Second seasons of any show are scary. They are scary as you are not certain if whatever you saw in the first season can be maintained in the second. True, a lot of this is based on however the original manga unfolded itself, but you can take liberties with things. The problem for me with “The Numbers 2” (“Nanbaka 2”) is that it became the Dragonball Z Syndrome: endless fighting amid endless fighting, when we are not endlessly fighting. This is what you get in the second go-around.
So, more or less, things are going along OK in Namba Prison, but there is something wrong with Blockhouse 5. Things are badly amiss when their guard disappears and the inmates are seemingly possessed. Our intrepid group (left to right: Nico, Jyugo, Rock and Uno) tries to get into the blockhouse and is met with opposition right from the imposing gates. The guards appear to be hypnotized or under the influence or otherwise not in control of themselves and here is where it all falls apart.
The first season was marked with an endless parade of exquisite silliness. This is jail? Seems more like Club Fed to me. But in the second season, to show how ‘dark’ things have become, we trot out a series of mean, vicious, monsters and pretty-boy guards and have pitched battles. It got very dull very fast. On the one side, we did get to see the rather complex relationships that everyone has with everyone else and the full extent of their powers. But the flip side was fighting, fighting, fighting, with no end in sight and having to do the Big Sacrifice (“You go on ahead, I’LL take care of this one!”) and a lot of the emotional demons that were released at the end of the first season were not there. I guess they got a weekend pass or are on work detail.
Yet, despite all of this, we are no closer to a conclusion than at the end of the last season, which means a third season is out there. The one small relief is the guards, who wear these outrageous fashions that would make RuPaul drool with envy. They aren’t prison guards, unless they work for the Fashion Police (“White after Labor Day? Quel faux pas!”). But their humor is few and far between amid a rather dysfunctional second season, where the goofy nature of it was sublimated for an overly-wrought storyline that achieved no discernible goals.
The only reason I would have you see it at all is to keep the continuity for the third season, so when they talk about this or that, you at least have a reference point. Otherwise, you may want to do something that lands you in solitary and you can avoid the last season.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (Standard thugs, fabulous guards)
Plot 6 (AWOL in my book)
Pacing 6 (Too many fights)
Effectiveness 6 (Too little plot and too many fists)
Conclusion 7 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Overall 7 (Fights, fights and fights)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. What is going on over there?