Manga / Nanbaka

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/nanba.jpg
Don't be fooled - Breaking out of prison isn't all fun and games.
There's a group of guys that are trying to escape from prison...

...wait a second, are we talking about Prison School here?

We're not? Okay then...

Nanbaka, alternatively known as and/or subtitled The Numbers, is a manga note  which began as a Comico web manga by Sho Futamata. The manga got licensed under Crunchyroll and then so did the anime(which is available worldwide bar Asia, picked up for a simuldub by Funimation and is produced by Satelight), which aired in the Fall 2016 Anime season and Winter 2017 Anime seasons for two cours.

So...where were we? Oh yes, the guys escaping from prison.

We have Jyugo (inmate no. 15) who's good at nothing but escaping prison, Rock (inmate no. 69) who eats all the time, Nico (inmate no. 25) who loves anime and games and Uno (inmate no. 11) who's a gambler and a girl-getter (or so he'd like to think). Along for the ride are Hajime Sugoroku, the no-nonsense supervisor of building 13, and his subordinates, Seitarou Tanabata and Yamato Godai, plus all the other wacky prisoners and supervisors of the elusive Nanba Prison.

Then again, is it really all just escaping in Nanbaka? Don't bet on it...

Rin! Rin! Hi! Trope!...Wait, what?

