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At the Kanagawa Police Prefecture, Inspector Keita Kurokôchi is a textbook Dirty Cop. Having a position at the second brigade of the Prefecture tasked with investigating organized crime and white-collar crimes, Kurokôchi knows every local politician's little secrets and their bribes allow him to live in luxury. On the contrary, Commissioner Shingo Seike is a Naïve Newcomer at the Prefecture full of idealism.

One night, a politician murders a prostitute and calls Kurokôchi to fix the crime scene, at a price. The next day, Seike is assigned to the murder and is teamed up with Kurokôchi to help solve the case, but also watch him for any infraction. Soon, Seike discovers that behind the crooked cop persona, Kurokôchi is using his influence to solve crimes whose culprits are beyond the power of the police. His suspect is none other than Kazunari Sawatari, Kanagawa's Governor who controls the Police Prefecture and who has raped and killed several women over the past years. To bring Sawatari to justice, Kurokôchi makes use of his long experience in the police, his keen investigative skills, and his willingness to hit even lower than the dirtiest of politicians. Seeing this, Seike chooses to brush Kurokôchi's bribes under the rug and cooperates with him in his cases.

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As the cases involve more and more powerful officials and secrets, Kurokôchi and Seike are embroiled in even more complex and dangerous crimes involving multiple Government Conspiracies and terrorist groups, and have to dig up the secrets of the Japanese government.

Kurokôchi (クロコーチ, Kurokōchi) is an Award-winning half Police Procedural half Conspiracy Thriller Seinen manga written by Takashi Nagasaki and drawn by Kōji Kōno, prepublished from February 2012 to February 2018 and compiled in 24 volumes.


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Kurokôchi contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Accomplice by Inaction: Many characters are knowing but silent secret keepers for this or that conspiracy. However, Kurokochi stands out because he became this for one of Sawatari's murders and he seeks to bring Sawatari to justice and atone for this crime.
  • Always Murder: Shingo Seike works at the First Brigade of Kanagawa Prefecture which is always in charge of murder cases, thus his constant handling of murder cases.
  • Ambiguously Evil: Kurokôchi has never revealed his motives for solving his cases. One time he claimed that he wanted to do good for once, another time he claimed that he was eliminating the competition by tackling other corrupt policemen. He notably managed to steal the funds of the Sakura Council while stopping Hideo Takahashi from continuing murdering people.
    Shingo Seike:(Kurokôchi)'s either a genius or a demon.
  • And I Must Scream: Sakuragi has created a drug based on datura which completely paralyzes the body but lets the victim feel with all five senses. He gives the drug to Sawatari to get a new identity. As a sadist, Sawatari naturally uses the drug on his victims, taking pleasure in the knowledge that his victims are completely helpless but can feel everything he does to them, including the part where he saws their limbs.
  • Assassin Outclassin': Kurokôchi is a regular target for assassinations attempts because he's constantly investigating a Government Conspiracy. He's so far survived them all although they were all close calls. He notably manages to fend off a whole squad of assassins in full combat gear with high tech weaponry while he was crippled and alone, with only a shotgun and an automatic pistol, but also his trademark flair for sniffing out trouble and get out of it.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Kurokôchi, which is obligatory for any competent cop. Yet, it is not the focus of the series, as Kurokôchi's investigations involve more interrogating people than analyzing clues. His brilliance comes from his ability to link the clues together with witnesses' revelations and his own knowledge of criminals and their mindset. Thanks to that he can guess what others are most likely to do and why, and can discern truths from lies faster than his coworkers. It regularly gives him an edge against organizations who should be way above his ability to stop.
  • Badass Grandpa: Hideo Takahashi aka Momotaro, a veteran of The Vietnam War able to take on his assassin disciples at their prime while being way over 50.
  • Badass Long Coat: Contrary to most of the police's staff, Kurokôchi wears a typical hard-boiled detective's long coat whenever he's out, which occasionally makes him look badass. Because latter cases happen in summer, he doesn't wear it anymore.
