City Hunter is a franchise that I’ve never had any interest in checking out. Stil, it is pretty visible in a lot of retro anime sort of areas on the internet. A classic that people seem to attach to for one reason or another. On paper, it does sound pretty interesting with a protagonist that solves cases and is a master of a gun. The problem for me is that the main guy, Ryo, is legitimately a pervert. Not just one of those old anime perverts or a mineta, but actually spend the time stealing women’s clothing for perverted reasons. Or the classic bad boy thing of pushing himself onto women too hard or sneaking peeks at them in “pivotal” moments.
Yeah, the entire franchise itself isn’t playing any favors to me in those ways. Anime has changed a lot since City Hunter came out, but perverted characters are staying around at some level. Not all shonen series have them, but it is prominent enough to comment on. Kind of like a bug that you can’t get rid of. But still, I wanted to give City Hunter some sort of chance by sampling it a little bit. So this is the first one of my two looks at the franchise as a whole to see if I do want to dig into it a bit further. Million Dollar Conspiracy is a 45 minute short film/possibly ova, that seems like there are a lot of interesting things going for it.
The story starts with Ryo and Kaori of the poor and starving City Hunter crew trying to find a job on the streets. It all changes when a mysterious woman from Los Angeles, Emily O’hara shows up. Not just show up looking for City Hunter, but giving them over a million dollars for protecting her. Or is she really? Is there another reason why she appeared? There is an interesting sort of mystery that kind of builds up to the end of seeing why Emily O’hara showed up in the first place in the end. Some moments like Kaori getting word about someone coming to LA at a grocery store is kind of blah but for the amount of time this ova/film/thing is.
What I really didn’t hint at in the beginning of the post really did frustrate me a bit. LIke, Ryo just off-handedly stealing a lot of Emily’s lingerie and then the running gag of Kaori just hitting Ryo with an absurdly heavy mallet really wasn’t any comedy that I enjoy. It really creates a weird sort of tonal whiplash for when Ryo is actually serious when talking to Emily and the values a person should have when handling a gun. Some really good stuff honestly and I wish that we could dig into more of that serious stuff instead of the comedy which I just don’t like at all.
Cold War stuff has also made a strong appearance in this film too. Especially when the Berlin Wall fell a year before Million Dollar Conspiracy came out. What bothers me is that it could have been a little bit more onto it or it wasn’t tacked onto the end. Maybe that was kind of the point? But it’s hard to see some sort of mystery if there weren’t any more hints other than a mystery guy in the end either. Or maybe there was and I just didn’t pay attention to it. Or even more possible, we are supposed to just see how this one person is pushing Emily so hard and we see how weak or fragile he actually is. Something to ponder about going forward.
What I liked about the ending of Million Dollar Conspiracy was clearly the very action oriented ending. For most of this, it’s very conventionally put together and directed. Not in a bad way because it flows from one scene to another well enough too. But the incredibly well animated fight scene near the end was worth a lot waiting for it to happen because it was just naturally well put together too. Some really cool late 80’s, early 90’s sort of art style with characters and other things too. I guess in general, I enjoyed City Hunter: Million Dollar Conspiracy well enough. It’s ok. It made me curious enough to watch a bit more. Just not the series itself though.