is way worse and reduces the comedy a lot, well, I'll try to watch it and see if that's truly the case. If it is, I guess it's best to drop it fast because it's not worth watching. Well, to be fair, I guess that the manga version might actually be better. The serious parrts would be over quite quickly since you can speed read easily 10+ chapters in the time you watch one episode.
Nanbaka is a prison comedy series. The manga was originally written by Futamata Shou. In late 2016, Satelight began airing an anime adaptation. You may remember them as the studio behind Heat Guy J & Sousei no Aquarion. So, how does this one compare to their other works I've reviewed? Let's take a gander.
Nanba is, supposedly, the world's most formidable prison. With the toughest guards, the most inescapable perimeter, the sparkliest design and the finest dining and recreation services. We follow four prisoners, Juugo, Uno, Rock & Nico, who have escaped from prisons all over the world as they go about their lives and
make trouble for the guards. Insert shenanigans here.
The biggest issue with this series is that it attempts to blend zany, really over the top comedy, with some more serious back stories and an underlying plot about a certain character having serious enemies who may well pose a threat. This results in a pretty significant case of tonal clash. Then we have the humour itself. Honestly, it doesn't work a lot of the time. A lot of it is based around the characters being stupid or something over the top and random happening. I've talked about this before with a different less than good comedy, but randomness isn't funny. A good zany, absurd comedy will have some internal logic that will be largely consistent, being bent on rare occasions for a jape. Pure randomness is what you get when an eight year old tries to make up a joke. “So, a guy walks into a pub and asks the bartender for a pint. The bartender says, 'I can't serve you. I'm a cockatoo.' And the guy looks up and notices that he is.” And it's not funny but you give them a pity chuckle because they're eight. Problem is, this was written by an adult who should know better.
That being said, some of the goofs based around characters acting like idiots are pretty funny. There are times when those get executed well. I'll give it credit on that, it does have some funny bits.
The major inmates in this series can all be described very simply. They have a tragic back story and very little personality. Now, I have maintained that a comedy doesn't need deep, complex characters. It needs characters with strong dynamics who can play off of one another really well to deliver the laughter. However, the whole tragic back stories element and the more serious stuff the series tries to do arguably makes this a series that should have more complex characters. Even putting that aside, the character dynamics are pretty underwhelming and don't generally lead to good comedic moments. A lot of the side characters suffer from one joke syndrome. Take the Warden. Her joke is that she has a crush on Hajime, the guard in charge of our protagonists, and people misinterpret her intense gazes.
The art isn't very good, to put it nicely. While I will give it credit for having unique character designs, the backgrounds are pretty lazy. Additionally, Satelight made the perplexing decision to put everything in sparkle vision. I'm not kidding, the entire bloody anime is sparkly. Now, here's the thing. Sparkle vision can work when used in certain circumstances for comedic effect. Fullmetal Alchemist is a great example. However, putting everything in constant sparkle vision doesn't have any comedic effect. Instead, it just hurts your eyes.
The cast in this is perfectly passable. I can't call them brilliant in this, or even good, but it's also one of those series where the acting can't make up for the lack of characterisation. The music was handled by Fujisawa Kenji and it's all right. Which may actually make it the strongest element of the series.
There's a bit. We have the gay stereotype character voiced by Kimeru. Juugo also mentions liking both guys and girls, and there are reasons to believe he was serious.
Nanbaka is a pretty weak comedy. It suffers from tonal problems, humour that falls flat more often than not, constant sparkle vision and dull characters. That being said, it does have its funny moments and I can't really say it was bad. If you're a fan of randomness and comedy stemming from characters being morons, you might enjoy it. For me, the final rating is going to be a 4/10. Next week I'll look at Osomatsu-san, which will hopefully be a better class of comedy.
To be blunt, Nanbaka was boring, lacking in plot, had boring characters, and wasn't funny. Lets start with the story: there are some convicts who are good at escaping from jail so they put them in a maximum security prison (all together of course, so that they can work as a team to escape whenever they want to). This idea has potential and if taken seriously it could have been worked into a great psychological thriller, so of course they did the exact opposite when making this show. It's so bright and colorful that there were moments where i thought I was on a bad
acid trip and was about as serious as the chances of a childhood friend in a rom-com, that is to say, not serious in the slightest. The art didn't want to make me actively bleach my eyes though so that's a plus. The songs were possibly the most vanilla songs I have ever heard in my life. In all honesty I was hoping that the characters would somehow die so that the series could end, I felt not an ounce of emotion for them. It was a mad dash to the third episode with this one watching it at 2 times speed so that it would be over faster. Overall, this anime was just a mess. Its like if Grand Blue wasn't funny at all, so essentially just a big heaping pile of nothing.
