What do you get when you take the over the top action of Deadman Wonderland, the humor of Adult Swim’s Superjail and so much fujoshi bait and banter that it will leave you giggling and squealing with glee? You get the sparkly, fluorescent wonder that is Nanbaka! I can not believe it has taken me this long to sit down and watch this series because I have absolutely fallen in love with Nanbaka!
Based on the manga of the same name by Sho Futamata with this being her only published work you can really see her love of the work in her social media and I would not be surprised if I found out the author was a fellow fujoshi because then, so much about this anime would make sense! The title of the manga Nanbaka is a play on a few different words, Nanba being the name of the prison where this insane story takes place, the word numbers and ‘baka’ meaning idiot. This could be why the series is nicknamed after the title of the first episode ‘Idiots with Numbers’ and believe me everyone in this anime is a loveable idiot. From the inmates to the guards and the most adorable of them all the Warden.
As you can probably tell from all I have said above the story is set in a Nanba prison, the apparent toughest, hardest to break out of prison in the world and the four inmates who continue to try and escape, but they don’t really want to get away. They love it at Nanba, they escape for fun and to elevate boredom much to the anger of the head guard of their cell block. The manga itself started publishing in 2013 via NHN Japan’s Comico Webtoon app which just goes to show how much with the times the mangaka is and has an English release via crunchyrolls manga reading service. It should come as no surprise then that the anime has been released on Crunchyroll as well. The anime consists of two seasons and one hilarious OVA and first released in October of 2016 so it is a couple year old now. I also want to give a big shout out to the awesome dub cast for this anime, because all of them were spot on and I must confess this is one of the few anime I have watched where I enjoyed the dub far more than the original. This could be because comedy works better in your native language because you are not reading the punchline in the sub before it happens.
Would I recommend this anime to everyone? Well no I would not, the humor can at times be dark and over the top which will not be to everyone’s tastes. Comedy is something that can be hard to recommend after all because what one person finds utterly hilarious might come off as an annoyance to the next person and completely offend the person after that. If you are a fan of anime like FLCL or Excel Saga and want something similar to these shows aimed at a yaoi/boys love audience then I would certainly recommend giving these idiots a go. If not but you still want something within the boys love and yaoi genre (not that I am saying this is a boys love title because I don’t think it is, but it will appeal to that fanbase) I would say look up the boys love classic Gravitation, especially the manga more so than the anime because that manga gets really really crazy.