  • The Bad Guys Are Cops: The police in the series is incredibly corrupt, as seen when Kurokochi himself appears to be the most benign compared to the conspiracies and unofficial hitmen that come from the police. Sawatari reveals the existence of the Sakura Council, a covert group within the police tasked with dealing with anything susceptible of tarnishing the reputation of the police through illegal ways, mostly murder.
  • Be as Unhelpful as Possible: Subverted in most cases, interviews of suspects or witnesses begin with the interviewee reluctant to say anything but through bargain or coercion, they usually reveal something important.
  • Beneath the Mask: Beneath his self-assured persona, Kurokôchi hides a great deal of self-loathing. Kurokochi also uses his reputation as a Dirty Cop to hide his real investigations to his colleagues whom he doesn't trust.
  • Benevolent Conspiracy: The Sakura Council is, at heart, a group made of policemen aiming to help the Police under the radar and compensate the police officers' families in case they die. However, the struggle over its large funds of 30,000,000,000 yen between the senior members of the Council has corrupted its goals and methods.
  • Big Fancy House: The second chapter shows that Kurokôchi lives in a western-style manor equipped with luxurious furniture.
  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: Kurokochi usually presents his bribes as preemptive gifts to himself so that he doesn't leak a secret. All politicians are savvy enough to see it as bribe but they care too much about their reputation and hand out the money all the same.
  • Bomb-Throwing Anarchists: One of Kyoji Torio's main skills. Having been taught how to make bombs in his youth by extremists, he's refined his skill to hide bombs in the most inconspicuous places with complex triggers. Torio is notably responsible for a police station bombing. Moreover, because Torio turns one of Sakuragi's clocks into a bomb, he and Kurokochi manages to kill the old man after Torio's death.
  • Break Them by Talking: Kyôji Torio is a specialist of convincing people of anything by talking to them. He's implied to have literally talked two men to death, one of them a professional assassin, the other a KGB agent.
  • Broken Pedestal: Seike used to hold the National Police Agency in high esteem due to his passion for justice. However, after several cases, he sees how corrupt the organisation really is and that even the supposed "clean" members of the General Council put the Police's interest above real justice. It leads him to quit the Police.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Sadaharu Iwata aka Ivan, manager of the hostess bar Polyushko Polye, is half-Russian half Japanese. He even considers himself more Japanese than Russian.
  • Buxom Is Better: The whole First Brigade has the hots for Ayaka Midorikawa who has unusually large breasts. Seike also visits the hostess bar Polyushko Polye who is full of big-breasted Sensual Slavs and is highly successful in Hokkaido.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Kurokôchi nearly always has a knowing grin to show that he's always up to something. To most people, it looks like a Slasher Smile as he's publicly a Dirty Cop.
  • The Chessmaster: Kurokôchi who can manipulate everyone around him thanks to his Obfuscating Stupidity and connections to politicians and criminals alike The only people who are able to match him are Sawatari, the extremely influential former governor of Kanagawa Prefecture who has many more politicians and government officials in his pockets and international criminal connections. For instance: Kurokochi patiently waits for the elections and leaks the murder accusations while pressuring the politicians in his pockets to let a popular and honest politician run for governor, leaving Sawatari no chance to stay in office and leading to his arrest. However, Sawatari also uses his many connections to the police and other judicial bodies to erase the proofs of his murders and manipulates the Sakura Council into ordering a hit on Kurokochi.
  • Color Motif: Many characters have names that allude to colors, beginning with Kurokochi whose name has the character for "black". The members of the General Council of the National Police Agency all refer to a different color: Akana is red, Aonuma blue, Koya is navy blue, Meguro is black and Shirasu white. Moreover, all chapters allude to colors in their titles.
  • Con Man: Seimei Kamonomiya (real name Kiyoshige Miyaaki) is a professional con artist who scares gullible people with stories of haunting and sells them trinkets at a high price.
  • Cool Car: Kurokôchi has a luxurious sports car given to him as a bribe. He seldom uses it though.
