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Manga / Kochikame

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Kochikame (short for Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Koen Mae Hashutsujo, which translates to This Is the Police Station in Front of Kameari Park in Katsushika Ward) is a comedy manga that ran in Weekly Shonen Jump, written by Osamu Akimoto. The main character is Kankichi Ryotsu, a lazy, street-wise cop with salaryman tendencies, like playing Pachinko, betting at the horses or trying his luck at custom get-rich-quick schemes. Some times, he even does police work.

Worthy to mention is that the manga does not have numbered chapters and was almost never considered to participate for the regular popularity polls in Shonen Jump note , basically meaning Mr. Akimoto could continue the series as long as he wanted. And this series' heavy anti-cancellation armor showed: It ran weekly since it began in 1976, with 1960 chapters. There have been 201 volumes produced (and more than 360 episodes aired on Japanese TV), making Kochikame the longest-running manga series in history note .

The series owes its longevity (and lack of chapter numbers) to the fact that it hardly ever uses continuing plots. Instead, each chapter is a self-contained comedy tale, usually involving Ryotsu trying to get rich via some sort of scheme, which invariably backfires horribly. The straightforward plots mean that generations of Japanese kids have been able to enjoy the series without prior knowledge of previous stories. The series has remained fresh by taking most of its humor from pop culture and real world events: often Ryo's latest scheme involves capitalizing on some current fad or event in the news.

For its 30th anniversary in 2006, Mr. Akimoto was awarded with many of Shueisha's (and other publishers as well) artists making Crossovers with his series, such a event being legendary since when artists are invited to pay a homage to Long Running series in Jump, said artist will likely draw a character from the series with his own artstyle and not much else; Kochikame got actual crossovers, full self-contained stories and appearing in other Jump series as a Cameo, it also made some artists who were working in nothing at all to get off their seats and make a story just for this ongoing legend.

In 2016, after 40 full years in the business and 200 volumes, Kochikame finally came to an end, although it got a 201st volume on October 4, 2021 to compile a bunch of extra one-shot chapters that were published after the manga was done.

