KochiKame: Tokyo Beat Cops

Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Kōen Mae Hashutsujo (こちら葛飾区亀有公園前派出所, lit. "This Is a Police Box (kōban) in Front of Kameari Park in Katsushika Ward"), often shortened to KochiKame (こち亀), and known in English as KochiKame: Tokyo Beat Cops, is a Japanese comedy manga series written and illustrated by Osamu Akimoto. It takes place in the present day, in and around a neighborhood police station (kōban) in the downtown part of Tokyo, and revolves around the misadventures of middle-aged cop Kankichi Ryotsu.

KochiKame: Tokyo Beat Cops
Kochikame vol1.jpg
First tankōbon volume cover, featuring Kankichi Ryotsu.
こちら葛飾区亀有公園前派出所
GenreComedy[1]
Manga
Written byOsamu Akimoto
Published byShueisha
ImprintJump Comics
MagazineWeekly Shōnen Jump
DemographicShōnen
Original runSeptember 21, 1976September 17, 2016
Volumes201 (List of volumes)
Anime film
Directed byHiroshi Sasagawa
Written byTakao Koyama
Music byTadayoshi Matsui
StudioTatsunoko Productions
ReleasedNovember 23, 1985
Runtime30 minutes
Anime television series
Directed by
Music by
StudioStudio Gallop
Original networkFuji TV
Original run Regular broadcast
June 16, 1996 –
December 19, 2004
Irregular broadcast
January 3, 2005
September 18, 2016
Episodes373 + 27 specials (List of episodes)
Anime film
Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Kōen-mae Hashutsujo the Movie
Directed byShinji Takamatsu
Written byToshimichi Okawa
StudioStudio Gallop
ReleasedDecember 23, 1999
Runtime95 minutes
Anime film
Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Kōen-mae Hashutsujo the Movie 2: UFO Shūrai! Tornado Daisakusen!!
Directed byShinji Takamatsu
Written by
  • Shinji Takamatsu
  • Toshimichi Okawa
StudioStudio Gallop
ReleasedDecember 20, 2003
Runtime109 minutes

It was continuously serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump for 40 years, from September 1976 to September 2016. Its 1,960 chapters were collected into 201 tankōbon volumes, making it the manga with the second-highest number of volumes for a single series.[a] The manga has been adapted into an anime television series, produced by Studio Gallop and broadcast in Japan by Fuji TV, three theatrical animated films (by Tatsunoko and Gallop, respectively), two live-action movies, several stage adaptations, and a live-action television series. In addition, a short anime featuring characters from the series was produced to popularize the Paralympic sport of goalball, ahead of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics of 2020 (held in 2021).

As of 2016, the manga had over 156.5 million copies in circulation, making it the eighth best-selling manga series in history. In 2005, Kochikame won the Special Judges Award at the 50th Shogakukan Manga Award, as well as the 48th Seiun Award for Best Comic in 2017.

PlotEdit

The KochiKame plot involves Kankichi "Ryo-san" Ryotsu coming up with a money-making scheme by inventing a new gadget or capitalizing on a fad, achieving great success, calling on Keiichi Nakagawa's help as things turn sour, and finally losing it all as the fad runs out of steam or out of control. While the plots are gag-driven, much of the humor comes from the combination of mundane characters with those that are bizarrely out of place; such as Nakagawa who has wealth and Ai Asato who is a transsexual. What they have in common is everyone's lack of actual police work, most of which is never explained or rationalized in the slightest. (It is explained in Jump that Ryo-san is one of the best officers at catching criminals.) Nakagawa and Reiko Akimoto have special licenses (such as for wearing personal clothes instead of uniforms to work) from police headquarters because of their skills in linguistics.[2]

The plot consistently evolved with the times and most of the main characters do not really age, despite the fact that the series started in the 1970s and is later clearly set in the 2010s. However, some characters do age, like the grandchild of Buchao, who was a baby in the early volumes, but is now close to junior high, which the author has self-mocked in a few "look back" chapters/episodes. KochiKame has a broad audience, ranging from adolescent boys to middle-aged salarymen. Ryo-san's antics appeal to children who can laugh at an old buffoon, and to men fearing that they are becoming old buffoons themselves—and also because it often subtly mocks the latest fads and trends. The stories are generally innocent in content, and what little violence appears is comical, while the occasional risqué subjects are included strictly for laughs rather than to titillate. KochiKame's immense popularity has led to guest appearances in the strip by real-life Japanese celebrities such as Tetsuya Komuro.

