Written by Shinji Wada
|Published by Hakusensha|
Magazine Hana to Yume
|Original run January 1976 – December 1982|
Directed by Tarō Sakamoto, Hideo Tanaka, Michio Konishi, Morio Maejima
Adaptations sukeban Deka The Movie (1987)
Genres Action fiction, Detective fiction
Similar Hana no Asuka‑gumi!, Haikara‑san ga Tōru, A Gentle Breeze in the Village, Eight Clouds Rising, Hanasakeru Seishōnen
Sukeban Deka (スケバン刑事, translated Delinquent Girl Detective) is a Japanese detective action 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 years 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 abusive 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.
The bitter heroine of the story, a natural born fighter who enjoys getting into scuffles with various people. Saki forced to 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.
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.
The man who recruited Saki, a shady police officer who is in charge of the Sukeban Deka program.
Saki's ardent admirer, who calls her "his goddess" and follows her all over the school campus.
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.
Saki's rival in prison. Agura is a tough, masculine looking woman who dislikes Saki at first but then begins to respect her. She only appeared in the manga.
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.
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 only appeared in the manga.
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.
The patriarch of the antagonist Mizuchi crime family. Gozo uses his influence to control his family's power over Takanoha High school.
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.
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 the OVA 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
In OVA, Remi's control method explained as computer programs and drugs.
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.
Sukeban Deka was published from January 1976 to December 1982, making Shinji Wada a popular manga artist during the late 1980s and the early 1990s. The manga had contributed to the creation of the Sukeban Deka series before it faded into obscurity for a short time from the late 1990s to 2006, when Sukeban Deka: Codename = Asamiya Saki was shown in theaters on September 30, 2006.
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.
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 produced.
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".