"City Hunter" Review

Title: City Hunter
Volume(s): 35
Creator(s): Hojo Tsukasa
Publisher: Gutsoon
Genre(s): Action
Rated: Teen (13+)

Note: This review was originally published on The Comic Book more than ten years ago.  It is being republished here (in a slightly cleaned up and edited format) for our new site!  As a result, it may not reflect the writers currently writing style (but time was spent on it anyway,so it'd be a shame to completely get rid of it)!

If there is one thing “City Hunter” proves it's that simple things can grow to be beasts. “City Hunter” has been around for years, spawning three TV series, many made-for-TV movies, a live action theatrical movie staring Jackie Chan, and new animation of the show is still being produced to this day (the comic however, is not, which ended after an impressive 35 book run). “City Hunter” is like the “Law & Order” in Japan. People can't get enough of the show, and the comic was equally popular. With all this popularity you'd think “City Hunter” was something special. But it is not. In fact you may be shocked to find out this beast of a franchise is nothing more then popcorn entertainment that you could read COMPLETELY out of order and NEVER feel lost!!!

The series is about Ryo Saeba, who is the best sweeper (mercenary) in Tokyo. He's known as the 'City Hunter' and he'll take any job from being a body guard, to being an assassin, and if you're a woman you don't even need to ask twice. He only accepts the jobs that touch his heart and he's good at what he does. His partner Kaori finds the jobs, helps him out, and keeps him in place when Ryo gets around women (he's kind of a pervert). And that's all you need to know about the series, to try and explain what the story is beyond that would be pointless, as this is about as episodic as comics come. There are no life altering revelations here, no story arcs to keep up with, just people who need help and bad guys to kill. Even the Batman comic book has a deeper story then this, and that series has lost it's focus more times then one.

Like the afore mentioned “Law & Order,” all you need to know about “City Hunter” is who the characters are and what they do, otherwise you could read the 17th book as your introduction to the series and not be the least bit lost. I should however mention something that does bring the grade for this series down a bit. You see “City Hunter” is currently serialized in Gutsoon's “Raijin Comics,” and while that is fine in itself Gutsoon always takes out the nudity of any series they put in Raijin as to not offend the mainstream audience. I understand why they do this. Gutsoon doesn't want someone to get offended by nudity in a "mainstream magazine" and be open for a legal lawsuit, so they take any offensive nudity that is in the series and prints it. They did however promise that the graphic novels would be completely uncut.

Well, just to let you know: They lied. Their promise to keep the nudity fully intact when the graphic novels came out didn't matter much, as the graphic novels have been censored too. Now I don't want this turn away potential buyers of this series, because I want to be honest with you, the censoring DOES NOT effect the story at all! It was put there by a (at the time) 20 year old pervert for fun, and quite honestly to pass this up because of the mild censorship is stupid. That's like passing up the new “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” DVD because three frames of animation were censored, the changes for both these products don't effect the story or character reactions or anything. However even though the changes don't effect the story at all I am STILL against censorship of all kinds, so because it exists I will be knocking the grade down by one point. However despite these changes "City Hunter" is good popcorn entertainment!

It's not deep, there's no commitment, just a fun way to waste an hour of your time. If your into action comics this will most likely entertain you, if your not then you might not like this as much, but either way we could all use popcorn entertainment every now and then. And in that department “City Hunter” delivers.

Grade: C

Your Comic Book Guy - Kevin

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