This article is about the manga series. For the 1993 Chinese film, see City Hunter (film). For the 2011 Korean TV series, see City Hunter (TV series).
City Hunter (Japanese: シティーハンター, Hepburn: Shitī Hantā) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Tsukasa Hojo. It was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1985 to 1991 and collected into 35 tankōbon volumes by its publisher Shueisha. The manga was adapted into an anime television series by Sunrise Studios in 1987. City Hunter was adapted into four animated television series, three television specials, two original video animations, an animated feature film, a live-action Hong Kong film starring Jackie Chan and a Korean live action TV drama.
The series follows the exploits of Ryo Saeba, a "sweeper" who is always found chasing beautiful girls and a private detective who works to rid Tokyo of crime, along with his associate or partner, Hideyuki Makimura. Their "City Hunter" business is an underground jack-of-all-trades operation, contacted by writing the letters "XYZ" on a blackboard at Shinjuku Station. One day, Hideyuki is murdered, and Ryô must take care of Hideyuki's sister, Kaori, a tomboy who becomes his new partner in the process. However, Kaori is very susceptible and jealous, often hitting Ryô with a giant hammer when he does something perverted. The story also follows the behind-the-scenes romance between Ryo and Kaori and the way they cooperate throughout each mission.
Ryo Saeba (冴羽獠, Saeba Ryō)
Ryo is the main protagonist of the series. At the age of Three Ryo was the only survivor of a plane crash in Central America. He was raised as a Guerilla fighter and has no knowledge of his prior identity. After the war, Ryo makes his way to the United States, before moving to Tokyo.
In Japan, he forms the "City Hunter" team with Hideyuki Makimura, but after Hideyuki's death, Kaori takes his place as Ryo's new partner. A highly skilled gunman, Ryo is known for executing the "one-hole shot": a series of shots that land in exactly the same spot of the target repeatedly. His preferred weapon is the Colt Python .357 Magnum. The most frequent running gag about Ryo's character is that he is extremely lecherous. His clients are almost exclusively beautiful young women, with whom he constantly seeks "mokkori chance". When not working, he can often be found hitting on random young women on the streets of Tokyo. His constant womanizing often leads to violent repercussions from his partner Kaori. Despite his perverted behavior, he has a personal attachment with his partner Kaori Makimura, whom he loves. Sometimes he does his perverted behavior to tease Kaori. Though he was perverted with beautiful ladies, at times he was serious too, for the security of ladies. Many times he does this to allay his tension or sadness. Voiced by: Akira Kamiya (Japanese), Martin Blacker (English)
Kaori Makimura (槇村香, Makimura Kaori)
Kaori is Ryo Saeba's partner. A constant running gag is that she is frequently mistaken for a bishōnen-looking man. She is primarily responsible for arranging clients and other managerial tasks. She is in love with Ryo, though she never shows or tells him about her true feelings. Although in the beginning it seems that he has no feelings towards her, as the series progresses there are multiple hints about Ryo having feelings for Kaori, even though of this idea between Kaori and Ryo is not shown in Season 1 of City Hunter. Ryo's skirt-chasing rouses her ire more than once. Her favorite weapon is a bazooka or a mallet (labelled 100 tonnes or 100 gigatonnes) to punish Ryo after his womanizing escapades. Though the partners frequently pick on fights or arguments, both of them actually form a great team together. Voiced by: Kazue Ikura (Japanese), Pamela Ribon (English)
Hideyuki Makimura (槇村秀幸, Makimura Hideyuki)
Hideyuki is Kaori's older brother and Ryo's partner at the beginning of the series. He's a former police detective with a strong sense of justice. Kaori become Ryo's partner and takes over his brother's role after he is murdered by gangsters. His last wish before he could die was for Ryo to take care of his sister and gives a ring to hand over to Kaori. Voiced by: Hideyuki Tanaka
Umibōzu is another "sweeper" working the rounds in Tokyo. Umibozu is a Special Forces enemy of Ryo's from the Central America conflict. Despite being on opposing forces, the two develop a friendship. Umibozu owns the Cat's Eye cafe. He goes by the professional name Falcon and his real name is Hayato Ijuin (伊集院隼人). Despite his fearsome appearance he has a phobia of kittens. Voiced by: Tesshō Genda (Japanese), Lou Perryman (English)
