Every now and again there is something created in media that you just cannot describe. For anime that’s Prison School. For a story about 5 perverted guys sent to an internal prison only to find that the girls running the place are more out there and almost sadistic in their own actions that it makes the guys look like angels, Prison School is something that I find it hard to recommend but at the same time I would say everyone needs to watch it at least once.
Title: Prison School
Genre: Comedy, Ecchi, Romance, School & Seinen
Series Details: 12 episodes
Release Date: 11/01/2017 (Australia)
Languages: English, Japanese
Subtitles: English subtitles
Number of Discs: 2
Runtime: 300 mins (24mins per episode)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen Full Height Anamorphic
Distributor: Madman Entertainment (DVD/BluRay)
Special Features: Episode Commentaries, Video Commentary, Commercials, Textless Opening & Closing Songs
Rating: MA15+ Strong sexualised imagery, crude sexual humour and coarse language
Review Parameters: BluRay Release, English Language, no subtitles.
Hachimitsu Academy, one of the strictest girls academies in Tokyo, has decided to admit boys into their system. Kiyoshi Fujino is one of these new boys, but he discovers to his shock that he and his four friends—Takehito “Gakuto” Morokuzu, Shingo Wakamoto, Jouji “Joe” Nezu, and Reiji “Andre” Andou—are the only male students among 1,000 girls. The draconian laws that are still in place make the school even worse, which punishes even the most minor infractions with a stay in the school’s prison. The five boys all commit to voyeurism in the school’s bathing area with the perverted philosophy of “all for one, one for all”. Their capture and “arrest” by the Underground Student Council causes the five boys to receive an ultimatum: either stay a month in the school’s Prison Block or be expelled. The boys are incarcerated in the Prison Block together and Kiyoshi is overwhelmed by the discovery that all the other boys are masochists that revel in the punishments handed to them by their attractive but vicious supervisors.
The characters in Prison School are far from what you would consider normal. All the guys are a bunch of perverts, getting sexually stimulated from the smallest glimpse of panties (of which there are A LOT) and the girls that are involved in the Prison School directly (Mari, Meiko & Hana) are complete psychopaths on many deep levels. While everyone will be shocked by Meiko mostly due to how out there she is, you’ll find that the real one to watch out for is Hana, but she doesn’t get enough time to really develop till late in the series. Speaking of development, the guys do go through a lot of personal growth once they get close to their personal crush, yet those characters suffer from the least development in Prison School, which is why i didn’t include them in this write up.
- Kiyoshi Fujino (Japanese: Hiroshi Kamiya/English: Austin Tindle): The main protagonist in Prison School. He is the one who gets the group caught out in the very beginning and gets them all sent to the Prison. He spends a lot of the time trying to get out of the Prison to see his love interest: Chiyo, resulting in him having to don the clothing of the girls in the school among other things. He’s the one who get stuck in some of the more out there moments in Prison School and suffers the most mental abuse out of the group.
- Takehito Morokuzu (Japanese: Katsuyuki Konishi/English: Eric Vale): Given that he has glasses, it’s no assumption that he is the brains of the group, often coming up with a lot of the plots to get what the group needs or to help get a member of the group out of the Prison to go spend time with their crushes. As the mastermind, he also cops a lot of the abuse in the Prison in order to cover up any kinks in the plans. He also has an obsession with The Three Kingdoms which drives his speech among other personality aspects.
- Shingo Wakamoto (Japanese: Kenichi Suzumura/English: Clifford Chapin): A total idiot and selfish to boot. Shingo spends a lot of his time trying to make himself the center of everything and will sometimes be ready to betray the group at the drop of a hat in order to personally benefit. While he is a bit self absorbed, his crush helps him understand being loyal to the group and helping them out instead of himself.
- Jōji Nezu (Japanese: Daisuke Namikawa/English: Chris Bevins): The loner of the group and yet the most crass out of the group. Joji is one of those “I don’t give a fuck” types who’ll say the wrong thing to anyone willing to listen. He has an obsession with ants which is shown in the show, he collects an Ant Farm and knows the difference between each ant. He also has a medical condition that causes him to cough up blood during anytime he talks. Joji is very prone to depression and is the last to find a crush, but that’s only after trying to return to the prison once everyone is free.
- Reiji Andō (Japanese: Kazuyuki Okitsu/English: Sonny Strait): Nickname “Andre” (A homage to the legendary wrestler Andre the Giant) due to his large size, Reiji is a masochist and enjoys the punishment that is delivered to him in the prison, especially from Meiko. He’s also the tough looking guy with the heart of gold wrapped in a sick wrapper. Not too much happens with him in the anime compared to the manga.
