City Hunter (シティーハンター Shitī Hantā?) is a hardboiled manga series written and illustrated by Tsukasa Hojo, published by Shueisha in the Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1985 to 1991. The manga was adapted into an animated television series by Sunrise Studios in 1987. The City Hunter franchise spans four animated television series, three television specials, two original video animations, an animated feature film and a live-action Hong Kong film starring Jackie Chan. In 2001, Tsukasa Hojo started the Angel Heart, a City Hunter spin-off.
The series follows the exploits of Ryo Saeba, a "sweeper" or private detective who works to rid Tokyo of crime, and Kaori Makimura, a tomboyish girl who manages Ryo's business affairs. Their "City Hunter" business is an underground jack-of-all-trades operation, contacted by writing the letters "XYZ" on a blackboard at Shinjuku Station.
- Ryo Saeba (冴羽獠 Saeba Ryō?)
The protagonist of City Hunter. He was brought up from infancy in a civil war-torn Central American village. As a result, he has little information regarding his true identity. After the war, Ryo made his way to the United States, before moving to Tokyo. In Japan, he forms "City Hunter" team with Kaori's brother, Hideyuki Makimura.
The most frequent running gag about Ryo's character is that he is quite lecherous. His clients are most exclusively pretty young ladies, and he gets his share of black eyes (and more) either from them or his assistant Kaori, who secretly loves him. He is known widely in the town as a "swinger," based on the fact that he is frequently seen looking for a "mokkori chance" with different women by locals.
Voiced by: Akira Kamiya
- Kaori Makimura (槇村香 Makimura Kaori?)
Ryo Saeba's partner. She is primarily responsible for getting clients, and other managerial tasks. She is in love with Ryo, but he apparently ignores her for the rest of the series, and his skirt-chasing rouses her ire more than once. Her favorite weapon is a bazooka (or a Hammer to punish Ryo after his womanizing escapades). A running gag is that she is frequently mistaken for a bishounen-looking man or a transsexual.
Voiced by: Kazue Ikura
- Hideyuki Makimura (槇村秀幸 Makimura Hideyuki?)
Hideyuki was Ryo's partner before his death. His final request was for Ryo to take care of Kaori.
Voiced by: Hideyuki Tanaka
- Umibozu (海坊主?)
"Umibōzu"' is another "sweeper". He and Ryo have a history dating back to the civil war in Central America. He goes by the professional name Falcon and his real name is Hayato Ijuin (伊集院隼人).
Voiced by: Tesshō Genda
- Saeko Nogami (野上冴子 Nogami Saeko?)
She is a Tokyo police detective who often uses the City Hunter team to do her job for her. Saeko is the daughter of the chief of police. She was once closely related to Kaori's brother, Hideyuki.
Voiced by: Yōko Asagami
She is a younger sister of Saeko, and is introduced halfway through the manga, and appears sporadically thereafter. She runs the "RN Detective Agency" (RN being her initials), right next to Ryo's apartment.
Voiced by: Yoshino Takamori
An Ex-Mercenary female commando, she was raised as an orphan by Umibozu in the battlefield and falls in love with him. She runs a Coffee shop named "Cat's Eye" (homage to Tsukasa's previous manga) along with Umibozu. She is battle hardened and also is a master of hypnosis.
Voiced by: Mami Koyama
Ex-medic at the Mercenary camp that Ryo was stationed in during the Civil war, he is the source of much of Ryo's underground information. He's just as much of a pervert as Ryo is. Does not appear in the Anime.
A former scientist who's unintended acquaintance with Ryo resulted in her falling in love with him. She eventually becomes an assistant to the Professor in his lab, hoping she will have the opportunity to win his heart.
A member of a proud clan of noble Robin Hood-like thieves, she initially meets with Ryo early on in the manga before returning to him halfway through the manga. She eventually falls in love with Ryo and makes brief appearances thereafter as a part-time employee at Cat's Eye.
Voiced by: Miina Tominaga
A former partner of Ryo during his stay in the United States, he is an equal to Ryo in terms of both skills and his womanizing nature. Introduced 3/4th of the way throughout the manga, he plays a big role in major story arcs thereafter. Does not appear in the Anime.
