In this introductory episode Anthony Askew and I chat about how we got into anime, UK anime conventions, favourite anime, the early 90s grey import console scene, watching bootleg films during school time, and much, much more.
Dynamite in the Brain, the podcast that loves anime and hates fun!
Despite never having seen an episode City Hunter actually plays an important part of my introduction to anime fandom.
It's 1990, and welcome to the world of grey imports and unintelligible Japanese videogames. Now I never had a PC Engine myself. It tended to be the spoilt rich kids who imported consoles. However, I did have a number of spoilt rich kids as friends, so I was familiar with the machine and it's games. And amongst the games folks imported for it was a Platformer RPG called City Hunter.
Yes, people did used to import Japanese text heavy games with no understanding of the language. They tended to rely on the fanzine “PC Engine Fanatics” for plot and gameplay information. I remember playing a Gameboy Lupin III game thinking it was the third game in a series of games called “Lupin”.
Bizarrely the City Hunter game did get an English translation for the ill-fated US launch of the PC Engine as Turbografx. Echoes of the Golgo 13 NES game US release. I remember it getting reviewed in Dragon Magazine by Sandy Petersen (the Call of Cthulhu RPG creator who'd go onto work on Doom and Quake). I also remember Dragon Magazine printing a letter about anime where a reader listed loads of shows that I wouldn't see for another 4 or 5 years.
But I digress. The point I'm making here is one I've made before, my anime fandom is born somewhat out of that early nineties import scene, and without it, I'd doubt I'd be doing this longwinded blogging challenge I've set myself.
So what about City Hunter itself. Created by Tsukasa Hojo, it's the story of Ryo Saeba, a “sweeper” (bodyguard/P.I.) and his business partner, Kaori Makimura. Hojo also created the series “Cat's Eye” and an “alternate universe” sequel to City Hunter, “Angel Heart”. It's arguable that it is only an alternate universe due to adverse fan reaction to the main change in the series from City Hunter. However further changes have also been made to clarify it's alternativeness.
Ryo Saeba, I should point out, is voiced by voice legend Akira Kamiya (Mouri in Detective Conan, Kenshiro in FotNS, Mendou in Urusei Yatsura, to name but three).
Famously there is a live action version of City Hunter starring Jackie Chan. Indeed this is the form most familiar to the UK, and noted for a Streetfighter II parody sequence that has little to do with it's material of origin.
The City Hunter manga managed to get 5 volumes released in english before the collapse of Rajin Comics. The anime has been released by ADV.
Here's the second opening of City Hunter:
Bonus – Jackie Chan City Hunter Street Fighter Parody: