City Hunter 2 – episodes 21 to 45

March 30, 2005 on 8:42 pm | In City Hunter | Comments Off on City Hunter 2 – episodes 21 to 45

In my convalescence, I reached an epiphany: City Hunter is pure. There is a comfort in the familiarity of the series; every episode works as one might expect, but frequently they offer new insight into Ryo’s character or his feelings for Kaori. Several aspects of the series improve as they come along, with Umibozu becoming an increasingly excellent character.
For this reason, it is excellent to watch to get back into things.

There will always be questions about the nature of City Hunter. Why, if Ryo’s identity must remain secret, are his services publicly advertised by Kaori? There are so few episodes that actually use the XYZ system that it borders on weird – especially as there is an episode about a photographer aiming to uncover City Hunter’s identity and spread his good word throughout Japan. This makes no sense, a tactic that is usually engaged in City Hunter for laughs alone. This two parter is one of the biggest let-downs because its nonsensicality is treated seriously; the situation simply does not and should not work like it does.

OH DEAR LORD THE MAN WITH THE CYBERNETIC ARM – I normally edit out my notes, but I think this one should stay. Among these episodes is a particularly nice two parter about Makimura. Clever editing abounds, and nice character depth is shown; Kaori and Ryo both knew Makimura very well, but never each other until Makimura was gone. What marrs this episode is the inclusion of a villain who has a prosthetic arm – the sort that you can attach cannons and the like to. Considering that particular character’s alleged origins, this could have been handled much better. City Hunter is still capable of darkness; it should have been used here, even if that villain was not the focus of the episode.
This is yet another episode that proves that City Hunter does rely overly on orphans, but that is not something to worry about.

Complaints out of the way, there are many good things going for this series. One quite funny episode is about ninja trying to live in a modern world; their breed is dying out as more and more become salarymen. The best thing about this is that the ninja want to become salarymen and fantasize about desk jobs. The conclusion of the episode completely ignores continuity, but all is worthwhile. City Hunter‘s comedy doesn’t always have to make sense – which is why the hypnotism episode is so damned confusing.
The two parter “Ryo is the love thief” is based on the worst joke in City Hunter history, but that does not stop it from hilarity. The situations, judged by previews (“Ryo and the Esper Girl”), make the writers look like they are grasping at straws; however, the quality of execution seldom fails to disappoint.

The biggest highlight is Umibozu. The giant man is an excellent character, a more serious Ryo. However, upon meeting Miki (a character that left me befuddled in City Hunter: Magnum of Love and Destiny) in episode 40, a new side of his character is revealed. Tessho Genda gets a meatier role and more chance to work range. One might be surprised to see Umibozu bursting out laughing, but thanks to Miki this actually happens. Umibozu still has his own dark past, but has now found something good that has grown from that. This means that he is able to whisper threats to Ryo, rather than being permanently gruff. Umibozu comedy became a whole lot funnier as a result.
The examples of character depth given in these episodes prove that City Hunter can, indeed, be worthwhile.

The OP “Sarah”, introduced around episode 27, is the best since the original “City Hunter”. The animation gives a great sense of four of the main characters and, as usual, it is an outlet for Kaori and Ryo romance. The ED changes as well, to something by TM Revolution. This is a welcome change from “Super Girl” which, while a fine song, is not suitable for some of the bleeds between episode endings and the ED (the upbeat tones are not suitable for episodes in which Ryo is forced to kill an old friend, for example). TM Revolution’s song works for both happy and sombre episodes, an excellent medium.

City Hunter 2 is reassuring anime that has some gems of laughs. The scenarios no longer impress with great frequency (the writers have done the “visiting princess at threat from own advisor” story at least six times now over both series), but there are still some great character revelations. It’s hackneyed, yes, but Umibozu, Saeko, Reika, Ryo and Kaori are like old friends. Around halfway through the whole four seasons, I’m already starting to miss them.

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