City Hunter is an episodic action–comedy about a man named Ryo Saeba. Let me stress that Ryo is a man. I don’t mean this simply in the sense of man vs. woman. I’m talking man vs. boy, man vs. male, and man vs. neutered, androgynous wimp.
City Hunter was made back in the 80s when it was acceptable for men to have biceps and sideburns. It was a time when men would wear white suits and lean on things for no reason. Men would style their hair with a comb, not a hairbrush, their fingers, or a pillow. Men didn’t need sparkles and flowers to tell the audience they’re supposed to be attractive. Most importantly, men would treat underage females as children, not sex objects.
City Hunter has four seasons, six movies/OVAs/specials, a spinoff series, a K-drama, and a Jackie Chan movie. So then, why haven’t you heard of City Hunter? Because most anime fans nowadays are pedophiles. They get excited over shows like Angel Beats, the high point of which was some guy saying, “Get Chance and Luck!” I wonder where that came from…
Note the fade-in. City Hunter uses it to perfection, just like every other show that has ever used an opening or ending fade-in ever (e.g., Infinite Ryvius, Ayashi no Ceres, Air, Kannazuki no Miko, Shakugan no Shana III, Fushigi Yuugi). I can’t think of any other checklist element with a 100% success rate. Not even lesbians. Does this mean fade-ins are better than lesbians? Yes, it does. They’re even better than stepping on twigs.
The first season starts out fairly serious but quickly settles into its comedic groove. The second season takes everything the first season did well and does it even better. Side characters are more involved, there are several two-episode stories, and the show dropped its M&M’s product placement after the first few episodes.
Over the course of 63 episodes, City Hunter 2 had many episodes that were simply good, not great. Had the second season been limited to its 30-or-so best episodes, I would’ve given it the +++.
As of this writing, I have yet to give the +++ to any true episodic series. City Hunter 2 is as close as I’ve come. Detroit Metal City has too many callback jokes to qualify as truly episodic. I gave the +++ to Aria’s third season only, which had many plot-dependent episodes to conclude the series. As for the first two seasons, I must be the only Aria fan who’s comfortable admitting that some of the episodes are pretty boring.
Tags: anime i haven't seen and can't meaningfully critique, Aria, city hunter, double plus, fade-ins rock, get chance and luck, leaning is cool, positive male role models, product placement, real men have sideburns, twig-stepping, white suit