If there's one thing about anime that I usually avoid, it's either slice of life or more spontaneous gag anime. The latter being the definition of this anime. I originally decided to watch it cause the character designs were interesting and as an aspiring character designer, I decided that I would give it a go and see what this show was really about.
Since this is a gag anime, usually the story isn't very serious or just has a basic scenario. However, similar to Katekyo Hitman Reborn ( originally a gag manga/anime that turned shounen after 20 eps), the story takes much darker turns here
and there, but never fully explores the darker parts of the story, as it always returns to the lighthearted comedy at some point. There are many questions left in the more dark parts of the story, so therefore the score is reasonable until S2.
First thing I would say is that the character designs in this show are rather unique. Each character is distinct, outrageous and has their own personalities, which fits the show well. The downfall of this however, is that only the main 4 plus random side characters got actual plot stories plus some character development. So there's that. My main problem was the random side characters that got development even though they served no purpose to the main story
First of all, this anime is BRIGHT. Flashy colors, and literally, sparkles EVERYWHERE. it fits the atmosphere perfectly, as the comedy is just as outrageous as the colors of the animation. In the darker parts of the show, the colors still maintain some brightness, but are slightly muted. My only slight problem is that there were sparkles in the serious parts of the show, which kinda ruined the atmosphere of the scene. The music is only really noticeable during the serious parts, with some nice opera in the background. It does its job. The OP is definitely a favorite though.
I actually enjoyed this show, and managed to binge watch all the episodes because I loved the outrageousness of it all. Despite the flaws it's still a nice show to watch for the comedy and the outrageousness of the characters. If you want some feel-good/crazy comedy, this is for you
If you came here looking for an immensely meaningful plot that will make you see the world in a completely different way and make you wonder what the purpose of life is, then I'm terribly sorry... you came to the wrong place. Though, if you came here for a short show that will keep you entertained on times when you purely want to watch something simple, but just aren't into those moe-blobs or harem shows, then... nope, not that one either.
Nanbaka offers you the typical gag-anime humor consisting of popular shounen anime "special move" exclamations and pointless comical moments in the middle of serious fights,
but then there is some drama that makes the show seem as it were trying to make the plot deeper, thus make it look like it doesn't know what kind of series it actually wants to be.
The story is nothing special. Four young criminals with unpleasant pasts, known for always breaking out of every prison they're transferred to, end up in the world's most intimidating prison, where the story is set. That's pretty much the baseline, and while it wasn't that bad at all, the needless drama kicked in, and it ruined everything. Pointless overexaggerating drama, even though it could've stayed a fun and lighthearted series without any drama whatsoever.
The art is very nice and detailed, which I like a lot. Every single thing on a character, no matter how big or small, has a slight gradiation which makes the art look significantly more detailed. The animation seems pretty solid, as well. The colours are very bright and vivid; just what feels best for an action anime series. On the other hand, we always have those flashy stars around the character that seem kind of pointless. Also, all of the characters have these colourful characteristics, be it hair, eyes, clothes, or all of those together, and while it suits the carefree comedic side it had in the beginning, it quickly gives off the opposing effect when it has its identity crisis. Simply makes it look like a few rainbows fighting to death. Lovely.
When it comes to sound, I didn't really notice anything astonishing during the actual show, but I do like the opening considerably. I might also add that the voices suit each character fairly well.
The characters might be a little cliché at times, but overall they're aren't that bad... that is before it goes up the hill with the drama and they become impossible to relate to, or even just enjoy.
Now, there are still quite a few flaws in this anime, so let me just mention those right now.
For starters, the show is about 5 different individuals, the four inmates and their guard, so why is it that an episode ends with an intriguing cliffhanger and continues with an entire episode about the backstory of a character who barely even has any screen-time? In that case, a mere filler about just one of the main characters would've been a lot more entertaining. Generally, the show often gives off this rushed feeling, as if they tried developing the story at the last second. Which leads to my next point, what we've all been waiting for: The identity crisis. Typically, an action gag-anime has a lot of humor during fights and such moments, with slight drama here and there to add some spice, but here there's a supposedly serious fight, random humor all over the scene, and then suddenly everyone gets depressing. The anime proclaimed that it's a gag-anime during the show. It seems as though it just can't pick its mind on what it wants to be, a serious action drama show, or a comedic gag-anime. My guess is that it tries to be both, serious and funny, and balance that like other shows do, but it just seems to fail miserably. In my opinion, it would have been highly enjoyable without any drama, if it simply stayed the way it was in the first few episodes.
