Sabu and Ichi's Detective Stories

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“Sabu and Ichi’s Detective Stories” (Sabu to Ichi Torimonohikae) is a 52 episode television series which aired from 1968 through 1969 on Nihon Educational Television or NET TV. It was created by Shotaro Ishimori (Ishinomori), original creator of “Kamen Rider” (Masked Rider); directed by (among others) Rintaro, director of “Dagger of Kamui”, “Harmagedon”, the original “Captain Harlock” TV series, the “Galaxy Express 999” movie, “Metropolis”, etc., etc., etc.; and has unforgettable music done by Takeo Yamashita, who did background music for the original “Lupin III” TV series. Unfortunately, I have not yet been able to see the entire series.

Set in the time of the 19th century Edo Period, “Sabu to Ichi” follows a young man named Sabu, who is engaged to a woman named Midori, the daughter of the local region’s law official, Saheiji. With the aid of Ichi, blind master swordsman and masseur, Sabu solves homicides, and apprehends or kills murderers. Working under the direction of the head shogunate lawman, Yasunobu, as well as Saheiji; Sabu and Ichi dispose of the corrupt, the vile, and the traitorous, thus protecting the downtrodden and the innocent.

Edgy pre-Meiji era police drama! Episode one starts out on a stormy night as three killers murder a small boy, his father, and rape and murder his elder sister (well ... to be fair… you’re only shown the murder of the father, the sister’s clothes being torn off, and all three of their dead bodies on screen… right…). What the series lacks in full color and smooth animation, it more than makes up for in beautiful, black and white, badass style! It has great putrid atmosphere scenes, such as live rats feeding on their dead and then being eaten by a cat, a small gang of children attacking a puppy, and a murder victim’s tear transitioning to a morning raindrop falling from a plant leaf. The odd thing is (or maybe not so odd for a show aired on “Educational” Television), in the episodes I’ve seen, the show includes a small child in the stories, seemingly as a stand-in for viewers; confirming that this dark and violent series was aimed at a very young audience.


 Sabu to Ichi 01

 Sabu to Ichi 02

 Sabu to Ichi 03

 Sabu to Ichi 04
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Curator: guyvariii
Gallery Created: 1/21/2004

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