Prison School – Anime Review
Synopsis: The school is ruled by a secret council of sadistic female students. The boys are in for a world of hurt. (Official Funimation Synopsis)
Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Prison School is one of the few ecchi anime to transcend fan service by instilling pure comedy gold and extreme absurdity. It’s hilariously over the top, taking absurd sex comedy further than classics like Golden Boy ever did. Prison School is also incredibly clever, with its own, insane, internal logic. The sheer amount of set up and pay off throughout the show sells just how well crafted the entire story is. This isn’t your average ecchi, there’s far more depth to the plot twists and comedy than was present in most other anime that aired back in 2015.
Linny: Despite its apparent vulgarity and exploitative aesthetic, Prison School does have a solid story hidden underneath the layers of ecchi. Prison School is about Hachimitsu Academy, a former all girls school that has recently decided to admit boys. Kiyoshi Fujino is one of the school’s first five male students. When the five decide to push their luck by peeping on their female classmates, the school’s Underground Student Council punishes them by literally locking them away within the school’s special prison block. Kiyoshi and the others are then given an ultimatum: either survive in the Prison Block for one month without major incident, or be expelled. The five then attempt to escape in secret while getting caught up in all kinds of wacky, sexual escapades. It’s very obvious that there is actual thought and plot behind the excessive fan service, and honestly a rather well crafted story to boot. There’s plenty of build up, reveals and a purpose to all the madness. Still, it is an over the top ecchi, so there’s a LOT of shocking perversions and offensive jokes packed aplenty into each episode, which is either a boon or a death sentence depending on what you like in your entertainment.
Tom: Obviously Prison School isn’t for anyone who doesn’t actually enjoy sexual humor. That’s a prerequisite for finding anything enjoyable within the series. Still, if you’re onboard for that, you’ll be treated to a host of enjoyable characters: From Gakuto, the mastermind of the boys, whose voice acting is hilariously and expertly performed by Japanese VA Katsuyuki Konishi (Akame ga Kill, Arslan Senki, Silver Spoon) to the Vice President, who, personality wise, is a strong commanding woman, yet her body screams male fantasy. She’s part of the sheer wealth of over the top fan service. For those seeking true Ecchi visuals Prison School doesn’t disappoint, even with all the censoring. And the fan service is taken far enough to become hilarious for anyone comfortable with sexual humor. It is sure to get a laugh or two from the brazen absurdity.
Linny: Despite the fan service’s over the top nature, the Vice President herself was a huge issue for me throughout (The manga does eventually give you an explanation for why she is the way she is, which satisfied my criticisms but may still irk others). While some may argue saying she is depicted as a strong female, the sheer wealth of fan service angles, as well as activities she is subjected to, was at times, completely repulsive to me as a female viewer. I was definitely not comfortable during a lot of her scenes and if it weren’t for the segments she’s entirely absent from, I would have most certainly quit watching. This could be a huge problem for the series because as much as I loved the show, I cannot defend the fact that it does exploit its female characters to a ridiculous degree. Add to that, the extremely violent and sadistic behaviour of the members of the underground student council, portrayed as raging men haters, and it just feels like this is all devolving into controversy land. This show is definitely going to invoke brutal and strong negative reactions in certain viewers and that’s something that can’t be ignored or avoided.
Tom: While being so obviously male oriented, Prison School struck a cord with female viewers in Japan, ranking among the top anime women were watching in the summer of 2015. Despite that I agree with Linny that for Western audiences the Vice President, and much of the comedy that comes with her, is more likely to upset. But if you can look past her, or appreciate the sheer absurdity of her sexualization, Prison School continues to impress otherwise, particularly with its exceedingly strong finale that packs in twist after twist and ends with such a satisfying conclusion, topped with an equally incredible twist, I was unable to stop myself from diving right into the manga. Prison School is quite faithful to its source material and this allows you to jump in and continue the story right from where the anime left off. (Chapters 80-82 if you’re curious.) That said, the finale ups the hyper sexualization complaints by several fold, and straddles the line between ecchi and hentai at points. It’s not for the faint of heart, or well, anyone without a little pervert inside of them anyway.
Linny: Should you watch Prison School? Yes, definitely, if you want a bizarre and hyper sexualized show with a clever story. A strong NO if you dislike exploitative fan service as this show frequently pumps it up to 11. Despite all the blatant lewdness, I strongly believe Prison School is worth the watch if you can stomach (or enjoy, I won’t judge) the ecchi. The bizarre plot is handled with wit and thought, and is sure to entertain and surprise anyone expecting just another cookie cutter ecchi.
Tom: I can’t help but echo Linny’s sentiments. While Prison School is more than just your average ecchi, and has an audience that sits beyond the perverted vale of the male gaze, you need to be comfortable with its extreme, hyper sexualization. If you are, and already a fan of raunchy anime comedies like Golden Boy then you’re in for a treat. However if you simply aren’t comfortable with sexual humor that makes Prison School something I recommend you steer clear of. For those who would enjoy raunchy comedy however, this is definitely a title from the past five years you absolutely do not want to miss.