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"Nookie never lies!"
Ryo Saeba

Ryo Saeba is a "sweeper" (combination hitman/private eye) who uses his Improbable Aiming Skills and all-round Badassery to deal with crime in Tokyo. He also happens to be a loony Chivalrous Pervert.

The City Hunter manga by Tsukasa Hojo ran in Weekly Shounen Jump from 1985 to 1991. It spawned a four-season Anime series, several OAVs and a live-action movie starring Jackie Chan. It is a schizophrenic action manga with heavy elements of Sex Comedy.

Ryo Saeba is an apparent orphan who was brought up in a war-torn village in Central America. At a young age, he was used as a test subject for a unique LSD derivative which resulted in him developing Super Reflexes. He trained these reflexes as a guerilla in that country's civil war before escaping to the United States and thence to Japan. In Japan, he teamed up with former police detective Hideyuki Makimura to form the "City Hunter" sweeper agency; ostensibly, he's a Private Detective, but will go further for certain clients - he's also a Hitman with a Heart.

The "comedy" comes into play whenever Ryo sees a beautiful woman. Somehow, that LSD derivative had as much of a positive effect on his sexuality as it did his reflexes. He has a sex drive of truly epic proportions, and a physique guaranteed to make just about any woman happy to be its focus... which is just about the only Restraining Bolt this Lovable Sex Maniac has - he knows that he's everything he claims to be, and is thus always patient enough to wait until the girl's in the mood to get wild. He's not above what most would consider outright sexual harassment, however... as long as the girl seems amused by it.

In other words, What If Happousai was James Bond - right down to being the hero of his own series!

Early in the manga, Hideyuki dies on a case, asking Ryo to look after his much younger adoptive sister, Kaori. Kaori, a tomboyish Tsundere (who is of course Beautiful All Along) quickly takes her brother's place as Ryo's partner and business manager. She is decidedly unimpressed by Ryo's lecherous ways and often interrupts his seduction attempts. Despite this, the two quickly form a strong emotional bond - though Kaori is never sure whether Ryo's excuse for not acting on their easily noticed UST is really because It's Not You, It's My Enemies, or if her lecherous partner is just too damned horny to ever settle down.

Important recurring characters include "Umibozu", a rival sweeper who has ties to Ryo going back to Central America, and Saeko Nogami, the daughter of the police chief and a police detective in her own right. Saeko often hires the City Hunter team to look into affairs the police can't publicly investigate or cannot prove that an actual crime has occurred.

The standard procedure for hiring City Hunter is to leave a message for "XYZ" at the Shinjuku train station, after which Kaori makes a preliminary investigation before introducing the prospective client to Ryo. Naturally, many of their cases bypass this procedure. (Especially if the client is a beautiful woman.)

The manga Angel Heart takes place in an Alternate Universe in which Kaori has died and her heart was transplanted into the new story's heroine, who then encounters an older Ryo Saeba.

For the Korean Drama of the same name, see City Hunter.

