Ryo Saeba is a "sweeper" in the city of Tokyo. His works as a trouble shooter, cleaning the streets of vermin, and helping out desperate people. Sometimes he's a bodyguard, sometimes he's an assassin, whatever Ryo does he does it well. In fact his only flaw is his hormones - he loves the ladies and sometimes turns into an idiot when he's near them. Thankfully he's got people like his partner Kaori Makimura to keep him in check.
City Hunter is a cover name for Saeba Ryo, at the first glance a lecherous man in his late 20s, highly skilled with guns, and agility of Spider-man. He works as a sweeper, a cleaning man for all the vice in the underworld, and occasional hit-man for hire only if the client's story touches his heart. You can find him by leaving a message „XYZ“ on the blackboard located in the Shinjuku Station. He will find you, and if he likes you, you'll see him. He works with his partner Makimura Hideyuki, and after few initial chapters Hideyuki's
character is replaced with Makimura Kaori (Hideyuki's sister), and that is where the fun begins.
The manga is divided into many arcs where Ryo take the job of saving lady in distress, protect lady in distress pretending to be a man, getting wasted, and a lot of „Mokkori“. His mokkori is the biggest drive one could have, power of unknown magnitude, and the reason for doing stuff. No mokkori, no right mood. The story is predictable, but it's done with style.
Art is so much into the realism. As the manga progress, you can really see how much Hojo improved his skill. There are much detail into characters clothes, their weapons, environment - way how sun is shining through the trees, leaving the feeling like you're outside and watching how nature talks. And, that is all black, white, and in the various shades of grey.
CH characters? Funny - yes, strong - yes, from time to time annoying - yes, skilled - yes, having unusual fears - oh, yes, carrying heavy equipment in the form of 100t+ hammer - yup, we have all that. They are quite unique. Characters are connected, and they can't imagine life without one another. The best way to show how they interact is in one chapter where Ryo tells Kaori the thing or two about friends or enemies (in the City Hunter there is a thin line about who's your friend, and who's your enemy): „You're wrong! Haven't you read Hokuto no Ken? Strong enemies are your friends “ - she reads too little. Ryo and Kaori? It's all about love. Because in the end, City Hunter are those two.
Basic thing is, this is a hilarious manga. For me a comedy at its best. But it is more than just a comedy. Towards the end, manga takes turn to a more serious way of storytelling. Kaori's „hammer time“ is almost nonexistent, many things from Kaori's and Ryo's past came on the surface. Mixing those things with the amazing soundtrack from the City Hunter anime made them irresistible for me.
All in all, this was a great piece of work. For those who like this type of comedy and action, with mysterious main character who's acting funny for the sake of cover-up, is a great thing to read.
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