Nanbaka Series Review

Nanbaka follows four inmates at the infamous ‘Namba Prison’, as they attempt to break out. In between their prison escapes, we get a look into their day to day lives in the cell as well as the guards who try to keep them in there.  The series has 13 episodes, and has quickly begun its second season last week. You can check out my review of different segments of season one below.

Episode 1     |    Episodes 2-4     |    Episodes 5-8

Nanbaka started out as quite an enjoyable series. It was funny, and I quickly took to the crazy characters. I didn’t even mind the weird sparkles and glitter that was in ever scene. I particularly enjoyed the Warden and her one sided crush on Hajime, the cell block 13’s head guard. The series, at first, reminded me of ‘Prison School’ without all the sexiness. However towards the end of the series, I grew tired of it.

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My main issue with Nanbaka is that is has the jokes without any real plot to back them up. Series such as One Punch Man and Mob Psycho are known for how seamlessly they incorporate humour into action. With Nanbaka the humour took over, and any action or actual plot that followed, was disjointed. In one episode, you could have 5 minutes of plot, 12 minutes of gag and then back to 5 minutes of plot. A real plot for the series only began to emerge mid-way through, then there was a random gag episode, and then back to the plot again. The gags themselves weren’t particularly funny, and by episode 9 I was really pushing myself to get through the last bits of the series..


There was one sub plot in the 13 episodes, which lead into a larger plot (which hopefully will be explored in season two). The sub plot began mid way through with the New Years Tournament. Each cell block  battled it out, with the winners being able to get whatever they wished for. During Juugo’s battle we learn more about his past, and exactly why he hunts the man with the scar on his neck. This stops, and then there’s some gag episodes, and finally the last episode returns back to this. But then it stops, right when something interested happens – too bad you gotta watch season 2!

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Overall I give the series a 6.5/10. It started interesting enough, but nothing was developed, and it just relied on its jokes. I probably will not be watching season two, unless I hear about some major plot or character development. This series had a lot of potential of being so interesting, but it shot itself in the foot.

5 thoughts on “Nanbaka Series Review

  1. I have said this before on numerous other blogs, but it almost feels like a new developing trend. Series start out pretty cool, and then drop in quality, or just don’t end it on a high note. Shame really, as reading through this, the series really had some potential.

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  2. I gave this one up fairly early because I’m not big on comedy and I found the lack of plot frustrating. After reading this, I’m fairly certan I made the right call which is a shame because I kind of hoped that once it was done I’d be told it settled in and really did something because the basic premise was pretty interesting.

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    1. It was definitely a good call to drop this one. It was really quite disappointing at the end, and to be honest, I reckon season 2 will just be the same – lots of hype but nothing to back it up.

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