First Look: Nanbaka


Manga Adaptation by Satelight
Streaming on Crunchyroll


Inside the highest security prison in all existence, four inmates continually attempt to escape and also talk about stuff that gets censored.

Artemis’ verdict: Dumb, Dirty Fun

I suspect that pretty much everyone going into this show will have already figured out whether they’ll like it or not. From beginning to end it’s dumb fun with no pretensions of anything else. That’s basically been director Shinji Takamatsu’s shtick over the past few years – Daily Lives of High School Boys, Cute High Earth Defense Club Love!, and Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto type fare. I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of the guy, especially since I took a major disliking to that most recent title, but he’s certainly had enough practice at the whole wacky comedy thing now to know exactly what he’s about.

So far, Nanbaka feels a bit like an adult-orientated anime version of Looney Tunes: aggressively colourful, fairly pointless, and dirty in all the right places. I admit I’m going to watch a second episode mostly just because I’m curious as to how the show’s going to keep itself fresh. The self-censorship and fourth wall breaking wasn’t especially clever or original, but it was amusing enough, as was the earlier half of the episode featuring our protagonists (I wonder if we’ll ever find out what they did to deserve their prison sentence?) navigating a bunch of utterly ridiculous booby traps. However, that kind of material can only be recycled for so long before tedium sets in, so I’ll be interested to see what else, if anything, Nanbaka has up its sleeve.


Jel’s verdict: Waiting to Break Out

Whether it’s the colorful characters, the absurd premise, or the irreverent sense of humor, I am pretty much on board with most of what Nanbaka is trying to do. The action packed first half of the episode was a good way to introduce the cast and their abilities without boring us, and it actually made the slower small skits in the second half feel like a welcome breather. As Artemis noted, it’s hard to say whether this will be good or not as it seems like they played their hand with the prison break angle already. What else do they have in store for us? Could be good, could be bad, but at least there seems to be enough potential to check out another episode. Really my only concerns were the serious turn of events at the end and the fact that the jokes could have been a little bit funnier, but should the whole shackles thing turn out to be an elaborate joke in itself (it totally could) that alone might sell me on Nanbaka.

One thought on “First Look: Nanbaka

  1. A very unusual movie that some love for the same reasons that others hate. Even though I really enjoyed it, I would have to know very well the other person before recommend this film.

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