A classic manga becomes a surprisingly solid J.C. Staff anime. It wasn’t perfect, but it did do the one thing that mattered most, something J.C. Staff had not done for a dozen years prior.
Dubbed version streamed here.
Production Company: J.C. Staff
Vintage: Summer 2015
Nipple sightings from other J.C. Staff produced anime:
1+2=Paradise , Bondage Queen Kate (hentai), Iketeru Futari , Excel Saga , Ikkitousen (season one), R.O.D -The TV- , Maburaho , Shimoneta
Other notable / recently relevant mainstream anime from J.C. Staff:
Ai Yori Aoshi, Bakuman, A Certain Magical Index, A Certain Scientific Railgun, Dream Eater Merry, Eiken, Excel Saga, Zero no Tsukaima, Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma, Ghost Hunt, Golden Time, Hatsukoi Limited, Hayate the Combat Butler!!, Heavy Object, His and Her Circumstances, Honey and Clover, Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, Kimikiss pure rouge, Kimi to Boku, Kodocha, Little Busters!, Maid Sama!, Nodame Cantabile, Okami-san & Her Seven Companions, (The) Pet Girl of Sakurasou, Revolutionary Girl Utena, Shakugan no Shana, Slayers, Tantei Opera Milky Holmes, Toradora, Witch Craft Works
Shizuka Itou as Meiko Shiraki
Shizuka Itou is also known for her roles as:
Kana Hanazawa as Hana Midorikawa
Ami Koshimizu as Kate Takenomiya
Ami Koshimizu is also well known for her roles as:
Sayaka Ohara as Mari Kurihara
Sayaka Ohara is also known for her roles as:
Chinami Hashimoto as Chiyo Kurihara
Chinami Hashimoto is also known for her role as:
Yo Taichi as Anzu Yokoyama
Also featuring Keiji Fujiwara as Chairman Kurihara
Thoughts on the anime
J.C. Staff had a lot to live up to with this project. The Prison School manga is an instant classic, and the anime had the challenge of adapting a series that was never really made with the intention of being animated.
There are some manga where you can kind of tell that everything is being done in a way to nicely set up the anime. You read Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, or Fairy Tail and you can sense how everything is set up to transition easily into an anime form.
By contrast, the Prison School manga was drawn in ways that look incredible in static shots with black and white pigment, utilizing the advantages of black and white contrast the way that 1940’s Film Noir classics once did. It was a fantastic look in the manga, but the anime was going to introduce color, and though it looks like J.C. Staff attempted the Film Noir look at times, it just never quite came out looking quite right.
A modest budget (I’m assuming) didn’t help much. Whereas the manga version is gorgeous, the TV version was awkward looking and seemed like it needed more money pumped into production to pull it off.
Looks and style aside, the anime did a very solid job of conveying the first major arc of the Prison School story. Most viewers, myself included, felt suspense for the characters and their situations, whether we liked those characters or not. This was not a show about heroes or villains, but about artistically expressing the flaws that make us human.
The approach to the characters and story was interesting and fresh, not just by ecchi anime standards but by the standards of the industry as a whole. That an anime this sophisticated also happened to be funny, shamelessly erotic, and full of retarded poop jokes makes it all the more unique. And none of this is an accident, it’s all intended. The manga conveys this even moreso- every chapter of Prison School feels like visiting the warped mind of a twisted genius.
This isn’t myanimelist so I’ll tie off the anime review right there. This is fapservice.com, where we care about the stuff that really matters.
And in that regard, Prison School passes with flying colors. Not only did J.C. Staff break their 12 year streak without animating nipples for this show, but they did so with panache. Many of the nipple sightings in the manga are subtle or hard to see, but the anime version holds back way less.
I don’t know if we’ll get a sequel, but it’s worth noting that the sales were good and that J.C. Staff has a lot of sequel work on their resume. If it does get one, it will be tough to storyboard out given the current aimlessness of the manga, but I’ll be sure to watch it anyway. Strictly for highbrow reasons of course.
It’s Meiko. But first, an honorable mention for Hana.
Kana Hanazawa has one of her best performances playing the prideful and vengeful Hana Midorikawa. It’s fun watching her stalk and scheme against Kiyoshi for what she perceives as a dishonoring act of perversion, only to realize as the show goes along that her motivations are evolving. That she, for all her sexual repression and sanctimony, is the real pervert herself. She’s not much of a looker and she can be a bit grating at times, but her character was one of the more human and interesting anime characters I’ve seen in some time. I want to choose her, but I can’t.
There are many other great characters too, but picking anyone other than Vice-President Meiko as the best character would be like picking anyone other than Yoko from Gurren Lagann. Meiko is more than just eye-candy, she’s a fanservice icon who’s overwhelming sexuality will make her a favorite for well endowed cosplayer sluts (bless them all) for decades to come, long after the anime she stars in is a dusty footnote in anime history.