Manga / Kekko Kamen

Kekko Kamen is a manga series written and illustrated by Go Nagai. It was originally published on Shonen Jump from 1974 to 1978.

No-one has seen her face, everyone has seen her body. Kekko Kamen is a superheroine who apparently refuses to wear the skin-tight bodystocking so it was removed from her uniform. She fights injustice, mostly focusing on rescuing students from insane disciplinarians.

Tropes in the manga:

  • Affectionate Parody: Kekko, her Arch-Nemesis Satan's Toenail, and every Character of the Week are send-ups of popular Japanese manga and TV characters.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Satan’s Toenail, in addition to seeking her defeat, lusts after Kekko Kamen, and several male villains in the series are shown to get off on the twisted punishments they inflict on the students.
    • taken Up to 11 with one judo instructor who’s entire fighting technique involves (and by that I mean consists entirely of) groping his female opponent’s breasts.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: The teachers at Sparta Academy: no matter how crazy and/or sadistic they are, they are competent, and students to graduate from Sparta Academy have a 100% success rate in getting in the most prestigious high school and universities. Keiko Natsuwada (the only sympathetic teachers) even pointed out that you can be hired at Sparta Academy only with a Class-A licence before rattling off the enormous skillset she had to learn to achieve her Class-A PE teaching licence.
  • Collective Identity: In the last chapter of the manga, Kekko Kamen is revealed to be six sisters who have been among the students and teachers, taking the role in shifts to avoid suspicion. This all culminates in a final battle with the Big Bad and his minions, in which all six sisters assume the mantle of the heroine at the same time and take them down.
    • Foreshadowing: This is repeatedly hinted during the whole series, especially in the last two chapters before the Grand Finale, where five Kekko Kamen simulate the Kage Bunshin while fighting a group of ninjas and then when Satan's Toenail conclusively identifies the Kekko Kamen he met earlier in the chapter as Koichi Omote only for Kekko Kamen to appear anyway.
  • Costume Copycat: In one chapter, Kekko Kamen is framed by a naked masked woman (un)dressed like her who commits a robbery, and this leads the heroine to confront the woman to clear her name.
  • Defeat by Modesty: This actually happens multiple times:
    • The topless, jungle woman villainess Mako Makimura was defeated in this way after Kekko Kamen pulled off her loincloth, making her cover her privates and turning her into a much easier opponent for the naked heroine. This happens again when she decides to imitate Kekko Kamen by coming out wearing nothing but a mask, allowing her to overpower our heroine until the mask gets broken.
    • Ai Sapphire creates for herself a secret identity similar to Kekko Kamen, but wears a ribbon over her crotch because she's too embarrassed. This leads to her defeat in her first outing, as when she tries to distract the punishment teachers by jumping at them with open legs they are not distracted, so they manage to pin her down and embarrass her into surrender when they remove the ribbon. She later gets over it.
    • Satan's Toenail's niece Akemi goes around with her prosperous breast exposed, so she seems impossible to defeat this way-then an almost defeated Kekko Kamen has her uncle trip and take off her entire dress and hit her while she was too embarrassed to react.
  • Delinquents: Kei Kurenai
  • Distracted by the Sexy: The whole point of Kekko Kamen's "costume": foes that would otherwise be a match for her or even stronger are distracted and can't properly fight her. It doesn't always work (and Satan's Toenail actually employs a few female combatants precisely because they wouldn't be distracted), but most of the times it does.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: This franchise is infamous for this trope and this trope alone. Kekko Kamen is never seen except in the nude — wearing only a mask, boots, and shoes. Taken Up to 11 in the last chapter of the manga: not only do all six sisters don the "costume" of Kekko Kamen at the same time, but practically the entire female student body strips down to fight the bad guys.
  • Groin Attack: Inverted: Kekko Kamen uses her groin to finish off opponents with her "Open Thighs Jump" finisher. Well, it still can be described as Groin Attack; only as in "an attack WITH the groin" instead of "an attack TO the groin".
  • Identity Impersonator: Mayumi tried to imitate Kekko Kamen after the twins who were thought to have been the naked heroine were captured. It didn't go too well, and she was unmasked and tortured as well until the real Kekko Kamen came to rescue all of them.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: Kekko Kamen, of a particularly violent variant. In one of the live action adaptions, someone takes Kekko Kamen on a date. She doesn't get dressed or act any differently.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Two examples:
    • Biology teacher Mr. Ben, somehow, comes to the conclusion that Mayumi is a cat because when he tried to dissect her pet cat Miitan she called it "her best friend", and only a cat can have a cat as best friend.
    • Upon being told by Satan's Toenail that Kekko Kamen taking down the teachers to protect Mayumi could impair the lessons, study-obsessed student Igagari comes to the conclusion Mayumi hired Kekko Kamen to ruin his grade average and keep him from being hired in a high-paying job once he completes his studies. Upon recovering from the shock caused by his rant, Satan's Toenail wonders if he's stupid or what.
  • The Lad-ette: Keiko Natsuwata, the short haired, masculine, P.E. teacher who knows all about martial arts and doesn't mind using them on people who try to hurt her or her students. She was actually thought to be Kekko Kamen for this reason.
  • Mask Power
  • Murderous Thighs
  • Reality Ensues: Satan's Toenail and the disciplinary teachers bragged more than once that nobody would look in the death of a student because there's a high suicide rate due the enormous stress. In the Grand Finale it turns out that not only the police and the Ministry of Education had started wondering why the apparent best school in Japan had such a high student suicide rate, the Kekko Kamen sisters were actually investigating for them, and they've finally obtained a ministerial decree to shut down the school.
  • Remember the New Guy: One late issue had a girl described as Mayumi's best friend, despite not having previously appeared in the manga, being assisted by Kekko and Mayumi in escaping the oppressive school when she learns that her mother is ill with heart disease.
  • Running Gag: Characters of the Week that have been defeated apologize to the author of the work they're parodying. The variant where the original author actually answers appears three times: Osamu Tezuka appears to the Astro Boy and Princess Knight parodies to demand who they are, and Go Nagai shows up to forgive his self-parody from Shameless School.
  • Sadist Teacher: The teachers of the Sparta Academy are particularly nasty examples of this, such as literally torturing students if they get anything below a 90 on their test's grade!
  • School Nurse: Kaori Wakatsuki.
  • Shout-Out: Many, oh, so many:
    • The entire series is one big one to Moonlight Mask (=Gekko Kamen, geddit?), Japan's first tokusatsu hero. The theme song of Kekko Kamen (written by Go Nagai himself for the manga) is even a slightly rewritten version of "Who Is Moonlight Mask?" with a different melody, and the series also provides the first Villain of the Week (based on the character implied to be Moonlight Mask) and Satan's Toenail himself (based on one of the villains).
    • The various Villains of the Week are thinly veiled parodies of the characters of various manga, anime, film series and telefilm, including Nagai's own Harenchi Gakuen. Then in the Grand Finale Nagai threw away any pretense of subtlety and introduced Super Golden Batman, who flat-out admits he's a fusion of the Golden Age Superman, Golden Bat, and Batman (even Kekko Kamen is weirded out when he meets him).
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Koichi Omote
  • Took a Level in Badass: The female students in general and Mayumi and Ai Safire in particular, culminating in the Grand Finale in the two leading the other girls into taking on the teachers, most of them completely naked.
    • In a rather "unusual" example, the female students grow progressively desensitized to be naked in public and the various sexually-charged punishments inflicted on them by the teachers, with Mayumi once saying that, just that once, Kekko Kamen had arrived too soon because she was enjoying it (cue Flat "What.").
  • The Unreveal: At the end of the last chapter, the Kekko sisters confront a defeated Satan's Toenail and rip his mask off, revealing... that his face looks exactly like his mask, only it's dirty.
  • Villain Has a Point: Sometimes the punishments inflicted by the teachers are actually earned, something Kekko Kamen aknowledge by not intervening when this happens.

Tropes in the series and live-action films:

  • Adapted Out: Of the suspected Kekko Kamen, only Chigusa Yuka appears in the anime.
  • Calling Your Attacks
  • Defiled Forever: When The Baroness nazi dominatrix straps a girl to a giant swastika naked from the waist up, destroys her panties with knife throwing without destroying her skirt, and then turns the swastika, threatening to send her upside down, flipping her skirt and exposing her lower half for the whole school to see, the victim becomes terrified that nobody will ever marry her after having that happen to her.
  • Musical Episode
  • Stripperiffic: A particularly extreme example of the trope.