Asamiya Saki was once the tough-girl of her high school, until she was sent to prison. Blackmailed into working for the police by the threat of her mother's execution, she goes undercover at her alma mater, now overrun by the three Mizuchi sisters, each a crime boss in her own right. Along the way, she runs into double-crosses, traps, and faces hordes of human vermin who would corrupt the world for their mistresses. Armed with a deadly yo-yo, with few friends at her side, she must fight to clear her and her mother's name, as well as end the reign of the Mizuchi crime syndicate for good.
What if our beloved Ayukawa Madoka from Kimagure Orange Road was really a criminal? And instead of wielding guitar picks, she swung a yo-yo that could smash your head in? That would approximate the character of Saki, who is THE archetypal school-girl turned to the bad ... and despite all that, you just know she's not all-that-bad of a person.
And Sukeban Deka isn't all-that-bad of an anime. In fact, it's surprisingly good, and I'd actually like to see how the second half of this series goes. Superficially, this looked like Abashiri Family, which isn't my cup of tea, but Sukeban Deka is something I warmed up to fast. Maybe it was the Hong Kong-paced action, which is animated well for an early 90s release. Or it could be the characters, who at once seem silly, yet work well under pressure. There's the villainous Mizuchi sisters, who are the distorted, evil versions of all that is good and pretty in high school. Heck, it could be the exaggerated sense of melodrama that permeates this. Sort of a Brother Dear Brother goes Gangland sort of feel.
It's all of that, and more. Sukeban Deka is Asian action drama faithfully translated into the cel medium, and done well, to boot. Which shouldn't be a surprise, as this is based on a long-running 80s *live-action* television series. Yes, the "yo-yo girl" premise is silly, and the acting is predictably over the top. But when it comes down to it, this is plenty of fun, especially when you just want to have a good time with your anime buddies. No cerebral stuff here -- this is simply for people who want to watch something that is, quite simply, cool.
Add one star if you're an action movie fan. — Carlos Ross
Recommended Audience: Again, another ADV release not for kids, this time less for the usual reasons. This is a violent school these people attend, and Saki does get beat up a bit. Plus there's some nudity and strong language. Mature teens and above would get a kick out of this. (Pun intended.)
Version(s) Viewed: VHS, Japanese with English subtitles
Review Status: Partial (1/2)
Sukeban Deka © 1991 Wada Shinji / Hakusensha / JH Project
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