- City Hunter: Million Dollar Conspiracy (1990: Sunrise) 1/1 eps.
Staff and Background
Million Dollar Conspiracy (MDC) is technically a sequel to City Hunter’s 3rd series but given the episodical nature City Hunter this really has no bearing on MDC outside of a certain character now being married and owning a coffee shop, not really a big deal. MDC was directed by Kenji Kodama who was the guy that directed pretty much everything City Hunter. He also directed around 250 episodes Detective Conan, Dog of Flanders, and The Rose of Versailles movie.
Given that this is a spin-off I’ll give you guys a rundown of City Hunter’s basic premise. Ryou Saeba is the City Hunter. He is a sweeper, essentially a gun for hire but in a good way, with the majority of his cases being for or centred around beautiful women. This is because Ryou is a massive pervert, I mean he is basically a sex offender but because this is the 80s/early 90s they got away with it! Ryou’s partner in crime is Kaori who does her best to reign in Ryou’s rampant libido. That is the basic premise of City Hunter; Ryou and Kaori go around guarding, rescuing, and sometimes even killing whoever they are hired to. The two most frequent recurring characters are Umibozu, another sweeper, and Saeko, the series femme fatale and a member of the police. Oh and I forgot to mention that it is quite clear that Kaori and Ryou are desperately in love with each other despite not wanting to admit it or even knowing it themselves.
Story and Characters
MDC is really just a double length episode of City Hunter. It opens with Kaori and Ryou looking for jobs when Emily O’Hara offers them 1 million dollars in exchange for protection against the mob. Ryou obviously says yes because Emily is fucking hot as shit while Kaori reluctantly accepts, despite knowing how much of a handful Ryou will be, because there is so much money at stake. The first portion of the OAV is then about wacky antics in Ryou’s house centred around him trying to perv on Emily and generally get his mokkori on. Even as a fan of City Hunter it was a bit much as this section seemed to go on forever. I actually quite enjoy City Hunter’s pervy humour despite moral misgivings but 15-20 mins of it is a bit much. Towards the end of this section we get hints and reveals that all may not be as it seems, surprise surprise for something with the word ‘conspiracy’ in the title. The second half is some pretty decent action cinema with a few twists and turns but it isn’t anything extraordinary. It certainly isn’t the worst City Hunter plot but it isn’t near the best of them either, it is fairly average for the franchise. Having said that, average City Hunter is pretty damn good. The characters all have their usually fantastic chemistry and Emily was a strong addition to the cast even if she was maybe a bit too much of a damsel in distress at times. The main villains were sadly pretty week as they pretty much fell into the generic tropes and seemed more like an afterthought. So, on the plot and character front I’d say this was fairly average bit of City Hunter, around a 7 or so.
Audio and Visuals
This is where the OAV really shines. As per usual the VAs were great, with Akira Kamiya and Kazue Ikura as the two leads stealing the show as always. Yuko Sasaki was also impressive as Emily and in general it just felt like all the VAs were having a ton of fun with the show. The music was strong as always for City Hunter but the lack of Get Wild was a blow and knocks off at least a point from the final score! The visual side of things was just as strong. The general art style was fantastic as always with the slightly updated designs being a nice little addition, I’ve always loved the character designs in City Hunter but these were some of the cream of the crop. The backgrounds were generally pretty high detail as well, which was pretty cool to see in the more action heavy moments. The most impressive thing, however, was the animation. At almost all times there was movement on screen and it was always really smooth. It is a shame I can’t find any gifs because this thing really moves impressively, with the action finale being a joy to watch.
Overall this is a fairly average City Hunter story but with amazing animation. This makes it a must watch for fans of the franchise but I can’t in good faith recommend it to first timers. That first section of Ryou being a perv just goes on too long and would be really off putting for people who aren’t used to the franchise’s style of humour. It is a shame but that is the way it is.
Final Score: 7B