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Manga / City Hunter

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Get wild and tough!

"Nookie never lies!"
Ryo Saeba

Ryo Saeba is a "sweeper" (combination of hitman and 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 pervert.

The City Hunter manga by Tsukasa Hojo (Cat's Eye) ran in Weekly Shounen Jump from 1985 to 1992. It spawned four anime series, several OVAs (the most recent being City Hunter: Shinjuku Private Eyes) and two live-action movies (one from Hong Kong starring Jackie Chan and a French one much later). 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? Ataru Moroboshi 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 Unresolved Sexual Tension 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.

City Hunter includes examples of:

  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: In a few Filler episodes of the anime, Ryo gets on planes or helicopters with no problem. Later on, it's revealed that Ryo is afraid of flying.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Ryo and Saeko sneak into a jewel exhibit this way. Ryo gets a heel in his forehead as a reward for his overly ardent Male Gaze.
  • All Bikers are Hells Angels: Mercilessly parodied by the Blue Oysters. At first they seem to play it straight, but then we find out they have to wear mohican haircuts due their boss 'Number Two', that the boss doesn't want to be called Number Two or Torakichi but Tiger (and he's forcing everyone to use English animal names based on their real names), and that Torakichi is the son of a Yakuza boss who put the gang together in the vain attempt to impress Ryo's current charge Sayaka. Sayaka declared him even more stupid than she knew and treathened to put him in the hospital again, while Ryo felt embarrassed by having to mop the floor with them...
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Even Kaori does, to some small degree. Granted, this was after Ryo rescued them, but still... it's clear he's not a "good boy".
  • All There in the Manual: The volume edition of the manga includes various informations missing from the manga chapters, ranging from backstage data to how Ryo succeeded in spending one hundred million yen in a week (a donation to a clinic specialized in rehabilitating drug addicts, where he had just sent a big group of girls that Union Teope had enslaved with drug addiction).
  • Almost Lethal Weapons: Happened thrice. Every other time it's averted: people actually hit by bullets will have the wounds cripple them for months if not for life.
    • The first time Ryo shot through his own hand to slow down his bullet and avoid collateral damage without suffering permanent damage (it's mentioned that Ryo avoided hitting the bones exactly to prevent the crippling damage that would have happened to anyone without Improbable Aiming Skills).
    • The second time Umibozu had been shot in the back with three .38 bullets, but he only needed to flex his muscles to expel them with little damage (Ryo immediately pointed out that nobody else could have done it).
    • In the final instance Ryo managed to knock out a thug with a bullet from his .357 Magnum (again, it was a special circumstance: Ryo's Improbable Aiming Skills had allowed him to make the bullet pass near the head of the thug, knocking him out with the shock of it).
  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: Discussed. Sara, a young girl with the power of Telepathy, has trained herself to shut off her power due to the negative thoughts harbored by her Dysfunctional Family. Nevertheless, those negative thoughts still manage to enter her mind when she's asleep and her mental guard is down while sleeping, causing her to have nightmares, as her nanny confides with Ryo and Kaori.
  • Amusing Injuries: Ryo, courtesy of a girl, though well deserved most of the time.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love:
    • Discussed and deconstructed: Ryo did declare his love for Kaori when it appeared he would die on Kaibara's boat, but later couldn't be sure if he really loved her or if it actually was the instinctive need for reproduction that pops out whenever it appears you're about to die, and had to take advantage of Kaori's temporary amnesia to try and reflect about his true feelings.
    • Later played straight, as by then Ryo had thought about his true feelings and found out that yes, he truly loved Kaori.
  • Animation Bump:
    • The 1989 movie "3.57 Magnum", which utilizes noticeably more fluent and well-toned animation than the anime's typical episodes. Of course, the improved animation quality also allows Ryo's mokkori antics and Kaori's subsequent punishment of him to be exaggerated.
    • The first six episodes of the anime itself have superior animation quality to the rest of the show (sans a few episodes at the beginning of the second season, which have even better animation) with a higher attention to realistic tone and movements. Unfortunately averted by the end of the second season, however, where the anime's art style begins to take on a more generic appearance and the movements become more stilted.
  • Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: Kaori actually takes offense that Ryo won't try and jump her.
  • Assurance Backfire: After an airplane crashes into Ryo and Kaori's apartment, leaving Ryo's bed as the only place that's still — relatively speaking — in good enough condition to sleep in, Kaori insists on sleeping in the bed alone and having Ryo sleeping on the couch. Ryo's attempt to promise Kaori that he would do nothing to her causes her to think Ryo finds her too repulsive for him, at least initially, until Ryo manages to convince her to let him share the bed.
    Ryo: I won't try anything, so please let me under the cover, please! I promise that nothing will happen.
    Kaori: Do you promise that... you won't try anything?
    Ryo: Have I ever, ever try to pull something with you up till now?
    Ryo: Do you want me to do something or not?
    Kaori: Of course not! Fine. If you want to get in, get in!
    *Ryo gets under the covernote *
  • 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.
  • 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 The Casanova Manchild behavior, coupled with a sweet and gentle sensitivity. Akira Kamiya sure is good at playing sensitive and kindhearted badasses, isn't he?
  • Bald Head of Toughness: Umibozu is bald. He's strong enough to bring down a tree with a single punch or casually juggle with three grown men, so tough .38 Special bullets can barely wound him, so accurate he's a crack shot with both normal firearms and the bazooka in spite of being near blind and later going fully blind, his abilities as demolitor and trapmaster are unmatched, and, in spite of being so tall he can barely stand in normal houses, can successfully disguise himself as a duck.
  • Best Her to Bed Her: Averted. Saeko Nogami (who, to be fair, appear to be interested only in stronger men, given that Ryo and the late Makimura, her two love interests, are stronger than her), claims she vowed to marry only a man stronger than herself... But it's apparently an excuse to get away from her father's attempts at getting her in an Arranged Marriage, and "tests" the applicants until they need hospitalization.
  • 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.
  • Big Eater:
    • Ryo and Umibozu. Ryo can eat for four or five people... And Umibozu eats like him proportionally to his bigger size.
    • Yumiko Sato, an actress Ryo is hired to guard, can match him bite for bite and still ask for dessert.
  • Birthday Buddies: Shortly after Kasumi joins the workforce at Cat's Eye Cafe, Miki and Kasumi discover that they share the same birthday. The first Rosemary Story Arc starts with them planning to throw a birthday party for themselves, with Ryo and Kaori both being invited for it.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Let's face it, Ryo is a criminal guilty of multiple counts of murder, perversion, vandalism, breaking and entering, theft, assault, and illegal carrying and ownership of guns (in Japan it's illegal to even hold a gun without license, and you can't own pistols unless you're a member of the police or the Self-Defense Force), and Kaori, his accomplice, is guilty of the same crimes barring the first two (she only has a few counts of attempted murder). They are our heroes, and deal with worse people on a daily basis.
  • The Blind Leading the Blind: At one point during Yoshimi Iwai's arc, Kaori, while disguising herself and lying about being Yoshimi's apprentice in order to keep a close eye on Ryo since hospital policies forbids visitors for Yoshimi's patient(s), is tasked with giving a shot to Ryo. Yoshimi is a certified nurse herself, but she's so bad at her job that her teaching Kaori how to do it, for all practical purposes, counts as this trope.note 
  • Bodyguard Crush: Ryo took many a bodyguard job. Most of the time, his charge fell in love with him.
  • Book Ends: The arc featuring Michihiko Jinguchi and his adopted daughter, Haruka, starts with Haruka meeting Ryo in a busy street block, which is the very same location the selfsame arc ends at, with Ryo and Kaori encountering and chatting with Haruka briefly before she runs off to work.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Sometimes the anime will have guns firing more than they should. Averted in the manga, where Ryo needing to reload his six-shooters tend to be a plot point once in a while.
  • Bowdlerise: While the anime series remained quite risque like the manga, some story elements were altered for broadcast. One example is the BMW Devil: in the manga, he was a notorious serial rapist as well as a serial murderer. In the anime, the same character is no longer a rapist, instead being a serial murderer who uses a silenced pistol to kill his victims unnoticed in crowded areas, which gives him a thrill. Another example is Hideyuki's killer; in the manga, a madman hopped up on Angel Dust; but in the anime, a cyborg assassin.
  • 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 hers 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.
  • Brick Joke: Some arcs end with this.
    • An example of this trope taking place early in the arc occurs where Ryo is hired to bodyguard an Idol Singer: It starts out with Ryo in one of said singer's concerts, but the sheer volume of the noise generated by screaming fans causes him to leave after only five minutes, for which Kaori chides him. After he's formally hired to protect the singer, he and Kaori go to her scheduled concert, with Kaori changing her tune about Ryo's short retention span earlier during said concert.
      Kaori: (shouting to Ryo in an attempt to talk to him over the noise of the screaming fans) NOW I UNDERSTAND WHY YOU LEFT AFTER ONLY 5 MINUTES!
    • Late in the story-line of the arc which centers with Ryo being hired as bodyguard/caterer for a group of women who are auditioning for a movie, Kaori's attempt at auditioning results in her being mistaken for a cross-dressing man, which causes her to angrily protest that she's a woman through and through, and, after the culprits who try to sabotage the movie production are exposed, she pins down one of them with a wrestling move. At the end of said arc, the studio manager asks Kaori to star in a movie... about a woman pro-wrestler who's also a transvestite, much to Kaori's displeasure.
      Studio Manager: Please, this concerns the company's future! I beg you!
      Ryo: Kaori, I'll be your manager.
      Kaori: Stop joking around, Ryo! Don't just laugh there, help me out here!
    • When Ryo is hired to bodyguard a princess, her lady-in-waiting promises Ryo a harem, on the condition that he not touch her even once, and she makes it her business to remind Ryo of that every time he's close to touching the princess. When Ryo takes the princess out for some sightseeing, he jumps at the sound of "harem", only to turn around and see some random stranger talking about "Hotel Harem", which is on the same block they're on at the time. At the end of the arc, Kaori hands Ryo his reward that the lady-in-waiting promised... it turns out to be some complimentary tickets to Hotel Harem, much to Ryo's immense chagrin.
      Ryo: (tossing stones at the departing and out-of-range airplane) So you've been screwing with me till the end?! Fucking brat!
    • Earlier in a later arc, the younger sister of Ryo's client has Kaori, whom she mistakes for a guy, answer a survey she comes up with in a vain attempt to gauge her interest incognito so that she could manage Kaori and have Ryo become part of her familynote . The arc ends with Ryo answering the same survey, this time being sent to him in a letter.
      Ryo: Hey, what the Hell is this?
      Kaori: No clue.
    • During the Kimiko arc, she gets Ryo to pose as her fiancee to keep her Unwanted Harem away from her. Once it becomes clear that she is falling for him for real at the end of the arc, he decides to bolt, and the arc ends with this exchange:
      Kimiko: Where are you going? You are my fiancee, aren't you?
      Ryo: No way! We were just putting on an act!
