Anime never dies, it just waits thirty years to be resurrected.
That’s what happened with City Hunter, which got a great new high-budget film release, City Hunter: Shinjuku Private Eyes, that opened a few days ago. It’s based on the fun 1987 anime about Saeba Ryo, the handsome but perverted “sweeper” who is hired by clients to keep the Tokyo neighborhood of Shinjuku free of criminals. When Ryo isn’t dispatching evildoers with his Colt Python (a handgun which is legal to carry in this alternate version of Japan), he’s seeking mokkori, the Japanese onomatopoeia for an erection, which is a euphemism for sex in the show. His antics are terribly inappropriate in 2019, but it’s okay because he’s Saeba Ryo.
The new film was a joy, a new story that brings back all the characters for fans of the original: Ryo and his hyperspace hammer-wielding sidekick Kaori, bazooka-happy Umibozu and his partner Miki, and of course Police Detective Saeko, who’s always trying to keep the gunfire and explosions that occur around Ryo from being noticed by the Tokyo national government. The three beautiful thieves from Cat’s Eye even make an appearance, and if you know who they are, welcome to middle age!
The film is heavily tied to Shinjuku, the trendy commercial-and-governmental district in Tokyo, which is funny because Mrs. J-List and I just moved to Shinjuku on the weekends, commuting down on Fridays and returning home Tuesdays. As a result, all the places we’ve been exploring over the past few months managed to show up in the film, from the Golden Gai drinking district to the Tokyo City Office to the Toho movie theatre with the Godzilla head sticking out of the top. They even managed to have a battle on the exact bus platform (A3) we take back to Gunma every week.
Perhaps the best thing about the new film is its use of all the classic songs fans loved from the original, which is a big part of being a City Hunter fan, as it had the best music of any show of its era. I’m terrified the movie will be licensed for distribution abroad but the Japanese song rightsholders will try to milk the licensors for more money to include the songs, causing them to be removed, as happened with Zeta Gundam. (Grrr…) So often this kind of behavior by Japanese companies has made it impossible for fans to enjoy the anime we love in the way we want to enjoy it.
Anyway, here’s hoping the City Hunter movie makes a big splash and gets a release near you! It’s really an outstanding reminder that anime never dies, it just waits thirty years to be resurrected. So get wild and tough, and keep your fingers crossed!