Ryo Saeba. A professional sweeper who works by the name of CityHunter -- one whose "duty" is to clean up the scum and dirt of the streets -- with unrivaled shooting, combat, and defense skills. Immense physical and perceptual ability is complemented by a healthy dose of 25 hours sexual readiness. Favorite pastimes range from chasing tail and hoarding lingerie to frequenting local red-light districts. Self-proclaimed "No.1 Pervert in Japan" (a.k.a. "Stud of Shinjuku" and "Mokkori Taisho"), his "tool" is also endowed with unbelievable ability. It has been known to penetrate bulletproof glass and to lift a 100-ton weight. (Unfortunately, you'll have to go to the manga to witness such heroics -- they've been "censored" in the anime for more "public" viewing.) Reputedly handles (beautiful) women as well (yeah, right) as with trademark Colt Python 357.
CityHunter is the tale of a lecherous sweeper with a heart of gold. Part of what makes the show so fun lies with its protagonist -- in Ryo, we find an archetypal strong handsome shounen manga hero with a split personality (quite something in this case, I must admit). Wildly swinging between serious (and quite often corny) melodramatic moments and streaks of irresponsibly hentai behavior, Ryo never fails to fascinate his audience (in part also due to the incredible voice acting of Akira Kamiya). In reality, however, the pervert tendencies are only a bluff for someone who is a deeply sensitive man. The lone survivor as a child of a plane crash that killed his parents in Central America, he was raised by a group of guerrillas. (This early experience is the reason behind Ryo's flying phobia, one of his few weaknesses.) Later retreating from the warfront to America, Ryo starts his line of work with several different partners. Eventually, however, he is forced to flee to Japan -- exactly why, this author isn't quite sure. First working solo, he later pairs up with Hideyuki Makimura, a former member of the police force; the two are like best friends (although we find out a little later that they fell in love with the same woman).
This is where CityHunter, both manga and anime, starts off. Makimura, however, is killed by a drug lord who has sent PCP-induced killers after the duo (for opposing their plans for expansion). Moved by Fate, in the name of love and justice, Ryo Saeba promptly dispatches a bullet in the asshole's head. (Bwahhaaahahahahahahah... excuse me, but... of course, in the name of love and justice) In any case, now that his partner rests in peace, Ryo turns to the task of taking care of Makimura's younger sister Kaori. Kaori eventually becomes Ryo's partner, taking over her brother's place and acting as a middleperson (and protective buffer) between the client (usually a beautiful girl) and Ryo (as always with his enthusiasm). Kaori's offensive arsenal ranges from boggy traps/fireworks/hand grenades (high miss ratio) to multiweight hammers weighing around 10 to 100^8 tons (high hit ratio). On occasion, she also produces a spike ball... so it isn't surprising that the sight of an upset Kaori is what terrifies Ryo most. ^o^; In spite of all their bickering, the two form a deep bond and faith in each other over the course of the show. But shy as they are, and with Ryo's constant hentai acting, they never come out and say the magic words.
Tonight, we show the last two episodes of the CityHunter 2 series (1988-89), Farewell, Hard-Boiled City. Many fans have voted these two as the highlights of CityHunter anime. It's easy to see why, with a nuclear bomb planted in the middle of Tokyo. However, the real treat is not so much the action or humor, but the dramatic climax with the song "Get Wild" (an 80's J-Pop classic by the group Time Machine Network) howling in the background. CityHunter enjoyed a large following in the late 80's and early 90's and today has become a sort of pop-culture legend. Like another classic show, Lupin III, it is both nostalgic and yet utterly modern. Depicting a romantic view of the inorganic neon nightlife and sprawl of the city with its cathedral-like skyscrapers and "asphalt" moons, CityHunter captures a lost sentiment of flickering human hopes in the chaotic urban landscape of the bubble that eventually bursts.
Further CityHunter notes:
- Tsukasa Hojo, the manga's creator, is also responsible for Cat's Eye, Komorebi no Moto de (Under the Dappled Shade), Rash, and several short stories. There is a character from the earlier Cat's Eye manga (Kaibara Shen) who also appears at the end of the CityHunter manga -- he plays the role of Ryo's missing father figure. The CityHunter manga is 35 volumes long; these still leave out some random CityHunter short stories that were written before the title started running in Jump magazine.
- CityHunter has spawned four TV series, two OVAs, and three movies. The third movie, Goodbye My Sweetheart, was released earlier this year in May. There are twelve CityHunter album CDs; many of these are now out of print, and it'll take some luck finding some of the older stuff. It's a pity, since this show has some of the best anime music (both vocals and BGM) out there.
- You'll hear this frequently in CityHunter: "Mokkori". It's
the sound of a groundhog poking its head above the ground; it's also a cute
way of referring to the similar "popping" of Ryo's "tool" to action.
Essentially, it means anything related to the lecherous workings of Ryo's
mind. For example:
Mokkori Taisho: Boner King
- If you want a job done, write "XYZ" on the bulletin board at the
main Shinjuku station. It's a calling signal for CityHunter. Prerequisites
to be a client:
2) payment in "ippatsu" (one time in bed), rather than in money...