Recently seen TV shows #4

May 1, 2009

Shoujo Commando Izumi (Japan, 1987-1988) – 3,5/5

Originally planned as Sukeban Deka IV but then departing into a series of its own, how could Toei and Fuji TV outdo their previous achievements and overcome the challenges set by their competitors, such as Nippon TV’s Rebellion League of Girls in Sailor Uniform? By raising the caliber, and arming the seifuku warrior Izumi (Izumi Igarashi) with bazooka. Although it must be noted that, to the disappointment of many, the light anti-armor weapon is only used in a couple of episodes, with Izumi’s bracelet and inhuman powers given to her by a mysterious organization that kidnapped her two years ago being her primary weapon.

The series has a dynamite start with more pyrotechnics applied to the first few episodes than most Toei action films of the time. Igarashi also delights with both her singing skills and her willingness to do far more of her own stunts and fighting than you’d expect from an idol. However, one should prepare for the show losing some of its kick after the amazing opening episodes and following rather familiar patterns at the expense of commando action. Overuse of slow motion also hurts the action.

The supporting cast features most notably Takeo Chii, whose clumsy policeman character is quite far cry from his stand out role in Yukihiro Sawada’s nihilistic cop thriller Retreat Through the Wet Wasteland (1973). After working in action and yakuza films throughout the 70’s Chii moved mostly to television. Yumi Tsuchida and Masami Katsuragawa play Izumi’s shoujo sidekicks, without memorable results. The short lived rock band A-Jari, who is responsible for most of the soundtrack, also makes an appearance in one episode. Interestingly their song Fight for Love is also heard in the show, despite it actually being the theme song of the fore mentioned Rebellion League of Girls in Sailor Uniform.

Considering its sky high potential and especially the jaw droppingly great opening episodes Shoujo Commando Izumi turns out slightly under performing entertainment in the long run. However, none of the 15 episodes are bad – except maybe one story that gives too much room for the 80’s women’s fashion – and the ending is almost as good as the show deserves. Obviously, even with its flaws Izumi’s commando adventures are a must for fans of Toei’s 80’s high school action.



  1. Thanks for the review. I’m actually considering to pick this one up, since I’m a great fan of Japanese 80s Highschool-Action as well. Hmmm, who would’ve guessed . . . 😀
    But no subs, right? How did you manage to follow the plot? Or have your Japanese Hearing Skills evolved far enough to get through to the basic premise of each episode? “Sukeban Deka” (TV-Series) also moved surprisingly fast, certainly boasting enough action and show to be entertaining in it’s own right. Thanks again.

  2. I doubt this series has ever been translated into English. However, consisting of individual 25 minute episodes, all of which feature action scenes, the series doesn’t rely too heavily on dialogue or complicated storylines. If you could follow Sukeban Deka without subtitles, this won’t be any more difficult.

  3. Is this serie the last high-school girl action from Toei/Fuji TV? i heard there is Sailor fuku hangyaku domei & Hana no Asuka gumi .. but i don’t know if they share similar concept. I didn’t find any informations about productions date & credits for these show.

  4. Sailor fuku hangyaku domei was produced by Nippon TV. It aired late 1986 / early 1987. That’s when Sukeban Deka II and III (Toei / Fuji TV) were playing. I will review this series sometime soon.

    As far as I know, Hana no Asuka gumi was the last of the golden age Toei / Fuji TV High School Action shows. But there might have been some similar series later. I’m really not an expert when it comes to these shows.

    I have Hana no Asuka gumi on dvd. I don’t know when I will have time to watch it, but I will review it some day.

    Nippon TV made a series called FiVe in 1997. I haven’t seen it, and it’s not available on dvd. It doesn’t look very good to me.

    There was also a Sailor Suit and Machine Gun TV series in 1982. I don’t know much about this show, but that it stars Tomoyo Harada. Not available on, because of some right issues I think. This series may not be High School Action in the sense the mid/late 80’s shows were.

    There’s a Japanese website that lists the following series as High School Action:

    Sukeban Deka (1985) (Toei / Fuji TV)
    Sukeban Deka II (1985-1986) (Toei / Fuji TV)
    Sailor fuku hangyaku domei (1986) (Nippon TV)
    Sukeban Deka III (1986-1987) (Toei / Fuji TV)
    Shoujo Commando Izumi (1987-1988) (Toei / Fuji TV)
    Hana no Asuka gumi (1988) (Toei / Fuji TV)
    FIVe (1997) (Nippon TV)

  5. Thanks for the informations! 🙂

  6. btw, there’s a new Hana no asuka-gumi film-feature on the way:

  7. I heard about that. Doesn’t seem too promising.

    R2J dvd will be released in a couple of weeks

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