Oh, I love the plot of this series. I know that I’ve ranted often about the level of cheese, but the way in which the plot is laid out here just keeps getting better and better. It’s bold, creative and incredibly intense.
And as much as I’ve maid fun of Psycho Guard in the past, I do have to admit that just seeing that big smile of his is already a huge rush of adrenaline. At first I really feared that this guy would be a terrible villain in how over the top he was portrayed, but damn. His insanity especially in this episode was a sight to behold, especially since he actually knew what he was doing here: despite how he turned out to be a drug addict, he chose the sure-fire way to get these guys back to the jail, instead of just rushing in and yelling like a complete imbecile.
And damn, Heitai actually got released here. At first I thought that the creators would be like most series, in the way that they try too hard to keep the main cast together, however this is a very interesting twist. Episodes like this show that this isn’t just about life in jail, but rather a look into violent youth, and the world they grew up in ten years after the second world war. Heitai can now actually put a closure to his youth and grow up to be a respectable adult. He always was the most stable member of the cast, and I think that especially after An-chan left so often, it was he who took up the leadership of the group, and guided everyone through.
But there of course are also countless of other characters who developed already. Take Joe, and how miserable he was at the beginning of the series. Cabbage also feels to have become less of a loser, wile Baremoto was about to develop when we saw him for the last time, but we need to see a bit more of him for this to actually solidify.
I’m not exactly sure of the pacing here, but this is what I managed to find out about the manga: volume 1 covers up to the chapter “in flames”. Let’s assume that it covers until episode four, in which the prison caught fire. With the same pacing over 22 volumes, a simple calculation shows that at the same pacing this show would need 88 episodes to tell its story. Unfortunately, that ain’t gonna work; it’s nowhere near popular enough for that. My guess is now really: what are the creators planning? Do they plan to pull an Itazura na Kiss, in the way that they’re hell-bent on getting to the end of this story, or will they just animate this thing and stop when they run out of episodes.
As it’s almost certain that this show will go for either 24 or 26 episodes at this point, I hope that it’s going to be the former. The creators will need to do some skillful cutting in order to condense a huge amount of material into just two seasons, but this fast pacing may actually give an interesting dimension to this series. There’s no way that there’s going to be a second season for this thing, so I really hope that we can get to the really interesting part of this story: the part in which everyone grows up.
Rating: ** (Excellent)