The only audience I could imagine Nanbaka for, the way it ended up, is the audience that has just watched a few mainstream shows, and doesn't really care about that story. The audience who just wants some action, which action is kind of unappealing, as well, because it barely has any.
Have you ever wondered what's a prison feels like? How about a happy prisoners trying to escape a prison? Sounds unrealistic right? Well, of course!!! This anime tells us that situation. It has a happy go lucky vibe like Beelzebub and Assassination Classroom while you are watching this. This kinda reminded me of the Impel Down Arc of One Piece while watching the first episode.
The comedy is very funny. Been laughing so hard. The art is amazing where it comes to the point that you can't tell a boy from a girl based from their appearance. The anime is action-packed and very entertaining to watch.
The prisoners are funny as hell. The guards are badass, funny and powerful. You cannot predict what will happen next unless you will predict in your mind.
Having seen both Seasons 1 and 2, all I can say this is a gold comedy and a very entertaining anime. Lots of parodies here. A MUST-WATCH if you want a good time. Not convinced? There's a hidden dark story here as you go further.
It's difficult to make a comedy series, mainly because sense of humor is subjective. Nanbaka's comedy was barely noticeable, and even if it was there, it wasn't really funny. But personally, the action and drama parts were better written than the comedy.
The story is mainly as the synopsis says. There's no story progression as such, and there's just a tournament arc filled with games at the beginning, mostly games where comedy can be introduced in. The action part was also mixed in there, the fights were well done, and the flashy artstyle did not interfere. The comedy part was mainly in the first half of
the series, with some decent jokes, did not make me cringe, made me grin twice overall, was fairly enjoyable, so I'll take it; it was above average. The second half introduces character backstories, but they were really interesting to see. Tsukumo with his road to discover himself, Juugo and Musashi's story concerning the shackles, and how Juugo united the prisoners of Cell 13. The comedy became secondary here, but the backstories were more interesting than the comedy, so I did not have much complaints. Overall, a solid story.
The artstyle is seen to be flashy from the wallpaper itself, which is a feature of this anime. It looked good but it was excessive, even though I can understand that the manga used this style too, so props to Satelight for duplicating it and enhancing the character designs. Soundtracks were noticeable too and fit the scenarios, but I wouldn't call them memorable.
I really liked the chemistry between the characters, and Hajime was a badass and Seki Tomokazu just made him look even cooler. Juugo was the most explored character, the others needed more focus but they were supportive of each other and that was nice to see. Even Musashi is great to see as he rebels against the person who ruined his life.
All in all, I would recommend Nanbaka, but not really for its comedy, unless I'm just not the type to watch this kind of comedy, since others seem to laugh at this.
I started this series off thinking it was just going to be a simple prison comedy and BOY WAS I WONG.
Yes, this is a prison comedy but there are times in this series were the mood completely changes. It will be loud bouncy and funny one second then turn to an intense or dramatic scene the next. I was sometimes confused whether I was watching a comedy or a drama because it would break from comedy to have these large emotional dramatic scenes and then go back to its normal bouncy comedy. Also, I sometimes hated the pacing because sometimes it was way too
fast, to the point where I needed to pause just to comprehend what happened and other times where the pacing was way too slow and I wanted to bang my head against my keyboard. overall I give the story a 6 because I did enjoy the story but hated the pacing and sudden mood changes.
I really did enjoy the art of this show. The loud bright colors and how practically everything sparkled. I thought the art style played really well into the show's comedy aspects and when they dulled the colors down for the show's drama aspects. the art wasn't breathtakingly beautiful but it was fun and enjoyable perfect for the show.
I loved the characters of this show. I believe Nanbakas strongest attribute is the characters of the show. All the characters are enjoyable and each has their own interesting personality and goal.
Nanbaka is an action dramady that definitely excels at the comedy aspect, but failed to impress me with its more serious plot-building episodes; which seem to outnumber the mostly or strictly comedic ones. I was just in it for the laughs, but it got totally serious after the tournament arc, after which it dove head-first into hidden dark sides and tragic backstories galore. These were never BAD by any means, just kind of mediocre. This being the case, it was never so dull as to make it difficult for me to finish watching an episode, or several in a row.
Let me start off with this statement: This anime is quite literally one of THE most under-rated ones I've watched, it clearly does not get enough praise as it should have in my opinion.
