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Osamu Akimoto

Osamu Akimoto, creater of Kochikame.

Kochikame (こち亀), which is the typically shortened rendition of its full title Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Kōen Mae Hashutsujo (こちら葛飾区亀有公園前派出所, lit. "This is the Police Station in Front of Kameari Park in Katsushika Ward") is a manga series written and illustrated by Osamu Akimoto.

The series was first serialised in Weekly Shonen Jump since 1976, released into volumes as a manga series since 1977 up to September 2016, and has spawned an anime series, as well as several drama adaptations, following its initial debut.

Plot

Kochikame Characters

The central group of characters from Kochikame in front of the Police Box.

The story, as its name indicates, focuses on the adventures and misadventures of a police station where we meet a cast of characters located within the park front of Kameari in Katsuhika Ward of the Tokyo Prefecture in Japan. Among the characters is the protagonist Ryotsu, his colleagues Nakagawa and Reiko, and his boss Bucho, who have appeared the most frequently.

The central character Kankichi Ryotsu is a man of 36 years whom someone might think of as normal in person, but things are not what they seem. While it is true that Ryo is appointed a job as a policeman in the police station within Kameari, his capacity for dedication to work is inversely proportional to his ability to maneuver strategies to get rich as quickly as possible or as little as possible, strategies which, by the step never work and always end up causing thousands of comic situations and sometimes endearing results. Yes, Kankichi Ryotsu can not stand still at the prospect of getting money and excuses saying that vice police basesalary is a pittance.

Therefore, the typical argument of this series begins with Ryo drawing a plan to make money fast by the invention or business, calling Nakagawa to bring him what he needs and, finally, losing everything and having to pay in addition to the damages caused by his plans. While the plot is spun by a gag after another, most of the humor is based on the combination of worldly characters with oddly out of place characters as Nakagawa with wealth or Maria who was transgendered. The only thing they have in common is the lack of real police officers, most of which is never explained or rationalized in the slightest.

Background

Ryotsu Statue

A section of the real-life Kameari, showing a bronze statue of Ryotsu and encircled, the real-life (unused) police box nearby.

The story of Kochikame is set within the park front (kouenmae, 公園前) in the Kameari area of Katsushika Ward from the Tokyo Prefecture of Japan. 

Recent releases of the manga and later episodes of the anime, however, have expanded the horizon of settings within the series via the introduction of newer characters raised and working in other areas inclusive of Asakusa (native to Matoi) and Osaka (native to Haru).

Many published chapters are based amongst current trends and fads, based on the time of creation by Akimoto. Of these trends and fads, there are many references made to pop culture centric to celebrities, technology, music and in-line fashion. Latest releases of chapters, for instance, base much emphasis on the popularity of K-Pop idols, vocaloid (technologically-altered voices in music composition made into songs), smartphone apps and video gaming platform releases.

Immense popularity and familiarity of the series have gained the location much more attention and continues to be popular amongst Japanese passers-by to date, while several commemorative statues of some of the series' characters have been erected in several areas nearby the closest JR train station. Osamu Akimoto has also, in addition, received awards of recognition for his contributions towards the Kameari area with regards to his significant impact stemming from Kochikame.

Yuuko Asano volume comment

An example of a volume-end comment page spread by singer Yuuko Asano.

One particular aspect worthy of noting is that it is the only manga remaining that continues the previous trend of publishing guest-star letters regarding the manga, called 'kanmatsu kaisetsusha (巻末解説者)' or 'volume-end commentator'. Famous Japanese celebrities who are familiar with the manga typically write about their memories of Kochikame, specific content, it's influence, their interests and/or future wishes, most often spanning a double-page spread. Popular commentators tend to be other manga authors, singers, voice actors/actresses and comedians.

Characters

Main article: List of Kochikame characters

Anime series

Main article: Kochikame (anime)

Kochikame had an anime series wholly based on previously-released chapters rendered into episodes, which ran from 16 June 1996 to 19 December 1994 through FujiTV in Japan.

Manga series

Main article: List of Kochikame manga volumes
Main article: Weekly Shonen Jump
SJW August 1976

Shonen Jump Weekly cover illustration of the issue released 1st August, 1976 which serialised the first Kochikame chapter.

