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SHOUJO COMMANDO IZUMI (1987-1988)

A.K.A.: Schoolgirl Commando Izumi
            Delinquent Girl Commando
            Izumi
            少女コマンドーいづみ
COUNTRY: Japan

Originally concieved as being the fourth season of the highly successful Sukeban Deka TV series, Shoujo Commando Izumi quickly departed into a series of its own well before filming had even begun.

How could Toei and Fuji TV outdo their previous achievements and overcome the challenges set by their competitors, such as Nippon TVís Rebellion League of Girls in Sailor Uniform?   By raising the caliber (quite literally), and arming their newest seifuku warrior Izumi (Izumi Igarashi) with bazooka! ...although it must be noted that, to the disappointment of many, the light anti-armour weapon is only used in a couple of episodes, with Izumiís 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 youíd expect from a J-Pop 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 Sawadaís nihilistic cop thriller Retreat Through the Wet Wasteland (1973).   After working in action and yakuza films throughout the 70ís Chii moved mostly to television.

Yumi Tsuchida and Masami Katsuragawa play Izumiís shoujo sidekicks, but they are hardly memorable as Izumi truly does steal the show!

The short lived rock band A-Jari, who is responsible for most of the soundtrack, also makes an appearance here and there.   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 and the ending is almost as good as the show deserves.   Obviously, even with its few flaws Izumiís commando adventures are a must for fans of Toeiís 80ís high school sukeban action.

Sadly, I have been unable to find any source for it apart from Peer-to-Peer downloads, or Japanese websites such as 'Global Rakuten' - kind of a Japanese eBay (but in broken English)





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