Nanbaka – 01 (First Impressions)


What is it: A super-sparkly, hyperactive action comedy focusing on a quirky quartet of inmates of the famously impossible-to-break-out-of Nanba Prison, Block 13: Ryugo (15), Uno (11), Nico (25) and Roku (69). They attempt to escape several times a day, but also seem to be fine simply living out their days at Nanba (except Ryugo, who wants to find the man who placed “black shackles” on him.


Why You Should Watch: I hate to say it starts off slow, because things move at breakneck speed from the beginning. I guess it’s more accurate to say it takes a while to start laughing at the rapid-fire jokes and physical comedy of the brightly-colored characters and their just-competent-enough corrections officers.

But once I did, I fed off of Nanbaka’s frenetic, bodacious energy and its diverse comedy, which often goes right where I think it will (i.e. the cross-dressing brother) and sometimes goes to hilariously unexpected places (Nico turning guard hounds into lapdogs).


Why You May Not Want To Watch: This can’t match the drabness or manic  darkness of Rainbow or Deadman Wonderland nor the debauchery or even over-the-topness of Prison School. It’s a straight-up comedy with some action sprinkled in, and its one attempt to get deep (with Ryugo’s story) ain’t exactly Lars von Trier. The sole female character is the vaunted Warden who contributes nothing to the comedy. And what the hell is up with all the SPARKLING?!?!


The Verdict: Nanbaka provides occasionally clever or weird comedy, but is usually just slight, self-aware, stupid fun. I thought the four inmates would be annoying at first, but they grew on me fast. And if it keeps showing up on Tuesdays, I may well have time to follow it. If I don’t, maybe Franklin will.


Author: sesameacrylic

Zane Kalish is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

4 thoughts on “Nanbaka – 01 (First Impressions)”

      1. I didn’t find Working that funny?

        All Out!! was reasonably funny. It’s funny / weird and Sports though?

        Cheat Craft is visually funny now, but the first episode barely features the season’s characters. So who knows

        To Be Hero is much funnier, weirder and medium format that doesn’t feel like it’s trying too hard.

      2. Working is comfort food.

        I can rarely do sports shows. Tried a season of Free!, it was nice, and Chihayafuru was a very obscure sport (karuta).

        I may check out Cheat Craft or To Be Hero.

        I’m hoping Fune no Amu doesn’t disappoint. I’m hoping Watashi ga Motete Dousunda (Kiss Him, Not Me) does.

        Nanbaka I can definitely take or leave, especially since it’s a Tuesday show and nothing else seems to be airing on Tuesday.

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