Volume 1 from Hakusensha
|Written by||Shinji Wada|
|Magazine||Hana to Yume|
|Original run||January 5, 1976 – December 5, 1982|
|Original network||Fuji TV|
|Original run||April 11, 1985 – October 30, 1985|
|Sukeban Deka II: Shōjo Tekkamen Densetsu|
|Directed by||Hideo Tanaka, Toshio Ōi, Tarō Sakamoto, Morio Maejima|
|Written by||Tokio Tsuchiya, Izō Hashimoto, Noboru Sugimura, Hiroshi Toda, Ichirō Yamanaka|
|Original network||Fuji TV|
|Original run||November 7, 1985 – October 23, 1986|
|Sukeban Deka 3: Shōjo Ninpōjō Denki|
|Directed by||Hideo Tanaka, Toshio Ōi, Tarō Sakamoto, Morio Maejima|
|Written by||Tokio Tsuchiya, Izō Hashimoto, Masayoshi Azuma, Junki Takegami, Kazuhiko Gōdo|
|Original network||Fuji TV|
|Original run||October 30, 1986 – October 29, 1987|
|Original video animation|
|Directed by||Hirota Takeshi|
|Produced by||Kazuyoshi Hirose|
|Written by||Hirota Takeshi|
|Music by||Takatsugu Takao|
|Licensed by||ADV Films|
|Released||April 21, 1991 – July 21, 1991|
|Runtime||50 minutes each|
Sukeban Deka (Japanese: スケバン刑事, translated "Delinquent Girl Detective") is a Japanese shōjo manga series written and illustrated by Shinji Wada and serialized on Hana to Yume. Sukeban Deka has been adapted into three live-action television series, an original video animation series and three feature films, the latest of which was released in 2006 as Yo-Yo Girl Cop.
A 16 year old delinquent schoolgirl named Saki Asamiya is offered by the police to become an undercover detective to escape prison. She initially refuses, so the police blackmail her by offering to pardon her mother, who is on death row for killing her husband, eventually forcing her to accept. Put under the tutelage of officer Kyouichiro Jin, she is given a metal yo-yo that doubled as a weapon as well as a police badge and made to infiltrate high schools around Japan to investigate and stop criminal activities. Her first destination is her very former school, Takanoha High School, where Saki's place has been taken by the three Mizuchi sisters and their ring of illegal activities.
- Saki Asamiya (麻宮 サキ Asamiya Saki)
The bitter heroine of the story, a natural born fighter who enjoys getting into scuffles with various people. Saki is blackmailed into becoming a secret investigator. She never backs down and is very stubborn. Her main weapon is a steel loaded yo-yo capable to function as a weapon.
- Kyoichiro Jin (神恭一郎 Jin Kyōichirō)
Saki's mentor in the police, a long-haired, English-Japanese man who worked for Scotland Yard. He is cold blooded and protective of Saki.
- Dark Director (暗闇警視 Kurayami Keishi)
The man who recruited Saki, a shady police officer who is in charge of the Sukeban Deka program.
- Sanpei Nowaki (野分 三平 Nowaki Sanpei)
Saki's ardent admirer, who calls her "his goddess" and follows her all over the school campus.
- Junko Yuina (唯名 純子 Yuina Junko)
Saki's best friend. A shy, quiet girl, Junko is a talented artist and she is seen as a threat by Emi Mizuchi who vows to sabotage her. In the OVA after Emi finds her beautiful painting, she has it stolen. Junko is kidnapped, forcefully drugged and then left dead on train tracks. Her death makes Saki's mission personal. In the manga, she was killed by Ayumi and her gang, who made it look like a suicide initially, but Saki noticed that Junko was bitten by a venomous snake.
- Agura (アグラ Agura)
Saki's rival in prison. Agura is a tough, masculine looking woman who dislikes Saki at first but then begins to respect her. Evetaully she is released from reform school with Chie, and acts as her bodyguard. She only appeared in the manga.