    • When Umibozu reveals the identity of the villain during Rosemary Moon's arc as David Clive, formerly the chief of a foreign secret service until Ryo and Rosemary exposed him as a traitor, now "The Terrorist From Hell", Rosemary has an Oh, Crap! moment, while Ryo completely forgot about him. When Ryo finally gets to look at him late in the arc, he says that he still can't remember his face.
    • During a chapter where Umibozu is watching over the Cat's Eye Cafe by himself, Ryo hides in the shop after fleeing from Kaori due to her taking a request from a man. The chapter ends with a panel where Kaori has Ryo Dragged by the Collar.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer:
    • Ryo is a casanova and a lech who tends to goof around, but if you're the Villain of the Week pray he wasn't hired to kill you, because otherwise you're dead.
    • Mick Angel is even goofier than Ryo, but once he's seduced your woman he'll kill you.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: A magnificent example comes from Rosemary Moon's arc. The villain is a terrorist named David Clive, formerly the chief of a foreign secret service until Ryo and Rosemary exposed him as a traitor, now "The Terrorist From Hell". When Umibozu reveals his identity, Rosemary has an Oh, Crap! moment, while Ryo completely forgot about him. Becomes a Brick Joke when Ryo finally looks at him and declares he still can't remember his face.
  • But Not Too Foreign: More than once, white girls that come to Japan for Ryo's protection are revealed to be half Japanese.
  • Call-Back: Often plot elements of a previous storyline are mentioned in a following one. The best example comes is Kasumi Asou's second arc: an hypnotist had caused Ryo to become impotent to weaken him, and the first thing Ryo did was to use the antidote that had cured him from poison-induced impotence in a previous story arc.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Ryo. The one time he tried to declare his love for Kaori, he couldn't finish the phrase. Then Kaori accidentally blew up the building, preventing him from succeeding in his attempts at finishing the phrase.
  • Cannot Talk to Women: Umibozu. Despite being a hulking brute towering over all the other characters, he becomes incredibly awkward around women and, if one shows him interest, High-Pressure Emotion-time it is. Made even worse that he mostly attracts pretty women.
  • Canon Immigrant / Expy: Mick Angel is based on the anime-only character Robert Harrison, an old partner of Ryo from the US who arrived in Japan to kill Ryo's current client. They have different names and clothes, and Mick favors the Walther P-38 over Mick's Desert Eagle, but for the rest they're practically the same. Even the way they say 'hi' is pretty much the same, even if Hojo cranked it up.
  • The Casanova:
    • Ryo. He's actually a very successful one until Kaori came along... Even then, Kaori can only prevent him from consummating in their home, as they will fall for him, with very few exceptions.
    • Mick Angel, an American friend of Ryo, has the hobby of seducing married or otherwise engaged women. Especially if he's been hired to kill their man.
  • Chained Heat: Kaori has Ryo handcuffed with herself at one point in order to prevent him from getting frisky with the client. The problem comes when the client's biggest dog sees Kaori twirling the key for the handcuffs and swallows it, forcing the two of them to be chained together, including when one of them must use the toilet, until they finally manage to procure the key again at the end of the case.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • When Makimura was killed by a victim of the Angel Dust Ryo reacted badly to the mention of the drug, and was astonishingly well-informed on its effects and its makers of Union Teope in spite of them being newcomers in Japan (and him having never heard the name before Hideyuki mentioned it). Near the end of the story it's discovered that Ryo was the original test subject of Angel Dust, and the founder and leader of Union Teope was his adopted father.
    • Ryo's backstory is hinted at in many places by Ryo, other characters who knows it and small happenings before Rosemary Moon decides to reveal it. Even then, she left out some parts that would be revealed only later.
    • Not just Ryo's backstory, but also other parts of the story, sometimes mixed with Continuity Nods. For example, in his first appearance Silver Fox tried to kill Ryo's target with a rifle chambered for .308 Winchester, and at the start of his second appearance the first hint of him being the villain is the sight of a rifle usually chambered for that round.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Umibozu is introduced faceless as the only one who could match Ryo as a sweeper. When his face is finally revealed we see that Umibozu is the same killer that Ryo fooled into sitting on Hachiko's statue while holding a doll (manga only: the anime inverted the order of the episodes).
  • Child Soldier: Ryo and Miki used to be this.
  • Companion Cube: Sara, a girl with the power of Telepathy, has a stuffed toy cat with her wherever she goes. She discards it near the end of her own story arc.
  • Comic-Book Time:
    • Averted. Characters grow old as the manga progresses, and, in Rosemary Moon's story arc, Kaori, Miki and Kasumi even complained they'd become old hags if the manga continued for too long.
    • Invoked by Ryo to justify why he still says he's twenty.
    • Played straight with Shinjuku Private Eyes, which is recognizably set in 2019 despite none of the characters looking any older.
  • Comical Angry Face:
    • Kaori pulls this when she's particularly angry, usually at Ryo.
    • Ryo does it when he feels particularly outraged at the moment.
  • Continuity Nod: Many.
    • One above all merits mention: in one of the earliest chapters, Ryo demonstrated that you can prevent an uncocked revolver from firing by just holding the cylinder, and every time Kaori (who was receiving gun-using lessons earlier in that chapter) is holding a revolver the hammer is cocked. It verges on Call-Back when Kaori is held at gun point by a revolver-wielding yakuza and not only blocks him in the same way but openly recalls that incident, berating herself for consciously forgetting why she cocked the hammer every time.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment:
    • In one story arc Ryo had been made impotent by the antidote to the poison of a killer bee. At the end of said story arc (and after a successive version of the antidote restored Ryo's Gag Penis), Ryo punished the ones who had the killer bees created by having them stung with the killer bees and giving them the initial version of the antidote, with obvious results. Doubles as Fate Worse than Death, as they were as much perverted as Ryo.
    • One hospital in Tokyo has a rather unusual punishment for troublesome patients: isolate them from other patients, forbid visits and entrust them to the incredibly goofy nurse Yoshimi Iwai, whose botched cares have already killed at least eleven people and injured the rest.
  • Corner of Woe: Ryo does this a few times when his Obfuscating Stupidity act gets so annoying people yells at him. In one of those times he even muttered "Why must a hitman be always serious?"
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    • Ryo's patchwork underwear is laced with color-coded paralitic, sleeping and nervine poisons on different patches.
    • Ryo's coat: hidden pockets (that you can access by cutting. Ryo has a small knife hidden in his belt) hold a disassembled gun, ammunition, a detonator and a few condoms, the sleeves release tear gas when set on fire, and the rest of the coat explodes when shot.
    • Umibozu carries a bazooka to his own wedding in the final story arc.
    • Subverted in one OVA: Kaori's bra was explosive, but it had to be set it on fire first and Kaori had no lighter or match with her.
  • Creator Cameo: Sort of. Where in Cat's Eye Hojo was a somewhat regular minor character (once getting mistaken for the Cat's Eye thieves), Hojo only appearance that doesn't break the Fourth Wall is Ryo standing on his grave.
  • Creepy Crossdresser: Ryo's worst nightmare!
  • Crossdresser:
    • One of the movie's most highlighted point is about Ryo (Jackie Chan) crossdressing as Chun Li.
    • Ryo crossdressed a few times, usually to disguise himself (he can even make his Gag Penis disappear if someone checks his gender!) but, one time, he was trying to not be outed as City Hunter and faked having a job in a gay pub...
    • Unsettling Gender-Reveal: Ryo seduced a woman only to discover it was a gay man. Twice.
  • Crossover: Shinjuku Private Eyes sees Ryo crossing paths with the thieves of Cat's Eye.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: Ryo does this constantly. Since it is dangerous to become acquainted with him due to his profession, whenever a client is getting too attached to him, Ryo becomes (more) insensitive, rude or lecherous in order to drive her away:
    • In one story a client was considering giving up her dreams for Ryo... so Ryo pretended that he only wanted to have sex with her because he thinks he can not make an honest woman happy.
    • Ryo had spent an arc protecting an old friend of his: a weapon-smith that wanted to quit her job for her daughter's sake. However she was considering to go back on her decision in order to remain with Ryo. So he made her believing that, should she stay in his apartment, he and his friends would force her to constantly fix their weapons. Disgusted, she decided leaving (although she eventually understood and accepted what Ryo was trying to do).
  • Damsel in Distress: Many a story arc makes use of this to show how desperate the situation is, justifying Ryo's service and forcing him to act. Kaori is the most frequent target of this, though it can happen to Ryo's (female) client and/or some girl around said client as well.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Ryo was at such a young age he doesn't even know his actual birthday, and became a Child Soldier to survive being orphaned. He was also the initial test subject of the Angel Dust, and the only man who has ever recovered from its withdrawal symptoms.
  • Darker and Edgier: The first two volumes of the manga (and thus the first 7-9 episodes of the anime, which adapted material from these volumes) are considerably darker than the rest of the series (up until the final manga volume, when the darker tone returns), with fewer mokkori antics (Ryo is general is far more subdued in his perversions than later in the series, often merely touching a woman's legs as opposed to the full-throttle 'mokkori pounce' he later becomes known for), a darker, quieter atmosphere (with few gags, more moments devoid of any dialogue, several Tear Jerker moments and Ryo actually having to kill the antagonists at the end of each story, instead of disarming them), a grittier, more realistic tone (probably due to the absence of Kaori's 100-ton hammer), Ryo facing legitimate criminals as is more realistic for a 'sweeper' (silencers murdering innocents, Arabian arms dealers, a syndicate freezing young womens' bodies for use as store-window mannequins and most famously the Central American drug organization Union Teope (Red Pegasus in the anime)) instead of henchmen or lackeys (often those of a corrupt business tycoon or some other form of non-criminal) as is common later in the series and a more subdued art style, making greater use of realistic angles, designs and tone and less of cartoonish expressions and character designs (Ryo donning his later perverted grin is rare in earlier manga stories and only appears in one of the first five episodes of the anime). Naturally, these differences to the series' later stories have created instances of Broken Base.
  • Death Seeker: Ryo used to be one before meeting Hideyuki, and would return to being one without Kaori.
  • Defeat by Modesty: Ryo often does this when challenging women. Special mention goes to an episode where Ryo trains Nalio, a Royal Brat, and they proceed to dispose of an all-female group of assassins sent by Nalio's uncle by groping and stripping them.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: Occasionally.
    • When Ryo gets inside the hospital where Yoshimi Iwai works for the purpose of protecting her incognito against whomever that might try to attack her, Kaori asks him how he plans to do so since Yoshimi lives inside the hospital dorms and he has a broken leg in plaster cast. Ryo gives a response that nearly causes Kaori to break the plaster cast with his leg in it out of sheer rage.
      Ryo: If it's to sneak into the girls' dorm for some nighttime loving, I would crawl there if I have to!
