Love it or hate it but Sweet Punishment Anno Patema is a damn good anime. Directed by Takuo Hayashi, the film follows the story of a young girl who was sentenced to death by the local yakuza. While in prison she has a chance to see her deceased father again and learns about his philosophy of life. When she is returned to the prison the mob has taken control of the facility and she is now under their protection.
The anime starts with office worker Mireille waiting for her turn to go to the bathroom while her superior is away on business. When she is finally permitted to go she stumbles onto the dead body of her boss who had been executed several months before. Apparently the hit man who killed him used a sweet punishment technique called a black wing prison technique on his enemy. Mireille then finds herself in the maximum security of the black wing prison where she has no hope of survival. When she attempts to escape through the tunnels she finds herself locked in a cell along with six other female prisoners.
Among these female prisoners, Mireille has a close friend named Ayame. Mireille soon realizes that the reason for her imprisonment is because her former good man, a former yakuza boss named Takuo Hayashi, wants to find out information he needs about a pair of hikers that disappeared on a hike they were supposed to complete. Mireille’s friend warns her not to try and save herself as she is being slowly starved to death inside the prison. Ayame tries to convince her that death is better than dishonor and tells her that if she does not cooperate with the gangs she will be killed by the inmates.
As she is being tortured inside the prison there are many other inmates who are also being tormented including the psychologist Takeda Shiguro. He tries to comfort the ailing prisoner Mireille but she still refuses to cooperate. Soon the psychiatrist convinces Mireille that if she does cooperate then she can at least get out of the terrible prison. Shortly after this occurs Ayame’s friend Okadaitsu Ueshiba enters the prison and seeks to free the good woman but he is stopped by Mireille.
Mireille is put into a rehabilitation center where she is subjected to sweet punishment by the inmates. This takes the form of being forced to eat terrible food until she becomes ill. When she is finally healed she is assigned to a new position outside the prison walls. There she must continue to prove that she is a good person and that she deserves freedom. As she does this she is tormented by the gangs again whom she helps to defeat.
After being freed from the comfort of the prison Mireille goes to a restaurant where Takeda tries to offer her a job. However she politely declines and tells Takeda that she is too busy enjoying her life away from crime to be bothered with employment. The author later goes on to show that Mireille has a big heart as she continues to work even when offered a job which would allow her to spend more time with her daughter Ayame. One could say that the author was trying to demonstrate that even when a woman is given a sweet punishment such as being forced to serve food for people, she still cares for her daughter.
Masamune Shiomiya writes an interesting and entertaining manga about the sweet and sour life of a woman who gets released from a prison that also puts her in a reformatory. This manga has a light-hearted beginning as it describes the daily life of a woman working in a restaurant before she is rescued by an escaped convict. The manga later on goes on to describe how the reformed woman undergoes more Sweet Punishment Anime like getting re-indopped and serving lunch to a group of criminals.
This light-hearted and humorous manga has a wide appeal among men and women alike. Most of the characters look like their American counterparts. The story also incorporates elements of mystery and action. All in all, Sweet Punishment Anime is a great series to watch because it shows that while in prison a woman can still have a lot of fun and be funny while serving your sentence.