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YMMV / Prison School

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Warning! Late Arrival Spoilers before the final story arc (Kiyoshi's Love Confession) are left unmarked!

  • Awesome Art: One of Prison School's highlights is the incredible art. Not to mention the way the realistic character designs clash with the over-the-top comedy of the series.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Kate, Mari's arch-nemesis for the position of Student Council President and eventually becomes her chief torturer. While Kate is the main antagonist of the second arc, and shows tendencies of being an Alpha Bitch, it is also equally arguable that her actions are justified and Mari and the Underground Student Council really did deserve all the crap she imposes onto them because of their numerous human rights violations e.g. illegal imprisonment, torture, forced labour, etc. just for peeping, while Kate never acted all that viciously to anybody else who committed minor felonies, even to the boys, unless they help Mari in some way. Besides, the only reason the boys decided to forge an alliance with Mari in the first place was because Kate's administration replaced the USC's previous Wet T-shirt contest with a clamming event.
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    • For Chiyo-Kiyoshi and Hana-Kiyoshi shippers: There is room for interpretation for Hana's actions during and right after the Sports Festival arc, where she played a part in ruining Kiyoshi's social life at school, requests for Chiyo not to socialize with Kiyoshi, and tore up the memo that Chiyo sent to Kiyoshi. Did Hana ruin Kiyoshi's reputation for the greater goal of ensuring the USC's survival, or did she do that so that no other girl would get close to him? By asking Chiyo to ignore Kiyoshi, was she really concerned for Chiyo's reputation or she doesn't want the two to be together? Was the tearing up of the memo an accident or intentional sabotage?
    • Mari's inner monologue in the final story arc claimed that she is atoning for all the mess she had caused in the previous story arcs, by leaving for an exchange program. The questionable part was whether was she really atoning, or was that her own way of running away from the problems she had caused? This alternative interpretation of her character holds especially strong given that her misandry was clearly still evident by the end of the series.
  • Arc Fatigue:
    • The Horseback challenge between the two Student Councils ended up suffering from this due to the large amount of focus being placed on the characters doing crazy antics to one another rather than actually competing to complete the Horseback game. Hell, even Mayumi of all characters (Chiyo's friend) got a chapter focused on her. Chairman Kurihara's wilderness side-adventure that's been going on at the same time as the Horseback challenge hasn't helped either. The arc proved to be so divisive because of its plot and length that readership for the series took a severe nosedive by the time it ended.
    • The events surrounding Chiyo's birthday has also reached a breaking point amongst readers due to the slow pacing of having four stories going on at the same time. These four stories being: A) Kiyoshi trying to confess to Chiyo at the birthday location while Hana tries to reveal her own feelings for Kiyoshi, B) Meiko and Kate trying to reach the airport to stop Mari from leaving, C) Andre and Risa becoming an Official Couple, and D) The rest of the core supporting characters going down river on the bottle raft to reach the birthday location, but end up getting themselves lost. With the exception of the Andre and Risa plotline, the rest have basically been dragged out with many back-to-back chapters of everyone simply trying to reach their final destination. Kiyoshi keeps getting roadblocked on the way to the birthday location, Meiko and Kate have a rough time getting to the airport, and the Gakuto, Shingo, Joe, Anzu, Satou, Mayumi group remain lost drifting further down the river on the bottle raft away from the birthday location.
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  • Base-Breaking Character: Fan reaction to Mitsuko was split due to her pretty much coming out of nowhere and becoming close to Gakuto, unlike the already well-established and liked Anzu (and the hated Chiyo). Either she's the perfect partner for a character who deserves happiness, or a completely generic Relationship Sue. However, after she was given a bigger role in the overarching story by being revealed as the Token Good Teammate for the Aboveground Student Council and the relationship aspects between her and Gakuto were severely downplayed, most of the hatred she garnered has been sent back to Chiyo.