      *cue Ryo thinking "oops"*
    • After an airplane crashes into Ryo and Kaori's apartment and they wonder where they'd be able to stay the night, they encounter Reika observing the wreckage from the street outside. Ryo asks Reika for permission to stay the night at her place, and Reika agrees... with the condition that Ryo and Reika herself share the bed since she has only one bed in her place. Kaori prompts shouts "NO! Ryo will sleep with me tonight!" in response to rebuff Reika. Unfortunately for Kaori, they're still outside, meaning that everyone within earshot had just heard her. Cue Luminescent Blush for Kaori while strangers remark on her "love confession".
    • When Yuka tries to write a novel based on Ryo, she hits a rut upon realizing that she hasn't seen him — or anyone, for that matter — using a gun. She tries to analyze a realistic scenario that involves gun usage and gunshots, but, in her moment of passion, she completely forgets that she's taking a passenger train while saying her thoughts out loud, causing people around her to panic and wonder what's wrong with her.
      Yuka: (thinking to herself) Oh no, I was so absorbed in thoughts, I said it out loud!
  • Didn't See That Coming: May happen from while to while.
    • Umibozu tend to be involved in the 'No Way I Could Have Seen It Coming' rather often:
      • In his first named appearance Ryo couldn't possibly have seen coming that an actress would be able to hire Umibozu to kill herself;
      • Umibozu's second appearance had him hire Ryo to impersonate him with a girl (Ryo didn't know that Umibozu was a friend of her late father and had paid her music education. Once that was known, it was clear why);
      • Who would expect Umibozu to tell Miki she had to kill City Hunter if she wanted to marry him? Also, Ryo and Kaori made a false assumption on the reason, and thought he didn't want to marry Miki because she was Terminator in a drag (Hilarity Ensued when they saw her);
      • The two assistants of a Corrupt Corporate Executive tried to hire Umibozu to kill City Hunter and his charges (one of which being a girl 11 years old), not knowing that not only Umibozu and Ryo were allies (sort of) and he doesn't kill children, but had even convinced Ryo to take that job. Ryo was left speechless when Umibozu delivered him the two guys, who were Lampshade Hanging the whole situation.
  • Dirty Cop: There's quite a few cops that works with the Yakuza. Also, Saeko: she may be a honest and competent cop, but, as pointed out by Reika in one memorable occasion, Ryo is a criminal (and she had a few troubles for helping him when another cop decided to take down City Hunter), and she also helped framing a terrorist for a murder he didn't commit.
  • Dirty Kid: In the episode 12, Ryo must protect a woman and a young boy from another country from being abducted by foreign agents. Kaori soon discovers that the young boy's actions and demeanor are exactly as Ryo's when he start to grope her and take photo while she is undressing.
  • Dirty Old Man:
    • Doc.
    • Michihiko Jinguchi, who believes Ryo to be his own grandson, has a secret passage from the living room where one can peek at Haruka, his adopted daughter, through a peephole. He certainly didn't make that passage for Ryo only...
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Saeko relies on this a bit much for a police officer.
  • Drag Queen: A recurring character and owner of a gay pub is one and employs others. He often tries and fail to seduce straight men, including Ryo (who is the one who won't run, as they're friends).
  • The Dreaded:
    • Ryo and Umibozu are quite feared among other sweepers and criminal groups in general. So far we've seen yakuzas and thugs running when they realize they're facing the goddamn City Hunter (the list includes a yakuza boss who switched from being very sure of victory to begging for forgiveness as soon as he realized who his son had provoked and a hitman who didn't fear Umibozu (as he knew his one weak spot) almos shitting himself when he realized he was facing City Hunter too), Kaori plainly admitting she's terrified of Umibozu (that was even before she found out who he was), and people being terrified of Umibozu due to his sheer size and tendency to bring down trees with a punch when he's pissed.
    • Kaibara, boss of Union Teope and Ryo's stepfather, is so feared that Ryo and Umibozu are terrified of him, and Mick Angel accepted the job of killing Ryo only out of fear of him.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Hideyuki. Attacked by a man dosed with Angel Dust and surprised at arms length by what was by now a killing machine almost Immune to Bullets and capable to tear down a car bare-handed, he somehow succeeded in killing the zombified man, and, while mortally wounded, managed to walk to Ryo's home, warn his friend about the danger, and give him a ring for Kaori before finally succumbing. Becomes even more awesome when later appearances of people dosed with Angel Dust make clear that anyone else but Ryo will die in terror when attacked by those people.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The first few manga stories/TV episodes have a much darker and grittier tone than the rest of the series, with less comedy, more melancholic background music (in the case of the anime), more realistic character designs, fewer mokkori antics (with Ryo often touching a woman's legs instead of pouncing on them), Makimura as Ryo's partner instead of Kaori (thus bringing a lack of the infamous Hyperspace Mallet from later stories), a higher adherence to real-world gunplay technicals, a more 'hard-boiled' atmosphere and Ryo being forced to kill the antagonists at the end of each story instead of disarming them as with later installments of the series. Most of these details disappear after Kaori begins using her hammer.
  • Embarrassing Nickname:
    • A few. Umibozu (a kind of sea monster) was supposed to have the codename 'Falcon', but Ryo nicknamed him Umibozu and it supplanted the nickname. As retaliation, Ryo was nicknamed 'The Stallion of Shinjuku' (it didn't stick, and Ryo has a better sense of humor than Umi). Finally, according to Ryo, the cop duo of Saeko and Hideyuki (former police officer) was known as 'The Beauty and the Beast of Tokyo Police' due to their close partnership, great ability and looks.
    • Kasumi Asou alias Theif n°305 was nicknamed 'Flying Little Butt' by Ryo due to what he first saw of her. When she reappeared, Ryo remembered the nickname first.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
  • Everyone Can See It: Except them. Numbers of men and women give up chasing romance with the main characters simply because they notice Kaori has a feeling for Ryo or/and vice-versa.
  • Evil Laugh: Ryo's is a rare heroic and lovable example, used whenever he is about to go on another "mokkori hunt."
  • Exact Words: This crops up from time to time.
    • Should the client's payment for Ryo's service involving Ryo having his way with her and the client means it, there will be some caveat from said client that Ryo isn't made aware of until he finds out too late to circumvent (assuming that he would be able to circumvent said caveat in the first place if he knew earlier), ensuring that Failure Is the Only Option.
    • When Ryo is tasked with protecting a young woman and a boy, who are on the run from agents of a foreign country that attempt to seize them, the boy catches Ryo attempting to take a peek at the woman while she's bathing, and, in the ensuing discussion, mentions to Ryo about her busty and curvy physique. When Ryo accuses him of peeking at her, the boy denies... and then proves himself technically right as he goes inside the bathroom with a loud announcement, followed by her washing him behind closed door. The sheer extent of what he can get away with causes Ryo to be filled with envy.
      Ryo: I... I want to be a kid!
    • Near the end of Kazue's arc, Ryo traps the culprit, his son, and their guards in a room before siccing the killer bees that belong to said culprit on them. After they're stung, Ryo makes them promise that they'd neither manufacture nor distribute bioweapons ever again as condition for agreeing to "let them live" by giving them the antidote. What no one else (including Kaori, Doc, and Kazue) knows is that Ryo's promise to "let them live" extends only to their lives, not their capacity for procreation — the antidote Ryo gives them is the initial type that causes permanent impotence as its side effect.
    • Umibozu once requests Ryo to protect Maki Himuro, the daughter of his commander in his mercenary days. After the service is concluded, Umibozu pays Ryo, but not in the form of money — it comes in 200 bottles of bourbon instead, much to the chagrin of both Ryo and Kaori.
      Kaori: You should be ashamed, drinking so early in the day!
      Ryo: (chugging from a bottle of bourbon) What else am I supposed to do?
      Kaori: Why didn't you talk to Umibozu clearly about the salary?
      Ryo: But I did tell him, including the cost of the repairs! The total is 2 million yen.
      *the next panel shows a mountain of boxes, one of which Ryo is sitting on, while the discussion ensues*
      Kaori: Then what's this mountain of bourbon doing here?! The floor is about to give in, and we just fixed it!
      Ryo: That idiot sent us 200 bottles of bourbon as payment!
    • At the end of an arc in which Ryo bodyguards a princess, said princess spends a day sightseeing Tokyo with Ryo. As the princess is about to leave, Kaori asks Ryo whether he did anything to her. Ryo responds with "I didn't do anything." He's technically right — he and the princess share a kiss at the end of their sightseeing, but the princess was the one making the move.
    • Earlier in the same princess-bodyguarding arc, her lady-in-waiting promises Ryo a harem, on the condition that he not touch her even once, and she makes it her business to remind Ryo of that every time he's close to touching the princess. At the end of the arc, Kaori hands Ryo his reward for living up to his end of the condition... it turns out to be some complimentary tickets to Hotel Harem, much to Ryo's immense chagrin.note 
      Ryo: (tossing stones at the departing and out-of-range airplane) So you've been screwing with me till the end?! Fucking brat!
    • After a sabotaged airplane rams into Ryo and Kaori's apartment and Kaori insists on having Ryo sleep with him, loudly and in public without her meaning to, Ryo and Kaori sleep in Ryo's room... but Ryo is Exiled to the Couch while Kaori occupies the bed, as the result of this trope.
      Ryo: What a... coldhearted witch you are.
      Kaori: I said I'll sleep together with you. I never said anything about sleeping in the same bed.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: After Ryo's aerophobia is discovered, Kaori wonders aloud how Ryo could have been aerophobic and is about to rebuff Ryo's claim that he never got on a plane in his life by reminding him of an airplane flight he took when he was young, only to stop herself short upon remembering that said flight ended in plane crash.
  • Expy: Ryo is based on Masato 'The Rat' Kamiya, a perverted Gentleman Thief from Cat's Eye.
  • External Combustion: Late in Miyuki's arc, some of her pursuers plant a bomb to Ryo's car, ensuring that it'd explode only when Ryo tries to start it, in an attempt to get Ryo out of their way while their cohorts go after Miyuki. That being said, the keyword is "attempt", because Ryo manages to get out of its range in time to avoid being in the radius of the explosion, before he confronts the saboteurs and beats them up for it.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Played for Laughs regarding Ryo's numerous attempts at scoring with the ladies, which always end up failing, whether due to circumstances, the ladies themselves managing to weasel their way out of it (Saeko is especially notorious for this, much to Ryo's irritation), and/or someone else's intervention (usually Kaori's).
  • Fair Cop:
    • Saeko.
    • Hideyuki used to be one before resigning in disgrace over failing to save their mole in a slave ring and to apprehend the slavers.
  • Fanservice: Often provided by the Girl of the Week or, of the regular characters, Saeko.
  • Fashion-Victim Villain: One of the Villains Of The Week in an In-Universe example of this.
  • Fate Worse than Death:
    • Ryo once claimed that impotence is this, and that he would have never taken the antidote to the killer bees poison had he known of the side effect. He then declared that if he couldn't recover his Gag Penis he'd go in Morocco to have his gender switched. Of course, at the end of the story arc Ryo's Gag Penis had been restored by a perfected antidote, and the villains had been made impotent in the same way without having access to the perfected antidote.