- Mari Kurihara (Japanese: Sayaka Ohara/English: Tia Ballard): Mari is the President of the Underground Student Council, which manages the school’s prison. She prefers the company of crows to people and often uses the crows in her attacks on the guys. She is the most calm and controlled member of the USC, using the other two members to extract punishment on the guys. She’s also the older sister of Chiyo, whom Kiyoshi has a crush on, leading to Kiyoshi having to be on the defensive around Chiyo.
- Meiko Shiraki (Japanese: Shizuka Itō/English: Whitney Rodgers): Yep, she’s the one with the shirt busting boobs that’s shown in all the promotional material. Meiko is a dominatrix and takes pleasure (to an absurd degree) in extracting violence, both physical and sexual, on the group at anytime for the smallest reason. She is also the best friend/bodyguard for Mari, whom she has a deep respect for. Maiko is essentially the main guard for the prison and will allow the guys to have small bits of happiness before ripping it away.
- Hana Midorikawa (Japanese: Kana Hanazawa/English: Alexis Tipton): A weird mix. Hana is meek and shy, but will snap and go completely psycho whenever she is in a sexual situation (often with Kiyoshi by accident). Hana has a fondness for dandelion and four-leaf clovers. She often will act shy and protective of herself when around the guys. Later in the series she begins to develop feelings for Kiyoshi after an accidental kiss.
For the most part, Prison School keeps things simple. These are the people and these are the main character traits that drives them. However things begin to change up in the second half of the series as more characters are added to the mix and get involved in the lives of the main characters… Except Meiko, she’s always going to be a bitch.
From a technical standpoint, Prison School is a mix of interestingly simple yet detailed animation. When things get intense, the animation really shines with just about every little line possible done in painstakingly realism, yet it’ll change angle in the same scene and look like something that is done in almost minimalist manner, leading to a massive loss in quality. One thing that is always on point is the shading, not always staying with different shades of black to create shadows, instead using skin shading and clothing color to make things look a lot more detailed. The backgrounds suffer from the reverse effects. For the most part they are well detailed for still backgrounds, but when some action scenes happen it resorts to an old school Speed Racer streaking effect which just looks dated in these modern eras.
When it comes to Special Features, the BluRay has a lot more to offer. Not only do you get the usual textless opening and closing songs, but a couple of episode commentaries in some of the more sexually charged episodes. These commentaries are quite amusing even though you can tell the people involved have seen the show more than once. You also get the commercials that were aired before Prison School premiered. Not a bad little inclusion.
Prison School is an anime that came at the right time. At the time this show aired in Japan, there was a big push by the Government to censor and restrict anime content to an almost Disney degree. Sure, it meant that we were hit with the “blinding white light of death” during the original airing, but thank god for DVD/BluRay! The subject matter alone in Prison School is so sexually charged that it sure as hell wouldn’t be seen on any TV set in the world let alone see release on anything less than illegal media sites. However it does exist and I’m glad it was done. The main story that is based around friendship and loyalty, with the guys banding together through some of the harshest conditions ever seen in anime outside of a horror show. As for the main three girls, it’s great to see females in a position of superiority and abusing that power, something that Western media wouldn’t have the balls to do. Prison School tackles matters and personalities that would normally not see the light of day, so if anything this is what is needed to break the mold that was created at the time.
As I have said before, the things that don’t work with Prison School are the changes in animation quality and the lack of development of some of the lesser female characters. When the art for the characters ranges from detailed to way too minimal, it really distracts from the overall look of the show. Yet the amazing shading work almost makes up for the quality drops. As for character development, the girls that the guys end up falling for seem way too underdeveloped for the character development changes they make on the main characters. I would like to know more about the these girls, their personalities beyond what they are compatible with for the guys. Again, in the modern era, there is no excuse for such sloppy writing.
Prison School is not an anime you’d want to watch in front of a group of people nor your family, but it’s something that I would recommend watching at least once. The very out there nature of the characters is something that will only come along once in a generation. It’s not to be missed. However I will advise that you have to be very open minded before giving things a watch. If the images you see in this review are triggering or you aren’t open minded sexually, then I’d recommend that you not see Prison School and go with something a bit safer… Like… I have no idea… That’s how out there Prison School is.
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Prison School Riot!