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Manga / Kekko Kamen

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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.

Compare and contrast Maboroshi Panty, another manga illustrated by Go Nagai and serialized in Shonen Jump, which had a heroine who helped her father fight crime by wearing only gloves, boots, a scarf and two pairs of panties (one worn over her face like a mask) and featured Kekko Kamen's nemesis Satan's Toenail in the third volume.

Kekko Kamen (the manga) provides examples of:

  • 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.
    • Exaggerated with one judo instructor whose fighting technique involves (and by that we 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.
  • Closed Circle: The Spartan Academy is sequestered in a forest in the mountains, which is how Satan's Toenail determined that Kekko Kamen is either a female student or member of the faculty.
  • 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.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Kekko Kamen. The reason she goes out naked is to distract her opponents with her sex appeal... And when she finds someone who isn't distracted, then she gets dirty.
  • 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 is defeated this way after Kekko Kamen pulls 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.
    • One of the teachers tried to cause it with Kekko Kamen: having realized she copes with her nudity by hiding her face and identity but can actually be embarrassed, he had put a series of mirrors in the room before the only entrance to his private punishment room, hoping to embarrass her to the point she'd grab the pants he had left there and get stung by the poisoned stingers he had put inside. It fails... Because the pants were so ugly Kekko Kamen would have felt more embarrassed wearing them, so she powered through and killed the teacher before collapsing into a blushing mess.
    • 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 hits her while she's 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.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Almost everyone at Sparta Academy has a crush on Kekko Kamen or lusts after her-and that includes the girls.
  • Foreshadowing: Kekko Kamen's Collective Identity 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.
    • Chigusa Yuka or rather the twin sisters Chigusa and Yuka, Koichi Omote, Keiko Natsuwada, Kaori Wakatsuki and Kei Kurenai share the same body type, eye shape and color, and eyebrows, with all of them except Kaori being suspected to be Kekko Kamen at least once. They're sisters who share Kekko Kamen's identity.
  • 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 gloves. Exaggerated 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.
    • Also used by a one-shot villain and, in one memorable occasion, Satan's Toenail and the deputy headmaster. Kekko Kamen is rather embarrassed the first time and throughly Squicked the second.
  • 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".
    • Played Straight with professor Tachibana, who was about to defeat Kekko Kamen through sheer embarrassment by dropping his pants and showing his erect penis when Keiko nunchaku-ed him there, followed by Kekko Kamen hitting him there hard enough she apparently broke it.
  • Hotter and Sexier: For a series that has it's whole premise centered around fanservice, the games for the PC-98 make it straight up pornographic.
  • 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.
  • 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 is actually thought to be Kekko Kamen for this reason.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: 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.
  • Murderous Thighs: Kekko Kamen's favored tactic is to leap at her enemies crotch-first and crush them with her thighs.
  • Naughty Tentacles: Possibly the first instance in modern media, one of the tortures Mayumi has endured was beings thrown into a fish tank packed like sardines full of octopi. After she's, rescued she laments that she wishes Kekko had taken a bit more time to do so.
  • Only Sane Man: As ridiculous as it sounds, this role tends to be covered by Satan's Toenail due the utter lack of common sense of many teachers and some students.
  • 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.
  • Riddle for the Ages: It's never really explained how Kekko Kamen makes her theme song play.
  • 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 is the nurse at Spartan Academy.
  • Shameless 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.
  • 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 the son of the Golden Age Superman, Golden Bat, and Batman (even Kekko Kamen is weirded out when he meets him).
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • At various points it's mentioned that the school has a high suicide rate from the many students who just can't keep up, to the point one of the teachers bragged he could get away with murdering a student by making it look like another suicide. Considering students are literally tortured if they score too low, it's not a surprise.
    • The school is isolated in the mountains and surrounded by a forest inhabitated by murderous ninjas. Satan's Toenail concludes immediately that Kekko Kamen has to be from the inside, and already in the first chapter he has the female students investigated for someone with her body type.
      • While Satan's Toenail doesn't think that Kekko Kamen may be a member of the faculty, as soon as it's pointed out he thinks of Keiko Natsuwada, the female PE teacher who not only has the right body type but is known to be a skilled martial artist and capable with the nunchaku, two skills shared with Kekko Kamen.
      • When the various suspects are proven innocent more than once Satan's Toenail starts thinking about a Collective Identity. He's right, he just didn't suspect there were six Kekko Kamen (and had never suspected two, though one of them was defeated and unmasked) until he saw it in the Grand Finale.
    • As mentioned above, Sparta Academy, supposedly the best school in Japan, has a rather high suicide rate that includes students murdered by the teachers and passed as suicide. The Ministry of Education and the police have started wondering about it and sent Kekko Kamen to investigate, and in the Grand Finale Kekko Kamen's evidence was enough to order the school to be shut down.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Koichi Omote is a girl, but disguises herself as a boy.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Kekko Kamen’s entrance is always accompanied by her theme song playing (yes even in the manga), somewhat parodied in that everyone can actually hear the song in universe.
  • 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").
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: The six Kekko Kamen sisters are pretty much identical in everything except for the hair over the head and down there, and only two of them are identical twins.
  • 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 acknowledge by not intervening when this happens.
  • Villain Protagonist:
    • There are certain points in the manga where the story focuses more on Satan's Toenail than Kekko Kamen.
    • The player character for the first video game is the Spartan Academy's new Punishment Director.