Kochikame has been in continuous serialisation with the Japanese Weekly Shonen Jump magazine since its debut in 1976, and continued to publish new chapters on a weekly basis without any interruptions until its end in September 2016. Akimoto debuted the series under the pen name of "Tatsuhiko Yamadome", but changed to using his real name in 1978, when it reached its 100th chapter. Periodically the chapters were collected into tankōbon volumes by publisher Shueisha, the first released on July 9, 1977.

A total of 1,960 chapters (exclusive of extra chapters) have been published into 200 volumes.

The series ended on September 17, 2016 in the 42nd issue of the year, in commemoration of Kochikame's 40th anniversary (the issue being published four days before the anniversary proper). Its 200th and final tankōbon volume was published on the same day. Shueisha reprinted the issue that included the final chapter on December 31, 2016, marking the first time a Weekly Shōnen Jump issue has ever been reprinted. The magazine doesn't have much in the way of extras. There's the main fold-out poster, stuff written by the editors about Kochi Kame ending, and the fact that Ryou's eyebrows are going to appear in all the other manga works, so the readers should try to find them all.

The manga has yet to receive any official English translated version, and wasn't available in English editions of Weekly Shonen Jump.

Crossovers

Volume 69 (1991)

The Dragon Ball characters Frieza, Zarbon, and Appule appear in a two-page gag entirely made by Osamu Akimoto in Kochikame volume 69 (1991). Ryotsu Kankichi left on a journey, making it seem like the last chapter of Kochikame, but he immediately returns. Everyone is mad at him for tricking them like that. Ryo-san points out that he never explicitly said the series was ending, and says it is just a way of keeping things fresh. He then jokes about changing the series' name to Kochikame Z'. His partner then decide to throw him into another manga, and he lands in Dragon Ball, during the Namek Saga.

30th anniversary (2006)

For the 30th anniversary of the serialization of Kochikame, in September 2006, Ryo-san makes a cameo in every manga serialized at the time in Weekly Shōnen Jump #46. Most notably, he has a full appearance as a marine in One Piece (chapter 428), and drinking alongside Don Patch in Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo. At the same time, a special manga called Chō Kochikame was released on September 15, 2006, and features the Kochikame characters in special crossover chapters with other Shōnen manga series: Golgo 13, Lupin III, Kinnikuman, and Dragon Ball.

Kochira Namekkusei Doragon Kōen Mae Hashutsujo

"Kochira Namekkusei Doragon Kōen Mae Hashutsujo"

The Dragon Ball crossover chapter is titled "Kochira Namekkusei Doragon Kōen Mae Hashutsujo" (こちらナメック星ドラゴン公園前派出所), and is based on the story in Kochikame volume 69. In this special nine-page chapter, Ryo-san is reassigned to planet Namek and has to deal with Frieza who parked his spaceship illegally. Vegeta, and Goku also make appearances. Frieza is waiting with Appule for the three other Namekian Dragon Balls to be found, when Kankichi Ryotsu comes and says that Frieza cannot park his spaceship there. Frieza uses a Death Beam to kill Ryotsu Kankichi but, to their surprise, he is still alive. Ryotsu Kankichi yells that they have to pay the fine and Frieza attacks him with an energy wave, which also fails to hurt Ryotsu Kankichi. When Ryotsu Kankichi pulls a Rocket Launcher out of the air, Appule says that there is no doubt and that Ryotsu Kankichi is a gag manga character. Frieza says he does not care because he is the strongest being in the universe and he fires blasts at Ryotsu Kankichi until he is tired. When even this does not kill Ryotsu Kankichi, Frieza leaves in his spaceship with Appule, and says that nothing happened. Ryotsu then meets Vegeta and, seeing that he wears the same type of Battle Armor as Frieza, he asks Vegeta if he knows the tyrant. Then, Goku's spaceship lands on the planet on the same place Frieza's ship was parked. Ryotsu tells Goku that he cannot park his ship there and the story ends.

Also, congratulatory pics from over 80 mangaka were published, many from Weekly Jump author's past and present, but also from other Shueisha mangaka and even from manga artists not associated with Shueisha such as Hiromu Arakawa (Fullmetal Alchemist) and Jyoji "George" Morikawa (Hajime no Ippo).

Kockikame drawing by Eiichiro Oda
Kankichi Ryotsu as a Marine by Eiichiro Oda.
Straw Hat Pirates & Ryo (Kochikame 30th Anniversary)
Straw Hat Pirates & Ryotsu, in celebration of Kochikame's 30th Anniversary.

Gallery

External links

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