For creator Osamu Akimoto, KochiKame is an homage to the working-class people and districts of old Tokyo, and most chapters open with an elaborate full-page illustration of a Shitamachi (downtown) street scene, typically with old wooden buildings and boys playing in the streets.

MediaEdit

MangaEdit

Written and illustrated by Osamu Akimoto, Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Kōen Mae Hashutsujo was continuously serialized in the shōnen manga anthology Weekly Shōnen Jump since September 21, 1976.[3][4] Akimoto debuted the series under the pen name of "Tatsuhiko Yamadome", but changed to using his real name in 1978, when it reached its 100th chapter. Periodically the chapters were collected into tankōbon volumes by publisher Shueisha, the first released on July 9, 1977.[5] The series ended on September 17, 2016, in the 42nd issue of the year, in commemoration of KochiKame's 40th anniversary. Its 200th tankōbon volume was published on the same day.[1] Shueisha reprinted the issue that included the final chapter on December 31, 2016, marking the first time a Weekly Shōnen Jump issue has ever been reprinted.[6] Akimoto created a new chapter of Kochikame for the 42nd issue of Weekly Shōnen Jump on September 16, 2017.[7] On July 18, 2021, it was announced the manga would receive a 201st volume, which was released on October 4, 2021.[8]

From March 2017 to June 2019, Akimoto serialized a sequel in the seinen magazine Ultra Jump. Titled Ii Yu Da Ne! (いいゆだね!, "What a Nice Bath!"), it is set in a sentō next to a police station in Shitamachi, Tokyo.[9][10]

AnimeEdit

Since KochiKame's inception in Jump in 1976, the series was not adapted into anime often, most likely because it would have been more suited for a live-action adaptation. The closest it could get when being adapted into anime was either in the form of commercials for certain products sold in Japan such as toys and snack foods as early as 1980, and a 30-minute animated film produced by Tatsunoko Production which was shown alongside an animated adaptation of Izumi Matsumoto's Kimagure Orange Road (another popular Jump manga from 1984) produced by Studio Pierrot at a Shonen Jump Anime Festival hosted by Shueisha in 1985. It was directed by Hiroshi Sasagawa, who, at the time, was renowned for his directorial work on Tatsunoko's other works such as Speed Racer and the Time Bokan franchise. It was issued on home video by Shueisha under the Jump Video imprint as a prize for winners of a contest that took place in several issues of Weekly Shonen Jump for the magazine's 20th anniversary in 1988. However, to this day only small images of footage from the film can be seen on the internet since the film was not released broadly.

An anime television adaptation of KochiKame finally began airing on Fuji Television on June 16, 1996. Produced by Studio Gallop, it ran for eight years and 382 episodes before ending on December 19, 2004. Two animated theatrical films were also produced; Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Kōen-mae Hashutsujo the Movie (こちら葛飾区亀有公園前派出所 THE MOVIE) on December 23, 1999, and Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Kōen-mae Hashutsujo the Movie 2: UFO Shūrai! Tornado Daisakusen!! (こちら葛飾区亀有公園前派出所 THE MOVIE2 UFO襲来! トルネード大作戦!!) on December 20, 2003.

On September 18, 2016, an hour-long special by Studio Gallop aired on Fuji TV for the manga's 40th anniversary. Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Kōen-mae Hashutsujo The Final: Kankichi Ryotsu's Last Day (こちら葛飾区亀有公園前派出所 THE FINAL 両津勘吉 最後の日) features several voice actors reprising their roles from the previous series, as well as director Akira Shigeno.[11]

In summer of 2006, a dubbed Hindi version of KochiKame began airing on Hungama TV in India, and later on Disney XD India from 2011 to 2013.[12]

