I should preface this by saying that Prison School is in no way a serious anime; it’s over the top, excessive, HIGHLY exaggerated, and really hysterical. Taking this anime serious at all is a mistake and you’ll probably over think something and hurt yourself. That said, let’s jump into this over-analysis…
For those who are currently watching the Prison School anime, you’re likely being subjected to the obscene levels of fanservice and perversion, as well as the surprisingly engaging prison storyline. The eccentric characters mesh well with the somewhat warped universe the anime exists in. Y’know, one where there’s a prison in a school’s grounds.
There’s been a lot of concern shown over the level of violence directed at the boys within the anime, as well as the general treatment of them in general. It’s important to understand, firstly, that most anime guy characters take a lot of comical punishment, and there’s certainly a lot of it to go around. It’s never meant to be cruel and it’s always used for comedy value. However, I can understand how uncomfortable it might get. And how unfair it is too.
There are those who feel that the treatment the boys get isn’t right and there’s no fairness whatsoever within the anime regarding what the girls get. Let’s just set this straight; there never is. Guys in anime will take a beating black and blue before a hand is even laid on a female character. Is it unfair? Yes. But that’s a whole different can of worms. For example, would this anime even see the light of day if it was a bunch of male students mercilessly beating and humiliating girls, and we’re supposed to find it funny? Probably not. We like to talk about ‘equality’ these days, but some things just will never happen.
Admittedly, as a reader of the manga, there’s certain things I know that somewhat put my mind at ease regarding the harsh treatment from the female cast. Let’s just say that they…get what’s coming to them. However, how much you enjoy that outcome is up to you.
Despite the karmic return, there’s actually subtle nuances to the characterization of the cast that make it hard to hate them. In the first place, everyone is so damn goofy. Meiko has her weird sweating problem, Hana can’t seem to get away from being embarrassed by Kiyoshi, and Mari’s occasional grammatical errors are chuckle-worthy. Like the boys, the female cast are very flawed individuals with detailed pasts, motivations and reasons for being.
It’s easy to hate them because of how they act towards the boys, I definitely get that. For example, Mari’s over zealousness with wanting the boys expelled was spurred on by her hatred of her father’s lecherous ways. This certainly isn’t a reasonable nor justified reaction, but it fits within the ridiculous nature of Prison School’s plot. Like I mentioned in the beginning, taking it too seriously is pointless.
We now come to the pertinent question; does the punishment the boys receive fit their crime? Does the constant violence, ridicule, disdain and borderline hatred they receive, seem fair? In the first place, recall that the boys were thrown into the prison for peeking in the girls shower. Voyeurism of this level is a crime punishable by the law, and they even mentioned early on in the anime that if the boys’ parents found out, they’d be done for. Therefore, they have to endure the prison and subsequent punishment, or face a much worse fate.
The violence itself is odd. It’s not quite the slapstick style of traditional comedy, but it’s not the visceral permanence of action anime. It’s always exaggerated, and it’s usually meant to be funny within context and/or make you cringe. At times, it seems unnecessary and if you don’t have the stomach to see them beaten constantly, then I can understand not wanting to watch the anime.
Do the boys deserve all that for being voyeurs? Well, if we’re to take the anime seriously for a moment, no. No they don’t. The crime for voyeurism certainly doesn’t involve public beating and shaming. You just have to ask yourself if you think any less is ‘fair’.
Consider for a moment; the incident involving Chiyo’s uniform. When she found out, and subsequently Mari found out, they both acted incredibly disgusted. Granted, Kiyoshi never meant to take her uniform, but you can understand her disgust. Imagine if, regardless of the genders, someone who you thought was nice and interesting happened to have your clothes and probably wore them. That’s a terrifying and creepy thing, and on top of the boys’ perversion it only cements the girls’ opinions of them. Surely, such despicable people deserve to be treated like scum? Maybe. But once again, I stress that the nature of this anime exists in a universe far more extreme and excessive than ours. It’s anime after all.
I’d like to wrap up by saying to all those bothered by boys’ punishment, that it’s not all that bad; the violence is only ever there for comedy/drama and it’s never going to be insane. The girls aren’t all bad or free from fault; those that did bad by the boys will get what’s coming to them, and you’ll see more of the ‘good’ girls soon enough. The anime/manga does its best to balance and humanize every character, so we’re never supposed to feel that the girls are just on some moral high horse and that what they’re doing is ok. Indeed, they had every right to be mad at the peeking (if we’re to take this anime seriously) but the extent to which they do is borderline dehumanizing.
But don’t forget: this anime isn’t serious. At all. Just watch an episode and you’ll understand.
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