Anime Rewind: City Hunter


  • Episodes : 140
  • Genre : Action, Comedy, Mystery, Shounen
  • Airing Date : Apr 6, 1987 – Oct 10, 1991
  • Producers : Sunrise

Contains Spoilers

City Hunter Introduction

Got a loved one missing? Worried that someone is out to kill you? Then all you have to do is write XYZ on a chalkboard at Shinjuku Station and you can get help from Ryo Saeba, or the titular City Hunter. He’s an expert private investigator who is also a top marksman that could make any US Marine jealous. But if Ryo has any weaknesses, it certainly has to be women. After the loss of his partner, Hideyuki, he assumes custody of his teenage sister, Kaori. Kaori becomes Ryo’s partner and they fight crime throughout Tokyo while Kaori also has to keep Ryo’s perverted tendencies in check with her magic mallet.

What We Liked About City Hunter

While some of you readers may be familiar with the Korean adaptation, it is only a loose interpretation of the original source material. For those that saw the old Jackie Chan film, this anime is more along the lines of that movie, but the anime isn’t martial arts oriented. As opposed to focusing on hand-to-hand fighting, the anime emphasizes on the use of firearms. Last, with the voice of Akira Kamiya as Ryo, you get to hear a different side of him as opposed to his other famous roles, most notably as Kenshiro from Hokuto no Ken.

Why You Should Watch City Hunter

1. The Series is Episodic

The storyline of City Hunter isn’t serialized like a majority of other anime so City Hunter is one of those series where you can simply get a feel of it from watching 2 episodes. While there are some 2 or 3-part episodes here and there, most of the series is episodic. However, you may need to see the first 10 episodes to understand how Kaori and Ryo become partners and to get a better understanding of the supporting cast.

2. Has a huge cast of characters

While the series mostly focuses on Ryo and Kaori, there are some recurring characters who help spice things up. One notable character is Saeko, an official detective for the police department who tends to ask Ryo for help on cases. Their relationship loosely spoofs that of Lupin and Fujiko in Lupin III. When it comes to Ryo’s highly perverted tendencies, he lets his hormones get the best of him when it comes to Saeko’s attractiveness (and has a list of IOUs in context to sexual favors for her). Another supporting cast member is Falcon, nicknamed Umibouzu by Ryo due to his cue ball head. Though he and Ryo share a difficult history, they can depend on each other when it truly counts.

3. A mind blowing soundtrack

If you’re someone who enjoys quality soundtracks, then City Hunter offers some of the best opening and ending themes for its time and to anime as a whole! Ai Yo Kienaide, the first opening theme, perfectly sets the mood of the series in both the composition of the song and with its animation. Through the content of the lyrics of falling in love for the final time while living the city life from the point of view of Kaori, with the opening animation masterfully showing 1980s downtown Tokyo during its days of Japan’s economic boom (as well as some of Ryo’s perverted tendencies), you get a quality preview for the series.

As for its ending theme, Get Wild by the TM Network, was one of Japan’s top hits in 1987! It’s still regarded as a classic to this day! While the lyrics of the opening theme give you a feel of Kaori, Get Wild gives you more of a feel of Ryo’s inner feelings that even though he’s a tough guy, deep down inside, he wishes to protect the people he cares about.

Why You Should Skip City Hunter

1. Ryo is a Gary Stu

Other than Ryo’s tendencies of personally admitting he has an erection at the sight of a woman he finds attractive, Ryo has no weaknesses and is relatively invincible. While he can get hurt, Ryo always finds a way to come out on top. The way he can fire his powerful magnum with pinpoint accuracy from crazy distances is ridiculously superhuman. He also has amazing agility, vision, and strength. While the series does get around to explaining why he has such capabilities, City Hunter portrays Ryo too much like a Chuck Norris joke on crack, and it gets repetitive.

2. Not for those that want a story

While the adventures of Ryo and Kaori are episodic in nature, what fans love about anime is how most of them are serialized, and how longer series have organized story arcs. If you are looking for that, then City Hunter may not be the anime for you.

3. The humor may not suit today’s social climate

As an extension to number one, Ryo’s perverted tendencies to admitting he has a mokkori, can get old rather quick. In addition to getting repetitive, such juvenile humor went the way of Beavis & Butt-Head after that shows was over. And considering the recent Hollywood scandals, some individuals may think that humor based around sexual harassment may have no place in today’s society.

Final Thoughts

City Hunter does offer something different in comparison to anime of its time and even today. The resolution is grainy and rough for newer and/or younger viewers, but much of the panning and framing still helps the series hold up to and knows how to showcase Ryo’s abilities with his firearms. While the series is episodic, as the series progresses and ends, many characters do get the chance to develop, and Ryo does resolve most of his personal issues and relationships. With a new movie coming out in 2019, try giving the initial series a shot.

CITY-HUNTER-Wallpaper-506x500 Anime Rewind: City Hunter


Author: Justin "ParaParaJMo" Moriarty

Hello, I am originally from the states and have lived in Japan since 2009. Though I watched Robotech and Voltron as a child, I officially became an anime fan in 1994 through Dragon Ball Z during a trip to the Philippines. In addition to anime, I also love tokusatsu, video games, music, and martial arts. よろしくお願いします

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