Sukeban Deka

OVA (2 eps x 49 min)
3.185 out of 5 from 302 votes
Rank #12,794

After being placed in a reformatory, Saki Asamiya has only one thing in abundance: attitude. But attitude alone won't help when Saki is faced with a decision: become a cop and help hunt down criminals or watch her imprisoned mother be executed! Thus, she heads back to the crime-ridden school of her past, Takanoha High, only to find that a trio of women known as the Mizuchi Sisters have taken over. Armed with a deadly yoyo and a razor sharp wit, Saki is ready to clean up the school and save her reputation as the number one bully, while hurting the bad guys in the process!

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StorySukeban Deka is a very dark look at a variety of things: friendships gone bad, crime families, a bit of supernatural powers, and a bad girl who is really a good person at heart, who has fallen through the cracks of the system. I’m not sure why the story appealed to me so much, because the story isn’t necessarily completely unique. I’ve seen series that deal with crime families, but never dealing with high schoolers in a situation involving deaths of children and students. I’ve seen series that deal with people getting out of jail to become temporary cops (to earn their release), but never about a girl who probably shouldn’t have been in in the first place, who fights with a yoyo. I don’t know, there are many aspects of Sukeban Deka that seem unoriginal, but there are others that make it very unique, or intriguing nonetheless. Part of what caught my attention was how dark the OVA really was. At about an hour and a half, it plays out like a movie, but kept me interested the entire time, which is VERY hard to do with things of this length. There are very mature themes that are brought up, including disturbing accounts of rape, as well as drug use. The violence is plentiful, with amazing fight scenes that are unique for sure, especially with the use of a yoyo as a primary weapon. Watching the three sisters manipulate the high school’s population and cause a great deal of death, got to me for some reason. It isn’t like I haven’t seen things like this, but I think this OVA managed to portray it in a realistic way that makes sense. Part of the disturbing factor was also watching an innocent person (Junko) get involved. Saki is known as a bully, and no one wants to be around her. Enter Junko, who sees her as an equal and a friend – and is rewarded with terrible, terrible things for her involvement in Saki’s life. Easily, the things that happen with Junko are what make this OVA so effective as far as tragedy and darkness. Even though the overall tone of the series is very dark, there also is a great deal of fun that you feel when watching it. The flow is extremely well done, with each scene going together nicely and with an appropriate pace. It was almost like watching Read or Die, or something that just feels entertaining. Of course, the dark aspects do overshadow the fun bits, but it still has a high entertainment value nonetheless. 8.5 for flow, feel, and effectiveness at making you empathetic towards the characters, and hateful towards the bad guys. AnimationThe animation style for Sukeban Deka was definitely old looking, and very different, but still very effective. The characters specifically are worth mentioning. They look circa "Brother, dear Brother" or any other 70s series, with very pointy almond shaped faces, huge eyes, very sweeping and round hair, and very thin, tall bodies. At first, I was a bit put off by the style, but it grows on you and makes the series more interesting. The three sisters’ appearances are definitely the most well done. Throughout the series, snake images are shown to indicate how sneaky they are, how they are waiting to strike, etc. Their character designs, whether intentional or not, have a very snakelike quality to them. Often, the girls will be shown with their cute perfect faces on, only to be shown in a freeze frame with their eyes becoming shifty, and the snake qualities coming out. One of the three sisters (the blond one, I forget the name) was especially creepy, with eyes so dark they looked almost alien. Fight sequences were especially well done, and were fast paced with plenty of action. As I’ve mentioned a few times, the use of a yoyo was very unique and made the fight scenes fun to watch. The only thing I wasn’t terribly excited about was the colors used sometimes. Saki had very bright pink hair and very unusually colored clothes, which I didn’t think was necessarily appropriate for the series. Backgrounds and scenery were well done though, and in general, the character designs seriously made up for anything negative SoundWhile synthy and somewhat unoriginal, the music still sat in the background and made for effective music. It didn’t interfere with what was going on, and complimented it in a decent fashion. However, it was unforgettable nonetheless, hence the 6. Voice actors were good for all people involved, though. CharactersThe one part I thought was exceptionally well done was the characters. Take Saki, for example. In the beginning of the OVA, you get the impression she is a bad girl with an attitude, who wants nothing more than to give the finger to authority. But as the OVA progresses, you see that she might perhaps be misunderstood, and that deep down, she is a caring friend and wonderful person at heart, she just isn’t given the chance. The sisters are another interesting factor, since they all are terribly two sided and very vicious and cruel at heart. You definitely start to hate them by the end of the OVA, for all their misdeeds and cruelties. And really, that is an important thing to mention: how empathetic or hateful you become over the characters in the series. Most things, especially short things, I never really become too involved with the characters. As in, I don’t really feel anything about them getting screwed over, or succeeding, anything. It just doesn’t matter to me. They aren’t fleshed out enough, aren’t given enough screen time, or a number of other factors. But Sukeban Deka manages to make you feel for the characters, especially Saki and Junko, and makes you hate the bad guys for sure. This makes it a huge success in my mind. OverallI’m still not sure what made me like Sukeban Deka so much. In general, it had a very entertaining feel, but still seemed deep due to the tragedy and disturbing nature of the show, and the characters. While it might start out seeming like a random action/fighting show, it turns into so much more than that. You begin to see the layers of the characters, and what is really going on. You become empathetic towards the characters, and hateful towards others. In general, it sucks you in and doesn’t let go till the credits are rolling, and that, to me, is a great series. Don’t believe me? Check it out for yourself. I personally thought it was fantastic.

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