  • Cool Mask: The unknown Dodaijin men who enter in contact with Kurokochi and warn him about various threats.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Shinnosuke Ayakawa, a young successful IT businessman, rapes prostitutes and has murdered a journalist who caught on to this.
  • Corrupt Politician: Sawatari, the former governor of Kanagawa who committed murder multiple times and is a pedophile who abused schoolgirls.
  • Cowboy Cop: Kurokôchi is one, although more manipulative than most. He doesn't hesitate to use blackmail, bribing, lying and sometimes murder if need be if it means having a culprit get his comeuppances.
  • Crusading Lawyer: Yataro Echigo, an incorruptible prosecutor who tackles on Sawatari and the Sakura Council to uphold the law. The one time he was forced by his family and superiors to take a bribe, he never used it, even to save his son.
  • Date Rape: Kensuke Sakuragi runs a ring of date rapes, with him and other students seducing girls with their good looks and then raping them. Worse, Shigeru has also drugged a girl and left her to Sawatari.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Sawatari is not the real Kazunari Sawatari. It is revealed that Kazunori Sawatari died as a child from war bombardments but that another youngster then took his identity. That same youth is now the Sawatari everyone knows.
  • Deliberate Injury Gambit: Miss Ide throws herself under Kurokôchi's car to stop him from follow Kaga. When Kurokôchi then checks on her, Ide is able to stun him with a taser and kidnap him.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: Hideo Takahashi, a seemingly lower ranked goon of the Sakura Council, is in fact the real head.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Kurokôchi is devastated when he sees that his attempt to have Sawatari murdered resulted in Echigo's death instead. After hearing the late Echigo's wife ordering him to get away from her, he spends the next night drinking at a bar.
  • Domino Revelation: Kurokôchi and Seike's investigation of the Sakura Council naturally lead to the reveal of one secret after the other. When its existence is revealed, the question of how it can operate leads to them being connected to the 300,000,000 yen robbery, then the reveal that a commissar's son committed it then said that robber became the head of the Council, his former name was Hideto Kiritani, but he switched name with another person who became Hideo Takahashi the identity Kiritani was supposed to take, fooling the Council.
    • Afterward, Shingo's investigations of his father's suspicious death lead to the discovery of the 400 Blows terrorist group, then their infiltration of one of the police's top position. After the 400 Blows are thwarthed, one of their puppets then reveals that even above the Sakura Council and the 400 Blows lies another secret and even more powerful organization named Susanoo's Cherry Tree.
  • Dirty Cop: Kurokôchi is one, hiding the local politicians' white-collar crimes or worse against bribes and information. However, it becomes apparent that far more malevolent agents of the Police are hidden within the organization.
  • Enemy Mine: Kurokôchi enlists Sawatari's help against the Sakura Council so they share their enormous funds.
  • Evil Old Folks: Three of the most evil characters in the series are old men. Kazunari Sawatari is a serial rapist and murderer with a sadistic streak who targets schoolgirls. Tatsunori Sakuragi is a sly far-right extremists who has killed and plans to kill hundreds of people with his poison to spur Japan into becoming a country at war. Hideto Takahashi is a greedy psychopath who grows from murderous soldier to murderous officer of the public security, killing several people just to keep his money.
  • Far East Asian Terrorists: The 400 Blows are a small group of far-left Japanese terrorists that were created in the 70s by communist sympathizers. However, they don't have the number to perform attacks themselves and have become specialists in planning out attacks and have pawn carry it out for them.
  • Female Flatfoot and Snarky Guy: Subverted. After the Susanoo case, Kurokochi is paired with the young and seemingly upbeat Yume Asaki, a freshly arriver police officer. However, Yume reveals that she's actually a real piece of work who manhandles sexual predators and is not without her own instincts as policewoman, impressing Kurokochi who realizes that she perhaps is even more unusual than him.
