We’re almost done with this whole New Year’s tournament thing, folks. And just in time for the real new year, too. So let’s get into it, wrap a bow around it, and keep this train a-rolling, shall we?
Episode 10 – “A Melancholy Day for the Dog, Monkey, and Pheasant”
During the time where Hajime was “away” and Jyugo was comatose, Building 13 got some new leaders in charge, as per orders of the Warden. Cell 13 was not pleased by this news, as you could expect. But it’s business as usual, as if nothing has changed, starting with Nico’s post-tournament checkup in the infirmary. And then Rock and Uno see the infirmary’s robot nurse, Kaguya, and everyone turns into hound dogs over it. No, that’s not a typo – there’s a ROBOT NURSE involved. These guys really need to get laid. The second day comes, and another guard is taking up the duty, starting it with teaching our three about the layout of Nanba Prison; it really is a massive structure, but it seemed to have been lost on Uno, who fell asleep with a Jyugo daikimakura beside him. No, really, that really happened. Skipping to the dawn of the third day, our dapper gents are about to get some hard labor of a training camp, despite their protests. Uno even went as far as to use Nico as a meat shield, but it’s all for naught; Rock’s being dragged away, and both Uno and Nico weren’t too far behind. But what has Hajime been doing, during his time away from the prison? For the most part, he’s been catching up on sleep, paperwork, and assisting on a construction job.
Back to real time, though, things have finally calmed; Jyugo is up and is going back to his cell, and is informed by Hajime to not do anything stupid and not try to escape and pursue that nefarious man who altered his body. And the reunion happens, as Jyugo steps into the cell and his greeted by his cohorts. Of course, for Uno, all he can do is just slug him in the face as a welcome-back gift, grunting out a simple “It’s no fun without you here.” Awwww, he does care. At least Rock and Nico are more welcoming, in that regard. Jyugo, in turn, admits that he’s been hiding things from them, regarding his… you know. He doesn’t know what he can do for his friends, but he simply apologizes, bows, and says he’ll never use his blades on them ever again. And these dorks geek out over being given a Japanese apology, because, you know, exotic and foreign. But enough of that sentimental stuff, let’s go back to the Warden, who’s on cloud nine over Hajime’s return. Unfortunately, the loud and obnoxious narrator guy who’s been spearheading these episodes, Mitsuru, is bothering the Warden over it, going so far as to lead her on with a paper mask of Hajime on his face. The Warden, in turn, goes complete yandere and beats him half to death, with his body laying in a puddle of blood right as Hajime walks in, about to deliver a report to her. Not the best look, Warden. At all.
Now this is more like it, we’re getting back into the flow of slapstick and comedy here. Definitely took long enough. Let’s see if the next episode follows suit.
Episode 11 – “We Got Our Rewards”
We start this episode with… snoring. And Rock having a bit of a bad dream, reminiscing on his days on the other side as a ruffian on the streets and having terrible jail food. But that’s about to change, because since their cell was the winner of the New Year’s tournament, they all get the big prize of whatever their heart desires. Which, if you remember, included Rock’s wish for a stone oven to cook some real food, and as luck would have it, it was just installed today! And so, Rock being the gaijin American he is, he has a big ol’ pizza pie be the first thing baked inside – and yes, it was delicious. I can attest, I am Italian, so I’d know a thing or two about good pies. I’d bet everyone at Nanba Prison can rest assured they’ll all be eating a lot better now, than before. Back into flashback mode we go, where we see the first time Rock and Jyugo met, inside some other prison. Of course, Rock being prideful that he is, he turns down Jyugo’s offering of bread before Jyugo breaks him out and takes him to the diner from Final Fantasy XV for some real food. Like I said, bunch of dorks. From there, we go to the infirmary with Nico, still under observation as his cellmates step in to bring him some food. They get lost in the shuffle, though, as the head doctor and his wife, the head scientist of the prison, get into a bit of a spat, before… the robot nurse asks if they’re getting a divorce… and calls them “Mother” and “Father” because… this is never gonna be followed up on, is it?
Well, anyway. Going back to the tournament rewards, Nico got his wish, and then some, with a giant freaking ARCADE all to himself. All of which were built from the ground up, impressive. I should also mention that our lovable goofs have invited their opponents from the tournament to take part of the festivities; Rock brought in old “friend” Liang to have some food, while Nico brought his “master” from the top-spinning event in for some fun and games. Cross-building visits, don’t expect that to be a normal thing going forward. Everyone but Jyugo is getting into the fun of it, because, of course, he’s not the kind to take part in such things for himself alone. He didn’t have such luck on a prize-grabber machine, but Uno is a natural, getting him a plush doll of himself – awww, how sweet. Nico is also given one more reward, a new phone that’s loaded with tons of games for him to play – I’d wager it’s a split mix of freemium games and emulators. Another theme of this episode is Jyugo being told that he was the reason his cellmates discovered more about themselves; for Rock, he was able to change his ruffian ways (for the most part), because Jyugo fed him, and for Nico, he learned that it’s okay to feel lively, like the characters in his manga and games, because Jyugo gave him a manga book when they first met. Lovable frigging dorks, man. Things get serious, though, as Musashi enters the scene and hears Jyugo nearby. What’s this all about? Just a simple apology to Jyugo. And that, in Uno’s eyes, makes him a good guy, and the two shake hands. Resolution? Eh, I’ll take it. And so, the episode ends with Musashi being put back into his underground cell, being asked by his guard to talk more about his past.
This is more of the Nanbaka I grew to enjoy, at the start of the show. Light-hearted and comedic, with a little bit of heartwarming togetherness to help tie everything together. We’ve got two episodes left, so let’s ride this out together. Will we find out more about the man with the scar? Will the Warden confess her feelings for Hajime? And will the men of Cell 13 finally relieve their strong sexual tension towards each other? Cross your fingers, friends.
Nanbaka is available on Crunchyroll as a weekly simulcast, every Tuesday at 3:30pm EST, and on FunimationNow as an English simulcast dub, every Saturday at 10:30pm EST.