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City Hunter (シティーハンター, Shitī Hantā) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Tsukasa Hojo, based on a hard-boiled comedy theme, depicting the activities of a sweeper "City Hunter", a pay-for-hire sweeper of justice who undertakes the roles of the detective, bodyguard and assassin in Shinjuku, Tokyo. As a modern drama theme, the stage was set in the latter half of the Eighties. It was later adapted into an anime 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, live-action films and a Korean live-action TV drama.
Private detective Ryo Saeba is the city "sweeper" who is always found chasing beautiful girls while ridding Tokyo of crime, along with his associate or partner, Hideyuki Makimura. Their "City Hunter" business is an underground jack-of-all-trades operation, contacted by writing the letters "XYZ" on a blackboard at Shinjuku Station.
One day, Hideyuki is murdered, and Ryo must take care of Hideyuki's sister, Kaori, a tomboy who becomes his new partner in the process. However, Kaori is very susceptible and jealous, often hitting Ryo with a giant hammer when he does something perverted. The story also follows the behind-the-scenes romance between Ryo and Kaori and the way they cooperate throughout each mission.
- Ryo Saeba: The main protagonist of the series.
- Kaori Makimura: Ryo's partner and main heroine of the series.
By 2016, the City Hunter manga series had sold over 50 million tankobon volumes worldwide. In addition, the series was circulated in an estimated 900 million copies of Weekly Shōnen Jump manga magazine between 1985 and 1991. The series was voted the 19th "Most Powerful" series to have featured in Shonen Jump. In a 2005 poll held by TV Asahi, City Hunter was voted #66 out of the 100 most popular animated TV series, as voted by TV viewers. A TV Asahi web-poll put City Hunter at #65.
In Manga: The Complete Guide, Jason Thompson described the manga stories as "well-told and entertaining". Writing for Mania.com, Eduardo M. Chavez describes the series as "funny, sexy, action-packed and at times just plain whacked" and praises the mix of action and comedy. Patrick King of Animefringe described the series as "not the most intellectually stimulating piece of fiction I've experienced lately" but called it "a blast to read".
The characters Ryo and Kaori proved popular with the fans.
- In the reader-voted Animage Anime Grand Prix, Saeba Ryo was voted second in the Best Male Character section in 1988, but later moved to first place for the next 3 years running. In 1992 he was voted sixth place.
- Kaori Makamura was voted fifteenth in the Best Female Character category in 1988 before climbing to eighth in 1989. She then placed fifth in 1990 before falling to sixth and eleventh in 1991 and 1992 respectively.
Its popularity boomed across countries even to France where it was dubbed as Nicky Larson, eventually making its own live-action film adaptation which premiered alongside Shinjuku Private Eyes in Japan 2019. Furthermore, the director/star of the French Film was involved with the French distribution of Shinjuku Private Eyes.
- Official website for the Complete DVD box set (Japanese)s