  • Friend in the Black Market: Sekiro has many friends among petty criminals, from owners of shady bars to counterfeit smugglers and arms dealers. He usually checks on them to learn the latest in the underworld.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Kurokôchi works to put criminals behind bars, but is a jerk to his colleagues. He doesn't hesitate to manipulate emotionally, blackmail, or even murder to fulfill his objectives.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Kurokôchi smokes, and has the habit of exhaling smoke in a menacing way as he proposes a shady deal and exposes his Cheshire Cat Grin.
  • Government Conspiracy: One of Kurokochi and Seike's worst enemies is the group known as "Susanoo's Cherry Tree", a far-right nebulous organization of government officials who are very powerful and bent on turning Japan back into a military superpower. Susanoo's Cherry Tree originates from scientists and military officers who worked for Imperial Japan during World War II and evaded judgement because they made themselves useful to the Americans. They are revealed to have played a part in the fight against communism in Asia, and their current goal is to engineer terrorist attacks and recreate the right climate for massive remilitarization of the country.
  • Gratuitous English: The codename "Peach Tom" designing the duo of agents Kiritani was part of is in gratuitous English even though it supposedly refers to a Japanese entity.
  • He Knows Too Much: Most of the minor victims in the series were killed because they knew the secrets of a powerful Corrupt Politician. For instance, Kurokôchi is pursuing Sawatari for the murder of Soji Toyama, a web designer who learned that Sawatari had killed an underage sex slave.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Hideo Takahashi real name Hideto Kiritani was a patriotic and promising teenager who had a strong moral compass. Being sent to The Vietnam War and then spending 20 years hunting down terrorists changed him into a villain out for blood. Subverted as Hideo isn't Hideto in reality but one of Hideto's comrades in Peach Tom who switched identity with him.
  • Honey Trap: Ayaka Midoriyawa from the National Agency is sent to seduce Seike into working against Kurokôchi. However, she also genuinely falls in love with Seike and ends up being an uneasy ally to the both of them.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Seike is broken by Midorikawa's death and he blames himself for not having been able to protect her. It leads to a temporary Heroic BSoD.
  • Info Drop: Newspapers and TV broadcasts are a recurring way of exposing important pieces of information, notably introducing politicians or reminding the reader of what happened.
  • In the Blood: Shingo follows his father's footsteps as a policeman trying to uphold justice.
  • I Work Alone: Enforced in Kurokôchi's case. Despite being an inspector and thus able to manage a team of police officers, his superiors refuse to assign anyone to him for fear he corrupts them.
  • Jesus Taboo: Averted, as the School of The Shining Light directly refers to Jesus, and even advertises a whip as the whip Jesus used during the Cleansing of the Temple.
  • Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: Takeshi Endo, one of the founder of the Sakura Council and Seike's mentor, is killed by the Sakura Council because he spilled the secrets of the Council. However, it is revealed that Hideo Takahashi had him killed because he feared that Endo knew he wasn't the real Kiritani.
  • Living Legend:
    • Momotaro, a legendary assassin who operated during the 70's and 80's and supposedly had several disciples. It is revealed that Momotaro died long ago. However Momotaro merely changed his identity and now operates as Hideo Takahashi.
    • Heizo Shiroo, a famously ruthless agent of the Public Security Agency whose operations wiped out many terrorists organisations during his office.
  • A MacGuffin Full of Money: Sawatari uses what is called the "M Funds", a huge stockpile of money given to a certain Shigeru Momota by various politicians all around the world.
  • The Man Behind the Man: When Kurokôchi and Seike investigate the Sakura Council, they first discover that Heizo Shiroo is the head of the group. However Shiroo became a figurehead for the real mastermind Hideto Takahashi.
  • Manipulative Bastard: In his quest to bring whoever he's investigating to justice, Kurokôchi doesn't hesitate to blackmail or emotionally coerce people into doing whatever he wants them to do. Blackmail, lying, Obfuscating Stupidity, are a few of his methods. One of the reasons for his success is that he easily does that and can plan ahead with the predictable actions of those he manipulates.