Live-actionEdit

KochiKame has also had live-action film, a TV drama and stage adaptations. The movie was directed by Kazuhiko Yamaguchi, starred Mitsuo Senda as Ryo-san and was released in 1977.[13] A live-action TV series starring Katori Shingo as Ryo-san began airing on TBS on August 1, 2009.[14] A second live-action movie, based on this TV series and titled KochiKame - The Movie: Save The Kachidiki Bridge!, opened in Japan on August 6, 2011.[13] Another play adaptation opened in September 2016 for the series' 40th anniversary and, like the others, it was directed, written by and stars Lasar Ishii as Ryo-san, who is also the voice actor for the character in anime adaptations.[15]

Other mediaEdit

As part of its 40th anniversary celebration, the series received a 6-part crossover anthology novel with various characters from other series on September 17, 2016. Titled Vs. Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Kōen-mae Hashutsujo: Novelization Anthology (VS.こち亀 こちら葛飾区亀有公園前派出所ノベライズアンソロジー), the other series are Girls und Panzer, Osomatsu-san, Haruchika, Cheer Boys!!, Sorcerous Stabber Orphen and Nazotoki wa Dinner no Ato de.[16]

Ryotsu appears playable in the Weekly Shōnen Jump crossover fighting video games Jump Super Stars, Jump Ultimate Stars and J-Stars Victory VS. Other characters from the series appear in a non-playable capacity. J-Stars Victory VS.'s North American and European release (as J-Stars Victory VS.+) marks the first official release of Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Kōen-mae Hashutsujo material in English-speaking territories. In addition, various toys and collectibles have been created, including some items that first appeared in the manga as creations of Ryo-san.

Real-life KochiKameEdit

 
The real neighborhood police station on which the manga one is based.

Kameari Koen is an actual park in Tokyo's Katsushika ward. The police station is fictional, but it is modeled after a real one located on the north side of Kameari railway station. The manga has brought considerable fame to the neighborhood, and it draws sightseers from all over Japan to a (usually vacant) station in a nondescript residential neighborhood.[citation needed] There is only a vacant lot where the police station is actually supposed to be located.[citation needed]

In February 2006, two life-size bronze statues of Ryo-san were erected at the north and south gates of Kameari Station. There is currently a trail of 14 statues in the area.[17]

30th anniversaryEdit

In commemoration of the 30th anniversary of Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Kōen Mae Hashutsujo's serialization, several special events were held. Separate one-shots of the series were published in thirteen different Shueisha magazines between August and October 2006.[18]

ReceptionEdit

As of 2016, Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Kōen-mae Hashutsujo had sold over 156.5 million tankōbon copies;[19] making it one of the best-selling manga series in history. With 200 volumes, the series held the Guinness World Record for "Most volumes published for a single manga series" from September 2016 to July 2021.[20][21]

In November 2014, readers of Da Vinci magazine voted Kochikame number 7 on a list of Weekly Shōnen Jump's greatest manga series of all time.[22] Kochikame won the Special Judges Award at the 50th Shogakukan Manga Awards in 2005.[23] Akimoto received the Special Prize at the 21st Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize for the manga in 2017.[24] Kochikame was awarded the 48th Seiun Award for the Best Comic in 2017.[25]

In 2005, TV Asahi named the anime number 36 on its list of the Top 100 Anime.[26] Mike Toole of Anime News Network included Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Kōen-mae Hashutsujo the Movie at number 56 on The Other 100 Best Anime Movies of All Time, a list of "lesser-known, lesser-loved classics." He called it "Kochikame at its best, a zippy combination of daffy comedy and solid action set pieces," with one of the funniest false endings ever.[27]