Kochikame provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Name Change: As it was in production early in the manga's run before Ryotsu's given name (Kankichi) was revealed, the 1977 live-action movie has his given name be "Heikichi".
  • Animal Athlete Loophole: In one chapter of the manga Ryotsu is asked to play on a hockey team. The opposing team has a polar bear and penguin playing, and point out that there is no rule saying they can't.
  • Bara Genre: Considering how many times the main character or some guy winds up naked or gets their butt exposed, this trope is justified. Hell, Soup Gobin has plenty of posts about this on his blog.
  • Butt-Monkey
    • Ryotsu is a victim of many misfortunes throughout the series. He even gets the ire of the anime's real-life animators in the 100th episode as they reduce the quality to nothing but pencil sketches.
    • Honda gets his share when he's forced into Ryotsu's schemes and his craziness.
    • Kankichi becomes this when it comes to his birthday.
  • Can't Bathe Without a Weapon: Volvo is never without his weapons, even in baths.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Ai loves Ryotsu and he is extremely vocal about it. Considering he was also a Muay Thai champion, his jealousy usually leads to Waif-Fu. And yes, if you just scroll down a bit, you'll see that the masculine pronouns are mostly correct.
  • Cool Car: The series is filled with European sports cars.
  • Crossover: Multiple times
    • Super Kochikame, a special manga volume for Kochi's 30th anniversary in 2006.
    • The Lupin III segment was co-authored with Monkey Punch.
    • The Dragon Ball Z segment was co-authored with Akira Toriyama.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: When Ryotsu's mind is fixed on something, or when he (or any of his friends) is in real danger, he becomes extremely competent, demonstrating almost superhuman strength, endurance and cunning. At work, well, he's just a ne'er-do-well... though apparently he has the highest criminal-catching count of the Police Station. Also, bipolar motorcycle policeman Honda; he's usually a well-mannered, wimpish, slightly effeminate guy, but once he gets on his bike...
  • Da Chief: Chief Ohara, of course. He's of the "A Father to His Men" variety.
  • Dude Magnet: Reiko. She appears to show little interest in pursuing men, but a lot of men have attempted to win her heart due to her beauty.
  • Fair Cop:
    • Reiko Catherine Akimoto. She works as Patrol Officer in the Police Box, and is a tall and beautiful woman with long blonde hair and large breasts.
    • Nakagawa is a Tall, Dark, and Handsome Chick Magnet.
    • The anime adds Komachi and Naoko, two cute policewoman.
  • Flanderization: At first, Nakagawa was more of a polite, well-mannered Ryotsu fanboy who had his moments of craziness that prompted Ryotsu to act as the voice of reason. Eventually, Nakagawa basically became a "male Akimoto", acting almost exclusively as a straight foil to Ryotsu (with a twist: while Nakagawa is the "straight man" and Ryotsu is the "loon", Ryotsu is a senior to Nakagawa and is very much respected by the latter).
  • A Fool and His New Money Are Soon Parted: Ryotsu's successful schemes often ends with him losing his fortune, usually becoming more broke than at the beginning of the episode.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Detective Kaipan always removes his Speedo to fight . . .
  • Gag Dub: The Indonesian dub is this. The whole character, places, and accents were changed to deal with the hard to translate jokes and add a whole new charm.
  • George Jetson Job Security: No matter what happens in any chapter, he always comes back to work at the police station in the next episode.
  • Ground-Shattering Landing: One episode of the anime has Ryotsu grow giant enough to jump into the upper atmosphere and punch a meteor in half, but at that size he's also large enough that his landing is an impact just as catastrophic.
  • The Gunslinger: Believe it or not, Ryotsu, of the quick draw variety. This was showcased in a very early manga chapter; as even unholstering one's service weapon is a major incident for a Japanese police officer, and is rarely—if ever—done, nevermind actually firing it. This aspect of him is not shown in the anime.
  • Heavy Sleeper: Esper officer Higurashi wakes up only one day every four years during the opening of the Summer Olympics.
  • Hero Insurance: Played with. Many episodes end with Ryo accidentally causing massive property damage throughout the town (though no-one is ever harmed). Some stories actually include an itemized list of damages showing exactly how much Ryo's latest escapade will cost the city (it's never cheap). Despite this, in the next chapter everything is always fixed and any expectations that Ryo will pay for the damage have been forgotten.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Reiko Catherine Akimoto. She is rather tall, wears a uniform with a short skirt and has distinctly large breasts which are especially emphasized in the manga series. In the manga series, her cleavage is often visible and sometimes becomes a point of focus for certain suggestive scenes. The emphasis on her breast size and the cleavage in her clothing are toned down for the anime series.
  • Naked People Are Funny: There's a lot of this in this series, mostly from Ryotsu himself.
  • Nigh-Invulnerable: Ryotsu is surprisingly tough. Lampshaded on occasion.
    "He can be run over by a train and nothing will happen to him!"
    • Semi-subverted on an episode where he is actually hit by a train and he does die, but of course he's alive and kicking by the end of the episode.
  • Non-Idle Rich: Nakagawa and Akimoto are prime examples, being REALLY rich and also very competent cops. They're not above Crimefighting with Cash, though, usually at Ryotsu's request.
  • Nosebleed: Ex mercenary cop Volvo Saigo is very unaccustomed to women. He gets a nosebleed whenever he's in sexual contact, physically or mentally, with a woman.
  • Only Sane Man: The Chief, Akimoto and Nakagawa. Usually, since all three lose it from time to time.
  • Otaku: Oh, so many. Ryotsu himself loves video-games and anime collectibles like scale models. Hard-boiled, tough-as-nails Sakonji is addicted to dating sims, much to his own shame. Honda likes manga for girls and Idols, while his girlfriend and fellow policewoman Nana Otohime is a popular mangaka.
  • Perpetual Poverty: Ryotsu's convoluted money-making schemes always fail miserably, usually after an initial degree of success. He also often quickly wastes his paycheck the first days after obtaining it, forcing himself to survive with less than 1000 yen for the rest of the month.
  • Pineapple Surprise: Played for Laughs. Military crazed cop Volvo Saigo, who's armed to the teeth, has accidentally released his pins when fastening his seatbelt and swimming. Since this is a cartoon, he gets better.
  • Pink Means Feminine: When Reiko works at the Police Box, she wears her signature pink uniform specially designed for her, which consists of a short skirt and coat with long sleeves.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Though he's always wearing the uniform, years worth of chapters can go by without Ryo being shown doing any actual police work.
    • Completely averted in The Movie which turns the series into a cop thriller, with mixed results.
  • Running Gag: Shiratori frequently attempts to impress Reiko, only failing after each try, to her indifference.
  • Shout-Out: The in-series Dating Sim "Dokidoki Memorial", a parody of Tokimeki Memorial. It even has for its main heroine a character named "Saori Saotome", written with composite kanjis of the names of Tokimemo heroines Saki Nijino ("Sa"), Shiori Fujisaki ("Ori"), and Yumi Saotome, and is voiced in the anime version by Shiho Kikuchi, the voice actress of Tokimemo heroine Miharu Tatebayashi.
  • Status Quo Is God: There is some sort of vague and nebulous continuity, but every major change (such as Ryotsu leaving the Police Station "for good" or getting engaged) is undone before the end of the episode.
  • Trouser Space: Special Detective Kitano, who only wears a necktie, a speedo, and pistols, often pulls out a banana or a cell phone from his speedo and it's not space consuming. His items don't appear when he fights completely unarmed by removing his weapons and his speedo.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Komachi Ono's parents mistakenly believe that their daughter and Kankichi Ryotsu are a couple, despite her constantly trying to tell them otherwise. They also take the two's constant bickering and fighting as their cover for flirting.
  • Those Two Guys: Tonpai Toda and Chinkichi Chida are two childhood friends of Ryotsu Kankichi that often join the young Ryotsu on his adventures. They mostly appear only in Ryotsu's childhood flashbacks, but do show up occasionally in the present day for a few episodes. One notable example being the three of them visiting their old school before its demolition and meeting with a girl who strongly resembles their now deceased childhood classmate who is revealed to be said classmate's daughter.