City Hunter – episodes 45 to 51

September 26, 2004 on 7:11 pm | In City Hunter | Comments Off on City Hunter – episodes 45 to 51

Despite featuring one of the most pointless episodes in City Hunter history, there is also a grand return to and above form. The seedy side shows itself at the end; the bloody justice necessary for such a job as Ryo’s shines. Also Ryo gets some of the best damn service out of Saeko that is humanly possible. Because really, when it all comes down to it, it’s not about death and rough justice; it’s about the mokkori.

There are two poor endings amongst the lot: the snow episode just stops, the pickpocket episode ends based on unrevealed information. The mokkori endings, however, are frequently hilarious. Mokkori, you see, has a miraculous restorative power. It is a power that can make women from pool sharks to nuns see the truth of their vocations.
The heroines are beginning to see right through Ryo, to the point that they are beginning the divine punishment themselves. Most clients are naïve, but put a pool cue in one of their hands and she’ll dish out all that Ryo can take.

There’s an episode about a widow, which brings up rare mention of good old Makimura. Kaori is a good example of mourning; not a day goes by when she doesn’t remember her dear brother, but she barely ever feels the need to mention him. Ryo feels that it is important not to forget someone, but that it is unhealthy to let your memories consume you. We not only learn that, but also that combining Ryo with traps is a surefire recipe for hilarity. Saeko has a tab, and she finally uses her trademark knives.
The pool episode, when Ryo goes off to look for topless women, reminds one of the days when City Hunter did feature the topless on occasion. The third to last episode is a totally pointless exercise about a nun who gets drunk and loses her rosary. It has the memorable line “It is not my place to judge, Kaori, but men should not wear miniskirts”, but not much else. There’s something inherently wrong about Ryo hitting on a nun, and also with the background menu offering “Potato Cola”. It was clearly an off week in preparation for the two part series finale, the best episodes of City Hunter yet.

The imagery that kicks off the final two episodes is excellent. The idea of Ryo as Makimura is the right way to look at things. Kaori takes it a bit farther than this, actually admitting jealousy. The line “I can be a beautiful woman, too” shows this. Ryo’s problem is that out of respect for Makimura he can’t let anything happen between himself and Kaori. It would just be too weird, as well.
The Lodos Mafia are the bad guys that Ryo is set against by the Nogami sisters. As it turns out, Makimura had been on their tail. Making Makimura a cop was a good idea because Saeko can bring unsolved cases to Ryo and spice some revenge into the deal. The Lodos Mafia look like they’ll be back sometime later, but without one of their bosses (who looked exactly like the villain of Thunderball).
The episodes were great, not so much on a humour level as on a character and drama level; also to see Kaori in a tuxedo being chased by women. To see Ryo revert to his hardened self from before he met Kaori in order to save her was truly worthwhile. Ryo is by no means some “hitokiri battousai” or “Vash the Stampede”. He chooses to operate in a world where people get killed. That he starts shooting without consciously trying not to kill was refreshing. Also, Umibozu pulled one of his flawless serious performances.

Even more bizarre than the M&M’s Airplane is the ship owned by the Lodos Mafia, christened “Ys Falcom”. It would be really interesting to know if this placement was actually paid for or if the animators just thought it would be fun. Maybe Falcom said “Hey, could you associate our game with drug smugglers in some way: perhaps a huge boat?”? It’s possible.

Kamiya Akira’s performance as Ryo has reached the point where it sounds out of place for him to make a smooth come on towards a woman. He’s gone straight for the “Mokkori!” attack for so long now it is hard to even imagine him being reserved in his actions. Ikura Kazue’s Kaori is so defined that she is able to do a spot on Ryo imitation. The two are really all about playing off each other, so this is a good thing.

City Hunter was a fine mokkori adventure with perhaps too few visits to the bloody side of being a sweeper. After this series, there’s still much more to go. The final two episodes were the best cap you could ask for to the series, standing as two of the most well conceived, well balanced episodes of all – and not just about the mokkori. At the risk of openly contradicting myself within the space of one article, sometimes it’s all about death and rough justice; not about the mokkori.

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