See alsoEdit

  • Kōban, neighborhood police stations in Japan

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Behind only Golgo 13. The Dokaben franchise also has more volumes, but these are spread amongst multiple different series.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Hodgkins, Crystalyn (September 3, 2016). "Osamu Akimoto's Kochikame Manga Ends on September 17 After 40 Years of Serialization". Anime News Network. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  2. ^ McCarthy, Jonathan Clements, Helen (2007). The anime encyclopedia : a guide to Japanese animation since 1917 (Rev. & expanded ed.). Berkeley, Calif.: Stone Bridge Press. p. 867. ISBN 978-1933330105.
  3. ^ こち亀よ永遠に | こち亀年表1976→2016 [Kochikame Forever | Kochikame Chronology 1976 → 2016]. j-kochikame.com (in Japanese). Shueisha.
  4. ^ 『こち亀』連載40周年! 「こち亀展」9月に開催決定! [40th anniversary of Kochikame's serialization! "Kochikame Exhibition" will be held in September!]. Da Vinci News (in Japanese). Kadokawa Corporation. February 23, 2016. Retrieved March 13, 2022.
  5. ^ こちら葛飾区亀有公園前派出所 1 (in Japanese). Shueisha. Archived from the original on June 30, 2016. Retrieved March 13, 2014.
  6. ^ Pineda Rafael, Antonio (November 6, 2016). "Weekly Shonen Jump Gets First Ever Reprint Thanks to KochiKame". Anime News Network. Retrieved November 6, 2016.
  7. ^ Hodgkins, Crystalyn (September 10, 2017). "Kochikame Manga Gets New Chapter in Shonen Jump". Anime News Network. Retrieved January 27, 2019.
  8. ^ Hodgkins, Crystalyn (July 18, 2021). "Kochikame Manga Gets 201st Volume in October". Anime News Network. Retrieved July 18, 2021.
  9. ^ Antonio Pineda, Rafael (September 15, 2016). "KochiKame's Osamu Akimoto Publishes 4 New Manga in 2017". Anime News Network. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  10. ^ Hodgkins, Crystalyn (May 18, 2019). "Kochikame's Osamu Akimoto Ends Ii Yu da ne! Manga on June 19". Anime News Network. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
  11. ^ Antonio Pineda, Rafael (August 9, 2016). "KochiKame TV Anime Is 1-Hour Special Premiering September 18". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  12. ^ "Kids' channels line up hot fanfare as summer beckons". IndianTelevision.com. March 25, 2006.
  13. ^ a b Loo, Egan (August 8, 2010). "Manga-Based Live-Action Kochikame Comedy Gets Film". Anime News Network. Retrieved March 13, 2014.
  14. ^ Loo, Egan (May 28, 2009). "Kochikame, Shōjo Manga Get Live-Action TV Dramas". Anime News Network. Retrieved March 13, 2014.
  15. ^ Luster, Joseph (May 23, 2016). ""KochiKame" Stage Play Presents an Explosive Main Visual". Crunchyroll. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  16. ^ Whalen, Amanda (July 27, 2016). "Kochikame Manga Gets Novel Crossovers With Girls Und Panzer, Cheer Boys!, Mr. Osomatsu". Anime News Network. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  17. ^ "Local communities erect manga/anime statues with tourists in mind". Asahi Shimbun. January 19, 2015. Archived from the original on January 23, 2015. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  18. ^ Hodgkins, Crystalyn (July 6, 2011). "Kochikame Comedy Manga to Appear in 13 Magazines". Anime News Network. Retrieved March 13, 2014.
  19. ^ "「こち亀」フジで8年ぶりアニメ化 原作連載40周年記念" (in Japanese). Sankei. June 20, 2016. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  20. ^ Hodgkins, Crystalyn (September 11, 2016). "Kochikame Earns Guinness World Record For Most Volumes Published For Single Manga Series". Anime News Network. Retrieved September 11, 2016.
  21. ^ "「ゴルゴ13」がギネス世界記録に認定、ちばてつやや高橋留美子らもお祝い". Natalie (in Japanese). Natasha, Inc. July 18, 2021. Retrieved September 29, 2021.
  22. ^ ""Da Vinci" Magazine Asks Japanese Readers to Name Greatest "Shonen Jump" Manga". Crunchyroll. November 13, 2014. Retrieved September 19, 2020.
  23. ^ 小学館漫画賞 過去受賞作 (in Japanese). Shogakukan. October 25, 2018. Retrieved April 5, 2020.
  24. ^ Antonio Pineda, Rafael (April 25, 2017). "Hana ni Somu Manga Wins 21st Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize's Top Award". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
  25. ^ Antonio Pineda, Rafael (July 25, 2017). "Shin Godzilla Film, Kochikame Manga Win Seiun Awards". Anime News Network. Retrieved January 27, 2019.
  26. ^ Macdonald, Christopher (September 27, 2005). "TV Asahi Top 100 Anime". Anime News Network. Retrieved March 13, 2014.
  27. ^ Toole, Mike (April 2, 2017). "The Other 100 Best Anime Movies of All Time, Part 2 - The Mike Toole Show". Anime News Network. Retrieved April 2, 2017.

External linksEdit