Spin-offs are an interesting thing. They can add to the lore of a story, detract from it, or even barely impact it at all. Quite a few of my favorite stories or shows have been spin-offs. For me, the spin-offs that I’ve enjoyed took the original story and added to it by simply existing alongside it. They don’t try to alter the story they came from, nor do they try to be better or worse. They share a common theme, character, or even world, but as such become somewhat of their own universe.
It’s this idea that the universe the story comes from is bigger than what we perceive it to be. While we as readers or viewers are aware that the piece of media we’re digesting (particularly anime or manga) is separate from us, the spin-offs help them seem just a little bit closer. A favorite pastime of spin-offs often shows the more mundane side of the story, highlighting comedy where there’s typically drama, or a love story where we might not have been looking. It’s a nice reprieve and helps us feel fresh and awake when we return to the original story. However, sometimes it makes us feel something else entirely.
So what is it?
Enter Prison School, a raunchy manga that was first unleashed upon the world in 2011. It then received an anime adaptation that premiered in 2015. The premise is fairly close to what the title suggests: yes, there is a school that happens to have a prison inside. However, the prison isn’t meant for hardened criminals. Instead, it’s meant to house students that commit any sort of infraction.
The all-girls school gets an old-fashioned shakeup when five boys are introduced into the mix–although they are quickly arrested by the “Underground student council” for peeping in the girls’ locker room. Their stay in prison is made all the more difficult with the underground student council’s constant surveillance. The president is a hardened, law-abiding girl that is flanked by two subservients who would make even the most intense prison warden cower in their boots. The vice president, Meiko, is a vicious, domineering girl who feels her best in shiny, patent leather heels. She constantly whips the boys into shape, both literally and figuratively, and presents the manga and anime with some of its most blush-inducing moments of fan service.
Flash forward to 2019, where we meet Meiko again in Shadow Student Council Vice President Gives Her All. Fans of Prison School are sure to rejoice at the thought, with Meiko being the star of the book.
But those looking for an in-depth story or even a quirky fun adventure are in for a slight amount of confusion or even bewilderment. There is no text throughout the book. Sure, there are a few grunts and heavy sighs, but other than that, nada. Instead, we are given the story through incredibly detailed pictures.
The book is divided up into chapters, each containing a one-shot story of Meiko doing things. Some are cuter than others, some are a little boring, and some are incredibly strange, such as involving sea life and Japanese mythology. Each one, however, is a really great looking piece of art… depicting a very sweaty woman doing things that always end up looking, at the very least, incredibly sexual.
But should you read it?
It’s a hard pill to swallow at first, especially for myself, as I had no idea going into the book that there was zero dialogue and zero plot. As an avid fan of the original Prison School, my eyes were already well adjusted to the precarious moments that often left Meiko to be clad in the skimpiest of clothing (if she was still wearing any at all). But what surprised me was how much I actually enjoyed the book.
To say that it is silly is an understatement. It has zoomed past the concept of silly straight to ridiculous, but wholly self-aware. There are chapters that are centered around puns and jokes, and there are even chapters playing off pop culture. A few such moments are cheeky references to Saturday Night Fever and the Kill Bill franchise. Sometimes these moments caught me unaware, and I was surprised to find myself giggling under my breath.
At its very heart, the book is a poke at itself. It knows that it’s meant to be funny and inappropriate. It’s not setting out to change timelines or our minds about certain characters. As a spin-off, I’d say it does a good job. It’s a cute way to hang out with Meiko more, away from the prison and the council president. Letting Meiko shine in these raunchy, fun moments felt almost satisfying.
But is this book for everybody? It’s a hard no from me. As mentioned, it’s incredibly inappropriate. The cover alone guarantees this is a book that, if whipped out in public, would get you swiftly escorted off the premises. Eroticism aside, it’s not something you’re going to want to dive into to solve mysteries or be shocked and terrified. It simply exists to exist. It doesn’t impact the original Prison School in the slightest, nor does it add any important details to the story. What it does manage to do is evoke a slight amount of empathy, embarrassment, and even a couple chuckles here or there.
I really enjoyed this, but I feel as if it also helped that I am a fan of the story it comes from. If a person with zero knowledge of the anime or manga picked up this book, they wouldn’t necessarily be drawn to finding out origin stories or character motivations. At worst, they’d probably be disappointed that the book they grabbed wasn’t so much a story. However, Prison School fans are more than likely to enjoy it, as it features one of the best characters in the book. I can’t necessarily recommend the book, but I’m not saying you shouldn’t check it out either.
For more information about Shadow Student Council Vice President Gives Her All, visit Anime-Planet.
Huge thank you to Yen Press for providing us a copy to review!