- Chie (チイ Chii)
Saki's kind friend in prison. She only appeared in the manga. She has a pleasant demeanor and is less aggressive than the other girls. She is released from reform school and returns to high school. Chie joins a biology club that loves to collect insects, and since then discovered a species of butterfly that was named after her. She and Agura are eventually involved in a missing persons case that Saki investigates.
- Kaoru (カオル Kaoru)
Saki's hyper friend who is also very vulnerable and ends up being attacked a lot by the other girls in the prison. To help Saki escape from prison, she ends up seducing the prison warden who is a lesbian. She used to be in a drama club, and often played the roles of men. She only appeared in the manga.
- Mio Kaido (海堂 美尾 Kaidō Mio)
Jin's partner. She only appeared in the manga.
A scheming, sly cell mate of Saki's. She has a mole under one eye. Hikuidori becomes friends with Saki at first but then betrays her and turns out to be an informant of Remi's. She only appeared in the manga.
- Gozo Mizuchi (海槌 剛三 Mizuchi Gōzō)
The patriarch of the antagonist Mizuchi crime family. Gozo uses his influence to control his family's power over Takanoha High school. He is a politician, and frames his rivals for the crimes committed by his daughters.
- Emi Mizuchi (海槌 詠巳 Mizuchi Emi)
The youngest sister who is an artist. Emi is an egomaniac who sees herself as a great artist when at best her talent is borderline, which leads her to use her father's influence to bribe judges and copy the works of other artists. Emi steals Junko's work and copies from it to win an art contest. In the OVA she is killed along with her father by a brainwashed assassin sent by Remi. In the manga, Emi is shot by an assassin sent by Remi but survives and is taken to the hospital.
- Ayumi Mizuchi (海槌 亜悠巳 Mizuchi Ayumi)
The dark haired middle child of the Mizuchi family. She has four hulking bodyguards who follow her around for protection. Ayumi is a drug addict and dealer, and is extremely greedy. However, she is the least evil out of the Mizuchi sisters. Despite her cold demeanor, she is loyal to her father and sisters. In both the OVA and manga, she is betrayed and killed by Remi, who gives her a malfunctioning shotgun that backfires, and steals all her money. In the manga, Ayumi rides a motorcycle and controls her own biker gang. She bets on the races for money, and anything goes, including harming the other racers, using traps, or killing other racers. Her favorite tactic is to throw venomous snakes at racers behind her, which bite and kill them.
- Remi Mizuchi (海槌 麗巳 Mizuchi Remi)
The eldest daughter, a beautiful blonde who is completely ruthless and sociopathic. When Remi first arrives at the high school, many of the students admire her because of her striking beauty. She is a former friend to Saki, but she serves as a deadly antagonist to her. She seems to be the least dangerous of the three sisters but in fact is the most. She is responsible for Junko's death, setting up Ayumi's death to steal her money with a malfunctioning shotgun to fight Saki, and a brainwashed assassin to kill her father Gozo and sister Emi. She refers to Saki about their "blood of madness" but drama version views it more expander by using Saki's mother's past. Throughout the manga series, Remi goes as far to impersonate Saki's sister Miyuki. She even cruelly murders Sanpei to get revenge on Saki as well.
- The Elite Four (海槌 麗巳 Shitenno)
Ayumi's four bodyguards. Only one does all the talking. He is the tallest and his weapon is a wooden sword. Another bodyguard uses brass knuckles. The third uses a bike chain. And the fourth bodyguard uses a pair of nunchucks. They appear in the OVA only.
- Ayumi's Followers
In the manga, Ayumi's followers are two girls, one named Chibi and the other one's name is not mentioned. Chibi is small and thin with dark hair while the other girl has feathered blonde hair and is obese. These two girls are very skilled fighters.
- Remi's Followers
In OVA, Remi's control method explained as computer programs and drugs.
- Blue Wolf League (海槌 麗巳 Seiroukai)
A sinister organization bent on controlling the schools of the country.