  • Adaptation Distillation: A lot of shorts with character interactions and some insight into some of the other characters are taken out of the anime.
  • Adult Fear: In between the culture of your village dictating that you can't come back home or see your parents until you improve yourself as a ninja, a mysterious woman coming out of nowhere and kidnaps you under the pretense that she's your mother so she can groom you as she likes, and the two people who were completely uneased with it (her assistant and your surrogate brother) staying silent and doing nothing about it the whole time, Tsukumo has had a pretty rough childhood.
  • Afraid of Needles: Nico, to the point that he broke out of his previous prisons just to avoid medical checkups.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Seen in episode 1 as part of the escape ploy.
  • The Alcatraz: Nanba Prison. The narration even mentions Alcatraz as an inferior holding facility in the introduction.
  • All Chinese People Know Kung-Fu: In addition to the many other markers that present Building 5 as the China Building, all of the major players from that place in the New Year's Tournament knew some form of Chinese martial arts.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Jyugo claims he "likes guys too" in episode 1 when trying to think of ways to attract girls. At first we're lead to believe he's lying, but he never denies it and at the end up the episode he's the only one of the guys still interested in being visited by Hitoshi after his true gender is revealed.
  • Animal Motifs: A notable one in Kiji/Samon/Kenshirou's is that they have the trio of animals from Momotarou (pheasant, monkey and dog respectively) and act accordingly. Meanwhile, Hajime's appears to be a cat (he owns a black cat, Kuu, who looks like him and he has a long standing rivalry with Kenshiro), or a gorilla (he's constantly referred to one by Gokuu and the other guards and he has monster strength).
    • In Building 5, Samon Gokuu, Hakkai Inori, and Roku Gojyou, a former correctional officer who was improvised in the underground cell, form the three animals in Journey to the West, Son Goku, Cho Hakkai, and Sa Gojou respectively.
    • As of Episode 16, Houzaki Sanzou joins as a new guard of Building 5 and gets his name from Genjo Sanzo, the priest from Journey to the West.
  • Anime Hair: A lot of examples. A notable one is Chief Warden Hyakushiki Momoko, with hair so spiky that people could injure their hands on it. The only aversion is Hajime, who's bald.
  • Bald of Awesome: Hajime. He's the only guard who's able to keep the inmates of Cell 13 from escaping the prison.
  • Berserk Button Don't insult Elf's boss.
    • Never harm Jyugo in front of Uno, something Hajime learned the hard way.
  • The Big Guy: Rock is the strongest of the inmates.
    • On the prison guard's side is Yamato, who's almost always seen working out, even on "Please wait a minute" transitions.
  • Bishie Sparkle: The manga was simply bright and colorful, with some sparkles here and there. In the anime, it's present in literally every scene. Turned Up to Eleven when they actively want to add shoujo sparkles to a scene. Though it starts to diminish once Enki Gokuu appears, to the point that only one or two scenes in the following episodes have sparkles.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Jyugo's shackles turn his hands into long, sharp blades when he's enraged.
  • Bland-Name Product: Nanba Revolution and Nanba Fighter. There's also a robot vacuum called the "Namba".
  • Booby Trap: The door leading outside the prison is trapped to explode if given the wrong pass code.
  • Bookends: At least in the anime. The first episode begins with an escape sequence showing the Cell 13 boys go through hundreds of traps until they reach the prison doors and get beaten up by Hajime. The last episode of the first season had them all attempt it again, with the same shots even, but this time Jyugo planned on escaping alone so his friends won't get caught up in the mess he's in with Elf and the Man with the Scar. They all get beaten up by Hajime again by the end of it, though.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Mitsuru is this as of episode 1 and 2 of the anime.
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: Rock is very fond of cats. Additionally, Hajime and the chef Shiro are both very intimidating and own cats that look identical to them.
  • But Not Too White: Musashi was shown to have pale skin as a kid, but as a result of his body being burnt by spontaneous combustion, he became more tanned as he grew up. Being experimented on only sped up the process.
  • Cain and Abel: Enki is Cain and Samon is Abel.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: A large portion of the cast is made up of them, to the point where Warden Momoko was the only lady in the show prior to and during the New Year's Tournament arc. But apparently, Seitarou is the prettiest of them all, voted the handsomest guard of the facility.
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster: While the series still focuses on comedy, it becomes more and more like a standard action series with the ever-growing presence of the Man with the Scar and those associated with him, and the mood in general takes a drop whenever Jyugo is singled out for stories. Lampshaded with the title of the 14th episode, "Nanbaka is a Comedy Anime".
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Yamato is a beast in the strength department, easily holding things that no man alone could carry and having energy to spare. He says that the secret to his success is long, vigorous training, which we see him do constantly in his off-time.
  • Cluster Bleep-Bomb: Combined with Censored for Comedy in episode 1. It's done again in the New Year's Tournament when Nico starts speaking in Shout Outs, but by his own cellmatesnote  because they don't want to get sued.
  • Contralto of Danger: Momoko speaks with a deep voice to keep a professional and intimidating image, but accidentally slips into a higher pitched one when she's distracted.
  • Cultured Warrior: Hajime and Yamato are both very skilled in Japanese calligraphy.
  • Cute Bruiser: Nico is the smallest of the convicts with a ball and chain attached to his leg, but that did not stop him from breaking walls down while escaping from prisons in the past. Apparently, if he doesn't watch himself, his actions put a strain on him.
  • Cutting the Knot: When confronted with a laser hallway, Uno guides the rest of his inmates with a few elaborate movements (and his ponytail moves with it). Jyugo simply disables the lasers and doesn't tell them as he wanted to see what they'd do.
  • Dark and Troubled Past:
    • As we learn early on, Jyugo. He was born and grew up within the prison walls, his father was considered Nanba Prison's biggest embarrassment for unrevealed reasons, and his inescapable manacles were somehow placed upon him by someone with a mysterious mark. His backstory and those connected to it are part of the backbone for the greater plot of the series.
