First Impressions: Prison School Episode 1

J.C. Staff’s take on Hachimitsu Private Academy, an elite, prestigious boarding school for girls has recently changed its policy to allow boys into the school. Now, with a ratio of 200:1, five boys who rarely interact with the opposite sex are surrounded by them.

What happens when five hormone-riddled males, with few social interactions with females, are faced with cold shoulders and averted eyes? Why, prepare to peep on a class of girls taking their nightly bathing ritual. Cue comedic male bonding, hi-jinks and a stint in the school prison, all thanks to the Underground Student Counsel. Either take the punishment, or be reported to their family about their perverted actions and possible explosion.
On the surface, this anime comes across as a genetic comedy eechi show (and there is a lot of ecchi moments involved), but it’s also highly entertaining with the witty remarks and one-lines from the characters, clean, crisp animation style, solid VA work, and utterly fantastic angels used in the action sequences.

The show is completely hyperbolic, usually going to the absurd at any given plot development, but there is a bizarre comedic camaraderie that underlines the absurd.

Every character we’re introduced to, be it the five boys, the three members of the Underground Student Councel or the romantic interest and her love of professional sumo wrestlers, are completely distinctive and do not easily fall under a typical anime trope characteristic, or at least raise that trope to a new level.

Personally, I’m not a fan of anything ecchi, as I find it a cheap tactic to coat an otherwise mundane story and characters (ala Monster Musume), and this anime can easily fall into that category. Except the hyperbolic development and characters outshine that tag. I found myself enraptured by the animation style, the outlandish characters and absurdly hilarious reactions faces and action sequences.

I will admit that I have actually read some of the manga, and I think it has been handled and translated well into the anime medium. Director Tsutomu Mizushima (Another, xxxHolic and Shirobako) used quick scene transitions, nicely timed reaction pieces and fluid editing to his advantage to bring out the comedy and inappropriate aspects. Junichirou Taniguchi (Gekkan Shouju Nozaki-kun, Gosick, Mahou Shouji Madoka Magica) did a splendid job of translating a beautifully detailed manga to animation: That was another big draw for me – it’s a really vibrant, clean and crisp looking show – and I applaud the dedication he and his team have done.

It’s a fun show, with a taste for the fetish enthusiasts, ecchi lovers and masochists. Usually that would send, and a lot of people running to the hills, but in all honestly I found the hyperbolic nature really refreshing and generally enjoyed the first episode. I’ll stick around and see where the story and characters go from here (probably not somewhere good)