Saeko Nogami (野上冴子, Nogami Saeko)
Saeko is a Tokyo police detective who often outsources certain tasks to the City Hunter team. The daughter of the chief of police, she was once closely related to Kaori's brother, Hideyuki. Ryo keeps a long-detailed list where Saeko owes him for the various favours he's done for her, which she always manages to get out of because Ryo demands a mokkori chance with her for each item. Voiced by: Yōko Asagami (Japanese), Jana Brockman (English)
Reika Nogami (野上 麗香, Nogami Reika)
Introduced halfway through the manga and the first season, Reika is Saeko Nogami's younger sibling, but proves to be just as feisty as her in rejecting Ryo's advances. She runs the "RN Detective Agency" (RN being her initials), right next to Ryo's apartment. It is hinted a few times that she has a little crush on Ryo but knows about Kaori's feelings for him and will not stand in her way. Voiced by: Yoshino Takamori (Japanese), Katherine Catmull (English)
A former mercenary, she was raised as an orphan by Umibozu in the battlefield and falls in love with him. She runs a Coffee shop named "Cat's Eye" (homage to Tsukasa's previous manga) along with Umibozu. She is battle hardened and also is a master of hypnosis. Voiced by: Mami Koyama, Miki Ito (Japanese), Amalia Stifter, Johanna Mckeon (English)
A member of a proud clan of noble Robin Hood-like thieves, she initially meets with Ryo early on in the manga before returning to him halfway through the manga. She eventually falls in love with Ryo and makes brief appearances thereafter as a part-time employee at Cat's Eye. Voiced by: Miina Tominaga
The series ran in Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1985 until 1990. The series was printed in 35 collected volumes by Shueisha under the Jump Comics range between January 15, 1986 and April 15, 1992. In these volumes the series is grouped into 55 different stories or "episodes" instead of as their original individual chapters. Each story is centred on a different female character or "heroine". The series was a 18 volume edition by Shueisha from June 18, 1996 to October 17, 1997. A third edition of 32 volumes was published by Tokuma Shoten from December 16, 2003 to April 15, 2005.Takehiko Inoue was an assistant on the series.
Attempts were made to license the series for the American comic market during the 1980s; however, Hojo insisted the manga should be released in the right-to-left format. In 2002 Coamix created an American subsidiary, Gutsoon! Entertainment. City Hunter was a flagship title in their Raijin Comics Anthology. Raijin switched from a weekly format to a monthly format before being cancelled after 46 issues.
The series is currently available to read in Japanese as an iPhone application by Rainbow Apps.
In 2001, Hojo started a follow-up series titled Angel Heart manga. The series takes place in a universe parallel to City Hunter, where the character of Kaori Makimura is killed and her heart transplanted into Li Xiang Ying, Angel Heart's protagonist.
See also: List of City Hunter episodes, List of City Hunter 2 episodes, List of City Hunter 3 episodes and List of City Hunter 91 episodes
The series was adapted into an anime series produced by Sunrise, directed by Kanetsugu Kodama and broadcast by Yomiuri Television.City Hunter was broadcast for 51 episodes between April 6, 1987 and March 28, 1988 and released on 10 VHS cassettes between December 1987 and July 1988.City Hunter 2 was broadcast for 63 episodes between April 8 and July 14 and released on 10 VHS cassettes between August 1988 and March 1990.City Hunter 3 was broadcast for 13 episodes from October 15, 1989 to January 21, 1990 and released on 6 VHS cassettes between November 1990 and April 1991.City Hunter '91 was broadcast between April 28 and October 10, 1991 and released on 6 VHS cassettes between February and July 1992. The series was later reissued as 20 video compilations.
A 32-disc DVD boxset, City Hunter Complete, was published by Aniplex and released in Japan on August 31, 2005. The set contained all four series, the TV specials and animated movies as well as an art book and figures of Ryo and Kaori. 26 of the discs comprising the four series were then released individually between December 19, 2007 and August 27, 2008.
The series was licensed by ADV Films for release in North America. The first City Hunter series was released on the ADV Fansubs label in March 2000. The aim of this label was to provide cheaper subtitled-only VHS releases at a faster pace than usual. The series was scheduled for 13 tapes, consisting of four episodes each. The tapes could be ordered individually or as a subscription service.