    • Implied with the other inmates of Cell 13 as to how they became criminals. You see bits and pieces of it floating through the series.
    • Musashi has one as well. His spontaneous combustion got him labelled as a monster after he lost control over them one day. He let himself be experimented on after being promised by the man with the scar that this ability would be extinguished. After the experiments, he learns that while he can control his combustion, the man amped up the frequency and firepower of Musashi's spontaneous combustion instead, and when Musashi tried to get revenge on this man, he lost an eye. To add insult to injury, the man who had amplified Musashi's spontaneous combustion is the same person who placed the manacles on Jyugo, and his assistant set fire to Musashi's house and framed him as a arsonist.
    • As revealed in Season 2, Liang, Upa and Qi also have one. They were all blackmailed into working under a crooked mob boss, a man so vile that he brutally tortured Liang for being unwilling to kill his assigned targets, and attempted to trick Qi into creating a drug that would poison his clients. They're all later arrested and sent to Nanba prison, but in the middle of the second season, their former boss comes back to haunt them.
  • Death Glare: Poor Hajime thinks that the warden wants to kill him instead of wanting to kiss him every time she looks at him.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: In Tsukumo's flashback, his adopted mother and her assistant were the only characters that were in greyscale, even when moved out of her office.
    • After Jyugo activates his swords and gets sent to the underground cells, he's colored completely in greyscale until he finds purpose in himself.
  • Demoted to Extra: In Season 2, Rock, Yamato and Seitarou are all confined to the infirmary for the second season while the rest of Cell 13 play an active role in the plot.
  • Disappointed by the Motive: The Warden and Samon Gokuu are appalled when they learn about Cell 13's reasons for escaping the previous prisons they had been incarcerated in.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The Cell 13 boys sing the ending theme of the anime's first cour. Hajime is present for it, but he just yells at them.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Despite being criminals themselves, the inmates of Cell 13 panic at the idea of a murderer sharing their room.
  • Eye Scream: This happens to Musashi TWICE.
  • Fat Bastard: Hachimon.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Nico has the uncanny ability to befriend guard dogs.
  • From a Certain Point of View: The boys' reasons for escaping prison. Rock was horribly treated in his old prisons on top of being served tastless/disgusting food, and Jyugo busting him out of prison and taking him out to a diner awakened his Big Eater tendencies. Nico's dislike of tasteless medicine probably stemmed from all of the experiments done on him in various prison hospitals. And Jyugo's constant need to escape prison may as well be a hobby, since he doesn't know what to do with himself otherwise and has no game plan for any of his long-term goals after he completes them, and he's been doing it his whole life.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Kazari Otogi, who despite threatening her husband Okina with a divorce still manages to whip up a room full of the most modern games (and it is implied from her skillset that she is the creator of their "daughter", Kagu 8).
    • Trois isn't a slacker in the creation department himself.
  • The Gambler: Uno. Underground gambling was what got him arrested in the first place.
  • Gilded Cage: Nanba Prison is a high-security, nigh inescapable prison located somewhere off the shores of Japan... but it has great food, the medicine isn't terrible, the inmates aren't all treated terribly as long as they stay in line, and the inmates can have technology or better things if they participate in the New Year's Tournament. With all of that, why would anyone want to leave?
  • Goroawase Number: The basis for a lot of names, such as the main prisoner quartet's.
  • Green-Eyed Monster:
    • Presumably the reason Uno does not like handsome men. Apparently though, he is good looking, but he's massively overshadowed by the men of Nanba.
    • Kenshiro Yozakura is jealous of Hajime being the object of the Warden's affections, whom he has an unrequited crush on.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Due to physically being tougher than his brother, Hajime is able to use his brother as a bludgeon without worry of hurting him.
  • Hidden Depths: Seitarou is an inexperienced pretty-boy who can be pushed around easily by the inmates, but as we see in the New Year's Tournament, he also has a frighteningly good memory.
  • I Always Wanted to Say That: The New Year's Tournament reveals that Nico has a whole list of heroic quotes he's got stashed away for when he gets into certain situations. Unfortunately, they're mostly the type that require censoring. He at least gets to say his #2 and #1 quote.
  • Indy Escape: One of the traps in the prison.
  • The Juggernaut: You certainly get the vibe of this from Hajime.
  • Kaleidoscope Eyes: Jyuugo's eyes change colors just about every chapter. The anime adaptation keeps it to two specific colors of Mismatched Eyes, but alludes to their changing at the end of the intro.
  • Knight of Cerebus: While signs of a darker plot were shown in Episode 1 through Jyugo's unbreakable shackles, the mood of the series takes a bit of a nosedive (and prison escapes do too) after Musashi enters the picture.
    • In Season 2, all the humor in a scene instantly dies down whenever Enki Gokuu and Ruka Gojou are involved in any way. By the fifth episode, they had managed to capture/incapacitate almost the entirety of the main and supporting cast.
  • Knockout Gas: In the air vents.
  • Laser Hallway: Of the physically harmful variety. Jyugo disables it easily.
  • Lazy Bum: A characteristic of Cell 13's prisoners. In episode 1, they ponder as to what they'll do when they finally get out. They conclude that staying in prison is better.
  • Love Bubbles: Used in regards to Momoko, who drenches Hajime in these...and then it's revealed Hajime thinks this love vision is a Death Glare. Made even funnier by how Hajime somewhat looks like he's a certain "hero for fun" while Momoko is an intimidating woman.
  • Longing Look: Momoko often looks at Hajime this way. Unfortunately, most people, including Hajime, mistake it for a Death Glare. Usually because it certainly looks like one.
  • Made of Iron: Rock jumped in front of a car to save a cat without serious injury.
    • Hajime is no slouch either considering he survived nitro glycerin.