    • Given how Ryo hates this condition, a later story arc had an hypnotist make Ryo impotent, with the previous antidote not working for obvious reasons. The end of the story arc had Ryo recover his potence and trick the hypnotist into making himself permanently impotent.
    • Late in the arc involving Ryo bodyguarding a princess and her lady-in-waiting, after apprehending the culprit who kidnaps said lady-in-waiting and intends to abduct the princess for his own political ploy, the lady-in-waiting informs Ryo that the penalty for treason in their country is castration. Ryo is at once grateful that he's Japanese.
  • 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.
  • Flip Personality: One story arc involves the spirit of a deceased woman, who, upon realizing that the culprit who murdered her would also want her twin sister dead in order to Leave No Witnesses, seeks out Ryo for help and communicates with him and Kaori by taking over her twin sister's body momentarily. It's not a fun gig for Kaori, who fears ghosts immensely.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect:
    • This was one of the central themes of a story arc where Ryo had to prevent a nurse's assassination. He broke his left leg so he was admitted to the hospital, and during his stay, Yoshimi Iwai - the nurse in question - fell for Ryo as she took care of him.
    • This is also how Kazue and Mick become a couple, as the former, in the process of caring for and helping the latter to recover, develops romantic feelings as a result.
  • Forging Scene: The second episode of the anime uses this to establish that Ryo can make his own bullets if he needs something special (in that case, a gold tip for a .500 Nitro Express round).
  • Framing the Guilty Party: In the manga version of Rosemary Moon's story arc, the villain, an international terrorist, gets also framed for Rosemary's murder in order to allow her to escape from her past as a sweeper. The rationale to get Saeko's help was that the villain had committed enough crimes he would get at least life prison, so adding another crime to his record wouldn't affect the sentence (that and Ryo promised to cancel her debt).
  • Friendly Enemy:
    • Ryo and Mick once the latter was hired to kill the former.
      Mick: "I've been asked to kill you, Ryo."
      Ryo: "Kinda expected it... In this case... Let's hit the pubs to celebrate our meeting!"
      Mick: "Oh! Good idea!"
    • Ryo and Umibozu started with this dynamic, with them friendly chatting and Ryo willingly paying him a breakfast while Umibozu is supposed to try and kill Ryo's charge.
  • Funny Background Event: A recurring gag in this series, often as a result of a reaction some other character(s) have towards some hijinks caused by Ryo/Kaori/etc. or Ryo/Kaori/etc. reacting to whatever event other character(s) happen to be facing/describing.
  • Gag Dub: The French dubbing, in a similar way to Fist of the North Star's, though not to the same extent. This extends only to the bad guys whoses voices are way to ridiculous to sound remotely scary, However the main character's voices are spot on. This was because the series was too serious and violent for a kid show (Or at least it was aired in hours when kids most likely watch tv). The movies are exempt of this.
  • Gag Penis: A disturbingly common Running Gag in the manga is how clearly one gets to see Ryo's easily ignited arousal through his pants... and has been so large and hard that it can literally punch through walls and bulletproof glass 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.
    • In one particularly strange inversion, Ryo showed the ability to hide it away and look like he has a vagina.
    • In a particularly crazy occasion, the gags revolved around Ryo being stung by a killer bee and made impotent by a collateral effect of the antidote. Following versions of the antidote made caused temporary erections and the penis to move up and down (cue Ryo's mentor using it to imitate a toy bird drinking from a glass of water).
  • Gentle Giant: Umibozu, at least when he's not pissed or trying to kill you, is a very gentle person, in spite of his size and intimidating looks.
  • Girl of the Week: Ryo Saeba accepts assignments almost exclusively from beautiful young women, most of whom are never seen again in further episodes. During the rare instances when Ryo accepts a job from a man, it would usually involve protecting a young woman.
  • Give Him a Normal Life: In a storyline, Ryo has to protect a weaponsmith who wants to quit her job to give her daughter a normal life rather than growing up surrounded by guns, the smell of gunpowder and shady people.
  • Good Guns, Bad Guns:
    • Subverted: the characters tend to use guns that work, with the interesting result of the villain Silver Fox using exclusively two "good" guns (the Remington Model 700 rifle and the Browning Hi-Power) specifically because they're among the best weapons on the market for their job (the Model 700 being a very accurate rifle and the basis for two military sniper rifles, and the Hi-Power being one of the best pistols ever).
    • Played with in Saeko's debut arc: the villains of that arc used NATO weapons, but had been fooled into serving the villain and would have killed him themselves had they known of it.
    • Played with again in the final arc: the villains used Warsaw Pact weapons, but, being rogue units of the army of a country, those who defeated them in their home country are implied to use the same weapons.
  • Groin Attack:
    • Ryo takes his share of shots to that big target. Note that you have to have a strong foot or use an implement, because in at least an occasion the attacker broke his foot...
    • In Episode 14 of the original series, Saeko is kidnapped by members of a local gang who's abducting beautiful young women. In her prison cell, Saeko gains the attention of a nearby guard and upon distracting him through the use of her sweet talk, Saeko kicks him in the groin, managing to get the cell keys from him while playfully apologizing about her deceptive kick.
    • At the beginning of the original series' Episode 43, the Girl of the Week, Utako Yumeno, knees a man in the groin from inside a train after he had suddenly bumped into her and accidentally looked down her shirt.
  • Gut Punch: Hojo features them periodically to remember the reader that it may be a comedic series but the protagonist is still a wanted criminal that the police leaves alone only because he always goes after much worse criminals and tries to limit the body count.
  • Hair Flip: Many female characters (like Saeko or Kasumi) often flip her hair when they are feeling worried or to express calm and confidence.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: This happens twice early on during the Kimiko arc. The first time overlaps with Volleying Insults, and then the second time takes place soon afterwards, when Kimiko states that she wants Umibozu to be her bodyguard instead of Ryo.
    Kimiko's grandfather: Impossible, Kimiko! I already decided that Mr. Saeba will be your bodyguard!
    Kimiko: No way! Uncle baldy over there is much better!
    Ryo: Yes! Choose baldy! Choose baldy!
    Umibozu: Wh-Who's bald? I shaved my head!
  • Hand Cannon:
    • Umibozu is particularly fond of them, and they're needed against some of the enemies the heroes end up against. It's deconstructed too as it's shown how cumbersome, unwieldly and even overpowered such big weapons can be.
    • The General took this trope to the letter: his right forearm had been replaced with an assault rifle with underslug grenade launcher. He also had a bigger grenade launcher in the leg as a last-resort weapon.
  • Handicapped Badass: Umibozu debuted almost blind, but it didn't slow him down in the slightest. He later became fully blind, and that did slow him down a little... But he can still drive a car. It also helped for an hell of Pre-Asskicking One-Liner.
    Idiot who wanted to take our badass as hostage: "Can't you see my rifle?!"
    Umibozu: "Sorry, but I can't see it."
    The idiot got asskicked
  • Handsome Lech:
    • Ryo, whether or not Kaori and her ultra-heavy mallet are around. In fact, a major part of the reason Ryo insists on taking only orders that involve protecting beautiful women or at least made by some such women is so that he can have a chance for a "mokorri" with said women.
    • Ryo's friend and rival Mick Angel also qualifies. He has a tendency to seduce newly wed or engaged beautiful women, even if the men who are with said women are not his assissination targets.
  • Happily Adopted: Kaori. Her biological father kidnapped her from her mother and turned to theft to live, and when he died in a chase Hideyuki's father, who was the cop chasing him, failed in finding her mother and adopted her. He planned to tell Kaori on her 20th birthday, but he died when Kaori was five, Hideyuki, who should have told her in his place, died on that very day before telling her, and Ryo (who found out by Hideyuki before his death) never gathered the courage to tell her. A flashback episode shows that Kaori found out in high school and doesn't care: as far as she's concerned, Hideyuki and his father are her family, and she never bothered searching for her biological mother and sister.
  • Here We Go Again!: The story arc involving Yoshimi Iwai starts with Ryo breaking his leg on purpose so he can protect her incognito note . After she is longer in danger note , it ends with him under her care again, this time after he fails to watch the road he's crossing and, consequently, doesn't notice an incoming truck.
    Ryo: Hello! I came to see you again.
    Yoshimi: W-Welcome back...
    Kaori: He must have gotten hit on purpose...
  • Hidden Depths: Umibozu, Ryo and Mick seems only a gigantic Scary Black Man and two immature perverts prone to whacky gags, but if you get the chance to really meet them you'll discover they are much nicer, mature and sensible than they appear.
  • Hitman with a Heart: Ryo, Umibozu, and Mick.
  • How We Got Here: The arc involving Yoshimi Iwai starts out with Ryo, with a broken leg in plaster cast, being rowdy and unruly, earning him the punishment of being assigned full-time care by Yoshimi. The plot then pans to Ryo thinking back on the moment a lawyer under a billionaire's employment discussing with Ryo and Kaori about the job of protecting her incognito and ways to do so, right before Ryo breaks his own leg on purpose, where the flashback stops. The story then shows Ryo being in a private room where Yoshimi administers "care" and progresses as normal.
  • Hyperspace Mallet: Trope Namer.
    • Hammerspace: Kaori's handbag was observed containing not only three hammers of various sizes, but also her pistol, a pepper spray, a taser, a hand grenade and a defibrillator. Later in the same story arc she had also another bigger hammer and some food.
  • Hypnotism Reversal: A hypnotist, who had first tricked Ryo into believing he had a large penis than Ryo and then made Ryo unable to have erection earlier via hypnotism, decides to hypnotize him into permanent impotence as payback for Ryo upstaging him in the thieving contest. Unfortunately for him, Ryo has a mirror with him this time, which he raises in front of him while looking away from the hypnotist as he applies the hypnotic technique, ensuring that the hypnotist only succeeds in making himself permanently impotent instead.
    Ryo: Idiot. Did you think you'd be able to use the same trick again and again?
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • This trope is in effect every time Ryo, a Handsome Lech Manchild himself, criticizes someone else of acting perverted or immature.
    • Police superintendent-general Nogami insists on having Saeko address him as "inspector general" instead of "dad" in the police office because he insists on keeping work and personal issues separate, but he spends more time at work talking to Saeko about getting her a fiancee/husband than anything that's remotely "work-related".
  • Identical Stranger: Inspector Hirotaka Kitao looks almost exactly like Hideyuki, to the point that Kaori herself mistook him for his ghost. Interestingly, Ryo states that they look completely different, implying that either there is some physical difference Kaori and Saeko can't see or he could notice the difference in their character with a single look (or he actually forgot Hideyuki's face as he claimed).
  • Idiot Crows: One flies by any time Ryo makes an especially big mistake.
  • Immune to Bullets:
    • Anyone dosed with Angel Dust becomes functionally this. They will eventually die, but unless it's an headshot it will take a while, and in the meantime they'll kill you. And not even an headshot is a sure way to kill them on the spot.
