Flying Mitsubishi police cars chase a Mazda Grand Familia in one of Japan’s worst cop shows

The wild success of Seibu Keisatsu spawned a lot of similar cop shows. In Novemberr 1980 one short-lived series titled Hashire Nekketsukeiji (translated literally as “Run, Spirited Detective!”) followed the same format: police in the big city, hard luck stories, and gunfights. But instead of Tokyo’s finest in a fleet of Nissans, Hashire Nekketsukeiji landed Mitsubishi as a sponsor. As a result, all the good guys all drove Triple Diamonds.

Hashire Nekketsukeiji‘s hero is Detective Daisuke Yamamoto of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department’s Aizumi precinct, played by Ken Matsudaira. Matsudaira was well known for portraying various samurai characters in Japanese period dramas, but in this show he always rides into battle aboard a Mitsubishi Jeep, not the fastest or most agile vehicle for pursuing scofflaws.

In one scene masked gunmen in a Mazda Grand Familia, a four-cylinder version of the RX-3, fire off a few rounds before peeling off into Tokyo. The detectives give chase, and while we understand product placement and the fact that Matsudaira is the protagonist, it just seems like poor planning to let the slow and truckish Jeep lead the pursuit ahead of faster cars.

Luckily, Daisuke’s fellow lawman, Detective Tatsuro “Junior” Hayami, drives a more sensible unmarked Mitsubishi Eterna Λ. With the help of some Galant Σ black-and-whites, the cops attempt to corner the Mazda in a warehouse loading zone but end up getting in each others’ way. The wrongdoers to escape into the streets, where they catch some major air. Unfortunately, they slip away after a poor motorist in a mango Corolla ends up destroying one of the Mitsu patrol cars.

Despite familiar ingredients — the low tunnel they pass through is even the same one used in Seibu Keisatsu‘s most famous chase, the Fairlady Z jump from “Rush to Glory”Hashire Nekketsukeiji didn’t quite catch on. Its acting, general vibes, and even the title were panned as hilariously lame.

Its attempt at making Matsudaira’s car seem cool never worked, either. It was called the Super Jeep in-show, but there was nothing super about it; it was just a brown Jeep with a police light on top. Meanwhile, Seibu Keisatsu‘s Daimon Corps cruised around in heavily modified Skylines and Zs. In recent years those who remember Hashire Nekketsukeiji sometimes speak of it wistfully, but mostly in a “so bad it’s almost good” way. The show was canceled in June 1981 after 26 episodes.

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1 Response to Flying Mitsubishi police cars chase a Mazda Grand Familia in one of Japan’s worst cop shows

  1. Legacy-san says:

    It looks like the ones who were having the most fun were the stunt drivers chasing each other somewhere in the outskirts of “Tokyo” on a Sunday morning before everyone woke up. The jeep is a Mitsubishi Jeep J-series. They look like they’re driving fast but are actually moving at about 30MPH and I’ll bet when the Mazda and the Mitsu’s catch air, their was probably a ramp they drove up in front of the hill.

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