Print run: August 1987-February 1988 (6 issues)
Publisher: Asahi Sonorama
Price: 380 yen
Genre: Hobbies and sports for real men
Catchphrase: "The manga that builds muscle!"
All manga anthologies are trying to sell something, be it plastic models, character goods, or tankobon graphic novels. But Comic Fighter offers something that money can’t buy--a lifestyle. Published at the tail end of the 80’s wrestling boom, it rallies a team of the hottest stars from its day to rouse the reader to action, giving them the information they need to get off the couch and hit the martial arts gym or Airsoft field. Are you ready to rumble?
This new fighting style, Shooto, would combine elements from each of Sayama's teachers. Strikes from Antonio Inoki's karate-centric Strong Style, classic catch wrestling mat work from father of the German suplex Karl Gotch, and the rawness of kickboxing legend Fujiwara Toshio. If this sounds like the precursor to today's mixed martial arts, that's because it sort of was.
Half a decade was more than enough time for her career as an idol to run its course. She was the subject of gravure photos, talk shows, and turntables with her single, Big City Shooting Star (都市の流星), printed on a swag heart-shaped record with lyrics by none other than AKB48 puppet master Akimoto Yasushi. Whenever an opponent called Rumi out for spending more time in the studio than in the gym, she'd shoot back with her catchphrase "Wadda'ya want, it's my JOB!"
Author Chikaishi Masashi (近石雅史) had an unremarkable career apart from writing a dumpster load of hentai manga featuring every fetish sanitary enough to sell at the supermarket, with cliche titles such as Virgin Defamation, Cousin Rape, and Together With Mommy. Like Chikaishi, Rumi would later transition to a career in jukujyo MILF porn. While the penetration in her films may be simulated, the grappling is full-contact with plenty of exciting choke holds. It's only a matter of time before we see Sayama--or one of his cubs--down on the mat in a brawl between tiger and cougar.
Author Tomimoto Tatsuya (富本たつや) is infamous for his work on the world's first hentai anime, Cream Lemon. He handled all steps of production, from script and storyboard to character design and key frame animation, on the story arcs Ami and Escalation, as well as the standalone episode Black Cat Mansion. His NSFW homepage is defunct but the message board is active--apparently our man still hosts a booth at Comiket.
The three amigos trounce the cheats against incredible odds as the page margins provide Airsoft do's and don'ts for would-be weekend guerrillas--don't point the gun at people off the field! Do raise your white hanky when hit! Don't shoot animals!
Despite appearances Comic Fighter doesn’' glorify violence. Their interview with Tsuge Hisayoshi (柘植久慶), green beret turned genre fiction author, skirts his experience fighting as a mercenary alongside ex-Nazis during the Congo Crisis to focus on the thrill of traveling the world and the importance of his martial arts training that led to him being scouted as an instructor by Uncle Sam. This is a kid's magazine, after all.
machismo is more geared towards the Big Comic Spirits crowd. Kids would rather read about the high-flying adventures of Tiger Mask and not the man beneath the cowl, much less his martial arts philosophy. And what elementary student can afford Airsoft gear with their allowance?
Perhaps if it had debuted as a motivational Seinen magazine for aimless youth caught in entrance exam limbo, Comic Fighter could have been a real contender. Instead, it hit the mat like a chump after a mere six volumes. Look on the bright side: If a racy wrestling manga like Wanna be the Strongest in the World can get an anime adaptation, then so can Kick Angel Rumi. Consider that prime time TV's current favorite mistress Danmitsu has convinced the country that older, full figured women can be sexy--do I smell a Kazama Rumi comeback?