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ADV Films presents
City Hunter: .357 Magnum (1989)

"He's so different from the Mr. Saeba I saw earlier. What kind of man is he?"
- Nina (Mari Okamoto)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: April 07, 2003

Stars: Akira Kamiya, Kazue Ikuru, Youko Asagami, Tesshou Genda, Mami Koyama, Yoshino Takamori, Mari Okamoto, Martin Blacker, Pamela Ribon, Lou Perryman, Amanda Stifter, Jana Brockman, Catherine Catmull
Other Stars: Shoujiro Kihara, Masayuki Kato, Takashi Nakagi, Kazuki Yao, Masaru Ikeda, Junichi Kagaya, Edi Patterson, Smith Allen, Ken Webster, Jason B. Phelps, Jonas Allen, David Stokey, Eric Henshaw, John Paul Shepard
Director: Kanetsugu Kodama

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (15+ for mature situations)
Run Time: 01h:28m:07s
Release Date: April 08, 2003
UPC: 702727025426
Genre: anime

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A B+B+A- C+

DVD Review

There are some series that you can count on for their consistency, and from what I've seen so far, City Hunter is one of them. With four TV seasons, several OVAs and TV specials, ADV's latest DVD release in the series is the 1989 movie, .357 Magnum, also known as A Magnum of Love and Destiny, which falls between the second and third seasons of the show's TV run.

City Hunter's strength lies in its great cast of characters. The film reunites the show's principles, headlined by Ryo Saeba, gun for hire, known throughout the industry as City Hunter. Suave and debonair, Ryo is an expert marksman, and there are few who can rival his skills with a firearm, but lurking beneath his cool exterior is the heart of an out of control pervert, which any woman falling in his path is bound to encounter. Ryo is kept in line by his sidekick and professional partner, Kaori Makimura, who delivers "hammer time" (a mysteriously appearing 10T attitude adjuster) whenever Ryo's lecherous behavior makes an appearance. Strongman Umibozu and his partner Miki are also back, settled into running Miki's coffee bar, as is Saeko Nogami, the sexy detective whose offers to Ryo go beyond investigative services, much to Kaori's chagrin.

Ryo has been out of work for a month and a half when the beautiful Nina Shutenberg, a famous concert pianist in Tokyo to perform a charity concert, approaches him about locating her long-absent father. Things never being quite as straight forward as they may seem, there may be a connection to a recent incident at the airport, where a former police informant was gunned down while trying to sell his goods. Add a kidnapping and some political intrigue into the mix, and the story begins to take on new dimensions, presenting more than just his client's body for Ryo to try to uncover.

The plot here has a number of twists and turns, which while not all that surprising, keep things interesting as new angles emerge. Action is abundant, and the longer runtime allows for more time with the supporting cast. While the characters remain predictable, the schtick here has a classic appeal to it, and never gets tiring. Ryo's lecherous antics are extremely humorous, as are the responses he gets from his cohorts, and part of the fun is just waiting for Ryo to mutate into his other self. The animation isn't that complex, but has its own charm and style. The racy nature of some of the comedy is geared towards a more mature audience for which City Hunter: .357 Magnum should prove a lot of fun.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The full-frame image here is quite good for a late 'eighties show. Colors are solid, if not overly saturated, and black levels are consistent. Source based issues, such as rainbows or print defects, are minimal. Grain is visible but natural, and there is a bit of minor haloing on outlines, but overall the presentation is above what I'd expect.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Japanese, Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: Audio is available in original Japanese and English dub. The mix is pretty average, with the soundstage being used nominally as far as directionality goes, but this doesn't detract from the presentation at all. No technical problems were noted.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 8 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring Rune Soldier, Neo Ranga,The Devil Lady, RahXephon, You're Under Arrest, City Hunter: Bay City Wars
Packaging: Scanavo
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Bonus TV episode
Extras Review: There is only one extra available, but it is a great one, being the full, first episode of the City Hunter TV series. This offers an interesting contrast to the feature film, while also allowing a preview of ADV's upcoming TV series release. Presented in Japanese with English subtitles.

You'll also find previews for Rune Soldier,Neo Ranga,The Devil Lady, RahXephon, You're Under Arrest Mini Specials, and City Hunter: Bay City Wars

It should be noted that ADV left the Japanese credit role intact, with English credits appearing at the end of the feature.

Extras Grade: C+


Final Comments

City Hunter continues to entertain with its humorous characters, abundant action and a well executed storyline. For those new to the show, the addition of the first TV episode makes this an easy disc to recommend.


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