City Hunter Vol. #03 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: A-

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Info:

  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 15 & Up
  • Released By: Gutsoon!
  • MSRP: 9.95
  • Pages: 203
  • ISBN: 1-932454-07-1
  • Size: Tall B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

City Hunter Vol. #03

By Eduardo M. Chavez     April 18, 2004
Release Date: October 01, 2003


City Hunter Vol.#03
© Gutsoon!


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Hojo Tsukasa
Translated by:N/A
Adapted by:

What They Say
Action, brains, brawn and sex appeal - City Hunter's got it all!

When your life is in jeopardy and you have nowhere else to turn, you can count on one man: Saeba Ryo, the City Hunter. How do you reach him? Just simply write the letters "XYZ" on the message board just outside the East Exit of Shinjuku Station. With flawless aim and an unflagging sense of humor, this professional bounty hunter/bodyguard/sniper will take on criminals of every stripe, be they biker gangs, Yakuza or crooked politicians. The catch: He'll only accept your case if it moves him.

The Review
Packaging:
The cover art appears to be recent art done by Hojo - a close up Ryo (with a different character design) in front of a photo of a couple Shinjuku buildings. One the back there is a close up on a pair of guns on a blue background. Inside this volume has character profiles replacing the message from the mangaka and has Ryo and Sato Yumiko on the volume header.

Logo Check!! (2003 Megs)... the logo used by Gutsoon! is exactly like Hojo's original (the only thing missing is the kana translation).

The back has ads for: Raijin Magazine, Raijin Graphic Novels and FotNS: Master's Edition.

Artwork:
While not as tight as his current work, Hojo's art in City Hunter is top notch. And as I will be explaining the quality is all over the board.

Character designs are pretty 80's (which would make sense, since this did make its debut in the mid-eighties.) Characters are a little big, with wide shoulders, long strong legs and strong jaw lines. So you usually tend to see strong tough looking guys and hot long legged busty ladies running away from Ryo (for their own reasons).

There is a lot of detail to expressions, as emotions and sight-gags are a big part of the charm of this series. Actually come to think of it, there is a lot of detail in general. Whether its a mokori sighting, complex action scene, gun specs, fancy background or a sight-gag they are all done with the practically the same level of quality.

But what really makes City Hunter interesting is how funny Hojo makes the presentation. At times it almost seems as if his characters are quite aware that they are in a manga. Characters are attacked by dialogue bubbles (pg 35), push them aside (pg 165), and the step in and out of panel with ease. The layout is so hyper its almost showing as much of the story as the plot is and it really makes for a fast flowing read despite the amount of detail.

Orientation/SFX:
This GN like all Gutsoon! titles is right to left. SFX are a mixed bag though. Some of them are subbed and some are just left alone. While I support keeping the original work there I really have to repeat... "they all need to be translated in some way or another."

Notes and asides are often left in the gutters (and Hojo sure has a few notes.)

Text:
The translation is good. Hojo's sense of humor is really done well here. As people familiar with the series know there CitiHun has a lot of adult humor in what was a shonen title. The people at Gutsoon!/Coamix really got it down right as the story flows very well. Honorifics are not left in this series which is a shame as that could have added another level to the humor.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Finishing off the story with the Ryujinkai, Ryo runs off to save Sayaka from a biker gang. In typical Ryo fashion, he sneaks into the group and lays low until things start to get a little heavy. At that point Ryo makes his move by showing them punks what a real tough guy is like.

Unfortunatley Ryo's tough guy act gets him into a little pickle. It seems that Sayaka has fallen for him and decides to move in with him, in spite of Kaori living there as well. So as the future Mrs. Saeba, Sayaka is determined to find out what Ryo does for a living. Is he a tutor, hit-man, professional miracle maker... yeah all that and more, but only if his job moves him. And just how does that work, really? Well even a sweeper like Ryo has a soft-spot for those at there end. So if someone gives him an "XYZ" he's there (espeically if a nice lady is involved).

In "the Waiting Girl" Ryo has to fake a murder to reunite a father and his child. Ryo and his client both have to go to the edge to make this work. Swindling the bad guys and eventually actually shooting his client to make things look very realistic almost costs Ryo a payday as well as the happiness of a young girl waiting for her father.

In "the Natural" a dream comes true for Ryo... he gets to bodyguard his favorite actress!!! The potential for mokkori is almost off the charts but it cannot be that easy for little Ryo. Satoh Yumiko (written Sato in this manga) has a reclusive personality and someone is out to kill her. You would think she would be worried, but she could really care less about it. So while Ryo tries to thaw out this cold star he has to figure out who is after her.

Hojo finishes off the story with Sayaka by going into a little more character development on Ryo. You finally are informed of his some of motivations as a sweeper. As noted in this GN's blurb "he'll only accept a case if it moves him." In "The Waiting Girl" Ryo comes off as a hero for those who are at the end of their rope. This short story is touching in some ways but mostly its just tense. There is little room for error and Hojo really writes up a good scenerio for this episode.

With Sayaka finally gone, Ryo moves on to the next job Kaori finds for him. A bodyguard for one of Japan's finest actresses. As you can imagine, its mokkori time for Ryo but he makes sure he keeps an eye out for trouble when he is not fantasizing.


Comments
This volume is a real gem. You get to see Ryo at his best here. His side and jut how far he would go to help someone out. While the amount of action does not pick up until the end of this volume there still is plenty to keep readers entertained with. Mokkori action and the introduction of Umibozo makes for some great comedy that makes up for those mushy emotional parts.

For those looking for a good action title with a good amount of humor this is one of the better ones translated. Those familiar with the anime the pacing is a little slower as this manga tends to be not as episodic, so those individual anime episodes are usually quite a few chatpers long so expect a bit more storytelling here.

For those looking for more action and more romance you still cannot pass this up. This volume is too good.


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