  • Broken Base:
    • The anime is either a great adaptation that got the crazy tone of the manga down perfectly, or it's a rushed and censored trainwreck that people can't get immersed in due to uneven pacing. note 
    • The final chapter. While a return to the crazier sides of the series, fans all over have different opinions on how it and the series as a whole were handled. Some do like that Kiyoshi's lies finally caught up to him and felt his humiliation was thematically appropriate. Some hate the ending, given that almost the entire focus of the final arc went to Kiyoshi/Hana/Chiyo and only a handful of characters got a positive resolution. Some hate the rushed feel of the last arc in general, and some preferred to wait for the epilogue to see a proper end.
  • Catharsis Factor: The imprisonment and harsh treatment of Underground Student Council is seen as the most satisfying event in the manga. Especially when Mari attempts to gain the higher moral ground by remarking that she expects Kate to try and provoke her and her underlings to extend their sentences, and the look on her face when she is reminded that she did the same thing to the boys.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: The second story arc (USC's imprisonment) can be this for some readers, especially in the beginning stages. On the USC's side it was karma for what they had earlier done to the boys, but on the ASC's side it was clear that Kate's no angel and her mistreatment of the USC was largely out of revenge and her own selfish motives. The boys' main motivation for subsequently teaming up with the USC against the ASC didn't make them worth rooting for either.
  • Designated Hero: Played for Laughs. While the boys' punishment is beyond extreme, they are entirely at fault for acting like creeps and trying to peep on the girls' shower, and are only motivated to escape due to their desire to continue sexually harassing the school's female student body. The series pokes fun at this fact several times.
  • Designated Villain: Kate of the ASC in the second and third story arc (USC's imprisonment and the sports festival, respectively). Although her motivation was wrong, her actions weren't really any worse off than what Mari did during the boys' imprisonment — it's karma for the USC. Hence she was the main antagonist only because she happened to be in a personal feud with Mari AND happened to replace the USC's previous Wet T-shirt contest with a clamming event.
    • Kate loses the "Designated" part of the Designated Villain when she began getting innocent characters into trouble/prison in her quest for revenge.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Hana Midorikawa... VERY much so. She is violent to the main characters, her interactions with Kiyoshi made her look insane in a childish way, and takes an antagonistic role in both the first and last story arcs. Yet it is exactly her interactions with Kiyoshi that the fandom found her to be the most entertaining character in the series and most of them shipped her with Kiyoshi. Many had even believed that Hana's eventual crush on Kiyoshi was "authentic love", disregarding the many times Hana had clearly and selfishly disregarded Kiyoshi's feelings and thoughts throughout the entire series.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Hana is far and away the most popular character within the western fandom. Despite firmly being a supporting character throughout the first three story arcs and being far less prominent than both Mari and Meiko, she has topped every western popularity poll by a sizable margin. Her massive popularity was mostly due to her comedic entanglements with the main character Kiyoshi and to some extent her popular Anime VA Kana Hanazawa.
    • The Chairman for most of the series only appears in a few chapters, usually for a few pages. However, the chapter where he has Kiyoshi explain why butts are better that breasts turned into a fairly popular meme that got a lot of people who didn't even read the series familiar with him.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Kiyoshi has made it clear on multiple occasions that his feelings are for Chiyo. Despite this a lot of fans would rather see him end up with Hana instead. This is mainly due to Chiyo coming across as a generic Nice Girl to a lot of readers, her and Kiyoshi's relationship not being fleshed out until well into the series and some of the most memorable and hilarious scenes in the series occurring whenever Kiyoshi and Hana are alone.
  • Ho Yay: Gakuto has gotten this with Kiyoshi and Joe.
