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Manga / Back Street Girls

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Back Street Girls is a comedy manga series written by Jasmine Gyuh and serialized in Weekly Young Magazine from 2015 to 2018. It was licensed in English by Kodansha USA and for the Chinese-speaking market by Tong Li. It has received a 2018 anime adaptation by J.C. Staff, written by Susumu Yamakawa and directed by Chiaki Kon.

The first episode aired on July 3, 2018 and it airs throughout Japan via BS11, Tokyo MX and MBS in cooperation with Netflix's Japanese branch, with a worldwide release set for December 12, 2018. It was announced on November 2018 that a live-action adaptation will be produced. In January 2019, it was announced that a live-action TV show will be produced.

The series is about three yakuza wakashus (underlings) named Kazuhiko Sugihara, Kentaro Yamamoto and Ryu Tachibana when they failed to do their job through an unknown situation. But instead of committing yubitsume (cutting their fingers) to make amends, their wakagashira (boss) Inugane makes them go to Thailand and get a sex change to females or risk being killed and have their organs sold in the black market. They're known as Chika Sugihara, Airi Yamamoto and Mari Tachibana of the three-girls idol group Gokudolls.

From there on, the trio try to survive being idols, avoid being trumped publicly by other idols and generally, avoid getting the wrath of their boss and cope with being girls forever while surviving their fans and trying to hide the fact from the public that they're originally men.

The manga contains examples of:

