Written by Yuuichi Higure, based on an original story by Tsukasa Hojo
Directed by Kazuo Yamazaki
Character Designs Yukiko Kamimura and Keiichi Satou
- Original Japanese TV spots
- Character bios
- Clean opening and closing animation
Dindrane’s Anime Warnings:
- Inappropriate touching
- Mokkori and more mokkori
- Mild violence
Released by: ADV
Rating: 15+ for violence and suggestive themes
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format.
My Advice: A must-buy
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The characters have always been the basis for this franchise, and this film is no different. We get the very endearing and likable Ryo, along with the down-to-earth Kaori, with whom every woman in the world can identify. Emi and the Professor are also both very well done, with reasons for what they do and how they act, which is somewhat unusual in an action film. The plot may be clever, but it is still pretty standard for action films (thus the “spoof” aspect), but the characters make it a quite enjoyable viewing experience.
The extras are spare, but quality: we get clean opening and closing animation, along with over a minute of fun original Japanese TV spots. It is always interesting to see what the Japanese got to see before the film came out. We also get a passel of character bios that will help fans new to the show and the series. It would have been nice to have had some interviews with director, voice actors, artists, etc. or a comparison with other versions of the franchise, but we otaku take what we can get.
The audio is clean and full in both English and Japanese, though the Japanese voice actors have a slight edge on style here, as they’re more familiar and immersed in the dubious glory that is Ryo/Joe (eventually, American anime companies will realize that we can handle foreign names and stop changing them). The visuals are similarly solid, except for a few scanning issues in the opening credits. The character designs are a little more appealing and “realistic” here than they were in the TV series and look great.
Okay, so Ryo is hardly going to win over any feminist viewers. Ladies, just remember, he’s supposed to be a spoof. They know he’s out of control and inappropriate. So just identify with Kaori and throw pillows at the screen when you feel you need to. I did. Besides, you just can’t help but like him despite yourself.
If you’ve seen the live action version with Jackie Chan, then come here and see the original, especially if you didn’t like the Chan version, since this version is better, as is the way with originals. If you have never seen any City Hunter episodes and never heard of the franchise, you can still dive right in here and enjoy the film fully; no back knowledge is required. Truly, the action and comedy can’t be beat. Come suffer along with Ryo as he searches for true love (or more accurately some true lovin’) and saves the world again.