The creation of Sukeban Deka was the result of a misunderstanding between the author Shinji Wada and the editors at Hakusensha. Wada was developing a highschool drama, but the publisher expected detective story starring a high school student. At an impasse, Wada decided to combine the two concepts. Wada first published a pilot chapter titled "Kōsha wa Moete Iruka?" (校舎は燃えているか？, lit. "Is the school building burning?") on Hana to Yume magazine on August 5, 1975. Later, Sukeban Deka became a serial, starting from January 5, 1976, on the same magazine. Disappointed by the fact he could never end a complete serial before, Wada planned earlier in production a dramatic final scene in which the protagonist would die. The last chapter of this original planning was serialized on December 20, 1977, and was followed by an epilogue on January 20, 1978.
Following Sukeban Deka's conclusion, Wada started a new serial, Pygmalio, on March 20, 1978. However, after one year of serialization, the series was poor received by readers, and Wada stopped it to restart Sukeban Deka. Wada dubbed it as "part 2", and Sukeban Deka resumed on February 5, 1979 announced as a "new series". The manga ran regularly on Hana to Yume until its December 5, 1982 issue.
Since the original serialization, Sukeban Deka has been printed into four different collected editions; the original tankōbon publication started on April 20, 1976, and ended on April 25, 1983. Hakusensha released a six-volume aizōban edition between March 3, 1987, and April 29, 1987, and a twelve-volume bunkoban edition between March 23, 1995, and June 21, 1995. The last reprint was done by Media Factory, who acquired the rights from Hakusensha to publish a spin-off series, Sukeban Deka If. This alternate story was published into a single tankōbon on June 23, 2004. Following it, Media Factory published twelve collected volumes between August 23, 2004, and July 23, 2005.
The television series, though technically one series made up of three seasons, are essentially self-contained and separate, aside from sharing the same basic themes and premise, and starring popular Japanese idol singers in the main roles, each one replacing the previous as the new Asamiya Saki, taking on her cover identity and yo-yo weapon.
Sukeban Deka, the first series from 1985, starred Yuki Saito as the titular character Asamiya Saki. Saito's own song Shiroi Honō was used as the theme song. Lasting 25 episodes, the series adapted the first part of the manga and was relatively faithful to it, only changing minor points, though it deviated more towards its conclusion. Unlike the manga, where Saki died at the end of late arc unrelated to the Miuchi sisters, the series produced an early ending in which Saki seemingly died in a burning building along with her enemy Remi Mizuchi.
The popularity of the first series allowed it to be followed up by Sukeban Deka II: The Legend of the Girl In The Iron Mask (スケバン刑事II 少女鉄仮面伝説) in November 1985. This sequel starred Yoko Minamino, as Saito chose not to return in order to focus in her singing career. In accordance, although the series did base most of its storylines in the second part of the manga, Minamino portrayed an original character named Yoko Godai, a mysterious girl from Kansai forced to wear iron masks for most of her childhood. Yoko was liberated from the mask by a police agent named Nishiwaki (Keizo Kanie) that offered her a place in the Sukeban Deka program, and she accepted in exchange for help to find her disappeared dad. In the process, Yoko would be given the name of her presumably dead predecessor, Saki Asamiya, and a similar yo-yo weapon.
Sukeban Deka II contained connections to the first series, as Hiroyuki Nagato returned periodically to his role as the Dark Director, while Nishiwaki was revealed to be a former coworker of Kyoichiro Jin. However, in a departure from both the first series and manga, where Saki worked alone most of the time, Sukeban Deka II added two sidekicks for the main character: Yukino Yajima (Akie Yoshizawa), the refined heiress of a rich family from Kyoto who was also a Japanese martial arts expert, and Kyoko "Marble Okyo" Nakamura (Haruko Sagara), a street-wise Osaka native who excelled at street fighting and the usage of marbles as weapons. Despite those changes, the series actually surpassed the first in popularity, lasting 42 episodes and bringing the possibility of a third installment.
