City Hunter Vol. #04 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A-

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  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: C+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 15 & Up
  • Released By: Gutsoon!
  • MSRP: 9.95
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 1-932454-01-2
  • Size: Tall B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

City Hunter Vol. #04

By Eduardo M. Chavez     February 29, 2004
Release Date: December 01, 2003

City Hunter Vol.#04
© Gutsoon!

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

What They Say
When your life is in jeopardy and you have nowhere else to turn, you can count on one man: Saeba Ryo, the City Hunter!

Whether working as a sniper, bodyguard or bounty hunter, "sweeper" for hire Saeba Ryo takes out the criminal trash on the shadier side of Tokyo. When the chips are down and he's got his trademark Colt .357 Python in hand, Saeba's a complete professional. At other times, especially in the company of attractive women, his overheated libido takes over. At the moment, he's a bodyguard to Sato Yumiko, one of the most popular actresses in Japan. What originally sounded like a dream job has become a nightmare for Saeba, as he somehow has to stop his deadly counterpart, the equally talented Umibozu, from killing Yumiko... when she herself wants to die!

The Review
The cover art appears to be a modified version of cover #9. Ryo is holding a big gun to the right of Kaori. Behind them is a photograph of some skyscrapers taken at street level. On the back there is a sketch of Kaori from behind on a red colored concrete wall background. Inside this volume has more character profiles and Ryo 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 end of the GN contains ads for: Raijin Graphic Novels.

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 mokkori 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 interact with the mangaka, push panels aside, 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.

This volume does have a little bit of frontal nudity (for those who care about those things).

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 to share.)

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)
Volume four concludes the Natural by once again showing off Ryo's compassion and the trust he has in the human spirit. A true professional like Saeba Ryo always puts the demands of his clients first. In this situation Ryo's client has given him a tough request? protect the life of a person who has hired a professional to kill her! Making matters worse is the hired hit-man, the talented Umibozu. Neither one of these two pros would ever think of backing down and if the end of volume three was an indication for the future these two will be at each other until one of them is out for the count. When Ryo is injured in a gun fight Ryo has to put his trust in Yumiko to protect him and more importantly to make her believe her life is too precious to waste.

In the Wacky Professor Hojo-senei has Ryo become a professor at a university. Besides hitting on the co-eds, Ryo is there to try to make contact with the sole heiress of a multi-billion yen fortune. Someone is after this girl and if something were to happen to her before her 21st birthday the fortune would be transferred in accordance to the will. The situation is made more difficult as she is an introverted person and she has an image of an ideal person since she was child and has been waiting for him ever since. Ryo just turns out to be a dead ringer for this guy but his personality might not always match up (can he ever control his mokkori problem?). Still he has to make her feel comfortable enough to open up to him and make sure she is willing to spend time with him until she gets her inheritance.

Kataoka Yuko is a complete loner. She doesn't have friends at school, she tends to sleep in class and in general she just seems to quietly mope around. Having a new professor is no big deal and she would rather not be in class than have to made an example of in class. She was not aware of who the instructor was though? or at least who she thought he was! Mr. Saeba looked just like her "knight in shining armor." He may be a little sleazier than she imagined but he seems to be just as honorable and heroic. How can she find out if he really is for sure? She has to know get to know him better and she is willing to even move in with him to make sure.

Everything is going according to Ryo's plan but he still does not know who is after her. This is something pretty big and while Yuko's family might be suspicious but from the looks of the people that have been following Yuko these guys are definitely thugs and have something even bigger in mind. Someone big is trying to muscle in to the Kataoka's business by blackmailing Yuko's relatives. They really want to make sure they cover all their bases, so they want to off Yuko and then get the company from the rest of the family. Luckily for the Kataoka's Ryo is on the job and he is not going to let his client down. Ryo is even willing to help the rest of the family as a bonus, free of charge! A little "conversation" with some hire thugs and eventually a "message" City Hunter style to the guy that placed the hit was more than enough to solve the case and in the end Ryo really did end up looking like a knight. Not too sure if his armor was white, though.

If you are familiar with the anime (released subbed by ADV Films) these two stories are some of the more memorable in the earliest part of the series. They really show off that side of Ryo that is a little more mysterious and slightly less lecherous. I have had issues with these for a while as I tend to like Ryo when he is just perverted all the time. Seeing him like this reminds me off how Hojo presents Ryo in his new series, Angel Heart. In that series Ryo is still a freak but the guy just tends to act with the interst of his heart. He sometimes does take things too far. On occasion he could lose someone but in the end he makes his decisions and they almost always end up being the same as those of his clients'.

For those looking for an etchi action series City Hunter has been the standard for quite a while. It mixes good art, good action with some deep characters. The character developemet of Ryo does not come up for a while but he is so strong already the series actually depends on his random clients to grow. Different.

For those looking for more comedy and even more fanservice this volume is a little short on both. There is a lot of drama here and most of the comedy relies on "mokkori" shots, jokes aimed at Hojo (all the bodyguard stories), and everyone's favorite tomboy Kaori. The fanservice is down here as well. While there is a little tiny bit of nudity in the Kabukicho scene there are hardly any other scenes with skin. For CitiHun that's almost not acceptable!

I love my City Hunter and while this series has had some issues this volume looks clean. I kinda wish things would change for the release schedule because I can hardly wait 3-4 months for a new volume to be released (especially with this series being 35 vols. long and Angel Heart is waiting in the wings.) I cannot wait for more mokkori goodness. Hell, I would take some more 100 ton hammer goodness as soon as I could get it.


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