City Hunter 3

May 11, 2005 on 9:21 pm | In City Hunter | Comments Off on City Hunter 3

The interesting thing about City Hunter is that, with each season, you have to fall in love all over again. City Hunter 3, for instance, seems to be “off” at the beginning – although really, it isn’t.

The OP, for one, is not about the tragic love of Ryo and Kaori. It is an upbeat song, sung by a man. One might level that this was the case for “Sarah”, but the animation to go with that was heavily romantic. As with most things City Hunter, “Running to Horizon” grows on you; in this case with the realisation that it is a tale of Kaori being able to rely on Ryo, even in the event that he is drinking beer at 2AM.
The other suspicious element – and it took me a few episodes before I could recognise the culprit – is that the colours seem off. This is actually due to a wardrobe change on the parts of Kaori and Ryo. If you can put these issues to rest, it’s pretty damned easy to cruise with Ryo and Kaori.

To the show proper: unlike its predecessors, with 52 and 63 episodes at their disposal, City Hunter 3 is only thirteen episodes long. Why the quarter length? Perhaps because the bubble economy was on the verge of breaking; perhaps something far less sinister.
Due to this balance, the series’ makeup is vastly different to that of City Hunter 2. Of the thirteen episodes, there are seven individual stories and three two parters. The brevity also leads to fewer “dramatic” episodes and moments.

City Hunter 3 begins with Saeba Firm in a bad place; Ryo spends all of their money on alcohol and they don’t have many jobs at all due to Ryo’s refusal to accept male clients and Kaori’s refusal to accept women. You can understand that this might be an issue.
Their first job in months is Ryo protecting a woman who works for an embassy. What is so important about this woman? She is voiced by Hayashibara Megumi! This was just as her star was rising, and it’s cool to think she made her mark on this part of anime history.

Highlight episodes include “Stubborn Umibozu”, in which Umibozu’s unspoken love is tested. Miki and Umibozu episodes are infrequent – really, this is only the second example – and, while there is no real danger, the events stand as a legitimate test. To cap it off, this episode has a classic City Hunter conclusion. It is always nice to see Umibozu get some time to reveal himself. He and Ryo know more about each other than they’d like anyone to know, but sometimes it is best for all of these developments to happen in the present.

Also of merit is the seemingly obligatory Christmas two parter, this time without the orphans. The children of the Umino and Yamaoka families are in love and wish to marry – but their families have feuded for centuries. Ryo is hired to break the young couple up, but he really can’t see anything wrong with them. This story not only has the traditional excellent “City Hunter expository confession”, but also two superb Kaori and Ryo “moments”.

The series ends with “Goodbye City”, which boasts the second best Kaori and Ryo sequence so far. The music choice in this episode would be more effective had the same technique not been used in City Hunter 2‘s greatest story since “Good Luck, My Sweeper”, but the episode is still fine indeed.

Overall, the series has quite a bit of Umibozu, only a smattering of Saeko and only two lines (!) from Reika. The change of gear to single episode stories was an effective way of compacting the series and changing the style back to what it once was, with no detrimental effects. It’s amazing how elaborate Ryo’s schemes for mokkori are in the course of only twenty minutes!
City Hunter 3 may be brief, but it is still enjoyable – even if this time we get off without one example of Ryo protecting a visiting foreign beauty from her chief advisor!

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