    • Umibozu is partly immune; due to his sheer size, he can easily shrug off being shot with .38 Special bullets.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills:
    • Played straight with Ryo. Inverted with Kaori, who can't shoot straight. This was done on purpose by Ryo to make sure she never kills anyone.
    • Justified for Keibu Fumakuchi, a Corrupt Cop capable of shooting a woman-sized target at about 1 km: he's an Olympic shooting champion, meaning he has both the skills and the training to do just that (it's a difficult shot for him, but he can pull it), to the point he's considered the best sniper in the world.
    • In the same arc, Ryo proved himself superior to Fumakuchi by shooting the barrel of his rifle at the same distance. Fumakuchi told himself that nobody could pull that shot and it had been a fluke, only for Ryo to do it again, following with Fumakuchi's belt and the buttons of his shirt, and concluding with calling the Olympic Games a contest between amateur (and they are, in fact) and bragging being the best professional sniper in the world, superior to any Olympic champion.
    • In one story arc, a one-shot character succeeded in hitting the bullseye multiple times in spite of using Kaori's gun. Note that not even Ryo can hit anywhere near the target with that gun...
  • Improbable Weapon User: In one memorable occasion Ryo weaponized his underwear: it was filled with enough narcotics to put to sleep fifty women.
  • Informed Attribute: Ryo has declared multiple times his hate for children. He's also very good with them, and goes out of his way to help and protect them.
  • Interrupted Declaration of Love: When Ryo, due to Mick's interloping, finally decided to declare his love to Kaori, the declaration was interrupted by Kaori accidentally blowing up the building.
  • Intimate Marks: One case involves a young woman being repeatedly harassed by men trying to see down her cleavage. Turns out they're not perverts (entirely), the woman they're looking for has a birthmark on one of her breasts.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • When Kaori offers to disguise herself as one of the auditioners to help monitor the audition stage, Ryo dismisses her by asking what happens should her disguise as a woman failnote . On the day of the audition, Ryo takes a fancy with a woman he doesn't recognize (right down to his Gag Penis literally acting up), only for said woman to reveal herself to be Kaori with a wig. Cue Ryo nervously covering up his crotch.
      Kaori: What's wrong? Didn't you say I'm a girl with no sex appeal?
    • Shortly after the scenario above, Kaori is getting ready for her audition and feels nervous, and the following exchange ensues:
      Ryo: Relax! There's no idiot here who will hire a transgender as their main star.
      Kaori: Then the one who's gotten a mokkori from a transgender must be a bigger idiot.note 
    • After Ryo fends off two thugs who try to take a woman by force, he says to her "it looks like someone's out to get you" and suggests for them to discuss things elsewhere. She then says "it looks like someone's out to get you" to him as she sees Kaori behind Ryo, with a hammer headed his way.
    • On Omibozu's first day tending to Cat's Eye Cafe alongside Miki, Ryo pokes fun at him by claiming Omibozu set it all up, raising Miki while she was a child until she was old enough to fall in love with him. Shortly thereafter, Sara enters with her nanny in the hope of getting Ryo to protect them. When Ryo express no interest in helping them, Omibozu suggests for Ryo to take the job, arguing that Sara will grow into a beautiful woman in a few years and Ryo will be set for life with Sara's potential inheritancenote . Ryo takes the job, even if not initially, but he's more fixated on the nanny.
    • When Kaori expresses enthusiasm about getting Ryo into an airplane flight, her reasoning is: "If people found out that the famous City Hunter has this kind of weakness, you'll become a laughingstock in front of the whole world." Shortly thereafter, Kaori returns to the apartment she and Ryo share for a change of clothes, encounters a knife-brandishing burglar, and trips and falls to the floor while evading said burglar due to the debris within the room, only for Ryo to save her before any harm can be done to her:
      Ryo: A professional must always keep a keen eye on their surroundings. If you, City Hunter's assistant, were beaten by a mere robber, you'll become the laughingstock of the whole world.
      Kaori: (holding a piece of broken concrete) Mind your own business! I was planning a counterattack!
  • It Makes Sense in Context: Invoked by Ryo in multiple occasions, telling about something he did but willingly leaving out the context. One example above everything, from Rosemary Moon's arc.
    Ryo returns home with a sleeping Rosemary in his arms and encounters Miki, who was treating an ill Kaori.
    Miki: "What happened?!"
    Ryo: "Business as usual... I kissed her naked in a love hotel, and this happened."
    Miki (not knowing that Rosemary had tried to kill him and Ryo used the kiss to slip her a sleeping pill): "What?"
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy:
    • Ryo and Umibozu are willing to let Kaori and Miki go if they wanted.
    • Mick Angel, upon falling for Kaori and realizing she is in love with Ryo and will stay that way, entrusts her safety to Ryo and renounces to his job of killing him.
  • Jailbait Wait:
  • Kick the Dog: A few foes were rightful bastards, deserving Ryo's sadistic punishment. The ones who take the cake are a couple of bank robbers that decided to rob the passengers of their hijacked bus, including a group of kindergarteners (they were unlucky enough to hijack the same bus where Ryo was on. Asskicking ensued).
  • Kilroy Was Here: Ryo, who enjoys mocking his adversaries and pulling pranks on them, is quite fond of playing this trope when he infiltrates into his enemies' lairs. Before leaving, he vandalizes pictures, writes insults on the walls -or comments about their enemies' penis size-, paints drawings of them... He makes this because an angry enemy is prone to commit mistakes... and plainly because he gets a good laugh out of pissing them off.
  • Knight of Cerebus:
    • Sonia Field. Her story arc, where Ryo is revealed to having killed his partner and Sonia's father in a duel due to him being blackmailed by a syndicate with his daughter's life, is a major Gut Punch that suddenly brings back the dark atmosphere of the early part of the manga. The following story arcs, while more light hearted, still keeps it, with one even having a veiled mention of Union Teope before the organization showed up again in person.
    • Ryo's old acquaintances from US in general: Rosemary Moon revealed most of Ryo's past to Kaori and the readers and tried to kill him to save her fiancee, Sonia Field has been already described above, and Mick Angel brought Union Teope back in the story, having been forcefully hired by them to kill Ryo and being blown up by a person dosed with Angel Dust when he renounces to complete the job.
    • Saeko is a mild example: whenever she's involved, the story arc is usually less comedic than normal.
  • Knight Templar Parent:
    • Once in a while we have some client like this, like the rich man with a naive daughter (naivety caused by him being overprotective, by the way) who, upon her getting a job in a fast food, hired City Hunter to defend her (that was before he found out of the mafia war in the area of the fast food), or the politician who hired Umibozu to retrieve his runaway daughter and murder the guy she had ran away with (luckily, the daughter, knowing that her father was capable to sick a bazooka-wielding killer on her boyfriend, was using Ryo as bait for the expected killer).
    • Umibozu acts as this toward Maki Himuro, the daughter of his commander in his mercenary days: his reaction to Ryo having a mokkori before her is to shoot at Ryo's penis with a Smith & Wesson Model 29. And, when she stays at Ryo's place for protection, Umibozu shows his knowledge as Trap Master by placing various traps, most of which are lethal should they connect, to try to deter Ryonote .
  • 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.
    • When Ryo is sufficiently horny, he'll lapse back to how he was when he had been drugged with Angel Dust, acquiring a very stupid face and becoming practically undefeatable.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Mick Angel and Ryo's way to say hello when they met after very long time? Shoot at each other until they emptied their guns. Then they started laughing like idiots, and, after Mick revealed he had been hired to kill Ryo, they hit a few pubs.
  • Licked by the Dog: After agreeing to be the bodyguard of Misako Kusaka, an ER surgeon who is a friend of Reika's, Ryo manages to evade Kaori's surveillance and goes to Misako's house to insure that they'll have no interference as he seduces her. They go in... And Ryo is promptly jumped and cockblocked by the MANY dogs, cats, and a few bunnies she took from the street.
  • Local Hangout: The Cat's Eye Cafe serves this purpose once it's opened. Miki and Omibozu work there, and Ryo and Kaori hang out there from time to time. Kasumi joins the workforce later on.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight:
    • Happens twice, first due to genetically engineered bee with a super-potent venom (it was a side effect of the initial antidote) and later due to hypnosis. In the end Ryo gets his potency restored... And make the responsible parties impotent for life.
    • Kaori has mixed the bee venom and the original antidote to cause this, and for a while kept many doses of it.
  • Loophole Abuse: Ryo rarely takes commissions from men, but sometimes he finds a way to de facto accept commissions from men without technically breaking this rule. In one episode, the client is a man who needs help so he no longer has to live in hiding and can go back home to his young daughter. Ryo refuses... and then talks the daughter into commissioning him to bring her father home for a token payment.
  • Lovable Sex Maniac:
    • Ryo. 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.
    • Mick Angel too: not only he's Ryo's American counterpart, but he tends to target already engaged women (we've seen him successfully seducing a woman about to marry and try and seduce a newly wed woman and Kaori), where Ryo specifically limits himself to look when he finds out a woman is already in love with someone else.
  • Made of Iron: All the recurring characters are this. Apart from Ryo's Amusing Injuries when Kaori hammers him, Umibozu barely felt being shot twice with a .38 caliber pistol, and Ryo, Kaori, and Mick survived the explosion of the building they were in.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident:
    • On the heroic side, Ryo has committed murder this way in at least one of the jobs he has taken when he's hired to kill someone much worse than himself. The very first arc is one such example: Ryo gets hired to kill a boxer who fixes his matches with blackmail (and murdered his client's fiancee when he refused to give up a champion shot)]], and [[Undignified Death does it in such a way it looks like the champion killed him and threw him out of the ring with a single punch.
    • On the villainous side, this is one of the ways that show how far the bad guys in a given arc are willing to go for what/whom they're after, making the situation dire enough to justify the client(s) seeking Ryo's help. Whether the bad guys succeed(ed) in their murder scheme(s) of choice depend on whether Ryo is/was personally involved with the case yet at the time.
  • Malingering Romance Ploy: In one of the earliest episodes of, Ryo passes himself as a patient of the hospital where works the pretty nurse he's tasked to protect. Later, he's wounded for real.
  • Manchild: Ryo's emotional maturity outside of work is questionable at best.
  • The Masochism Tango:
    • Ryo and Kaori.
    • Also, Ryo and Saeko: they would have already done the deed multiple times if Ryo didn't run away each time out of respect for Hideyuki.
  • May–December Romance: One story arc features a nineteen-year-old woman, who was married to a man 40 years older than herself (while he was alive — the man, who suffered from a heart problem for a long time, died of heart failure shortly after the wedding ceremony was completed). Ryo actually breaks down crying upon seeing the portrait of the deceased man in question, as he bemoans his lack of luck at romance despite being better-looking than the nearly-60-year-old dead man.