After the closure of the second season, Toei conceived an independent spin-off named Sukeban Ninpucho (スケバン刑事) to air before Sukeban Deka III. It would be based around ninjas, taking inspiration from Sho Kosugi's ninja cinema and Shinji Wada's own manga Ninja Flight, as well as from Star Wars. However, early into production it was decided to merge both Ninpucho and III into a single series. The result was the official third season, Sukeban Deka III: Ninja Girl Romance (スケバン刑事III 少女忍法帖伝奇). Launched in October 1986, it starred Yui Asaka as another original character after Minamino declined to return. Yui Kazama, a country girl from Kyushu who was recruited by the Dark Director and given the role of the third Saki Asamiya.
In the story, Yui was sent to Tokyo to meet up with her long lost sisters, Yuka (Yuka Onishi) and Yuma (Yuma Nakamura), and they inherited the family's ninja art in order to solve the menace of a psychic terrorist known as the Emperor. Now turned into a trio of kunoichi, they would battle the villain and his army, helped by their mentor Kazuya Yoda (Nagare Hagiwara) and the agents Reia Kido (Satomi Fukunaga) and Obiwan Osho (Hiroyuki Tanaka). At the end, it would be discovered that the Emperor was the father of the sisters and that Yui had a brainwashed twin sister. Yui herself rarely used the Saki Asamiya moniker and showed a very different personality compared to Saki and Yoko, and the series was more focused in fantasy than serious urban crime drama.
Despite a strong premiere and an ambitious length of 42 episodes scheduled in advance, Sukeban Deka III rapidly lost its momentum and didn't do well. During its emission it was released the first feature movie of the franchise, Sukeban Deka The Movie, which acted as a crossover between II and III (it also starred Ayako Kobayashi, the winner of a national audition grand prix), but it didn't help the franchise to recover its success. Ninja Girl Romance had its last episode on October 1987, and it was only followed by the feature film Sukeban Deka the Movie 2: Counter-Attack from the Kazama Sisters, which featured the characters in a more traditional plot and gave conclusion to their series.
Original video animation
Released in 1991, it follows closely the events of the first volumes of the manga. It pertains animation bearing similarities to the style of the 70's manga, particularly in the character designs. One such example is the style of the Mizuchi sisters eyes, an example being Reimi Mizuchi, whose eyes would often shift to show off a more villainous appearance, or would narrow like a snake's.
Saki Asamiya is given a chance to delay her mother's execution by working as an undercover cop and infiltrating Takanoha High School to investigate some mysterious deaths among the student body. Once there, she comes face-to-face with the powerful Mizuchi sisters, who moved in and have taken control after her previous expulsion.
Three feature films have been made.
- Sukeban Deka The Movie was released in 1987 during the emission of Sukeban Deka III. Although it featured characters from both the second and third seasons, starring Yoko Minamino and Yui Asaka, the movie was more a sequel to Sukeban Deka II.
- Sukeban Deka the Movie 2: Counter-Attack from the Kazama Sisters (1988). The movie starred Yui Asaka and served as the third series's finale.
- Sukeban Deka III: Asamiya Saki, was released in 2006. It was directed by Kenta Fukasaku and starred Aya Matsuura as the new Saki. Her fellow Hello! Project members Rika Ishikawa, Erika Miyoshi and Yui Okada from Biyuden, and Masae Ootani from Melon Kinenbi also starred in the movie. Hiroyuki Nagato and Yuki Saito from the original Sukeban Deka TV series made special appearances, implying she was the original Saki Asamiya. Out of all three movies, this title is most known and is more accessible, due to it being released on DVD in the U.S. by Magnolia, and in the UK by 4Digital Asia. For its American and UK distribution, the movie was retitled, Yo-Yo Girl Cop.
The original manga has been described as a "massively popular gang girl series", and has sold over 20 million copies in Japan. Erica Friedman of Yuricon classified it as "one of the three classic girl-gang series" along with Hana no Asuka-gumi and Yajikita Gakuen Dōchūki. Moreover, Friedman said Sukeban Deka influenced both and is "the origin of the whole girl-gang madness that filled the 1980s". She also stated the series paved the way for series such as Revolutionary Girl Utena and PreCure. The series' popularity has proven to be longstanding as the TV drama's DVD rerelease sold 130,000 copies in 2005, which prompted Toei to produce the third live-action film. By 2013, it still affected popular culture with the TV drama ending inspiring Kill la Kill anime ending.
