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File:Kochikame 4568.jpg

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 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 is almost never considered to participate for the regular popularity polls in WSJ [1], basically meaning Mr. Akimoto can continue the series as long as he wants. The series' heavy anti-cancellation armor shows: It's been running weekly since 1976, with over 1600 chapters and counting. There have been more than 170 volumes (175 as of now) produced and more than 360 episodes aired on Japanese TV), making Kochikame the longest-running manga series in history [2].

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.

In its 30th anniversary (2006), Mr. Akimoto was awarded with many Shueshia'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.


Kochikame provides examples of:

  • 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 Bait: 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.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Ryotsu has a caterpillar-looking unibrow.
  • Boobs of Steel: Reiko, Maria, and Jodie are action packed girls whenever a chapter involves them and have bust sizes of over 93cm.
  • Butt Monkey
    • Ryotsu is a victim of many misfortunes throughout the series.
    • Honda gets his share when forced abusively in Ryotsu's schemes and his craziness.
  • 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 bit, you'll see than the masculine pronouns are mostly correct.
  • Cool Car: The series is filled with European sports cars mainly what Nakagawa drives.
  • Crossover: With the Lupin III manga. And also with Dragonball Z; and many others in its 30th anniversary, which the one with Goku & Co is actually part of.
  • 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, demostrating 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-manered, wimpish, slightly affeminate guy, but once he gets on his bike...
  • Da Chief: Chief Ohara, of course. He's of the "A Father to His Men" variety.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Ryotsu wears wooden sandals in uniform. Flashbacks of him as a rookie police officer has him complaining his feet pain from wearing police shoes.
  • Flanderization: At first, Nakagawa was more of a polite, well-manered Ryotsu Fan Boy that had his moments of crazyness that prompted Ryotsu to act as the voice of reason. Eventually, Nakagawa became basically "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).
  • George Jetson Job Security: Almost. Chief Ohara threatens Ryotsu with firing him almost every episode, though he never really does.
  • Get Rich Quick Scheme: Much of Ryotsu's plot involves this.
  • 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. Or maybe he's actually expected to pay for all of it and the astronomical debt he's racked up over the years is why he's always trying to make money fast.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Being a long-running manga series, many characters debut and disappear.
  • Long Runner. Actually, the words "long runner" completely fail to express how mind-bogglingly LONG this series is. At 1597 chapters (so far), it is the single longest-running manga ever made.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Reiko Catherine Akimoto
  • 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 over Crimefighting with Cash, though, usually at Ryotsu's request.
  • Nosebleed: Ex mercenary cop, Volvo Saigo is very unaccustomed with 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 seiyuu 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.
  • Transsexual: And a good-looking one... Ai "Maria" Asato, pre-op transsexual copper extraordinaire. Eventually he becomes a real woman by pure Applied Phlebotinum.
  • 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 is not space consuming. His items don't don't appear when he fights completely unarmed by removing his weapons and his speedo.

Notes

  1. Shonen Jump's popularity polls determine which series are likely to be kept/cancelled
  2. disregarding Golgo 13 and Doraemon, which aren't in production currently
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