  • Mugging the Monster: Once in a while someone tries to beat up Ryo without knowing who he is. In one memorable occasion, a bank robber broke in the Cat's Eye and tried to take Umibozu and Ryo hostage, and was beaten up as soon as the embarrassed sweepers decided who would take care of him. In the robber's defense, he had a rifle while the two sweepers were (apparently) disarmed, so his belief that he could defeat them was justified.
  • My Eyes Are Up Here: In the first arc, Ryo's eyes were glued to his client's cleavage when he met up with her for first time. When she realized, she growled: "What are you staring at? My eyes are up here!"
  • Mythology Gag: The cafe run by Umibozu and Miki is named "Cat's Eye". Later perfected when Kasumi Aso, a Phantom Thief, left home and started living and working at the Cat's Eye (Miki hung a lampshade on this). The Shinjuku Private Eyes film takes this a step further by revealing that Cat's Eye and City Hunter take place in the same universe, and that the Kisugi sisters are the actual owners of the cafe. It's explained that Umibozu and Miki have merely been running it for them ever since the sisters left Japan.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Late in the story arc featuring Sara, Ryo dances naked when he detects Sara's potential assailants spying on the apartment to make them leave. It works as planned, though the ensuing complaints made by neighbors who see him at it without understanding why he does so embarrass Kaori so much that Ryo is Denied Food as Punishment.note 
  • Nobody Poops: Averted: not only we see a character going to the toilet rather early in the story, but Ryo uses the 'I need to poop' excuse rather often to do whatever he's planning and still gets away with it because he does it rather often (Kaori even complained that his trips to the toilet are always very long, right as Ryo dresses himself as a woman to try and catch a fake City Hunter).
    • It also got lampshaded in the second Union Teope arc: after finding out that Ryo had not left her behind to go into battle but was in the toilet, Kaori screamed at him that nobody had ever heard of a hero that goes to poop before the battle, only for Ryo to reply that it's the smart thing to do (and calling her constipated).
  • No Guy Wants an Amazon:
    • Kaori is gorgeous, but the masculine way she acts tend to scare away the few men who realize she's a woman.
    • Inverted by Saeko, of all people: she refuses to marry a man weaker than herself, and has hospitalized at least six men by testing their strength.
  • No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: In-Universe during an arc that involves Ryo being hired to bodyguard an Idol Singer who receives a threatening letter shortly prior to the start of the arc. She's nearly overwhelmed by the fans who manage to break through the security to the stage and nearly reach the concert stage at one point, only for Ryo to whisk her away, Tarzan-style, before any of the fans can touch her, with said Idol Singer kissing Ryo on the cheek in gratitude. After the image of the singer kissing Ryo is published in tabloid magazines, Ryo and Kaori meet the singer's manager and expect to be fired, only to be met with elation, as the scandal, if anything, further drives up the popularity of the singer in question, not to mention that the next letter from the Loony Fan indicates that he has changed his target from the singer to Ryo instead.
    Singer's manager: In the show business world nowadays, a scandal is also considered publicity. From now on, go out together to catch the criminal's attention!
    Ryo: (thinking to himself) I wonder if it's possible that they hired me in the first place for that purpose...
  • Oblivious to Love: Kaori is the only one who never noticed that Ryo loves her, in spite of many people dropping city-sized hints about it, going so far to decide that Ryo had a lover when Umibozu told her Ryo was strong enough to keep his beloved near himself.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!:
    • Standard reaction from anyone who has to fight Ryo more than once. The most notable example is the boss of the Unryu gang: the first time he encountered Ryo he started begging for forgiveness upon realizing his son has pissed off City Hunter, and sometimes later his face cried a mix of this and Oh, Crap! when Ryo barged in his house and he realized the women he had just kidnapped were Ryo's partner and client.
    • Throughout the arc of Hirotaka Kitao, who's an Identical Stranger to Hideyuki, he finds himself the reluctant guest for Ryo's invitations to all-night drinking, as he's not as capable of withstanding alcohol as Ryo is. When he's about to move at the end of the arc, his expression to Ryo proposing a week-long farewell party for him is nothing short of this trope, knowing that it'd be a week of non-stop alcohol consumption that he can't handle.
    • Ryo's reaction upon finding out that Yuka is a younger sister of Saeko is this, as Yuka is just as manipulative as Saeko and Reika, albeit too underage to exploit Ryo's sex-obsessed weakness since Ryo isn't aroused by minors. At the end of Yuka's arc, after Yuka tells Ryo and Kaori that she has a pair of younger twin sisters and her father is still trying to have male children, the thought of Yuka's younger sisters — at least two, if not more — coming to him for favors while being every bit as manipulative as Yuka and her older sisters are causes this reaction for Ryo again.
  • Old Shame: In-Universe. Near the end of Eri's story arc, she decides to create a coat inspired by Ryo's Badass Longcoat and the weapons and other needed items he hides in it and make it elegant by using the weapons as decoration, but it's so ridiculous she's embarrassed by it in the very following chapter.
    Eri: (in audible whisper) You don't need to emphasize that. I also know that time was a failure. Who hasn't made a mistake...?
  • One-Man Army: Ryo and Umibozu can take down a few dozens of criminal each. One OVA showed them teaming up against dozens of fake cops with military-grade weapons and an assault helicopter: the fake cops were wiped out, and the helicopter was shot down when Ryo redirected one of its own missiles.
  • Only Known By His Nickname: Umibozu's real name of Hayato Ijuin is only said once by Ryo and another by the daughter of his old commander, everyone else call him either Falcon (his codename as a mercenary) or Umibozu (a mocking nickname that Ryo gave him and stuck). Even Umibozu himself prefers being called with his nicknames.
  • Only Sane Man: The typical reaction of one-shot characters to Ryo and Kaori's antics. Even Saeko, who has known Ryo for a long time, tends to get these...
    • When charged with guarding actress Yumiko Sato against life-threatening 'accidents', Ryo found himself the Only Sane Man when compared to Yumiko: she's even loonier than him. Between the two of them, the poor director was getting crazy even before Umibozu replaced all the fake guns used in the movie with actual ones (including a bazooka)...
    • Sayaka Ryujin's arc featured a free for all for the title, due to the crazyness of all characters: Sayaka is left speechless at Ryo's antics (and her own inability to get rid of him) and at Kaori kidnapping the guys she had sent to kidnap her, Ryo and Kaori are unable to tell who's crazier between Sayaka (who tried everything to rid herself of Ryo) and her father (his reaction to Sayaka faking to seduce Ryo to get him in trouble with Kaori was crying: "Saeba! Why did you refuse my daughter?!"), and all of them look positively sane when Torakichi Seiken shows up with enormous platform boots and tries to pass himself as a much bigger man (Sayaka actually facepalmed when she realized the biker gang giving her trouble worked for Torakichi, and continued facepalming until Ryo recovered from the shock of having to deal with that idiot and his gang and mopped the floor with them).
    • Kaori found herself in this position when Mick Angel showed up, as Mick is practically an American version of Ryo, just whackier and more perverted.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Kaori is convinced that if a machine does not work, a punch (or a kick. Or a mallet blow) will fix it. And if it keeps malfunctioning, you are not hitting it hard enough.
  • Phantom Thief: Kasumi Asou alias Theif n°305, who comes from a line of women phantom thieves.
    • Mythology Gag: She later ends up living and working with Umibozu and Miki at the Cat's Eye Cafe. Miki wondered why the situation felt familiar.
  • Porn Stash: Ryo, the Lovable Sex Maniac that he is, has quite a collection of them that he hides in several locations in the residence.note 
  • 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.
  • Psycho Serum: Angel Dust, also known as 'Devil's Drug'. A single dose will make anyone immune to pain and give him peak human strength (a muscular man will be able to tear down a car bare-handed), and nothing short than a headshot or decapitation will stop him (a shot in other vital spots will kill him, but he'll still move for a few minutes, and may tear down an unwary opponent). Side effects includes brainwashing, becoming a murder machine that won't stop until he killed his target or got killed, and, once it wears off, withdrawal symptoms that have apparently killed all but one the subjects. The only survivor happens to be Ryo Saeba.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Umibozu is introduced trying to kill Ryo's current charge (in fact Ryo had been hired specifically to protect her from him), but they are good friends, and not even being paid for what basically amounted kill each other prevented them from sharing a breakfast and find a way to not have to kill each other.
  • 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.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better / Revolvers Are for Amateurs: Many professional gun users featured in the series tend to use revolvers, and they know how to use them. On the other hand revolvers appeared also in the hands of amateurs, who tend to get humiliated when going against professionals with revolvers or semiauto, or even a disarmed Ryo.
  • The Rival: Umibozu is Ryo's rival. During the story they're Vitriolic Best Buds or, when finding themselves on opposing sides, Friendly Enemies, but Ryo's American acquaintances revealed it's a fairly recent development and that they used to be Arch-Enemies.
  • Running Gag: Kaori's Hyperspace Mallet and Ryo's Mokkori, with all possible variants.
    • The ones mentioned above continue for the entire series, but most arcs have their own exclusive running gags, like the Ryujin boss being compared to a tanuki (even by his daughter!), or a fashion designer friend of Kaori trying to hire particularly good-looking people as models (including Saeko while she was trying to arrest her. Poor Saeko fell on the floor when she realized it was this and not an attempted bribe) and criticizing bad taste in clothing (including that of the Big Bad of the arc, twice).
  • Sacrificial Lion:
  • Save the Princess: 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 Ojou of a rich Japanese family, with either Evil Uncles aiming for their heritage, or being in danger of being kidnapped for a ransom.
  • Scare the Dog: At one point, Umibozu intimidates a barking dog by giving it a Death Glare while he was following Ryo. For bonus point, he was disguised as a woman.
  • Scary Black Man: Umibozu, sort of, though he's just dark for a Japanese man.
  • Scary Flashlight Face: Ryo does this several times to scare both allies and enemies (he thinks that it is funny. Needless to say, no one else does).
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here:
    • When Ryo realizes that his client has fallen in love for him in a given arc and being Cruel to Be Kind is not an option, he may decide to just hightail out of his client's sight.
    • Any villain of a given story arc, if he remains alive, doesn't end up in prison, finds himself too outclassed to face Ryo, and isn't too tied down with his fortunes to move, will also do this.note 
  • Seen It All: When characters stop being surprised by Ryo and Kaori's antics (or, in Kaori's case, by Saeko's), they have really seen it all.
  • 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.
  • Sexy Stewardess: Episode 16 of first season has Chiemi, an old friend of Kaori who is a beauty and ingenue stewardess in desperate need of help. In return, Ryo gets a date with Chiemi but he's in for a surprise when, on the plane, he finds out he's not the only one chasing after this beautiful lady.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Ryo, Umibozu and Kaibara. All of them fought on a civil war in Central America, a war that left them devastated and with self-destructive tendencies.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Umibozu ships Ryo/Kaori hard, trying multiple times to make Kaori realize Ryo is in love with her (Kaori never understood) and even setting them up to sleep in the same bed. On the same ship we have Doc, Miki, Sayuri Tachiki (Kaori's biological sister), Eriko Kitahara (Kaori's fashion-obsessed high school friend), and Saeko's little sister Yuka (who openly told Ryo to hurry up and marry Kaori).