Regarding the content, Friedman commented on the atypical level of violence and sex for a shōjo manga. She also noted the mix of shōnen and shōjo art style, and concluded that it is a shōjo that can appeal for the shōnen public. Carlos Ross writing for THEM Anime Reviews about the OVA stated that Sukeban Deka "is Asian action drama faithfully translated into the cel medium, and done well, to boot." Chris Beveridge, writing for Mania Entertainment, felt the OVA was "a middle of the road release". Helen McCarthy in 500 Essential Anime Movies states that the characters "are nicely drawn", the blossoming relationship between Saki and Sanpei "is handled convincingly", and that "teenagers will relate to the story's themes of betrayal, powerlessness, and being an outsider". Jonathan Clements and Helen McCarthy's The Anime Encyclopedia description of the series said it had an "essential silliness", althoug it is an "entertaining one-joke knockabout".
- "The Making of Sukeban Deka: Part One". Sukeban Deka. 1. Hakusensha. 1995. pp. 322–325. ISBN 4-592-88121-4.
- "Title on Magazine：花とゆめ 校舎は燃えているか？(和田慎二)". Media Arts Database (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
- "Title on Magazine：花とゆめ スケバン刑事(和田慎二)". Media Arts Database (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
- "The Making of Sukeban Deka: Part Four". Sukeban Deka. 4. Hakusensha. 1995. pp. 300–303. ISBN 4-592-88124-9.
- "Magazine Issue：花とゆめ 1977/12/20 表示号数24". Media Arts Database (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
- "Magazine Issue：花とゆめ 1978/01/20 表示号数2". Media Arts Database (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
- "Title on Magazine：花とゆめ ピグマリオ(和田慎二)". Media Arts Database (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
- "Magazine Issue：花とゆめ 1979/02/05 表示号数3". Media Arts Database (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
- "Book：スケバン刑事(花とゆめコミックス)第1巻". Media Arts Database (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
- "Book：スケバン刑事(花とゆめコミックス)22". Media Arts Database (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
- "Book：スケバン刑事 スペシャル版(ジェッツコミックス)1". Media Arts Database (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
- "Book：スケバン刑事 スペシャル版(ジェッツコミックス)第6巻". Media Arts Database (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
- "Book：スケバン刑事(白泉社文庫)1". Media Arts Database (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
- "Book：スケバン刑事(白泉社文庫)12". Media Arts Database (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
- "スケバン刑事 ｉｆ" (in Japanese). Media Factory. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
- "スケバン刑事 1" (in Japanese). Media Factory. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
- "スケバン刑事 12" (in Japanese). Media Factory. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
- Making of Toei Hero: Action Hero World 1, 1987, Kodansha
- Amazon US listing: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000OU6XVG
- Product listing at official company site: http://www.4digitalmedia.com/index.php/details/4
- Friedman, Erica (July 3, 2012). "Hooliganism, High School Crime and Giant Snakes". Hooded Utilitarian. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
- スケバン刑事 コードネーム＝麻宮サキ (in Japanese). TV Tokyo. Retrieved November 29, 2013.
- Friedman, Erica (July 5, 2011). "R.I.P. Wada Shinji". Okazu. Yuricon. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
- Friedman, Erica (March 3, 2004). "Yuri Manga/Yuri Anime: Sukeban Deka". Okazu. Yuricon. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
- Clements, Jonathan; McCarthy, Helen (2015). The Anime Encyclopedia, 3rd Revised Edition: A Century of Japanese Animation. Stone Bridge Press. ISBN 9781611729092.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
- Yomimaid (October 20, 2013). "Inspiration For "Kill la Kill" Ending Identified By Fans". Crunchyroll. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
- THEM Anime Review
- Mania Entertainment review Archived 2012-10-05 at the Wayback Machine.
- McCarthy, Helen. 500 Essential Anime Movies: The Ultimate Guide. — Harper Design, 2009. — P. 245. — 528 p. — ISBN 978-0061474507