    • Kyôji Torio is an even more extreme example. He is able to manipulate people with his words alone, easily convincing cult members to kill their guru for instance.
  • Master Poisoner: Susanoo's Cherry Tree has been secretly perfecting chemical weapons and poisons for decades after the end of the war. Their latest product is a timed poison which becomes lethal only when the target ingests two innocuous drinks, which works even at an one hour interval and thus making the culprit untraceable.
  • Meaningful Name: The Sakura Council refers to Toyama Kinshirô, a folklore hero who defended the innocent and had a cherry tree tattoo on the arm.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Ayaka Midorikawa is an attractive busty woman who gets very flirty with Seike and shares several Public Bathhouse Scenes with him.
  • My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting: Hideto Kiritani was described as a highly patriotic teenager which caused him to criticizes the police force's flaw all the more intensively. Him planning the 300,000,000 yen robbery was intended as a wake-up call for the police who never handled big difficult crimes before.
  • Naïve Newcomer: At the beginning of the series, Seike is still an idealistic newbie at the prefecture who's disgusted by Kurokôchi. As the story goes on, he discovers that many policemen are way more corrupt than his partner.
  • Neck Snap: Hideo, still bloody from a fight with two of his assassin disciples, still has the strength to snap Shinnosuke's neck when the latter stabs him from behind.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity:
    • On the outside, Kurokôchi acts like a stereotypical Dirty Cop, but in reality, most of his actions are carefully planned to manipulate his entourage.
    • Agent Kurebayashi who looks and acts the dimwit, but in reality is also working for the Agency to hinder Kurokôchi although the latter quickly sees through him.
  • Path of Inspiration: The School of The Shining Light is a sect whose doctrine gratuitously interprets the Bible to brainwash its members into donating to the cult or buying its goodies.
  • The Perfect Crime: The 300,000,000 yen robbery, a daring heist whose culprit was never found. In reality subverted, as Hideto Kiritani, the culprit, was rapidly caught by the Public Security Investigation Agency, who kept silent about it because the burgeoning Sakura Council used the money as their fund.
  • Perma-Stubble: Kurokôchi, befitting his image as a Dirty Cop.
  • Pocket Protector: A large bundle of banknotes saves Kurokôchi from a bullet to the chest by cushioning it so it doesn't reach the vitals.
  • Police Brutality Gambit: When Kurokôchi is framed for Seimei Kamonomiya's murder, and forced to sign a confession after a beating session, Kurokôchi swipe his hands over a bleeding wound and slams them into the sheets, making the confession worthless since they prove they have been obtained through torture.
  • Professional Killer: The assassin "Momotaro" and his disciple are a secret group of Japanese assassins at the orders of the Sakura Council.
  • Public Bathhouse Scene: As Seike investigates the death of two Russian near an onsen, he uses the occasion to relax it, which is the occasion for some Fanservice with Midorikawa.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Sawatari's method to appeal to the population. He presents himself as a politically incorrect strongman, building himself an image of tough guy who can man the other madmen around the world in position of power, and who has the will to make revolutionary reforms. The public eats it up, and Sawatari becomes a favorite in the elections to become Prime Minister.
  • Revisiting the Cold Case: While Seike and Kurokochi officially investigate recent crimes, it often leads them to revisit famous criminal cases of post-war Japan that happened decades ago, sometimes with only one elderly witness to interrogate. It's because said cases have a link to their current cases and will help solve what the current culprit is doing.
  • Scam Religion: Kurokôchi mentions that buying a cult is a good way to launder money and evade taxes since the Japanese government doesn't tax them.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Seike prefers to stay silent about Kurokôchi's bribes to focus on his cases despite the fact that they were teamed up specifically so that Seike could report on the bribes.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: By the end of the 400 Blows arc, Kurokôchi has begun to use a shotgun to bring extra firepower whenever needed. In Japan where firearms are strictly controlled, people are always surprised to see him wield this weapon.