The plot-line initially starts off as a comedic, non-serious, over-the-top anime series that's lighthearted and is simple overall. But what I didn't expect was how it so easily shifted from a comedic standpoint to a full-on serious, shounen-esk type of genre with actual high stakes without much effort. Not to mention, the serious story plot-points are actually really good in my opinion and it has a rather unique level of backstory for
each character and even has a few wholesome moments in them too.
Character development is clearly there in terms for the protagonist and also the supporting cast. Like Rock for example, he was able to make amends with someone who's deemed to be his enemy/rival just by conveying his love for food and how it's changed him as a man. You don't get that type of wholesome moment in most anime nowadays.
I simply can't praise this anime enough, not once did I ever feel bored after episodes: 3 - 13. If you have not watched this anime then I highly recommend it.
TL;DR Nanbaka is an anime where it's about hardship and bonds built in a society that's known to be brutal and with sprinkles of wholesome moments and quite a bit of serious moments and questioning of one's self-motives and aspirations.
Again, I must say that I highly recommend this anime.
In a world where people are born with nail polish...
Nanbaka is a complete mess. First it starts as a slice-of-life comedy, then it shifts to action shounen, then to drama, then back to comedy and eventually back to drama. I have no idea what the creators were trying to do, but it sure as hell wasn't entertaining the least bit. The main story (if you wanna call it that) is shortly mentioned early on, then forgotten for a good while, then brought back again all of a sudden. Maybe the episode writers should've talked to each other at some point.
The character design is a disaster.
These guys are so flamboyant and feminine that it's ridiculous. And everything sparkles. Everything! This is what hell for the homophobic must look like. Animation is solid, the backgrounds look good, but I can't take my eyes off of these ladyboys.
The voice acting is good. Especially the chief warden sounds good, with her dual personality. Opening and ending were not very good however, especially the ending was more annoying than anything.
Most of them are incredibly boring. The chief warden and her assistant are somewhat funny, Hajime is also pretty cool. But that's about it. Especially the main characters feel very empty.
You may have noticed that this review is pretty short, especially compared to my other recent ones. But there simply isn't much more for me to say about Nanbaka. It was boring most of the time, the storytelling was incoherent and most of the cast was completely uninteresting. It's not even been a week since I finished this anime and I have already forgotten most of it. If you ever feel the need to completely waste your time, feel free to give Nanbaka a shot.
Hey folks, this will be a review for Nanbaka. I have mixed feelings about this show as a whole. The overall premise and layout was fun and enjoyable to watch. However the dramatic events that arise are really not that deep or extraordinary as some reviews have mentioned. Its those "deep" moments in the later part of the show that really kill the entire thing for me.
The story revolves around 4 prisoners in the most secure and top secret prison in the world. These four prisoners are well known for escaping prisons, Juugo especially. What seems to start off as a comedy show about escaping,
and or making a home in this oddly comfortable super prison turns into a odd mix of mini stories. Each prisoner has some sort of semi tragic back story. However the main focus turns to Juugo as we discover a odd tangle of things involving modifications, super advanced technology, fantasy like super villains...etc.
The art is strange but very colorful and fun. The soundtrack was enjoyable to listen to as well.
The characters were a great mix. Juugo, the main character is only good at breaking out of prison. Nico is the otaku character who has the ability to steal peoples moves by observing them. Uno is the woman lover who is exceptional at cheating and has amazing intuition. Rock is the brawny guy who loves to fight, but more than anything loves food. Its a ragtag bunch and the first few episodes you watch as they attempt to escape, pick on the guards and make friends.
Most of the characters are important and have their own back story. However most of the show revolves around the four prisoners.
I enjoyed this show a good amount for the first half or so. It felt like a silly romp in an insane prison. However they derail that for some cheesy drama. The good news is the cheesy drama gets replaced with drama so game changing you are left thinking "Wasn't this a show about 4 jail breakers trying to escape the worlds most impressive prison". The deep moments everyone is yammering on about is nothing more than friendship, finding a home, and "tragic pasts"...the usual stuff. The friendship and finding a home elements get destroyed along side the comedy. The tragic pasts are poorly written drama fodder.
This show was like a small get together with a handful of friends. Its enjoyable, things are going alright, your having fun but you wouldn't mind being somewhere else. Then all of a sudden the person who had two mikes hard lemonades drunkenly stands up and begins spilling everyone's secrets. After a few well chosen swear words and some shouting they begin pissing on all of the snacks. They didn't spill any of your secrets so your not angry, but you had been eyeing that chocolate cake all evening. You wanted it, but it was clearly the last piece and you didn't want to be that guy. Now its being pissed on and the only thing you can think is "damn, I really wanted that cake". You look around to see how everyone else feels about the cake being ruined and they are all cheering him on. You look back at the cake confused and somewhat sad before you leave out into the world where you will find another cake or perhaps some Wendy's.