    • Other Ryo/Kaori shippers of the I Want My Beloved to Be Happy kind are Saeko, Kazue Natori and Mick Angel: the first always refrained from paying Ryo with sex (as he asks after every job) because she realized Ryo had fallen for Kaori, Kazue, after a brief period where she wanted to replace Kaori both in love and job, started shipping them , and the latter, realizing he wouldn't be able to take Kaori from Ryo, decided to entrust her to his friend and tried to make him declare his love.
  • Short Tank: Kaori is a combination of this, a Bifauxnen, and a Clingy Jealous Girl. She spends most of the series in unflattering clothing and talks in a very masculine way. It should be noted that while she is a Bifauxnen, she manages to invariably draw the, er, attention of the main character whenever put into feminine clothing and makeup.
  • Shotgun Wedding: Michihiko Jinguchi's intent towards Ryo turns out to have him forced into marrying Haruka, Michihiko's adopted daughter, due to The Promise he had with Haruka's biological parent(s) in the past. The arc ends with Haruka rejecting the idea of marrying Ryo, arguing that Ryo's exposure to the underground scene would cause his enemies to target her and/or Michihiko as Revenge by Proxy, even if Ryo turns his back on his past, and Michihiko consents to his adopted daughter's wish.
  • 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 a prostitute is going to determine her future clients' gender after she tried to hit on Kaori.
    • At one point in the anime, a child Ryo is looking after plays Athena.
    • A particularly epic one has Ryo recreating the "Did he fire six shots or only five?" scene from Dirty Harry, offering to spare the life of the Yakuza boss he was using in place of the punk if he could tell him if he still had a bullet in it, with the boss recognizing the movie he ripped the scene from.
    • In one scene Ryo compares an enemy goon with Commando since "Terminator is too old".
    • In a chapter Kaori picks a Famicom to play with a child.
  • Shower Scene: Often combined with Modesty Towel.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • The author took care to learn gun safety rules and which gun is appropriated for who. While garden-variety criminals and yakuzas tend to carry whatever gun looks cooler and do some amateurish mistakes, professional gun users will not do stupid mistakes, and will carry the appropriate gun, ranging from the New Nambu M60 and Smith & Wesson Model 36 service revolvers carried by the police (including Saeko) to the Remington Model 700 used by both Ryo, the police and an enemy sweeper for sniping.
    • Angel Dust blocks pain receptors, causes a permanent adrenaline rush and makes the victim extremely suggestible, and in one case caused him to go into a rage, and the withdrawal tends to kill (apparently only Ryo survived). The drug PCP, also known as Angel Dust, has similar effects (even if on a lesser scale), and the withdrawal can cause seizures.
  • Skewed Priorities: Near the end of the story arc involving Miyuki Kobayashi, when armed criminals pursue Kaori and Miyuki in a Car Chase into a narrow alleyway and the girls, trying to flee from said criminals, find more of them in a car ahead of them, Kaori, not wishing to take the risk of waiting too long for Ryo to catch up to rescue them, suggests that they just ram the car ahead in hope of escaping on foot afterwards. Miyuki, seeing no other way, agrees, but adds that Kaori and Ryo would have to pay for the cost for the car repair. Kaori understandably calls her out on it.
  • Skyscraper Messages: At one point, the lights formed the katakana version of the woman's name and "daisuki" (I like you a lot/love you.)
  • Soft Glass:
    • Usually averted, as most people will break them before plowing through the window, and those thrown by Umibozu gets injured by the glass (and other things). The only ones who are likely to pull this are Ryo and Umibozu, who are noted to be a lot stronger than most people.
    • Saeko's introductory story arc in the manga had the subversion as a Running Gag: Ryo would try to jump through windows only to crash into the bulletproof crystal they were made of. On the other hand, his Gag Penis broke a small hole through the bulletproof crystal...
  • Something Else Also Rises: The anime adaptation, which removed all the on-screen erections, used this when it was completely necessary to keep them for the sake of the plot, such as when:
    • He got stuck in the ceiling because of his mokkori.
    • He compared his penis's size to another guy's (and lost).
    • He regained his mokkori after he had been made impotent.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Some of the featured girls in a given story arc are either the results of their parents' doomed romance or at least related to someone in such.
    • The parents of Etsuko, one of the girls who audition for a movie, met once many years prior to the start of the series. They wanted to marry each other, but ended up separating because everyone around them opposed it, never to see each other again. note  Etsuko joined the audition precisely because she hoped to see her father, who would direct the very movie for which she auditions.
    • The story of the parents of Kimiko, a seventeen-year-old girl with Unwanted Harem, is this trope in a nutshell.note  This is why Kimiko has been raised by her maternal grandfather.
    • Kasumi's grandmother turns out to have been in such a situation.note 
  • Stepford Smiler: Ryo is an highly functional Type 1, as nobody, not even Kaori or the reader, suspects anything. The reader and Kaori only realize it when a one-shot character revealed herself to be The Empath and stated it in tears (the reader could have realized earlier, as Ryo let his mask slip for a single second in a previous story arc), and even then they'll have to wait for Rosemary Moon to know why.
  • 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.
    • A more noticeable example occurred whenever he had to fight large groups. While the target mooks would be drawn to match the mooks of the episode, Ryo was always depicted using the same five or six attacks (in still frames, no less!), often in the same sequence: among them, a rear kick, elbow to the chest, backfist, uppercut.
  • Sunglasses at Night:
    • Umibozu. His first appearances in the manga occasionally showed him without sunglasses, but he later started wearing them all the time, even when disguised as a statue. Being almost blind, and later becoming completely blind, it doesn't affect him in the slightest, just adding to his scariness.
    • Played for Laughs when Ryo does this during the airplane arc, as he does this to hide the duct tape he places over his eyes before getting into an airplane in an attempt to distract himself from his aerophobia. Kaori and the airplane pilot, who are deadset in getting him to overcome his aerophobia, are having none of it.
  • Swallow the Key: Played for Laughs when the largest dog of a client does this after seeing Kaori twirling the key for the handcuffs she has applied on Ryo and herself to prevent Ryo from getting frisky with the client, resulting in Ryo and Kaori being forced to stay together at all times, including when one of them must use the toilet, until they manage to procure the key again at the end of the arc.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: One Girl of the Week disguises herself as a man for her own safety — from the criminal who would want her dead and from Ryo.
  • Telepathy: Episode 41 of season 2 where Ryo's client is Sara, a young girl with a unique telepathic ability to read minds.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Whenever Ryo imagines the female client he's hired to bodyguard as a burly, homely woman due to not having managed to know what the client looks like in advance, he ends up with a pleasant surprise upon seeing that the client in question is actually a beautiful young lady.
    • After Ryo manages to whisk an Idol Singer he's hired to bodyguard, Tarzan-style, away from the audience storming the stage while she's performing in a concert, said Idol Singer gives him a kiss on the cheek as a show of gratitude. Given her well-known status, the image of the kiss spreads through media outlets like wildfire the next day. Ryo goes to the singer's agency office expecting to be fired for the scandal... only to be greeted with jubilant elation, due to the new relevation that the Loony Fan, whom Ryo was hired to bodyguard the Idol Singer from from the beginning, has just switched his target from the singer he was planning to harm initially to Ryo following the release of the kiss.
      Singer's manager: In the show business world nowadays, a scandal is also considered as publicity. From now on, go out together and catch the criminal's attention!
      Ryo: (thinking privately) I wonder if it's possible that they hired me for that purpose in the first place...
    • Kaori expresses anxious excitement at the thought of being chosen to act in a movie production and is excited when a studio manager asks her to be the main star of a movie. She has second thoughts once said studio manager tells her that the plot of the movie is about a woman pro-wrestler who's also a transvestite.
    • Once Kaori expressed the wish to see, just for once, the message board of Shinjuku station filled with XYZ requests. When she looked at the board she saw a single XYZ filling the whole board. The new client was the gigantic Umibozu, who had left a request of the right size.
    • On the opening day of Cat's Eye Cafe, Ryo laughs at Umibozu at the sight of him in a barista uniform, prompting an annoyed Umibozu to claim: "Only today!" I will never do this again!" Umibozu would stay employed this way for the rest of the series's runnote .
    • When Kaori has trouble finding gigs (again) and accosts Ryo for caring more about hooking up with beautiful girls than seeking new jobs, Ryo says "when the time comes, work will come to me", and Kaori, out of sheer boredom, claims that she wishes that "something would finally happen". Cue an airplane coming towards their apartment and crashing into it.note 
      Kaori: Hey, don't blame this on me! Didn't you say, when the time comes, work will come to you?
    • Late in an arc in which Ryo is hired to bodyguard an animal rights activist by said activist's father, whose relationship with his daughter is strained, Ryo "invites" himself to a ride on the backseat of the motorcycle as she starts riding with the intention of getting her to talk to her father. The activist tells Ryo to get off, but Ryo defies her and claims she'll never throw him off no matter how fast she rides her motorcycle... only to fall off her motorcycle after he gets caught on a tree branch by the neck.
    • The arc that features Michihiko and Haruka Jinguchi starts with Haruka getting lost by herself in a busy street block, worrying aloud that she might get hit on by strangers, and wondering what to do next. Cue Ryo, after being rejected by a woman he hits on (yet again), hitting on her the moment he sees her.
    • During Ryo's showdown against a hypnotist, who managed to implant a hypnotic suggestion into Ryo's client in that particular arc (a stunt actress) with the intent of getting her killed in her upcoming stunt performance to Make It Look Like an Accident, the hypnotist imposes a hallucinogenic illusion into Ryo while Ryo looks at him to prevent Ryo from knowing the real deal from the mirages. Just as the hypnotist is about to throw a knife at Ryo to kill him, Ryo warns him that he'll be able to locate the knife the moment it's thrown and then fight back right away. The hypnotist, believing Ryo is merely bluffing, throws his knife anyway... and finds out to his cost that Ryo's words were no mere bluff, as Ryo, upon hearing the sound of the knife approaching him, locates the knife and the hypnotist at once before firing a shot, which not only destroys the knife in its track but injures the hypnotist enough to break his hypnotic hallucination as well, allowing Ryo to have him tied up while Ryo himself goes to save his hypnotized client.
    • At one point during Miyuki and Kaori's attempt to escape from Miyuki's pursuers, Kaori tells Miyuki that she's in charge after Kaori expends the bullets in her gun fighting off the first pursuers, with Miyuki responding with "I can dodge the incoming bullets with ease!" in turn. Barely seconds afterwards, their next pursuers fire shots at them, shattering a side-view mirror and deflating a tire in their wake.
      Kaori: And you tell me you can dodge bullets with ease?!
