Under Grand Hotel is a Yaoi manga set in a fictional U.S. prison that was built entirely underground. Most of the prisoners confined inside will never again see the light of day, as most have been put away for life sentences. The story follows Owari Sen, a young Japanese student sent there for first-degree murder. Though his eyes we see the brutal life of the prison its inmates call the Under Grand Hotel.
The major characters are: Swordfish (a Depraved Bisexual), the prison boss (or "shut-call"), Walter (the prison barber), and The Warden, who is drunk on his own power.
The manga is known for being graphic and brutal. The majority of the plot seems to focus around prison rape.
This manga contains examples of:
- Artistic License Law: The ending is hard to accept. The FBI will not help two lovebirds escape from prison (one a drug-dealer and murderer, the other is on the brink) just to capture a corrupt warden.
- Attempted Rape: Even with the large number of actual rapes in the manga, there are a few that are only attempted. On one occasion Sen defended himself against a rapist by poking the guy's eye out with a cross necklace. Another time he was nearly raped before a bunch of guards found out and put a stop to it.
- Beautiful All Along: Give Walter a shave and take off his glasses and he's suddenly gorgeous.
- Beta Couple: Walter and Norman, eventually.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Walter. Very hidden and very badass.
- Driven to Suicide: Possibly, but the woman Sen was sleeping with because she felt guilty for killing her husband and him covering for it.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Sen and Swordfish escape under new names and Walter continues to visit Norman in prison.
- Even the Guys Want Him: Not that surprising as this is a yaoi manga. Sen has Swordfish in love with him and has had numerous guys try to rape him, and Swordfish has Sen and Norman in love with him.
- Eye Scream: Sen defends himself against a rapist by poking the guy's eye out with a cross necklace he won in a checker game from Swordfish.
- Faking the Dead: The ending has Sen and Swordfish fake death so they can escape from prison.
- False Confession: Sen didn't kill the husband of the woman he was sleeping with; she did, but he covered for her.
- FBI Agent: This is revealed to be Walter at the very end, trying to catch the drug circle within the prison.
- Fingore: When Sen gets his lunch he finds someone's cut off finger among the french fries.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: The warden.
- Girlfriend in Canada: Walter, the mole, made up the story about having a wife and family.
- If It's You, It's OK: Norman mentions at one point "I'm not interested in men. Except him (Swordfish), that is..." Though that doesn't stop him from hooking up with Walter.
- I'll Kill You!: Sen defends himself against a rapist by poking the guy's eye out with a cross necklace he won in a checker game from Swordfish. In response, the guy starts choking Sen and says, "You damn Jap! I'll kill you!"
- I Love the Dead: The Depraved Bisexual Swordfish warns Sen (whom he's attracted to) that he better make sure he doesn't die while in prison because if he does he'll rape his corpse in full view of everyone.
- Interplay of Sex and Violence: As things like Prison Rape are common, this trope comes up frequently. The most notable one would have to be Swordfish raping his lover Sen to almost death.
- And in the first few scenes we see Lain Brody he gives Sen a blowjob, strips him, drugs him and outright molests him as he's drugged (including telling him "No way in hell am I letting Swordfish kill you. Because he doesn't love you. I'm the only one that can kill you."), rapes him with a mop handle, ties him up and hides him in a dryer. And when Swordfish finds Sen he gives him CPR. Lain responds to this by stabbing Fish in the arm with a fork and tries to stab him again while screaming at him, "Get off of Sen! He belongs to me!" Immediately after that Lain is shot and killed by security guards.
- Lack of Empathy: This is Swordfish in a nutshell. Although he's in love with Sen he's a murderous bisexual who threatens anyone who expresses an interest in Sen with death, has sex with Sen to the point where it nearly kills Sen, tries to strangle him, kills the guys who raped Sen saying that he did it for Sen's sake even after Sen told him not to kill them, moves out of Sen's room and lets a rapist move in when angry with Sen, and slices the throat of another one of Sen's rapists right in front of him while saying "I love you, Sen." This being after he tried to get Sen to kill the guy himself but Sen refused.
- Love Makes You Evil: In the first few scenes we see Lain Brody in, he gives Sen a blowjob, strips him, drugs him and outright molests him as he's drugged (including telling him "No way in hell am I letting Sword Fish kill you. Because he doesn't love you. I'm the only one that can kill you."), rapes him with a mop handle, ties him up and hides him in a dryer. And when Swordfish finds Sen he gives him CPR. Lain responds to this by stabbing Fish in the arm with a fork and screams at him, "Get off of Sen! He belongs to me!" Immediately after that Lain is shot and killed by security guards.
- The Mole: The final book mentions a mole trying to cut down on the drugs in the prison and it turns out to be Walter.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: Lain attempts to do this to Sen.
- Necktie Leash: In the third volume, Swordfish does this to Sen.
- Prison Rape: Many many times. Almost always very graphically and almost always to Sen.
- Psychotic Love Triangle: Swordfish being a Yandere for Sen who loves Swordfish back. There's also Norman who's in love with Swordfish but pretended to be in love with Sen so he could get closer to Swordfish. He tried to persuade Swordfish to kill Sen but that didn't work. So, on one occasion when there was a scuffle going on he tried to get Sen out of the way by stabbing him with a pencil but accidentally ends up stabbing his inmate Walter instead who was trying to protect Sen in the hope of getting protection from Swordfish. When he finds this out, Norman holds a knife to Walter's neck telling him, "If you don't want to die, don't butt in again Walter!" He gets better.
- Rape and Revenge: Multiple times, but notably the woman Sen was sleeping with killed her husband when he was raping Sen.
- Rape and Switch: Sen was clearly straight before he started enduring one too many rapes at the hands of fellow inmates while in prison. Following that he became Swordfish's lover and regularly engaged in sexual activities with him. Not to mention he didn't seem to mind when Norman was hitting on him.
- Shower of Angst: Occurs several times mostly because whenever someone's taking a shower there's a chance they'll either end up getting raped or beaten up and then left there for a bit under the running shower.
- Staged Shooting: At the end where Sen and Swordfish fake their death.
- Taking the Heat: Sen took the heat for the murder of the husband of the woman he was sleeping with, who was raping him at the time.
- Undercover Cop Reveal: At the very end Walter... Did not see that coming.
- What Beautiful Eyes!: Sen makes much of Swordfish's eyes. Also, in one scene a barber named Norman pushes Sen's bangs back and asks him, "You wanna try cutting your bangs a little? Your eyes are so beautiful."