Sukeban Deka (スケバン刑事?, trans. 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.
The series follows a delinquent schoolgirl who is taken in by the government and forced to fight crime to redeem herself. 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 criminal activities.
- Saki Asamiya
The bitter heroine of the story. Saki is a natural born fighter who enjoys getting into scuffles with various people. She never backs down and is very stubborn.
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.
Saki's hyper friend whom 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.
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.
- Gozo Mizuchi
The patriarch of the antagonist Mizuchi crime family.
- Remi Mizuchi
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. However, throughout the entire Sukeban Deka manga series, Remi serves as a deadly antagonist to Saki.
- Ayumi Mizuchi
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.
- Emi Mizuchi
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.
- Four Devas
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.
Saki's ardent admirer who follows her all over the school campus.
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.
- Sukeban Deka, the first series from 1985, starred Yuki Saito as the titular character Asamiya Saki.
- Sukeban Deka II in 1985-1986 starred Yoko Minamino as the second "Sukeban Deka", a mysterious girl with an iron mask named Yoko Godai who takes on the identity of Asamiya Saki after being freed from her mask; She will get the help of two other sukeban: Kyoko "Okyo" Nakamura (Haruko Sagara), and Yukino Yajima (Akie Yoshizawa, from jpop band Onyanko Club which will appear in two episodes).
- Sukeban Deka III in 1986-1987 starred Yui Asaka as Yui Kazama, young sukeban who takes on the identity of Asamiya Saki, but will mostly act under her true identity with the help of her two sisters, Yuka (Yuka Onishi) and Yuma (Yuma Nakamura), in story arcs inspired from Star Wars. As such, actor Nagare Hagiwara plays Yui's mentor Yoda, and Onyanko Club member Satomi Fukunaga plays her bodyguard Leia.
Original video animation
Released in 1991.
Saki Asamiya is given a chance to delay her mother's execution by working as an undercover cop and infiltrating Takanoah 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.
The OVA 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.
Three feature films have been produced. The first movie, Sukeban Deka The Movie was released in 1987, and closely follows the TV series. The movie also includes the same actresses, Yoko Minamino and Yui Asaka. However, for the second movie, Sukeban Deka the Movie 2: Counter-Attack from the Kazama Sisters (1988), Minamino didn't return.
The third movie Sukeban Deka III: Asamiya Saki, was released in 2006. It was directed by Kenta Fukasaku and stars 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 star in the movie. Yuki Saito from the original Sukeban Deka TV series makes a cameo appearance in the film. 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.,.
Script error 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".