ADV later released the series on DVD. The first series was released as two boxsets of 5 discs on July 29, 2003. City Hunter 2 was released as another two boxsets of five discs on October 28, and November 18, 2003. City Hunter 3 was released as a single boxset on December 2, 2003 and City Hunter '91 was released on December 16, 2003.
Films and TV specials:
357 Magnum a.k.a. A Magnum of Love's Destination - Ryo and Kaori are hired to protect Nina Shutenburg, a beautiful pianist, from mercenaries and diplomats.
Bay City Wars - Ryo and Umibozu fight an evil dictator and his group terrorists hijacking the Bay City hotel.
Million Dollar Conspiracy a.k.a. Plot of a $1,000,000 - When a mysterious (and gorgeous) stranger shows up needing protection, the City Hunter team leap at the million-dollar offer.
Secret Service - Faced with delinquent rental bills, Ryo and Kaori accept a new assignment from James McGuire, a man from the fictional South American country of Guinam who aims to dislodge its military junta as a presidential candidate. McGuire wants the two to protect his long-lost daughter, who leads the Japanese secret service detail guarding him during his trip to Japan. However, when unknown forces attack McGuire, he is forced to come clean with Ryo and Kaori about his dark past as a rebel fighter to face his tormentors.
The Motion Picture a.k.a. Goodbye, My Sweetheart - Ryo reluctantly takes up a popular stage actress' assignment to find her long-lost brother. Ryo and Kaori discover that the man is actually "The Professor," a former soldier-turned-terrorist who now plans to detonate bombs all over Shinjuku as revenge for a betrayal at the hands of the Japanese government.
Death of the Vicious Criminal Ryo Saeba a.k.a. Death of Evil Ryo Saeba - Sexy newscaster Sayaka Asagiri appears at the City Hunter offices and hires Ryo and Kaori for a new assignment - their first contract in over four months, with Sayaka promising to spend one night with Ryo thrown in for good measure. The three investigate the disappearance and murder of a TV news network president that has been covered up through staged appearances and heavy editing. The conspirators use the same tricks on Ryo to frame him for "kidnapping" Sayaka.
Saviour of the Soul (九一神鵰俠侶 Gauyat sandiu haplui) is a Hong Kong film from 1991 that uses the characters from City Hunter but changes the plot.
In 1993 a Live Action theatrical adaption of the series was released. The movie was directed by Wong Jing and starred Jackie Chan as Ryo Saeba, Wang Zhuxian as Kaori and also starred Japanese idol Kumiko Goto. During filming of the movie Chan dislocated his shoulder. The movie has been criticised by Chan.Fortune Star and 20th Century Fox later released it on R1 DVD along with other budget classic HK films.
In 1996 Mr. Mumble kept the concept of City Hunter but changed the characters.
A planned live-action version of City Hunter was announced in 2008, to be produced and distributed by Fox Television Studios and South Korean media company SSD.Jung Woo-sung, was scheduled to play Ryo alongside Hollywood-based stars, with location filming in Seoul and Tokyo.
In 2011, the series was adapted into a Korean television series of the same name by SBS, starring Lee Min-ho, Park Min-young, and Lee Joon Hyuk.
City Hunter. Novel. Published by Shueisha in 1993.,
City Hunter Special: The Secret Service. Novel. Published by Shueisha in 1995,
City Hunter 2. Novel. Published by Shueisha in 1997.,
City Hunter Special: Live on Stage. Novel. Published by Shueisha in 1999.,
City Hunter is one of Weekly Shōnen Jump's best-selling series of all time, with over 35 million copies sold in Japan. In a 2005 poll held by TV Asahi, City Hunter was voted #66 out of the 100 most popular animated TV series, as voted by TV viewers. A TV Asahi web-poll put City Hunter at #65.
The characters Ryo and Kaori proved popular with fans. In the reader voted Animage Anime Grand Prix Saeba Ryo was voted second in the Best Male Character section in 1988. In 1989, 1990 and 1991 he was first place. In 1992 he was voted sixth place. Kaori Makamura was voted fifteenth in the best Female Character category in 1988 before climbing to eighth in 1989. Kaori then placed fifth in 1990 before falling to sixth and eleventh in 1991 and 1992 respectively.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license