Tropes used in City Hunter include:
  • A-Team Firing: Kaori, despite in some episodes is armed with everything but the kitchen sink, can never hit a single baddie. The Manga establishes this when Ryo secretly had Kaori's gun adjusted so each shot would hit wide of the mark, therefore ensuring that she never gets her hands bloodied in this business.
  • Adult Child: Ryo's emotional maturity outside of work is questionable at best.
  • Akira Kamiya: Ryo's voice.
  • Amusing Injuries: Ryo, courtesy of a girl. Though well deserved most of the time.
  • Badass Adorable: Sure, Kaori and the younger girls in the cast qualify, but it's actually Ryo in particular who personifies this trope through his lovably frank Casanova Adult Child behavior, coupled with a sweet and gentle sensitivity. Akira Kamiya sure is good at playing sensitive and kind hearted badasses, isn't he?
  • BFG: A lot of them: Ryo uses a Colt Python .357 Magnum; Kaori uses her brother's own Colt Python, but also makes use of gatling gun, bazooka, grenades and giant hammers; Umibozu has a S&W Model 29 (the original .44 Magnum revolver), even if he usually fires a machine gun or a bazooka; Miki, being Umibozu's partner, has a tendency to draw the less ridiculously big guns in his closet, who are still quite big for anyone else's standards...
  • Bifauxnen: Kaori, due to androgynous good looks and a rather butch fashion sense, was often mistaken for a pretty man. Later in the series, she starts wearing tight skirts to clear up the confusion.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: There are quite a few incidents. There is a sequence in the manga where Ryo and a client look at the clouds for 4 panels. Ryo wonders if the audience will start to think the mangaka is lazy. Another is when Ryo takes a bodyguard assignment twice in a row, and asks if the mangaka has run out of ideas. At another point, he uses speech bubbles to shield himself from Kaori's wrath, while she throws her's at him. Characters also run outside the panel or break them sometimes. Intense Close Up is also treated like the character's face literally getting larger.
  • But Not Too Foreign: More than once, white girls that come to Japan for Ryo's protection are revealed to be half Japanese.
  • Casanova: Ryo. He's actually a very successful one until Kaori came along...
  • Crossdresser: One of the movie's most highlighted point is about Ryo (Jackie Chan) cross-dressing as Chun Li.
  • Dead Little Sister: Hideyuki. More exactly, he is Kaori's Dead Older Brother and Ryo's Dead First Partner.
  • Dirty Old Man: Doc.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Saeko relies on this a bit much for a police officer.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: A good number of stories involve the protection of princesses of fictional eastern and island kingdoms from evil pretenders to the throne. And if they aren't princesses, then they're Oujo of a rich Japanese family, with either Evil Uncles aiming for their heritage, or being in danger of being kidnapped for a ransom.
  • Evil Laugh: Ryo's is a rare heroic and lovable example, used whenever he is about to go on another "mokkori hunt."
  • Fair Cop: Saeko
  • Fashion Victim Villain: One of the Villains Of The Week in an In-Universe example of this.
  • Femme Fatale: Several over the course of the series.
  • Fingore: How the Silver Fox was defeated for good : having his index severed by Ryo's bullet means he has to give up being a Professional Killer.
  • Gag Penis: A disturbingly common Running Gag in the City Hunter manga is how clearly one get's to see Saeba Ryo's easily ignited arousal through his pants... and has been so large and hard that it can literally punch through walls and shatter concrete... For better or worse this is downplayed or removed all together in the anime adaptation.
    • Not quite in the anime as Ryo demonstrates by breaking a large wooden beam with his.... tool.
  • Groin Attack: Ryo takes his share of shots to that big target.
  • Handsome Lech and Chivalrous Pervert: Ryo sways between the two depending on the situation... and whether or not Kaori and her ultra-heavy mallet are around.
    • Ryo's friend and rival Mick Angel also qualify for both tropes.
  • Hitman with a Heart: Ryo, Umibozu, Mick.
  • Hyperspace Mallet: Trope Namer
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Played straight with Ryo. Inverted with Kaori, who can't shoot straight. Literally. This was done on purpose by Ryo, apparently, to make sure she never kills anyone.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Ryo, you the man.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: Ryo often spends the first half of the story being goofy and hitting on women, but when real danger rears its head, he turns into the professional his clients are paying for.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: Ryo is unable to get it up after being stung by genetically engineered bee with a super-potent venom. It was a side-effect of the antidote.
  • Lovable Sex Maniac: Ryo.
  • The Masochism Tango: Ryo and Kaori.
  • Mythology Gag: The cafe run by Umibozu and Miki is named "Cat's Eye".
  • Nurse with Good Intentions: Yoshimi Iwai, oh so much.
  • Phantom Thief: Kasumi Asou alias Theif n°305, who comes from a line of women phantom thieves.
  • Product Placement: The anime features M&Ms candy multiple times, whether in logo form on trucks or signs, or actually being eaten. Near the end of the first series, an establishing shot of a harbor includes a boat by the name of Ys Falcom.
  • Reverse Cerebus Syndrome: The first two volumes start as very gritty and serious, with Ryo actually killing the target bad guys ; but after this and until the last two volumes where the story becomes serious again, the series becomes very comedic, what's all with Ryo and Kaori's antics, and the use of Humiliation Conga and Hoist by His Own Petard to non-lethally defeat the Bad Guys of the Week.
  • Scary Black Man: Umibozu, sort of, though he's just dark for a Japanese man.
  • Serious Business: Some of the villains-of-the-week are willing to rob, maim, kidnap, and murder to get to the top of the bloodthirsty, cutthroat professional worlds of... bikini design, children's book illustration, and wine tasting.
  • She's Not My Girlfriend: The usual Ryo/Kaori dynamic.
  • Shout-Out: Akira Kamiya pays tribute to his most famous role in Season 1 Episode 07 with the same rapid-fire high pitch Kiai... though this time in the context of a Pin-Fingers game like the mess-hall scene in Aliens.
    • The original manga version of the same story has Ryo putting seaweed on his forehead to emulate Kenshiro's eyebrows and doing an impression of "You Are Already Dead".
    • Goku's rather erm, forceful method of differentiating male from female is brought up when Ryo wonders how they're going to determine their future clients' gender after a previous client is revealed to be not what they expected.
    • At one point in the anime, a child Ryo is looking after plays Athena.
  • Stock Footage: Barely ever used, but sometimes a particular shot of Ryo loading his pistol and snapping it shut is reused. More noticeably, often when the foreign girl of the week is flying back to her home country (or a local girl is leaving for whatever reason) the same shot of a SUNRISE AIR LINS jet taking off is used.
  • Throwing the Fight: The bad guy in the first story is a sadistic boxer who sought to intimidate his opponents into doing this so he could become champion, and even murdered one opponent (the boyfriend of the lady who calls Saeba in) when he wouldn't throw the fight.
  • Tsundere : Kaori, just Kaori.
  • Villainous Crossdresser: Ryo's worst nightmare.
  • We Help the Helpless: the City Hunter team, though most of their jobs will involve shooting sooner or later.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Ryo's afraid of flying. An episode of the anime where he flies in a helicopter with no problem was made before this was revealed in the manga, though.
    • An even earlier and more notable case is Umibozu's terrible fear of cats, especially if they're cute kittens. It leads to extremely funny scenes, and to plot-point moments as well.
  • Yuppie Couple: A particular man who notices Ryo the third time he crosses paths with him and even quotes the episode numbers of their previous encounters.

"That guy! Yes, in episodes 43 and 65, he interrupted me so much! An evil man!"