  • Accent Adaptation:
    • In the English dub, Lina and her boss were speaking in a Brooklyn accent to emphasize that they came from a New York mob.
    • In the Latin American Spanish dub, the titular trio speaks with a notable, albeit no exaggerated, Mexico City accent mostly to emphatize their thuggish behavior.
  • Actor Allusion: In the Live-Action version, the Gokudolls compare their surgery to a Kamen Rider. One of them previously played the granddaughter of Tobei Tachibana, a confidant to various Kamen Riders and one of them is previously a Kamen Rider herself!
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Despite being let go because for looking Gonk after his plastic surgery, Inugame's treasurer Takemura begins to look much better and more like a normal woman in later episodes, moving more towards Generic Cuteness
  • Adapted Out: Mandarin Kinoshita, Inugane's wife Natsuko, Mari's dad, and George/Lina and his/her boss are nowhere to be found in the Live-Action version.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: The Gokudolls wind up as implausibly good looking women compared to their male forms, enough so that they sometimes turn themselves on. Played With when the Inugane treasurer was punished and made to go through the same operation but turned out to look like a Gonk.
  • Anti-Hero: The Gokudolls are all yakuza with hot tempers and crude manners (that they have to hide from the public). However they also display more heroic qualities including fierce loyalty to each other and to those they feel they owe.
  • Bad Boss: Inugame, oh so much.
    • Lina's Boss also, Played for Laughs when he confides his full trust in him only for him to give him over to Inugane without a second thought
  • Becoming the Mask: The Gokudolls fight their conditioning as much as possible, but eventually accept a part of it as their new life.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Natsuko really hates Idols. She got better when Inugane talked her out of it.
    • If you're a member of Gokudolls, don't talk about sex, romance, quit being an idol or act like a real Yakuza in front of or within the earshot of Inugane. He will put you into the training chamber and brainwash you to become an idol with 15 hours of idol videos, fake your death by beating them up and making it look like an accident, or worse, porn alongside a male dog within 5 days and after that, he will bring a female dog and watch them sex for 2 days.
    • hurting Inugane's wife Natsuko physically or just insulting her within an earshot of him? a smack in the head with a Stereo or A boob job in the Shoulders in Thailand.
  • Black Comedy: The manga runs on this, but it's mostly from the Gokudolls trying to "show" that their idols and the girls speaking/acting in ways that only a man would do and usually avoid the risk of being pummeled by Inugane, sometimes without luck.
  • Broken Pedestal: Getting uncomfortable Male Gaze from other men causes the Gokudolls to be more than a little disgusted with men.
  • Casting Gag:
  • Catchphrase: Everytime his henchmen or someone was getting punished, Inugane always says "I'm not a Devil after all".
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Inugane's treatment of everyone else.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: the dub is filled with this, especially from Inugane.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The story revolves around this: it's the clash of masculine yakuza culture with feminine idol culture.
  • Dual-Meaning Chorus: Most of the songs are about the yakuza life shoehorned into that of teenage girls.
  • Easy Sex Change: In real life, it can take years to complete a full sex change, and a year or so of hormone treatment before hand is necessary to grow a feminine face and breasts. Voice training is also necessary, which can take a long time. On this show, all it seems to take is the single operation. Although voice training may have been part of the Gokudolls Training from Hell.
    • Lina undergoes no Training from Hell whatsoever (At first) and comes back from her operation with female voice, face and everything.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Inugane and his wife Natsuko are Happily Married, being able to resolve their issues easily.
  • Even Evil Has Standards. Inugane may be a Bad Boss and a massive Jerkass who treats his men like crap, but when it comes to sexual harassment towards women, he doesn't forgive them. When his own Lieutenant came on to Airi he gave him a boob job, and when his wife is attacked he smashes the offender into a coma with an oil drum.
  • Gender Bender: The main trio used to be men, before they end up as women by surgery.
  • Genki Girl: Yui.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The Gokudolls, against all expectation, turn out to be successful, and as long as their success lasts the three yakuza are stuck as girls.
  • Hidden Depths: A noted yakuza actor, whom Mari is a big fan of, is actually an Otaku and a big fan of Chika. It results in a Broken Pedestal for Mari, who was ready to sleep with him.
  • Horrible Judgeof Character: Mandarin Kinoshita is not in on the secret, so he believes that Mari is a Yankee (she's Japanese) and that Rina is an orphan (he was a high-ranking yakuza).
  • Hypocritical Humor: Oh, so much.
    • The Gokudolls do their best to stay as masculine as possible, but eventually take in presents from fans and attempt to please them.
    • Inugane recounts a time in his youth when he failed a mission big time only to be forgiven by his boss because "Everyone makes mistakes" This after what he did to the Gokudolls - his now dead master looks down on him from above and says "Really, Inugane?"
  • Heaven Above: Inugane's previous master and predecessor is often seen looking down from Heaven, usually in response to a statement Inugane made about him (usually a shocking statement).
  • Large Ham: Pretty much everyone.
  • Limited Animation: Exaggerated: the animation for the show is practically nonexistant, with most episodes filled with still images with long pans taken directly from manga panels.
  • Lost in Translation: In the Latin American Spanish dub, and very likely in other dubs from Romance languages (Italian, Portuguese, French, etc) the Gokudolls are addressed as males despite being now girls since those languages doesn't have gender-neutral pronouns.note  This is not a problem in neither in the original Japanese or the English dub.
  • Meaningful Name: The idol group name Gokudolls, derived from the word Gokudo (a euphemism for the Yakuza) and "idol" or "doll". Many of the songs also make allusions to Yakuza culture, such as yubitsume and sake sharing. However, the boss claims that the name came from gokujou ("the best").
  • Mistakenfor Cheating: Inugane briefly gets this with his wife about the Gokudolls.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: If the Captain told about the truth between him and his friendship with Kimura, a cop, the Gokudolls wouldn't frame him for sexual harrassment.
  • Poe's Law: When The Gokudolls tearfully cheer up a restaurant owner they were friends with back when they were Yakuza mooks, internet users dismiss it as scripted and don't think girls like the gokudolls would have liked something like the dish they praised, and the restaurant closes anyway.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Upon hearing that Mari is getting surgery, Inugame asks Mari if he's sick. Mari tells Inugame that his ass was "Just Utterly Destroyed" leading him to believe Mari has had Anal sex and attack him. In reality Mari had accumulated a series of hemorrhoids.
  • Real Men Hate Sugar: In the live-action show, Mari throws up after forcing herself to eat a cake for a TV show.
  • Running Gag: The girls try to avoid being used to being idols, only to enjoy it a minute later.
    • Mari's hemorrhoids (and other anal afflictions). At one point she's giving a fierce lecture to a newcomer, only to stop abruptly when her latest batch of anal afflictions burst like a bomb, spraying blood everywhere behind her.
  • Secret-Keeper: Whoever comes in on the secret keeps it, or are packed off somewhere...
  • Serious Business: Inugane's plan to use the trio and enter the idol industry as a way of legitimately gaining money. This is sorta Truth in Television that yakuza nowadays are forced to enter legitimate industries since Tokyo has enacted stricter anti-crime laws.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Inugane and his wife Natsuko, as seen here.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The opening and closing songs are sweet idol songs, in contrast to the family-unfriendly comedy subject matter.
  • Special Edition Title: Episode 7 has the male voice actors of the Gokudolls sing the opening and ending songs.
  • Stepford Smiler: The Gokudolls as pretty idol girls have to smile and be delicate and feminine as possible. In private they are as foul-mouthed and mean as any yakuza could get.
  • Stoic Spectacles: Kinoshita.
  • Sudden Downer Ending: The anime series ends with the Gokudolls are now free from their boss after trying to do a prank, only to find out that they were pranked by their boss. Now, they are still Idols for the rest of their lives.
  • Training from Hell: After the surgery, Inugane has them put through a series of dangerous training regimens like singing in a waterfall within 15 hours non-stop, hunting a bear, and balance in a fiery pit in order to become idols.
  • Trans Tribulations: A bit played with as the Idols struggle with their new identities, but one minor character is shown to be a confirmed case Mari's father.
  • Tropaholics Anonymous: The enemies the Gokudolls rack up over the course of the anime form a support group which is intended to be a lair to plot against them but turns into more of a social club
  • True Companions: The trio were best friends, no matter what gender they were. When a yakuza lieutenant acts amorous to Airi, Mari and Chika run off, but can't bear abandoning their bro and come back to protect her.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Every time Inugane composes a song, it comes off as this.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: A common trope in the anime. Generally, if it seems like things are getting better for a character or a heartwarming moment is happening, it will quickly turn sour.