  • Shout-Out: The terrorist group The 400 Blows refers to the French New Wave movie "The 400 Blows". Lampshaded by Torio who speaks French and liked French film director François Truffaut during the 60s.
  • Shown Their Work: The plot accurately depicts how the Japanese police work and makes a ton of reference to the history of criminality in Japan.
  • Sleazy Politician: Many of the minor politicians who appear in the story are guilty of minor crimes such as soliciting prostitutes or influence peddling. All of them have to generously bribe Kurokôchi to keep their reputation intact. On the other hand, most are loyal to their political beliefs and are still decent people.
  • Starting a New Life: The real Hideto Kiritani switched names with his comrade and became Kurizuka in his stead to escape his past.
  • Straight Gay: Kenta Takamiya, an ex-yakuza whom Kurokôchi works with in his investigations is homosexual but nothing save a mention of his former attraction to Shinnosuke Ayakawa and his current crush on Seike will tip off people. Otherwise he looks and acts like a thug. Overlaps with Gayngster.
  • Street Smart: Kurokôchi has an in-depth knowledge of how any criminal works, has a knack for finding the outrageous yet better option whenever he's cornered and is mostly unfazed by everything that's happening to him.
  • Surrogate Soliloquy: Sawatari has the creepy habit of putting his victims' clothes on mannequins and talk to them as if they were his personal harem. He also remembers the names of decades old victims, acting as if they had aged with time.
  • Sword Cane: Torio has an umbrella whose shaft hides a sword. He thus comes armed in all situations and always takes enemies by surprise when he unsheathes it. Kurokochi is notably crippled by the sword and Torio then uses the sword to kill one of Sakuragi's henchmen.
  • A Taste of the Lash: The guru of the School of the Shining Light is repeatedly whipped by his brainwashed followers convinced that he wants to atone for his sins despite his protestations. The whipping is so violent that at the end, a member says that she can see the bone under the flesh.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Yataro Echigo and Kurokôchi temporarily work together to arrest the Sakura Council. Although Echigo is a Crusading Lawyer and Kurokôchi a Dirty Cop, Echigo still considers him a comrade.
  • Trading Bars for Stripes: After being caught for the 300,000,000 yen robbery, Hideto Kiritani became a soldier for the Japanese Government for twenty years.
  • Training from Hell: It is revealed that the Japanese Government trained a group of specialized intelligence agents or assassins by sending them into the Vietnam War.
  • Thoroughly Mistaken Identity: Averted, the senile father of Hideto Kiritani can still recognize his son even after decades of absence. Him recognizing Kurizuka as his son and beginning to publicly ramble about it caused Hideo to fear that someone discovered that he wasn't the real Hideto and thus unable to receive Hideto's 300 million yen and begin his killing spree inside the Sakura Council.
  • Undercover Cop Reveal: Kyoji Torio is revealed to have been an undercover policeman who had to infiltrate the far-leftist groups of the time when he was young.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Sawatari manages to become one despite a smear campaign that reveals (without actual proof) that he's a murderer and a rapist. Despite the negative publicity, Sawatari is a charismatic politician whose great promises and shows of toughness to a currently worried Japan have swayed the public opinion in his favor, to the point he's a favorite in the elections to become Prime Minister.
  • War for Fun and Profit: Susanoo's Cherry Tree's ultimate goal. They want to spur Japan into a militaristic stance so that the country has a proper army and becomes indispensable to the United States as a military ally in Asia. To do so, they engineer a fake terrorist attack in the Shinkansen and try to poison the Council to lead to reelections. While the attacks are averted, their mere attempt is enough to shake public opinion into worrying about their national security anyway.
  • You Have No Idea Who You're Dealing With: Whenever Seike or Kurokôchi butt head with a powerful politician or The Conspiracy. Sawatari, for instance, warns Yataru Echigô about the Sakura Council.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Takahashi decides to kill one of his two accountants because after hiding the Sakura's Council money in off-shore accounts, he only needs one of them. He thus forces them to play Russian Roulette.

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