I've always wondered what it would be like to be Ryo Saeba. Life must be pretty good. Oh, not because he always wins the fight and rescues the girl, but because he doesn't get his butt sued every time he goes after a girl. Ryo, have you ever heard the words, "sexual harassment?" Well, that's what you're doing. Yet most of CJAS finds his antics entertaining. We laugh and applaud his behavior. I look around and see guys with smiling faces when we watch City Hunter, dreaming of being Ryo and doing a swan dive onto a woman.
I find his attitude toward women demeaning and embarrassing. Take the way he acts around Kaori, his partner -- the person he actually "loves." Not only does he show no respect for her (and all other women), but he chooses to break her heart every chance he gets. It matters not if Kaori is around or not; if "it" has a pair of breasts, Ryo will be all over her. Meanwhile, poor Kaori stays loyal and faithful to him and maybe dies a little each time Ryo does his thing.
Saeki, on the other hand, seems to be the epitome of womanhood. As a policewoman, she is talented, smart, and brave. As a woman, she's sexy, intelligent, and knows how to wrap men around her fingertips. Yet she also loves Ryo. When Ryo's first partner, Kaori's brother, was alive, there was a love triangle between them. After his partner's death, Ryo decided to give up Saeki out of respect for the dead. How touching. What a way to show a true friend's bond. What a way to express a man's feelings for another man. What about Saeki.
Yet it is not to say that he doesn't have any other male friends to lean on. Falcon is arguably Ryo's best friend, coming to help even without being asked or thanked in return. That's the sign of a true friend. To show how big of a heart Falcon has, he even forgave Ryo for blinding him during a war. Most of us thought he just likes wearing sunglasses to look like a tough guy (which he is). But the truth of the matter is, Ryo caught Falcon by surprise and slashed his eyes from behind. He can barely see and must use his other senses to shoot his bazooka. Nonetheless, how does Ryo repay Falcon's kindness? He goes after Miki (Falcon's fiancée), just like he would any other woman. Ryo has no regard for Falcon's feelings even though he knows that Falcon gets hurt in his fun. Falcon understands that he's no great prize and always wonders how Miki could love him. He's insecure as it is without Ryo, the handsome playboy, trying his tricks on what Falcon considers his last chance for happiness.
And, Ryo, just because you rescue a girl from danger does not give you the right to have mokkori (sex, in layman's terms) with her. Can you say "rape?" And what's worse is when a woman actually agrees to go out with him. The first place he takes her to is a sleazy motel. Now, Ryo, stay with me, this time it's a bit more difficult since it contains two words, but can you say "date rape?" Yes, Ryo, you are handsome and charming (when it suits your purpose) and one heck of a great shot, but you have no right to treat every woman you meet as a piece of meat.
Author's note: If interested, please read last semester's and last year's articles on City Hunter for a counterpoint. Hope you kept them, since I think we threw away all the extras. Oh well. [(shameless plug) You can also look up these articles at http://www.cjas.org/~echen/articles/. -Ed.]