In Japan, the City Hunter manga ran for six years in Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine from Issue 13 of 1985 to Issue 50 of 1991. The first compiled City Hunter collections were published under the Jump Comics imprint from 1985 to 1992, and totaled 35 volumes. The second edition was from Shueisha Editions, who published an 18 book version between 1996 and 1997. Bunch World published a 39 volume edition between 2001 and 2002. Most recently, Tokuma Comics published a "Complete Edition" of 32 books, each with bonus material between 2004 and early 2005.
The North American version of the manga, published by Gutsoon! Entertainment and serialized in Raijin Comics, is only available up to volume 5. The series has also been translated into Chinese, French, German, Italian, Vietnamese, Spanish, and Indonesian.
In 2001, Hojo started a follow-up series titled Angel Heart manga. The series takes place in a universe parallel to City Hunter, where the character of Kaori Makimura is killed and her heart transplanted into Li Xiang Ying, Angel Heart's protagonist.
The manga was adapted into an animated television series by Sunrise Studios in 1987. The first series lasted for 51 episodes, followed by three further series; City Hunter 2 (63 episodes); City Hunter 3 (13 episodes); and City Hunter '91 (13 episodes).
- 357 Magnum a.k.a. A Magnum of Love's Destination is about Ryo and Kaori being hired to protect Nina Shutenburg, a beautiful pianist, from mercenaries and diplomats.
- Bay City Wars is about Ryo and Umibozu fighting against an evil dictator and his league of terrorists hijacking the Bay City hotel
- Million Dollar Conspiracy a.k.a. Plot of a $1,000,000.
- Secret Service.
- The Motion Picture a.k.a. Goodbye, My Sweetheart.
- Death of the Vicious Criminal Ryo Saeba a.k.a. Death of Evil Ryo Saeba.
ADV initially had the rights to most of the series, with the exception of the last film. However, it went out of print quickly, and, possibly due to a lack of popularity, has not yet been re-released.
In 1993, Golden Harvest produced a live action City Hunter (城市獵人) film directed by Wong Jing and starring Jackie Chan. Fortune Star and 20th Century Fox later released it on R1 DVD along with other budget classic HK films. Jackie was not fond of the work, and allegedly criticized it in one of his books.
Mr. Mumble (孟波 Meng bo) is another live action version of City Hunter. Despite the fact the names have been changed, this 1996 movie is considered to be a bit more faithful to the original material than the earlier film. Michael Chow plays Maang Boh (Mr. Mumble, the Cantonese version of Ryo) who takes on a job to guard Sharon (Pauline Suen), the daughter of a mafioso. The film also stars Francoise Yip as Yachi (Saeko), Jessica Hester Hsuan as Lao Tang (Kaori) and Eric Kei as Chi (Umibozu).
Saviour of the Soul (九一神鵰俠侶 Gauyat sandiu haplui) is a Hong Kong film from 1991 that takes elements from City Hunter. Although the plot has little in common with City Hunter, the characters of Ryo, Saeko, Makimura, Kaori, and Silver Fox appear.
A new live-action version of City Hunter has recently been announced, to be produced and distributed by Fox Television Studios and South Korean media company SSD. Jung Woo-sung has been cast as Ryo, and that other Hollywood-based stars will be cast alongside, with filming being done in Seoul and Tokyo.
- City Hunter. Novel. Published by Shueisha in 1993.
- City Hunter Special: The Secret Service. Novel. Published by Shueisha in 1995
- City Hunter 2. Novel. Published by Shueisha in 1997.
- City Hunter Special: Live on Stage. Novel. Published by Shueisha in 1999.
- "New Live-Action City Hunter Reportedly Heading to USA". Anime News Network. December 23, 2008. Retrieved December 23, 2008.
- "Chung Woo-sung First Asian Actor to Star in American TV Drama". KBS Global. December 23, 2008. Retrieved December 23, 2008.
- "TV Asahi Top 100 Anime". Anime News Network. September 23, 2005. Retrieved January 1, 2007.
- "TV Asahi Top 100 Anime Part 2". Anime News Network. September 23, 2005. Retrieved January 1, 2007.
- Official Website for City Hunter Complete DVD box set (Japanese)
- City Hunter (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- J-pop.com review of City Hunter: The Motion Picture