I've been actively immersed in eroge, ero-manga, ero-anime etc for probably around ten years now. In that time, I've tried to get a peek at every ero-anime I could come by (too many eroge and ero-manga to keep up with for my taste). In my opinion, ero-anime really took off quality-wise around the 90's, like La Blue Girl, New Angel and Words Worth, and then sort of tapered off when one episode or two episode ero-anime series became the norm. Of course, there have been one/two episode series that I enjoy, mostly because of their unique character designs, like Foxy Nudes, Lover-in-Law and The Two Facials of Eve.
Ever since Dark Love came out, I've been a huge Teruaki Murakami fan. I'd seen some of his earlier works before, but the hardcore animation and scenes in Dark Love was a big revelation to me.
As far as Prison Battleship goes, I've briefly played the Lilith eroge.
Art & Animation
All right, finally the review! You've probably already gleaned from above that I consider art/animation the most important aspect of ero-anime. If I had to specifically choose, I'd say animation is a little more important than art.
The color scheme stays true to the game. Everything is gray (Yes, I'm American), purple and blue. There are some scenes that are almost entirely green and in shades of black, but it helps to separate it out of all the depravity. There's not much variety here, but that just means animation is even more noticeable. Backgrounds are appropriate for space and onboard a ship.
Some CG work is incorporated, mostly for the ship and mechanical designs, but it's in no way a major selling point.
The lighting is subdued, more so than the original game, and Teruaki Murakami uses a technique of panning the camera around while going in and out of focus (think of other Murakami series like Night Shift Nurses: Ren Nanase and Taimanin Asagi). After a while I barely noticed it, but I think it helps create a sense of insanity and disorientation.
Character designs take on a Murakami twist. They are interestingly shaded and there is some nice contrast. Because of the uniforms that the crewmen wear, sometimes it's hard to tell who is talking, but those characters play minor roles and it doesn't take away from the series. Everyone generally looks like the characters from the Lilith game, but sometimes the camera angles create weird proportional issues. For instance, the female characters' thighs will look too big or the face will look too wide. This was most noticeable in scenes where there was more talking than action. If you've seen any other recent Murakami series, you'll know that these characters are Murakami's.
The OP animation is cryptic and colorful. When you first see it, you're probably not sure how the series will go. There's not much animation here, and it's probably where you will see the most CG in the whole series.
Animation in the main part is fluid, fast and intense. You can see the ripples in the skin when the characters are being violated, a somewhat rare occurrence in ero-anime. Some might think that it's too fast, but I like that it's so crazy compared to other ero-anime. If you're familiar with any other Murakami series, you'll know this is a normal thing and almost to be expected. Sometimes there are discrepancies. Like in one scene a female character might be near a bed, but immediately the scene cuts and there's not a bed to be found. I didn't notice this until after a bunch of views.
As for ejaculation, I think Murakami has always been a leader in ero-anime with fluid and smooth money shots. They are also well drawn, and you can see the depth and dimension of the semen. It's not just completely white. However, they are a little different in Prison Battleship compared to his other series, where it was depicted as more of string cheese or Easy Cheese. Imagine you take the egg whites from a dozen eggs, stuff it into a bazooka and fire it. That's the cumshot, and there are a lot of them in this series. In fact, Lilith/Pixy initially advertised on their site the manifestation of the next-generation "Zaa-Jiru 1.5 System," roughly translated to "Cum-Juice 1.5 System." It would be nice if there is more continuity with fluids on characters from scene to scene to see the "damage," but that's a minor complaint.
Art & Animation: 10
The major characters are well portrayed. They all have unique voices and depict their character types well in both non-sexual and sexual scenes. You can tell how much of a change the female characters are undergoing throughout the series and how stressed they are just from their voices.
Sound effects are appropriate in sex scenes and do not detract from the animation. There are also nice sounds for stuff related to the ship, weapons etc.
There's also an opening song (Ai no Idia), which is rare for ero-anime. The lyrics seem like every other song I've heard, and I don't factor it much into the value of a song in anime. The vocals are clear and the beat is uplifting. The whole song doesn't particularly strike me as exceptional, but it isn't jarring and gives the show a little more production value.
There are two parts here: the background story leading up to the ero-anime and what takes part during the actual series.
The back story is pretty interesting since I'm a sucker for sci-fi type stuff: colonies in the future, galactic wars, political intrigue, bringing evildoers to justice etc. I think I'd be interested even if this wasn't ero-anime.
What happens during the actual Prison Battleship episodes is pretty much just every evil letch's wet dream: turn your pain-in-the-backside heroines into your sex slaves. The twist of using hypnosis is sort of interesting, but I'm not impressed.
The series didn't pretend it had much of a story, so I didn't mind it as much. Little plot developments come along just to keep the action fresh.
Story-wise and progression-wise, Prison Battleship does stay true to the original eroge. It even has two endings to sort of give it that eroge feel.
There are three main characters here, and the rest are really just window dressing. There's the male lead looking for revenge and the two females that are trying to ruin everything.
For the most part, I think the female characters are believable, and it really adds to the eroticism of sex scenes. This is also where the hypnosis twist helps, since the heroines' personalities are being changed. Without the hypnosis, I might be more inclined to think that the females are just weak.
The only complaint I have is that the male lead is too one-dimensional. There's really nothing to like about the guy. However, since he's so villainous, it makes the abuse of the females seem more believable.
Great sex scenes, varied scenes, different kinds of fetishes, an ero-anime that takes place in space and a series that Teruaki Murakami directed are just some reasons why Prison Battleship has great value. Buy it, rewatch it and recommend it to others!
But since it's an ero-anime, it probably has a little lower value than I would like.
I really like this series. If you've stuck through this whole review, you know how much of a Teruaki Murakami fan I am. I bought the whole four episodes on DVD and also almost all the digital versions. I probably will also get the box set when it comes out just to see more Teruaki Murakami bonus features.
I only wish there were more scenes! I'm immensely looking forward to the next ero-anime Murakami does. He better not retire yet.
If you like Teruaki Murakami, you'll probably also like this series. If you don't like Murakami, you're probably not going to enjoy this.
If you've never seen any of Murakami's stuff, I'd recommend going through the different series he's worked on just to see how he has progressed; starting with Sins of the Flesh, MeiKing, The Blackmail: Tomorrow Never Ends, Endless Serenade, Girl Next Door, Inmu 2: Flesh Dreams, Punishment, Ail Maniax, Princess 69, Seifuku Shojo The Animation, The Duchess of Busty Mounds, Dark Love, Night Shift Nurses: Ren Nanase, Night Shift Nurses: Kazama Mana, Night Shift Nurses: Yagami Yu and Taimanin Asagi. At any rate, it would be an interesting "history" lesson in ero-anime.