Kekko Kamen (the OVA series and live-action films) provide examples of:

  • Adapted Out: Of the suspected Kekko Kamen, only Chigusa Yuka appears in the anime. Considering the fact that Chigusa and Yuka are secretly twins, the two of them might have been trading off on being Kekko Kamen without the audience knowing.
  • All Amazons Want Hercules: Surprisingly enough, Kekko Kamen is extremely attracted to Heroic Builds, to the point she was initially helpless against Schwartzen because she was too turned on to fight, thought she can beat him once Chigusa Yuka gives her a blindfold. As in the second fight Kekko Kamen was able to maul him even after removing the blindfold, it's implied that only one of the Chigusa Yuka twins is this trope and they merely switched for the fight, with the second using the blindfold to justify the change.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Kekko Kamen once again yells out the name of her lunging crotch move when attacking.
  • Canon Foreigner: Ms. Gestapako, Mr. Schwartzen and his tanned biceps, the android Hanako Tanaka and the samurai Puddle Strongman Mizutumari Tsuyokaro were created for the OVA.
  • Composite Character: In the manga Teacher Ben was just one of the teachers (and a relatively nice one, if completely bonkers), but here he takes over the role of deputy headmaster.
  • Defiled Forever: When Ms. Gestapako straps Mayumi 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 poor girl becomes terrified that nobody will ever marry her after having that happen to her.
  • Foreshadowing: Chigusa Yuka being actually a pair of twins that shares Kekko Kamen's identity is hinted at in all four OVAs, but as the production stopped with the second pair it was Left Hanging.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: The samurai declares to Kekko Kamen that his nickname is "Puddle Strongman" after seeing his reflection in a puddle.
  • Mythology Gag: Just as the identity of Moonlight Mask was never explicitely revealed and simply had a character implied to be him, in this adaptation Kekko Kamen's identity is not revealed but Chigusa Yuka, who in the manga was one of the suspects, shows more than a few resemblances with Kekko Kamen.
  • Pet the Dog: Satan's Toenail's plot in the third OVA is surprisingly nice, that is bringing in the android Hanako Tanaka and having her get the students to increase their efforts through her example as a student, and even having her give private lessons to Mayumi because of her bad grades. It's only after Mayumi's grades get worse due mistaking Hanako for Kekko Kamen and being distracted by her crush on the heroine that he gets back to his usual madness.
  • Red Herring: In the first episode Chigusa Yuka was implied to be Kekko Kamen, only for Kekko Kamen to appear the same time as her. Actually Subverted: as any manga reader knows, Chigusa Yuka it's actually two twins that share the identity.
  • Sidekick: Chigusa Yuka is very athletic and a skilled fighter and is quite familiar with Kekko Kamen, hinting she's this to the superheroine. Subverted because, as shown in the manga, Chigusa Yuka it's actually two twins and they're both Kekko Kamen.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Igagari makes a brief cameo in one episode. Unlike his manga counterpart, he never dies.
  • Stripperiffic: A particularly extreme example of the trope.
  • Villain Has a Point: While in the manga Mayumi is targeted by the teachers mostly due a combination of horrid luck and being the first person rescued by Kekko Kamen, here her grades are genuinely bad and would get on the teachers' bad side even in a normal school. Then again, part of her troubles at studying come from the teachers' antics (the first punishment she gets is when Teacher Ben drags everyone out in the middle of the night for a surprise test and she can't keep herself awake), and the fourth OVA hints she's not the worst student at Sparta Academy.