Original story by Tsukasa Hojo (appeared in Weekly Shonen Jump)
Directed by Kanetsugu Kodama
General Animation Direction by Takeo Kitahara
Character Designs Yukiko Kamimura
Dindrane’s Anime Warnings:
- Penis power!
- Inappropriate touching
- Mokkori galore
- Mallet-space galore
- 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: Get it. You know you want to.
[ad#longpost]Fans of the City Hunter franchise rejoice! ADV has produced and released the second compilation of episodes from the splendid TV series, seen on Japanese TVs during the late 1980s and early 1990s. The basic premise is simple: if you need help, just write XYZ on the billboard at Shinjuku Station, and Ryo Saeba, the “City Hunter,” will help you. A freelance detective/bodyhard/whatever, Ryo and his sidekick, Kaori can protect you from criminals of any variety, assuming Kaori can keep Ryo out of jail for sexual harassment. A mixture of action and comedy, this is a classic anime series that should appeal to almost anyone, except maybe for diehard feminists who lack a sense of humor.
This release contains thirty-one episodes of the original TV series, all in Japanese with English subtitles. This lack of an English dub will annoy some fans who prefer to watch, rather than read, their entertainment, but the quality of the Japanese voice acting cannot be denied. This is the cast that launched a franchise, and they have had plenty of time to settle into their roles and come to love their characters by this second season.
This release has no special features, which is a crying shame. We do get some trailer ads for other ADV releases, but that’s it. No discussion of the huge impact City Hunter had on anime, no comparison to other versions of Ryo, etc., no episode guide or character art, no outtake reel, not even a feminist response or a cultural diatribe about sexism in modern anime or Japanese culture. Nada. Maybe we could write XYZ on the message board and Ryo could find us some features.
The upside is that the production values are good. The show’s age prevents it from looking as artistic as something more recent like Last Exile or anything by Yu Watase, but the colors are bright, and while there is some sign of scratches and dust on the reel, these quibbles will not prevent you from fully enjoying your viewing experience. The sound is solid, though as we have already covered, there is no English track. At least that helps keep costs down for the average poor otaku.
The comedy is about as low as you can get and still be funny, and yet it is funny. Ryo even frees himself from a very tight spot with the power of his, er…greatest weapon let’s just say, and it’s hysterical. It works. Even for this female and feminist viewer. Just don’t expect elevated, subtle, and sophisticated humor. If you find it, believe me, it was an accident.
Because of the strong mokkori presence, the rating of 15+ is strongly advised, unless you want to have That Conversation with your kids. The violence is non-fatal and non-gratuitous and should not be a problem; the show is, after all, primarily a spoofy comedy.
In short, if you don’t buy this and add it to your anime collection, you should be ashamed of yourself. It’s funny, fresh, lively, and just plain well-produced. It should entertain any audience old enough to watch it safely, and it’ll keep kids, husbands, or just anyone out of your hair for hours while they watch and laugh. Just remember, I did warn you about the inappropriate touching.