Mania Grade: B
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: B
- Packaging Rating: C
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: B+
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: ADV Films
- MSRP: 29.98
- Running time: 80
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: City Hunter
City Hunter: .357 Magnum
By Chris Beveridge
March 15, 2003
Release Date: April 08, 2003
City Hunter: .357 Magnum
What They Say
© ADV Films
A beautiful pianist comes to Tokyo for a charity concert, and City Hunter is there. But music isn't his forte-Joe wants lessons in the language of love. Typically, though, things don't go his way. A foreign dignitary is assassinated in cold blood; secret agents scour the streets for a missing microchip; and diplomatic infighting swirls around the upcoming concert-until Nina the pianist and her grandfather Klaus are kidnapped.
The City Hunter's intrepid assistant Kaori does her best to save them, trying to pull a helicopter from the sky with her bare hands! But City Hunter is the only hope-IF he can stop thinking about love long enough to blast his way into a special forces stronghold! A maelstrom of exploding grenades, the rumble of Falcon's jeep, and the tinkling of the ivories all set the stage for City Hunter: 357 Magnum. The show must go on!The Review!
City Hunter returns in the 1995 movie with Hojo penning this particular tale of spies, lost parents and mokkori.Audio:
Having seen so much City Hunter in Japanese now, it’s only natural to continue viewing it that way. The movie has a basic stereo mix with little in terms of directionality across the forward soundstage, but dialogue and effects come across nicely. We didn’t notice any dropouts or distortions during regular playback of this otherwise pretty average sounding soundtrack.Video:
Presented in its original full frame format, the transfer here does a solid job of presenting the materials as originally done, which is very much in the same style as the TV series itself with just a bit more splash and pizzazz in a few areas. Cross coloration and aliasing are very minimal to hardly noticeable, colors are solid without getting blocky and there’s very few nicks or scratches to be seen. Packaging:
The front cover has the stylized backgrounds reminiscent of the US VHS release run with Ryo taking the center area up wearing a white tux and looking as cool as can be. The back cover provides a few shots of the show itself and a couple of paragraphs of plot. The discs features aren’t clearly listed at all, leaving you wondering what languages are included here or if there are any subtitles or extra features. Basic production information is included though. The insert replicates the front cover while the reverse side uses part of the back cover but in the same style.Menu:
The main menu is a static version of part of the front cover and the blocked style of blues and greens that has a portion of the opening song playing to it. Selections are quick to access and load times are nice and fast. There’s little here in general beyond the show itself, so the menus are simple and effective.Extras:
There’s only one extra included in here and it’s a good one; a full length TV series episode. And not just any old episode, but the first episode of the first season. Contrary to my own fears of how this would be done, the episode itself uses DVD subtitles, though the opening and ending song are hardsubbed. This episode does a good job of introducing the basics of the City Hunter world and plays well combined with the movie on this disc.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Watching a new City Hunter show is like settling in with an old friend. You know his habits, his vices and the weird quirks. You accept all of these things and just enjoy the time spent because you know it’s going to be fun on a basic level, though it may have a wide range of trappings.
The .357 Magnum movie plays out like an extended length episode. Usually that’s something you say about a show you don’t like, but it plays out quite well here. The story starts off pretty quickly with the police coming to the airport to pick up a gentleman that just arrived, one of their best informants who has a big bag of information that he intends to sell to the police so that he can finally retire in style. His arrival doesn’t go off all that well as he’s quickly assassinated and a bomb that he planted ends up helping the assassin cover his tracks during the escape.
Also arriving on that flight, and getting caught up in the crossfire, is young Nina Shutenberg and her manager/grandfather. She’s a well renowned up and coming pianist who has come to play a variety of events in Japan. She’s also here on a more secretive mission to learn who her father really was. As her past is unraveled, we learn of her upbringing and her parents romance in the country of East Galeria and the spying and general rivalry between the East and West versions of those countries. All that Nina knows is that her father is in Japan, and one of her teachers instructed her to search out Ryo to help her.
Ryo’s rather eager to accept any job at this point as Kaori points out they’ve not had anything in over forty-eight days. As Ryo starts to take the case, things start to get a bit strange for the Shutenberg’s as those from the Galeria embassy are now after the old man, as he may have had a contact with the now dead informant. Tie in the relationship aspect of Nina’s story and the dark past of the two nations and you get an enjoyable if fairly predictable storyline. Well, it’s admittedly predictable if you’ve seen a lot of movies and read a lot of novels over the years. I can see this being fresh for someone far younger than I.
The .357 Magnum movie really plays out by hitting all the right marks. It has the extra life added to it through the antics of Ryo, who moves effortlessly between his cool super professional mode to his nookie hunting side. I have yet to find myself tiring of his attempts, nor of Kaori’s constant smacking him around with the huge hammers. In a sense, the continuity of such items is similar to things I find enjoyable with Urusei Yatsura, whereas I can see how some others would become quickly bored by it.
This flick was a fun way to spend the evening and having a TV episode to cap the event off with just made it perfect. With the movie being eight years old and the TV episode fifteen years old, it was a fun little trip to the past with some classic anime goodness.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,First episode of the City Hunter TV series
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.