City Hunter TV Season 1 Collection 1 (of 4) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, October 14, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, July 29, 2003
What They Say
Meet Ryo Seaba: ladies' man, troubleshooter and expert marksman. When you need more help than the police can provide, he's the solution. He's the City Hunter, and if he can't solve your problem, no one can. Welcome to the world of City Hunter where freelance troubleshooter Ryo Saeba works to keep the streets of Shinjuku safe. When calling the police just won't do, leave an "XYZ" message on the board at Shinjuku Station and the City Hunter will respond to your plea for help, especially if you happen to be a beautiful woman!
Reaching back into their catalogue, ADV has released the first half of first season of City Hunter in a boxset. Here?s to twenty six episodes of mokkori!
Like the majority of old shows that ADV is now releasing, the City Hunter release is presented in its original language of Japanese only. Produced back in 1986, the original soundtrack is in mono. For its age, the soundtrack is in pristine condition. I never noticed a single drop out or hiss. Sunrise seems to treat their shows with a lot more care than others.
In addition to the well preserved audio, the video is also in very good shape. There are occasional scratches and marks on the print, but I expect that. Compression wise, ADV has done a fantastic job. With the exception of some background shots featuring blues, the compression was practically perfect. Scenes with dark blues do suffer a bit with macro blocking, which is very evident during the end credit sequence since its mainly dark blue. No line shimmering was present. Colors were solid, if a bit faded.
All sign subtitles and song subtitles for City Hunter are hard subbed. Considering there was never a dub release for these episodes, I was very surprised.
City Hunter is presented on five DVDs in a multi alpha brick pack. The front cover features a serious Ryo Saeba, the City Hunter, pointing a gun that has just been fired. The title on the front: City Hunter 1, Collection 1 is very clear. On the back cover, ?XYZ?, the sign to summon the help of the City Hunter, is displayed. There?s another picture of Ryo on the back, with six shots from the show. DVD features are clearly displayed, along with a good description of what the City Hunter does. Insider there?s an insert showing which extras are on which DVD.
The menus are static and feature one song playing continuously. From the main menu you can select any of the five episodes (or six on the last DVD) present, or the view extras. There are no scene selection or language menus. You can start from any episode, but only from the beginning.
The extras including are clean version of the opening and ending animations, production sketches, and City Hunter trailers. Considering the age of the show, I?m not surprised at the lack of extras.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
In the city of Tokyo, crimes are rampant and the police can?t help everyone. When people need help, they leave the letters ?XYZ? on a message board at Shinjuku Station. This calls the City Hunter, and if your case moves his heart, or you?re an extremely attractive woman, Ryo Saeba will come to help solve your problem.
Ryo Saeba, how does one describe this man? Well, the word pervert comes to mind first. The man is hopeless in front of beautiful woman. He?ll leer and place his hands in interesting places. Panty hunting is one of his favorite past times when visiting the room of a woman. Despite all this, the man has a heart of gold, and is willing to lay his life on the line to help a person in trouble.
One of Ryo?s favorite words is ?mokkori?, which he inserts into his speech. ?Mokkori? is a little hard to explain. Basically, it?s something that causes Ryo to get turned on, but he?ll also attached to another word as a pronoun, to describe something that would excite him.
Ryo?s skills with a gun are unparalleled. He can place six shots through the same target in exactly the same spot in a row. He can hit a belt buckle on a person through a crowd of fifty people, and can even fire a bullet into the chamber of another person?s gun. Okay, perhaps it?s a little unrealistic, but no one can use a gun like Ryo.
City Hunter is very episodic by nature, but the first five episodes follow the manga quite closely. The City Hunter works with his partner Hideyuki Makimura, who handles the meeting up with clients. When Hideyuki, or Maki-chan as Ryo calls him, decides a case is for the City Hunter, he presents it to Ryo.
Early on in the series during one episode, Hideyuki rejects a case where one drug syndicate wants to use the City Hunter to assassinate a member of another syndicate. Since the syndicate wants to prove they are being tough, they have Hideyuki assassinated instead. This of course is their downfall, as Ryo takes this personally and must exact revenge.
In the middle of this tragedy, we get introduced to Hideyuki?s sister Kaori. She?s not really his sister, but Hideyuki took her in when Hideyuki?s father shot and killed Kaori?s real father, who was a criminal. At the age of twenty, Hideyuki was to give Kaoru her own mother?s wedding ring, but alas, he was killed on the day she turned twenty. Kaoru decides to become Ryo?s new partner after her brother?s death.
Kaori is almost the complete opposite of Ryo. She gets completely embarrassed in any situation of a sexual nature, and makes it her job to stop Ryo?s perversions. A hammer with ?100t? on it is her favorite weapon for bashing Ryo. I wish I knew where she kept that hammer. The running joke in the show is that Kaori looks a lot like man, mainly due to the way she dresses and keeps her hair. Trust me though, there is no way I?d ever mistake her for a man.
Another recurring character in the series is a female cop named Sakeo Nogami, who Ryo is absolutely enamored by. She?ll come to Ryo with jobs and say that Ryo will be ?rewarded? well by them. Except she never actually gives Ryo the reward in the end, which Ryo expects to be a night of passion. Ryo?s so hard up on her though, that he continues to accept jobs from her on the chance that one day he will get that reward. Near the end of the collection, we also get introduced to Angel Heart, a female sweeper, who eventaully gets her own manga series from Hojo Tsukasa.
The stories can vary quite widely in City Hunter. A lot of time Ryo is a body guard for someone who is about to be killed, but usually there is a twist on why the person needs protection. There are also recovery missions for something stolen. One of my favorite storylines was the one where an actress who has lost the will to live after her lover passed away needs protection from Ryo against a hit man who is trying to kill her.
Comedy is abundant in the series with Ryo getting into all sorts of mokkori situations. The anime is toned down from the manga, but it?s still enjoyable. Sometimes I feel like the Kaori?s hammer routine gets a bit old though.
One little feature ADV added to City Hunter is a notes section that is sometimes in front of an episode where they explain what a certain Japanese word means. Of course, this is very fansub like, and the credits even says ?Presented by ADV Fansubs?, which City Hunter was a part of. Well, the screen stays up for thirty seconds before the episode starts or you can press enter on your remote to continue. Personally, I think it breaks the flow of watching the show and should be added just a screen you can look at in the menus. Also, you really don?t need the word sensei explained two episodes in a row.
City Hunter is a lot of fun. Yes, it?s very episodic and after twenty six episodes I?ve seen no sign of a larger overall plot, but that?s just how this show is. The sexual jokes are great, and the conversations between Kaori and Ryo are also funny. The action sequences are excellent also. The show is old, so don?t expect the animation sequences to be that great, but the stories here are good. With its great price, City Hunter should be a part of any anime fan?s classic collection.
Japanese Language,English Subtitles,Cclean opening and closing animations,Production sketches,City Hunter TV trailers
Toshiba 3109 player, Toshiba 36? Cinema Series via component, Pioneer VSX-810S receiver via optical, Cerwin Vega front speakers, Pinnacle center and rears
Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B-
Menus Rating: C
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
Running time: 625
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: City Hunter