City Hunter TV Season 4 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B+

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B-
  • Menus Rating: C
  • Extras Rating: D+
  • Age Rating: 15 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 44.95
  • Running time: 325
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: City Hunter

City Hunter TV Season 4

By Luis Cruz     April 15, 2004
Release Date: December 16, 2003

City Hunter TV Season 4
© ADV Films

What They Say
It may not be over till the fat lady sings, but Ryo Saeba would rather make music with a beautiful woman. And mokkori is the sweetest music of all to City Hunter's ears. At least until his partner, Kaori, strikes a sour note with her trusty 100-ton hammer. Then there are the various thugs, crooks and just plain not nice people that want to put a permanent end to Ryo's life. How's a guy supposed to get any satisfaction out of his work with all those distractions? The streets of Shinjuku have never been safer-or more deadly. It's City Hunter's last stand in City Hunter TV '91!

The Review!
Break out your favorite 100-ton hammer; Ryo and Kaori are back for one last round of fun.

A Japanese audio track is your only option; fortunately, it is a clear, problem free track. Dialogue and action are balanced well and provide a decent stereo experience. Each City Hunter series has featured great music, and this one is no exception. This opening theme song has become my second favorite theme of this long-lived series.

ADV provides a good transfer for this series; produced in 1991, the source material does contain some print damage mostly in the form of nicks. While noticeable at times, the defects will not distract much from the mokkori fun on the screen. The colors are rich whether it is a bright day or the dark shadows of a Tokyo night.

As the background explodes behind him once again, Ryo graces the front cover of the three disc brick with his gun blazing. The back cover contains the requisite synopsis, screenshots, and disc specifications. Inside is a one-page insert that replicates the front cover image with the reverse side listing which episodes are on what disc.

The menus for this set are nearly identical to the ones in the previous City Hunter collections changing only the color of the background explosion image and using the latest opening theme song. The episode list is still on the right, and there is still no "Play All" option. Once you choose an episode, the liner notes for the episode or the standard mokkori definition is displayed before moving onto the actual episode. The episodes will then play one after another as if a "Play All" option were selected.

The last disc contains trailers for other ADV titles as well as the trailers for the City Hunter movies and OVAs.

Content:(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The City Hunter TV series has always been formulaic, but it is a formula that continues to work once again in the most recent incarnation City Hunter '91. The episodes feature the usual mokkori wackiness and action -- Ryo's wandering eye, Kaori's omnipresent hammers, Umibozu's unnatural fear of cats, and plenty of villains to gun down. Most of the episodes use the standard plot of Ryo and Kaori coming across a woman in need and eventually solving her problem.

There are three episodes that makes this series stand out; the first of the lot gives the secondary character of Umibozu a chance to carry an entire episode. Miki has left Umibozu in charge of the café while she runs some errands. What follows is a brilliant mixture of humor and sentimentalism that allows the writers to define Umibozu's character more. From a poor college student's inability to leave to a group of teenage girls forming an Umibozu fan club, the gags and jokes fly quickly broken up occasionally by moments that show off Umibozu's underlying gentle nature. It was a well-crafted episode and easily ranks as one of my all-time favorite City Hunter episodes.

The remaining two episodes form a two part story that immediately follows Umibozu's story. Sonia is the daughter of Kenny, Ryo's former partner in America; Ryo killed Kenny (you bastard!), and she has come to Japan to seek revenge. To achieve this goal, she enlists the aid of Umibozu. Umibozu has many reasons to accept this task; Kenny and he served together in a past war. During a battle, Umibozu's eyes were injured; without Kenny's help, he surely would have gone blind.

As the episodes reveal Umibozu and Ryo's history with Kenny and lead to a duel between the pair, the complex and begrudging friendship between Umibozu and Ryo is illuminated. The curtain is finally lifted a bit allowing us to see some of the secrets behind Umibozu and Ryo's shared past. Long time followers of the City Hunter franchise cannot miss these two episodes.

My only complaint with this series would be the final episode; while it contains an interesting twist, it does not end the series with a bang as I had hoped. City Hunter 2 ended on a strong note giving us a sense of completeness yet leaving room for more tales to be told.

City Hunter '91 leaves room for more stories, but it ends abruptly lacking the sense of closure that the previous incarnations had. If they had moved one earlier episode to be the last one, I believe they would have captured the same feeling the audience had at the end of City Hunter 2. This is a minor quibble though as the entire set provided thirteen solid episodes of action and humor.

In Summary:
The long journey known as City Hunter has come to an end, and the last leg proved to be very enjoyable. While the series did not go out with a bang, it featured three fantastic episodes that no City Hunter fan should be without. The series is also short enough to make it a great way to introduce someone to the hilarity that is mokkori.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Mitsubishi 27" TV, Pioneer DVL-919, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Bose Acoustimass-6 speakers, generic S-Video and audio cable


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