TLDR: Decent start, poor and shallow ending(cliffhanger). Art and soundtrack pretty good.
This was one of those weird anime. The first episode did a really good job of grabbing you into the show, and I say is probably one of it's better episodes. Is it a masterpiece? No. Can it be entertaining? Yes.
Is this a comedy anime?
Yes, but it gets turned into an action comedy anime in it's out of place tournament arc.
Also, be sure to take a shower, as fter watching this, you might have some glitter on you, because EVERYONE'S SPARKLING!
Side note, if there is no sparkles, it's no longer a comedy anime F.Y.I.
I first watched Nanbaka due to having been nagged into doing so by my younger sister, who loved the series. After finishing it and reading a good portion of the manga, I can say with confidence that I am very glad I finished it - in fact, it's by far one of my favourite anime. So why only a six? I do try to be honest with my reviews so, despite how much I enjoyed the show, I am well aware of its flaws and I can understand why they might ruin the viewer's enjoyment slightly. With that being said, I'll try my best to
write a spoiler-free review with as little bias as possible.
"Colourful, sparkly inmates have fun trying to escape from an equally colourful, sparkly prison. Shenanigans ensue"; - Thomas Sanders, Real or Fake Anime?
Set in a prison, I went in to Nanbaka expecting to find an emotional and thought-provoking story detailing the inmates' journey to rehabilitation and redemption. I quickly realised that I was wrong, though I should probably have known better given that the genre is "action comedy". The story features four particular inmates in their day-to-day life in a particularly high-security prison, where their antics make for, in my own opinion, some excellent comedy. In many episodes I was laughing the whole way through, so I can safely say they succeeded in the comedy element. However, the plot switched from comedic and lighthearted to morbid and intense back to lighthearted again very quickly to the point where the self-aware narrator has to remind the audience that they're watching a comedy. While this didn't bother me too much, I can see why it would others and make the plot difficult to follow. (The manga in particular got rather confusing for me - I had to keep going back and re-reading sections.) While comedy seems to be the main focus there is a small theme of redemption running throughout the show.
STORY - 7/10
Remember the adjectives "colourful" and "sparkly"? Yeah, that's about it. Each character is designed with extravagant hairstyles and colour palettes, and the backgrounds are particularly bright and somewhat eye-bleeding. While this can enhance the comedy acts, the sparkles can take away from the seriousness of certain fight scenes and the bright backgrounds and colourful characters are somewhat inappropriate for the setting of a formidable prison. However, it's certainly fun to draw if nothing else.
First of all, I loved the opening theme. I preferred the one in the first season to the second due to them being performed by different artists, but both where satisfyingly catchy which made it hard to skip. Another aspect of sound I noticed was the way it changed in the mid-point screen depending on how intense the episode was, which certainly had the right effect. In terms of soundtrack, while I wouldn't listen to it independently it did enhance certain fight scenes and drama, even if it wasn't particularity memorable.
Colourful sparkliness aside, I loved the characters. Many reviewers have commented on them being two-dimensional at times and I do get that (like I said, I'm really not biased), but I love them nonetheless. They all have prominent, unique traits that caused them to be comedic and memorable to me - the phrase "precious cinnamon roll" comes to mind when describing a good 90% of them, though in various different ways. Small amounts of character development is present, though the manga goes into a lot more depth with them. An important thing to note is that they are all morally grey, with convicted criminals who show kindness and friendliness and professional guards who commit questionable acts at times. (Course, it could just be me as a character development lover overthinking things but let's not go there.) Character development potential is visible, but not explored as well as it could be which mildly frustrates me. There's also diversity among the cast, with characters from various nations such as the protagonist Jyguo's British and American cellmates, though their nationalities don't come across in their voice acting.
This is where I'm gonna stop being non-biased. There wasn't a single bit of the anime I didn't enjoy, so this section is getting a solid ten regardless of the show's evident shortcomings and other people's opinions.
+ Good comedy & interesting themes
- Switches between funny and dark very frequently, sometimes resulting in a hard-to-follow plot
+ Colourful and sparkly; enhanced comedic situations
- Colourful and sparkly; distracted from dramatic situations
+ Catchy opening theme and appropriate soundtrack
- I honestly didn't find the soundtrack all that memorable, with the exception of ONE PIECE THAT I CAN'T FIND ANYWHERE
+ Interesting, individual traits that make them memorable
- Could easily be considered underdeveloped to an untrained mind