    • After agreeing to be the bodyguard of Misako Kusaka, an ER surgeon who is a friend of Reika's, Ryo manages to evade Kaori's surveillance and goes to Misako's house to insure that they'll have no interference as he seduces her. They go in... And Ryo is promptly jumped and cockblocked by the MANY dogs, cats, and a few bunnies she took from the street. When Kaori enters Misako's residence and sees Ryo too preoccupied with caring for Misako's pets to seduce her, Kaori finds the way Ryo's plan backfired Actually Pretty Funny and bursts into hearty laughter, much to Ryo's annoyance.
    • The chronologically final example of this trope occurs when Kreutz, who has Kaori abducted by his own troops in order to draw Ryo out for direct confrontation, asks one of his personal soldiers at one point for status update regarding Ryo's battle against his own private army. He expects Ryo to have died by this point, but his soldier responds that, not only is Ryo still alive, but three-fourths of his own private soldiers are wiped out as well.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Handguns chambered for magnum rounds are very much overkill against unarmored targets that aren't Umibozu, yet Ryo and co. use them almost exclusively. In a more typical example, Ryo once used a rifle chambered for .500 Nitro Express rounds (a hunting round created to take down big game such as buffalos, rhinoceros and elephants) as part of a complicated scheme to give a very humiliating death to a boxer who fixed his matches with threats and blackmail, and took care of explaining how powerful it was beforehand.
  • Thermometer Gag: Part of Ryo's unfortunate experience in trying to bodyguard Yoshimi Iwai incognito includes this, as Kaori, having disguised herself (with glasses and a stolen nurse uniform) and claimed to be Iwai's newly-appointed apprentice, gets into Iwai's private-care room to prevent Ryo from doing anything inappropriate to Iwai herselfnote . When Iwai asks Kaori to use a thermometer to take a patient's temperature, Kaori obliges... by inserting it into Ryo's backside. Iwai corrects Kaori at once by demonstrating the action of placing it inside the patient's mouth. The problem is that Iwai forgot to disinfect the thermometer before putting it inside Ryo's mouth, so now she and Kaori must disinfect the thermometer... and Ryo's mouth as well.
  • 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.
  • Toilet Humour: A disturbingly large number of gags involve Ryo or another character going to the toilet (or faking it), with one leading to a subversion and lampshading of Nobody Poops.
  • Touch Telepathy: Sara can gain access to other people's thoughts by touching them. When she does this on Ryo, this often leads to...
    • Dirty Mind-Reading: Sara is entranced by Ryo and his abilities, despite the fact that his mind is filled with "Mokkori" most of the time.
  • Undead Tax Exemption: Averted: Ryo is legally dead since he was three and the aircraft he was on with his parents crashed, and has returned to Japan as a stowaway on a ship. Because of this he doesn't legally exist, and can't hold a real job, administer his own money (Kaori does it for him), or marrying.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Various, including 'mokkori' for anything related to sex.
    • A story arc used "going to pee" for "exacting righteous revenge on a Yakuza clan that burned down a park just to Kick the Dog and believed they'd get away with it thanks to the lack of evidence". Ryo was one of those who used it, and his revenge had a level of epicness proportional to his Gag Penis.
  • Unwanted Harem: One story arc has a female-central version. Kimiko, the seventeen-year-old Girl of the Week in said story arc, finds herself surrounded by many men who wish to marry her despite her clear lack of interest in marriage at this point in her life (that, and the fact that all of the pursuing men are strangers). Her grandfather hires Ryo to help her keep the pursuers off her back, while Ryo considers finding out the reason behind such a sudden surge of pursuers imperative to fulfilling his job.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Ryo and Umibozu. They insult, prank and make a fool of each other all the time, and when caught on opposing sides of the same job they don't esitate at trying to kill each other, but when one is in need the other has a chance to show up and help, and woe is the fool who gets in their way.
    Ryo: "Kaori, it's so obvious you don't read Fist of the North Star. You write it 'Invincible Enemy', but you read it 'Friend'.
  • Voice Changeling:
    • Ryo can make a flawless impression of any voice after hearing it once, often accompanying it with a pathetic disguise.
    • Silver Fox is implied to be one: he could imitate the voice of a professional photographer well enough to fool his model, and then imitated Ryo's voice well enough to fool Kaori. Kaori still saw through his disguise, but that's because she was expecting something like that and had a test ready (namely, her bra. Silver Fox faked being aroused, but Ryo wouldn't have been).
  • Volleying Insults: Ryo and Kimiko, a seventeen-year-old Girl of the Week with an Unwanted Harem, really go after each other this way when they meet at Cat's Eye Cafe. Combined with both having No Indoor Voice at the time, it may also qualify for Ham-to-Ham Combat.
    Ryo: Show some respect while talking to your elders, enemy of my penis!
    Kimiko: Shut up! I'm not obligated to show you any respect, you lowdown playboy!
    Ryo: Lowdown?! Take that back right now! I'm a very upright, earnest, and honest playboy!
    Kimiko: And who's supposed to believe that?!
    Ryo: You! Now apologize to my penis!
    Kimiko: I won't! Everything was your fault!
    Ryo: Do you know how much I suffered?!
    Kimiko: Not one bit less than you deserve!
    Ryo: Do you know how painful it was to retain a mokkori for sixty minutes? Had I relaxed even one bit, I would have been thrown off the train!
    Kimiko: Ha! If you die, all women in this world would win!
    Ryo: If I die, more women would cry than the sky has stars!
    Kimiko: Oh, do you know how many stars there are in the heavens?!
    Ryo: I was just using an euphemism, stop taking everything literally!
    Umibozu: SHUT UP!!
  • War Is Hell: Ryo knows it, and even delivered a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to an arms trafficker asking him if he had any idea of what a battlefield is.
  • We Help the Helpless: the City Hunter team, though most of their jobs will involve shooting sooner or later.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Hideyuki's death changed the whole paradigm of the story.
    • Whenever Ryo's acquaintances from the US show up.
  • Wham Line: Mick Angel revealing who had hired him to kill Ryo.
    "My client is your father."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • The first chapter of the manga ends with Ryo telling his cancer-ill client to not pay him with her life insurance but to allow him to be her man in her last days, but we never see her again (she could be the woman who jumped Ryo in his home and considered himself his fiancee that appeared in the following story arc, but they acted very differently and Only Six Faces didn't help).
    • The strange people living in Ryo's building. They showed up in one anime episode/manga story arc, and then disappeared.
    • Sayaka Ryujin moves into Ryo's home halfway her story arc with the stated intention to marry Ryo, but at the end of her arc she disappears with no apparent reason.
    • Union Teope in the anime: they have a one-episode appearance to kill Hideyuki (with the episode leaving out most of the story arc, but then disappear after that, with only another episode where they show up. Averted in the manga, where their reason to disappear is clearly stated (Ryo was dead-set to destroy them and had utterly mocked and fooled their best hitman before killing him, so they had to find someone capable of doing the job before returning to Japan), they set in motion Sayaka Ryujin's story arc, and return at the end of the manga.
    • Kasumi Aso: at the end of her story arc she starts working at the Cat's Eye, but she doesn't reappear in the anime.
    • The chief and Kazue disappear after Silver Fox's second arc. This is very notable because Kazue initial story arc was based on a killer bee and the need to find an antidote that doesn't cause impotence, antidote that reappeared when the villain of Kasumi Aso's second arc hypnotized Ryo into impotence.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: The villain Eran Dayan was allergic to men, and would get hives whenever one came near him.
    • Heart Is an Awesome Power: When he moved to kill him, Ryo discovered that Eran could sense him thanks to his allergy, and got nearly killed multiple times because Eran always knew wherever he was, making impossible to hide and surprise him.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Ryo and Kaori's casual dismissal of other people's health and tendency to cause extreme property damage has been called out many times, to no effect. Kaori is the worst offender of the two, having done things like swapping the radiography of Ryo's leg with the one of a yakuza who had just broke his own (Ryo was to stay in the hospital to guard his charge. A few seconds after Ryo called her out on this, the poor Yakuza started crying in pain because the nurses were forcing him to walk and leave), and attacked Ryo with a defibrillator (her answer when Ryo called her out was that she could restart his heart with it).
  • Whispered Threat: During the Kimiko arc, after Kimiko's grandfather tricks Ryo into peeping at her while she's taking a shower and getting discovered in order to avoid answering questions while Ryo interrogates him, Kimiko decides to get Ryo to pretend to be her fiancee for the purpose of helping to keep her Unwanted Harem away from her. Faced with Ryo's unwillingness to cooperate, she whispers to Ryo that she would tell Kaori about Ryo peeping on her while she was bathing if he doesn't play along. The thought of Kaori going ballistic towards him should she find out about this incident forces Ryo into agreeing.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: A literal, Played for Laughs version. Ryo mocks Umibozu at every chance he gets (the nickname Umibozu itself is part of it, as it means 'sea monster' and replaced both Umi's real name and previous code-name Falcon), so when Umibozu finds Ryo in an embarrassing situation himself, Umibozu will snicker privately at best or let out hearty laughters at worst.
    • After a hypnotist made Ryo believe he had a bigger penis, Umibozu takes the chance to mock Ryo, even running to Ryo's home to laugh in his face when rumors started saying that the loss in the penis contest had made him impotent.note 
    • When Ryo's aerophobia is discovered, Umibozu, in addition to laughing out loud, also chases Ryo with a remote airplane toy to freak him out, right up until Ryo gets fed up and shoves said airplane into his face.
    • When a weaponsmith entrusts her baby daughter to Ryo without Ryo's knowledge (he's drunk at the time), Ryo briefly finds himself caring for the baby while looking for said weaponsmith. Omibozu laughs opon seeing Ryo carrying said baby on his back.
      Umibozu: A child-carrying sweeper? Now I've seen it all.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?:
    • Ryo is aerophobic (in travel only, helicopters are fine) which is most probably attributed to his previous experience with planes.
      • A few episode of the anime where he flies with no problem were 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 funny scenes, and to plot-point moments as well.
    • Kaori is afraid of ghosts. The story arc featuring the spirit of a deceased woman who borrows her twin sister's body momentarily to communicate with her and Ryo is particularly nerve-wrecking for her.
  • Widowed at the Wedding: One arc starts with Ryo encountering the Girl of the Week who's paying respect to her late husband at a cemetery. According to her, her deceased husband had health issues with his heart and died shortly after her wedding with him concluded, resulting in their wedding anniversary being his death-day instead.
  • Written Sound Effect: This was used extensively in the anime, sometimes when Kaori hits Ryo with a hammer during his perverted antics.
  • Yakuza: They show up quite often, ranging from more or less honorable groups to dog-kicking criminals. According to Makimura, himself and Ryo aren't too different either.
  • You Have Failed Me: Crops out once in a while in Union Teope. Always justified, as those killed because of this trope have committed extremely stupid errors that cannot be excused by simply being Overshadowed by Awesome (that is normally forgiven).
  • 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!"


City Hunter

Kaori's blush is mistaken for a fever.

How well does it match the trope?

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Main / HighPressureEmotion

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