City Hunter: Magnum of Love and Destiny

October 10, 2004 on 3:49 pm | In City Hunter | Comments Off on City Hunter: Magnum of Love and Destiny

Commercially released as .357 Magnum, this 90 TV movie is standard City Hunter fare, which is a good thing.

Nina, a young pianist, comes from West Galiera to play a series of concerts for charity, but she has another reason for her visit to Japan: she visits Ryo, after hearing from Umibozu’s surrogate daughter (who attends the same musical school), that he is good at finding things. She hopes that Ryo will be able to help her find her father, but her grandfather Klaus must not know. Meanwhile, the East Galiera government wants to recover delicate information held by Klaus – which is, coincidentally, desired by Nogami Saeko and presumably the rest of the Japanese government.

This really is City Hunter; after the dramatic airport introduction, it heads straight into Kaori and Ryo not having any work. I maintain that Kaori has been really bad for business, but that’s besides the point.

The story is solid, and the obvious “shock twist” comes in much sooner than one would expect – which is a good thing, because it’s patently obvious. The character drama is also fairly strong, because it applies to the characters. Had it simply been on something like an “international” level, it couldn’t have worked near as well. While Nina, Klaus and misunderstood villain Helzen obviously get a lot of screen time and development for their parts, the normal cast also gets their own.
A few things are added to the City Hunter canon: there are some great moments where Kaori expresses her feelings for Ryo, and where Ryo acknowledges those feelings (albeit to somebody else) and why he can never act on them. It’s slightly different to my initial theory, but Ryo at heart has incredibly noble motives – and he doesn’t seriously want his clients to fall for him. It’s just a pity that Kaori has such image problems. Also, Ryo finally shows some real anger at the Nogami sisters, which is a nice change.
The only unfortunate part of Umibozu’s section is that, despite apparently featuring chronologically after the first series of City Hunter, he inexplicably runs a café with someone called Miki (possibly the pickpocket of episode 46) in this installment. Hopefully that will make sense some time.

Initially, the show is overpowered by music – much more than the series ever features, and lots of it plain comedy pieces. It calms down, however, and makes for a fairly interesting piece of work. There’s creative cinematography, such as Ryo showing his serious side, and the first confrontation between Colonel Helzen and Ryo has some fairly palpable tension.
On the domestic side, Kaori moves a lot more when she hammers Ryo to the ground, and Umibozu eats incredibly indelicately. On the service side, while it doesn’t seem much more than the series, Ryo comes closer to mokkori than he has for years.
There’s no M & M’s this time around, but a Nestlé truck features in the memorable chase scene.

The dubbing made me kind of glad that the TV series didn’t get the whole English treatment – this would have led to some of the beautiful clients getting the “ridiculous exotic accents” treatment. Ryo (here known as “Joe”) is played fairly well by an Australian actor, and Kaori also seems okay – but they’re no match for the dynamite team of Kamiya Akira and Ikira Kazue. The rest of the Japanese cast don’t particularly stand out, but there’s no noticeably poor or annoying performances.

There’s one aspect of the ending that doesn’t make any sense, but that’s okay. The rest of it was pretty good, although not world alighting stuff: this was just like City Hunter, with a little bit of service and more animation of Kaori giving Ryo what for.

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