Hello, everybody!! I’m here with another episodic review of Nanbaka. This particular episode is episode 4, called Happy New Year! The New Year’s Tournament Is Where We Get Serious!!. I do ask that you watch this episode before you continue reading, as I will probably spoil a few things. With that out of the way, lets get started.
So we start off the episode with the announcement of the Nanba New Year’s Tournament, where the guards and the inmates, from certain cells, work together to win, where the guards will receive a bonus and the prisoners can receive any one item they want. The tournament begins with a calligraphy competition, where we learn that Hajime and Yamato are master’s of calligraphy, while Jungo still sucks at being Japanese. They easily win the competition, and continue to the next event, which is a mochi-pounding and daruma-smashing competition. Rock is picked to protect the daruma, while Yamato is chosen to pound the mochi, against Building 5’s inmate, Liang, and guard. Rock is soon attacked by Liang, who fought, and lost, to him when Rock was in Building 5, while Yamato is attacked by the guard. Rock reveals that he is fighting to get a stone oven, and then, after Liang insults his love for food, beats Liang and throws him into the crowd, which inspires Yamato to fight as well, and he beats the guard easily. They win the competition, and move on to the karuta, or Japanese poem-identification card game, competition. Seitarou is chosen for the guards, and Uno is chosen for the inmates, against Building 3’s guard, Kiji, and two inmates, Honey and Trois. Seitarou is proven to be a master at the game, and wins easily, while Uno is having a harder time against the other inmates. The episode ends with it looking like Uno will lose, but Jungo reveals that Uno has a trick up sleeve.
So this episode is, by far, the best episode in the series so far. While the previous episode was mostly just one joke after another, this episode was able to add action, while dropping in some pretty well-planned comedy. Not only that, we got to meet alot of new characters which, instead of dragging the plot down, actually helped to make our main characters more interesting, as we learn a bit more about Rock’s past, and possibly a skill that we haven’t seen Uno use yet. I would say that sometimes this show did get a bit over-the-top, but it still worked out in the show’s favor, as it was still hilarious to see Yamato pounding the mochi so fast, and Rock throwing Liang so hard that it knocks down a daruma, creates a crater in the stairs, and causes Liang to pass out in a Pokemon-like way. I honestly don’t have much bad to say about this episode, as it was just really entertaining to watch, and was a nice change of pace from the past episodes.
Overall, this episode was just amazing, and, like the title says, the tournament is when this show started getting serious. We have a more continuous plot, and is definitely nice to not have to see each episode having to jump from one joke to another. I look forward to what comes next, and, if you guys are interested as well, please go check out the series on Crunchyroll. With that, please comment below on what you guys thought of this episode? Is the tournament change a good way to go? Will Building 13 come out on top? Will more secrets be revealed? Well, we’ll just have to wait and see. Don’t let looks deceive you, and hope to see you guys next time!!