City Hunter – episodes 27 to 36

September 19, 2004 on 5:13 pm | In City Hunter | Comments Off on City Hunter – episodes 27 to 36

City Hunter comes back from the enforced mid season break (due to the architecture of ADV’s release) with a brand new OP! At first it’s something that is no match for “Don’t go away, my love”, but “Go Go Heaven” grows on a person after a while. Sometimes it is played as an insert song, so it becomes quite enjoyable. The elegance of the Saeko animation is wortwhile, too. On the other hand, the “Get Wild” ED tradition increasingly demonstrates its limitations, with every episode ending on a freeze and pan. Some of them aren’t even interesting freezes or pans, but rather arbitrarily chosen shots of not much.

Easily the best thing about these episodes is the increased role of Umibozu, the best comedy sweeper since Saeba Ryo. Well, not that that’s saying much, but he’s damned funny. Umibozu can take shots from a standard gun without sweating, and he’s the best booby trapper in Japan – but he’s terrified of kittens. When you get a situation where Umibozu wants to protect a girl, and Ryo wants to get to that girl, you have one of the greatest situations for comedy ever posed by City Hunter. Umibozu, like Ryo, also knows when and how to play it straight, so he’s a perfectly flexible character. It’s a crime that he is not included in the new OP, while Saeko is. Seventeen years on the statute of limitations is likely to have expired, and anyway it’s something that is likely to have been fixed in the ensuing 100 plus episodes.
The point is that Umibozu is a great character, from the time he falls in love (because despite being the hardest man in Japan, he blushes in the presence of a beautiful woman) to the time that he referees a death match between Ryo and the underworld’s most famous assassin. He’s the sort of character who, when it is discovered he will be featured in an episode, you can’t help but cheer.

The variety of situations Ryo is placed in are still pretty fresh but, as Umibozu remarks, “Ryo has been reduced to the level of a babysitter”; a lot of the times he just looks after women. The episodes with danger in them are the best because otherwise Ryo shows nothing but his soft side. The aforementioned Ryo versus Michael Gallant was a very high point and brought Umibozu and Saeko together, which is something to see.
The other interesting episode out of this was the biker gang, which showed that City Hunter can play around with genre, something admirable in anime. The scenery in this episode in particular showed a different side of the world, and not the underworld Kaori is used to … although the “overworld” with the rich young girl was a bit generic. The fight scenes were great, and there was an ejnoyable resolution to be found.

City Hunter is a lot of fun to watch, and benefits from its sudden inclusion of two-parters. However, due to its lack of an underpinning story and, let’s face it, the hardboiled gunfights and brazen killings of the earlier episodes, it’s not straight out compelling and very infrequently gives that adrenalin rush that it needs to provoke.

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