  • First Installment Wins: The first arc is pretty unanimously agreed to be the best, with its Great Escape plot making the best use of the series' strengths. In comparison the others that followed it all contained some amount of Base-Breaking content that caused a divide in the fanbase.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Meiko under Kate's leadership. At first she appears as one of the manga's most vicious antagonists, obeying Mari's every word and being the executive agent for the Academy's totalitarian and punishing system. However, it is soon revealed that she was in fact, a Shrinking Violet who was hated and constantly bullied all her life, and only the friendship with Mari gave her a reason to live and stand up for herself to become the confident and shameless woman she was known to be. Meiko's attitude was less due out of an inherent hatred of men but more of the result of pleasing Mari as her only meaning in life (to the point of begging for punishment if she failed her in any way and volunteering to take all of the harshest labour from her), and when Kate framed her for starting a fire that apparently killed Mari's most valued baby crows, she was broken so much by her failure that she reverted to her submissive and timid personality, providing Kate and her cronies more imperatives to abuse her.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Kiyoshi who been paired with Hana, both Kurihara sisters, and even Gakuto.
  • Memetic Badass: The Chairman gets this reputation after enduring a devastating car crash without injury. Combined with his reveal of surprisingly good wilderness survival skills, jokes quickly sprang up in the fandom about him having learned them from battling through the South American jungle in his search for the perfect ass.
  • Memetic Mutation: In the end, boobs are nothing more than fake asses! explanation 
  • Moral Event Horizon:
  • Never Live It Down: The series as a whole will never live down how dragged out the cavalry battle between the two student councils was.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Shingo is the most hated of the five boys among the Prison School fandom due to his hypocritical and selfish behavior. His status as this was lessened considerably following his transition into The Atoner, though many still find him to be obnoxious.
    • Early on, Mari is perhaps the most hated female character among the Prison School fandom, especially during her turn as the main antagonist in the first story arc. She had redeemed herself in much of the fandom's eyes after going through some character development in the 2nd story arc though.
    • To a lesser extent, Chiyo seemingly gets flak for being a generic Nice Girl with little characterization who stood out among the entire larger-than-life cast like a sore thumb, but in reality the fandom merely finds her boring instead of actual dislike of the character.
  • Strawman Has a Point:
    • While the Official Student Council are seen as the "villains" of the second arc due to their harsh treatment of the Underground Student Council, Kate does point that their treatment of the USC members is honestly Not So Different from how the USC members punished the boys. Both groups are abusive to their prisoners to the point of Human Rights Violations (the Stanford Prison Experiment even being referenced) and aren't above using blackmail. Even Kate tricking Meiko into thinking she'd burned alive a nest of Mari's baby crows is almost identical to the time Mari made it look like her crows were eating Joe's ants in order to provoke a violent reaction from him. In both cases, the animals turned out to be perfectly safe. After everything the USC did to the boys, it only seem fair that their punishment should be the same. However, this does end when they imprison the clearly innocent Kiyoshi and Chiyo, and when Kate admits that the whole punishment is not out of justice or feminist ideology but only her personal plan to get back at Mari for dethroning her as the best.
  • Trapped by Mountain Lions: The Chairman's subplot regarding his amnesia. After aiding a hitchhiker, he saves a little boy's dog from drowning, then falls off a waterfall and loses his memory (well, everything except his love of ass). His adventures only get wackier from there, and unlike most examples of this trope the fandom loves it more than the main plot.
  • Wangst: Hana's whining during her turn as a prisoner. Played for laughs ("That's karma bitch") as well as part of Mari's plan to make Hana the Reverse Mole.
  • Win Back the Crowd: Alongside Shokugeki no Soma and Shimoneta which aired during the same season, this show helped give JC Staff a second wind among the anime fandom. Before this show J.C. Staff had received a lot of ridicule from anime fans for their low animation quality, the Seasonal Rot of Shakugan no Shana as well as actively killing the Shana Clone trope, and producing many widely ridiculed light novel adaptations such as Aria the Scarlet Ammo, and Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?. However this show and the two other examples listed above reminded fans that J.C. Staff can still work on unique and interesting new shows.
  • Woolseyism: The French manga translates "DTO" (Danshi Taigaku Operation, "Operation Expel the Men") as "ODC" (Opération Dehors les Cafards, or "Operation Drive the Cockroaches Out")

Alternative Title(s): Kangoku Gakuen


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