  • Magnetic Hero: All of the inmates of Cell 13 are connected in some way to Jyugo, as he was the one who started helping them break out of prisons as well and helped them form their personalities at present.
  • Master of Unlocking: Jyugo. It doesn't matter whether it is a physical lock or an electronic keypad, he'll disable it in seconds.
  • Narcissist: Trois and Honey, the two handsome prisoners from Building 3. They waste no time in talking about how pretty they are, even in comparison to the other.
  • Multinational Team: You have two Americans, one English, and one Japanese teenager, all trying to bust out of the most secure prison in the world.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Jyugo is outright remorseful when he realizes that he'd nearly gotten his friends killed during his rampage at the New Years' Tournament.
  • The Needless: A deconstructed example in the form of Jyugo When Hajime points out that he appears to lack greed. More specifically, he just has a lack of desire for anything, leading him to do things like escaping or gaining information without any rhyme or reason of his own.
  • Oh, Crap!: Cell 13, which is composed of two Americans, one Englander and Jyugo, after being told that they had to do Japanese calligraphy to win the New Year competition.
  • One Last Job: In Episode 13, Jyugo intends to make one last prison escape attempt with the Cell 13 boys, and then afterwards escape himself and leave the other 3 behind so they're all safe from whatever Elf and the Man with the Scar are planning for him. It doesn't work as planned.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Both Uno and Rock are shock that not only can Hajime talk after being hit with nitro-glycerin, that he also broke out without any harm whatsoever.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Each and every single prisoner is given a nickname based on their identification number. A lot of them are based on Goroawase Number puns, but there are some that don't have to do with that.
  • Palette Swap: Happens to almost everyone hair color in the start of season 2 (Minus Hajime for obvious reasons.)
  • Pun-Based Title: Multiple. "Nanba's Fools" (Nanba + Baka), "Stupid Numbers" (Number + Baka), and "This is Nanba" (Nanba ka).
  • The Quiet One: Chef Shiro.
  • Rapid Hair Growth: Nico causes the guard dogs to spontaneously turn into barking balls of fluff when he comes into contact with them, a side-effect of the tranquilizer darts he was shot with.
  • Reality Ensues: It turns out, Hajime, that beating a prisoner up until he falls unconscious will tend to bring consequences, even if he's going on a rampage. Enjoy your 3 days of suspensionnote .
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: In Cell 13, Nico and Rock tend to be more fun-loving and impulsive (red) while Uno and Jyugo are smarter and more observant (blue). On the guards' side, there is Yamato (red) and Seitarou (blue), with Hajime falling in the middle.
    • Building 3's two known inmates also count, with loud, obnoxious Honey as the red to Trois's calm, more thoughtful blue.
  • Red Right Hand: The man with the mark on his neck.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Gokuu actually had the right idea when he thought that the Cell 13 boys had tragic backstories that got them into Nanba Prison:
    • Sure, Rock didn't escape prisons to see his friend, but he was mistreated during his initial prison days and not only hated the food in his old prisons, but starved before he met Jyugo and broke into a diner to eat, triggering his Big Eater tendencies.
    • Nico's medicine troubles weren't over drug pushing like he was originally sent into prison for, but being used like a lab rat in every facility he's been a part of.
  • Robot Girl: Nurse Android Kagu-8 (read as "kaguya"). She is hit on by the inmates due to technically being the only woman beside the warden and head scientist.
  • Scary Teeth: Elf.
    • Nico when his split personality takes over.
  • Shipper on Deck: Hitokoe is this as he's one of the few people who knows about the warden's crush on Hajime.
  • Shout-Out: One scene had a reference to the Kimoi Girls meme, with Nico and Uno in the place of the girls.
  • Split Personality: It is revealed that Nico suffer this, and his other half is scary as hell.
  • Team Dad: Hajime all the way. The way he deals with the Cell 13 boys and the other guards resembles a father handling his idiot children.
  • Team Mom: Uno for the rest of Cell 13. Nico even says that he's "starting to sound like a mom" in Episode 11.
    • For the guards, Kiji easily fills this role, scolding the rest of them when they misbehave and standing up for Samon when another guard gives him a Breaking Speech about being as evil as his brother was.
  • Tournament Arc: The annual New Year's tournament was this, along with seriously shaking up the status quo for the main characters.
  • Truth in Television: Female and male criminals are separated to ensure no misconduct in real life. The only reason why the chief warden is female is probably because she is super intimidating.
  • Undying Loyalty: Supervising officer Kenshiro Yozakura to Momoko. He even has a dog motif.
  • Unsettling Gender Reveal: In episode 1, Cell 13 hears about a pretty woman visiting the jail and they break out of their cell in to see her. Unfortunately, the woman is actually Hajime's crossdressing brother, Hitoshi.
  • Urban Legend Love Life: Uno has no backed-up claims so far regarding all his griping for girls. Apparently every time he's tried to break out of jail was on date nights.
    • Though he was quickly creeped out over the fact that Hajime's 'sister' is actually a crossdressing brother and tells Jyugo he can take him.
    • Out of the four, he's the one who reacts the most when he realizes that the warden is a woman (though Rock mentions that she's lovely too).
  • Wham Episode: Episode 6.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Hajime calls Kiji this on occasion, and Hitoshi is this.
  • Workaholic: Hajime lives for his work, and when he's suspended for three days on account of his thrashing of Jyugo, he becomes depressed for a while. He finds ways to work even then, doing everyone's paperwork out of boredom and contributing to building projects when he's finished with that.
  • You Are Number 6: The inmates are commonly referred to by number, so it can be hard to track without knowledge of Goroawase Numbers and various languages' words for numbers.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: It'd be easier to name the characters who don't have weird hair colours in this series. Momoko and Seitarou actually do have blue hair, while Juugo's is black and red, Nico's is lime green, Rock's is purple and red, and Uno's is pink and yellow. And the list goes on...
  • You Wanna Get Sued?: The Kame(bleep)meha, among other references.
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