By Dustin Cabeal
Prison School continues to be possibly the greatest manga I’ve ever read. Its ridiculousness seems to know no bounds as it finds new ways to put the characters in perverted settings based on misunderstandings. That isn’t to say that this volume is perfect, but it is damn close.
It switches directions hard in this volume. The first fourth or so of the seventh volume continues the same tone and journey brilliantly laid out in the sixth volume. This all begins with Kiyoshi and Mari trapped in the bathroom with snakes that they’ve identified as poisonous. Mari gets bitten as close to her vagina as possible meaning that Kiyoshi must suck the poison out while being as close to her vagina as possible. The problem they encounter or that Kiyoshi encounters is that Mari doesn’t want his eyes open and attempts to guide him up to her leg to the area. Cue the hijinks. What’s brilliant about the comedy in Prison School is that it never goes the way you think it will. Let’s just say that this scene is longer than I could ever have imagined and was definitely the funniest part of the entire volume.
After of course being tricked, which should be obvious if you’ve read any of this series by now, Mari is then blackmailed by Kate. Well, kind of, she’s challenged at field day. Council versus council, whoever loses must disband. This is where the volume shifts because now Mari wants to break out of prison the day before field day. Running concurrently with this was the continuation of the BL storyline with Joe and Gackt in which Gackt can’t condone the material and Joe becomes an editor for Mitsuko’s manga. Andre… loses his damn mind and takes a huge back burner in this volume, which was fine, but it did put his love triangle on an abrupt hold. Everything gets put on hold as the boys come together to help Kiyoshi and the Shadow Student Council prepare to escape.
You might be wondering why they come together and that’s for you to read. It is absolutely hilarious in how subtle it is to the overall story. It snaps the boys together, but by doing so, it again halts all the other subplots that were being built in the past two volumes.
There is a simple joy to seeing the boys working together again. At least the trio of Joe, Gackt, and Shingo. They get some directions confused and end up building something that is completely worthless to the plan (at least for now) and yet they have so much fun making it and playing with it. It reminds you that they are just kids and that everything can be put aside for fun. It also shows that they core five are needed to be effective truly.
Kate’s plan continues, and part of that is spreading rumors that Mari is a slut. This reaches Chiyo who is eventually bullied, and her actions against the bullies get her locked up as well. Now usually I wouldn’t tell you this much about the story and granted I have left out huge chunks in telling you about the story, but there is a huge bit of character development for Chiyo as both Mari and Kiyoshi try to explain a misunderstanding and end up making it worse. Chiyo comes to the conclusion that her sister is a slut and that in order to keep Kiyoshi’s attention… she has to be a bigger slut.
And there you have the crazy logic of Prison School because in no world is that the answer and yet it makes perfect sense for a bunch of hormonal teens that have no idea what to do with the other sex when it comes to their physical feelings. It may seem like a tasteless development for Chiyo, but again, if you’ve read this far then there’s no way that this won’t be a huge development for both Chiyo and Kiyoshi. At the very least it’s the start of a harem for Kiyoshi which can only lead to a tragic heartbreak.
There isn’t a lot of character development for the guys in this volume which is the only shame. It’s not that the story doesn’t balance all of the characters, but there just isn’t enough room to develop all of them when there’s so much work to be done with the Shadow Student Council. Hell, even Hana is left in the dust this volume with only one development. It’s unclear how it will play out for her given that it’s so vague.
The artwork is beautiful and yet utterly perverted. There’s a torture scene with Meiko in which two sweet potatoes are being shoved in her mouth, and frankly, the imagery is very sexual in its implication. It’s probably the only time in the story that it was just a bit too much which is saying a lot for this series. The rest of it, especially the bathroom scene manages to make the sexual scenes ridiculous to the point that it’s not sexy.
As strange as this is to point out, the underwear in this series is illustrated incredibly well. It’s so realistic looking, the way it fits the character’s bodies and the level of details to the design. There is a lot of underwear in the beginning and not just women’s underwear.
Since no one seems to listen to me about series I recommend, I’m sure this recommendation is falling on deaf ears, but I’ll continue to review this series and patiently wait for them to release. Now, I know that I could find fan translations online and get caught up on the series, but having done that in my earlier reading years I realized something. The series becomes more and more watered down because you can digest as much as you want. With having to wait and read a set amount of chapters each time it gives me time to think of the next volume and enjoy it all the more when it does finally release. Also, this all reads like a bad sex joke which is probably the direct cause of reading Prison School, which I wish more people were enjoying because it is tied with Goodnight Punpun as the best manga I’ve ever read. Even if this volume isn’t as strong as others in the series thus far. Still, it’s going to be a long four months waiting for the next volume.
Prison School vol. 7
Creator: Akira Hiramoto
Publisher: Yen Press