When writing this week’s Flipped, I surfed around for some information about Crown co-creator Shinji Wada, not being familiar with his body of work. I almost immediately discovered that Wada had given the world something called Delinquent Girl Detective (or Sukeban Deka), and I knew that this week’s license request was all but written.
“The series follows a delinquent schoolgirl who is taken in by the government and forced to fight crime to redeem herself,” claims Wikipedia. “She is given the codename ‘Saki Asamiya’ and a metal yo-yo that doubled as a badge and made to infiltrate high schools around Japan to investigate and stop the criminal activities.”
Clearly, awesome as Delinquent Girl Detective is as a title, it is merely a whisper of a hint of the absorbing lunacy of the series itself. Mentioning Sukeban Deka on Twitter led to a flurry of love for our yo-yo wielding gang girl gone undercover, most notably from Erica Friedman. Here’s her review of one of the live-action movies based on the franchise, which includes an overview of its multimedia history:
“Sukeban Deka began life as a manga, which was then made into an anime OAV and, in the 80’s, a popular three-season live-action TV show, all of which I have reviewed previously. For the basic plotline, general Yuri-ness and links to manga and anime on Amazon JP and Amazon respectively, click the link to the past review.”
You should obviously click through to that previous review, if only for this faultlessly persuasive opening gambit:
“But what, you ask, if I like shoujo manga, but I also like sex and guns and violence, and sex? Well, obviously, I wouldn’t have brought this up without an answer, would I?”
If I were a weaker person, I’d quote Jerry Maguire, but that’s a dated reference. I also haven’t seen the movie and hope never to do so. I could make even more dated references to 21 Jump Street, The Mod Squad, and juvie movies starring Linda Blair, but they really aren’t necessary, are they?
Sukeban Deka was originally serialized in Hakusensha’s Hana to Yume magazine, then collected in 22 volumes, then re-published in 12 volumes. I can’t seem to find any information at Hakusensha’s web site, but here’s a starter link from Amazon Japan. (UPDATE: Sean notes in the comments that the book moved from Hakusensha to Media Factory.)
Now, many of you are probably saying to yourselves, “Oh, yeah… a vintage, 22-volume shôjo series… I’m sure publishers will get right on that.” You’re probably right, but I must remind you that any commercially viable series that appear in these posts do so by pure coincidence. If I want to ask for dated, bat-shit crazy gang-girl drama, I will ask for it.
(Is there something you want to ask for from the manga gatekeepers? Drop me a line if you’d like to do a guest post.)