Manga Review: Prison Lab

Everyone has been bullied, even if they say they haven't. What if you were allowed to imprison your biggest bully and maybe get rich from it? Would you take the chance? That's the concept that Prison Lab presents to us. The manga (and anime) is billed as psychological horror but I think the it's more Incel Fantasy, if that is a genre.

Eyama is bullied relentlessly by his classmates. The ringleader of it all is Aya, a former friend, who is now the most popular girl in school. One evening he receives a letter offering him the opportunity to participate in something called "The Captivity Game," which would allow him to hold a victim of his choice hostage for four weeks and do whatever he chooses to them, as long as they don't die. If they die, Eyama will work as an indentured servant until the money is paid in full. Of course, he chooses Aya for his victim because he wants revenge and the thought of losing doesn't cross his mind.

He's surprised when he's taken to a compound to find she's chained inside of a dingy room. Inside he's allowed to do whatever he wants to her. He wins if she can't guess his name. However, she guesses his name right away and he chooses to break her jaw so she can't speak his name. Inside the compound are three other players. Yoshino, who has chosen a former employer that sexually harassed her. Seiji is playing the game to earn money for his daughter's medical bills after she was raped, assaulted and abandoned by her mother. His victim is Erika, whom he doesn't torture. Erika believes this is how she repents for her own affair. Behind the scenes, The Organization has been pulling strings in all of their lives, and the members are feuding, with some not wanting The Organization to continue.

Bullying is a serious thing, even if some people choose not to admit that. Boys can be bullied the same way girls can and adults can be bullied the same way children can. Many countries have what can only be described as a toxic work culture, and it allows bullies to thrive. Prison Lab does a lot to give Eyama motivation for his actions based on the bullying he endured. Care has been given to demonstrate his thoughts during these bullying scenes and how they affected his life afterwards. I can admit, I had a bully once, only once. I was kind of powerless to do anything because my bully was a girl, who later confessed to liking me. I don't know about you, but physical violence isn't the way to my heart. Prison Lab shares that background, because we don't teach children how to express their feelings.

Still, this is just some incel nonsense. Eyama has no personality and only sees himself as the victim of every situation, even small ones that are his own doing. There's a moment where he's suspected of kidnapping Aya because he started hanging around her house and was spotted by her brothers. After years of being tormented and abused by girls his own age he's suddenly taken in by an older woman, Yoshino, and has sex with her. Reddit had or maybe still has a place call "Pussy Pass Revoked," and Prison Lab is the exact kind of thing you'll see there. Women getting "what they deserve," even if they haven't actually done anything.  Eyama would post on that subreddit for sure, probably be a moderator. Even if you think Aya's behavior deserves the torment, she's far from the only woman tortured in the series. Men however, generally get a quick end and only one was actually tortured, even if they are victims of much more heinous crimes.

There's absolutely nobody to like in this book. Aya tormented Eyama and other students relentlessly, to the cusp of suicide. Then suddenly in the last moments she's given a personality and back story that we're supposed to feel bad about. It's an upsetting backstory for sure, but it was an afterthought that was too late to really change my opinion. It's like finding out a serial killer had their childhood killed, doesn't really change the fact that they're a killer. Despite having shown no remorse at any point prior, I'm supposed to suddenly forgive the person they've set up as the ultimate villain. Yoshino's victim is a man who sexually harasses women and uses the power he has over his office to get away with it. Yoshino was sexually assaulted by her victim, but also has sex with a teenager, and murdered her parents as a child before she met him.The two exceptions are Seiji and Erika, but even they have their moments of being trash towards the end. Unfortunately, I don't care about any of these characters. The villains aren't villains, the heroes certainly aren't heroes.

I'm a fan of manga, anime and comics where the main character is a terrible person. I don't know why, I just am. Perhaps it speaks to some animal part of my brain, but this is too much. There's not really a reason for any of the people to be this terrible. Then at the end, we rush through some clumsy backstories to make The Organization all knowing and all powerful while seeking forgiveness for the characters. The concept is interesting, but you would be better served just reading Btooom!. The concept is the same, people voted as terrible by members of society imprisoned. The difference is Btooom! places them on an island to kill each other and only the strongest will survive. There's no incels on the island, actually, there is but he doesn't win.

There's some great art in this manga, but about 40% is BDSM incel revenge art, so points off for that. The story is terrible, there's no twist that isn't predictable from at least ten chapters away. The concept isn't original, which is fine. Th problem is there's nothing done to make the concept unique. Don't waste your time on this one, unless you enjoy bad manga.

You can check out some of my short stories at 12 AM Fiction or if you like vampires follow my web serial Exsanguinate and of course hear me on the Powerbomb Jutsu podcast if you enjoy pro wrestling.

Manga Review: Prison Lab Manga Review: Prison Lab Reviewed by Blerds Online on Friday, March 05, 2021 Rating: 5

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