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Manga / City Hunter

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"Nookie never lies!"
Ryo Saeba

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

The City Hunter manga by Tsukasa Hojo ran in Weekly Shounen Jump from 1985 to 1992. It spawned four anime series, several OVAs 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.

Midway into March 2018, Sunrise announced a new movie: City Hunter: Shinjuku Private Eyes, slated for theaters in February 2019, 20 years after the last one. In April 2019, Sunrise revealed that Discotek Media has licensed not just this movie, but also all other TV shows, OVAs and previous films in the series.

A French Live-Action Adaptation, City Hunter: The Cupid's Perfume, was also released in February 2019.

Ryo appeared as a playable character in Jump Force.

For the Korean Series of the same name, see The City Hunter.

For the spinoff, see City Hunter Rebirth

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).
  • 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 taken Up to Eleven.
    • 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 offence that Ryo won't try and jump her.
  • 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 kind hearted badasses, isn't he?
  • Bald of Awesome: 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.
  • 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 licence, and you can't own pistols unless you're a member of the police or the Self-Defence 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.
  • Bodyguard Crush: Ryo took many a bodyguard job. Most of the time, his charge fell in love with him.
  • 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 her's at him. Characters also run outside the panel or break them sometimes. Intense Close Up is also treated like the character's face literally getting larger.
  • 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 to Eleven.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Cool Gun: A lot. Colt Python, Smith & Wesson Model 29, Desert Eagle, Colt M1911, and many more.
  • 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.
    • 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 to make a honest woman happy.
    • Ryo had spent an arc protecting an old friend of his: a weaponsmith 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 that Ryo was trying to do).
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Ryo, big time. Orphaned at such a young age he doesn't even know his actual birthday? Check. Becoming a Child Soldier to survive being orphaned? Check. Being the initial test subject of the Angel Dust, and the only man who has ever recovered from its withdrawal symptoms? Ouch!
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Saeko relies on this a bit much for a police officer.
  • The Dog Bites Back: A light-hearted 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 codename Falcon), so when an hypnotist made Ryo believe he had a bigger penis he took the chance to mock him back, 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. At the end of the story arc, the hypnotist was made impotent permanently.
  • 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 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 stuck, 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 their close partnership, great ability and looks.
    • Kasumi Asou alias Theif n°305 was nicknamed 'Flying Little Butt' by Ryo due 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."
  • 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.
  • Expy: Ryo is based on Masato 'The Rat' Kamiya, a perverted Gentleman Thief from Cat's Eye.
  • Fair Cop:
    • Saeko
    • Hideyuki used to be one before resigning in disgrace over failing to save their Reverse 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Gun Porn
  • 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.
  • 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:
  • 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.
  • 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 that they appear.
  • Hitman with a Heart: Ryo, Umibozu, Mick.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 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.
  • 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, he 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).
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch:
    • Ryo is quite sadistic with his enemies, at least in a funny way. In the manga version the General wasn't killed in a duel immediatly after he appeared, but had his beloved jewelry invaded by pigs (that he hates) and the jewels eaten by said pig, his beloved art collection destroyed and the money he was supposed to bring to his boss stolen from under his nose (with Ryo declaring he could kill him whenever he wanted and purposefully leaving him alive) before their duel. Ryo had already declared himself the most sadistic person in Japan since after destroying the art collection.
    • In another occasion he captured two opposing hitmen and, to discover who they worked for, stripped them to their underwear, tied them to the floor, placed bottles of nitroglycerine in their hands, placed bird food on their body and set a flock of chickens on them. They broke immediatly, but because they didn't know who had hired them they got left with the birds and no idea the bottles actually contained water. As soon as they escaped they had their client tell them his identity, just in case they got captured again (they did).
    • One arc ended with the villain, his son and his guards impotent.
    • The very first: in the first manga chapter/anime episode Ryo was hired to kill a boxer who fixed his matches with blackmail (and murdered his client's fiancee when he refused to give up a champion shot), and did it in such a way it looked like the champion killed him and threw him out of the ring with a single punch, right after he declared he would win the match in that round.
    • The most sadistic event happened right after the first chapter. Ryo had been hired to apprehend a serial killer specialized in raping and murdering teenagers and young women, so Ryo started making clear he knew his face and where he lived, placed a fake bomb in his car, and when he still refused to give himself up to the police Ryo shot him in the gun hand, the legs and the other shoulder with crossbow bolts that penetrated enough in the muscles to hurt a lot and short enough they were impossible to take out without cutting him open, all while giving him an And This Is for... speech, dedicating each bolt to every single girl the guy raped and killed. And when he still refused to give himself up (and instead tried to run over Ryo and his client) he got shot in the head with his own gun.
  • 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.
  • Knife Nut: Saeko: she may be a good shot with a gun, but it's with her scalpel-like knives that she's really dangerous.
  • 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 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 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.
  • 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.
    • Up to Eleven 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.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: Happens twice, first due genetically engineered bee with a super-potent venom (it was a side effect of the initial antidote) and later due 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • Manchild: Ryo's emotional maturity outside of work is questionable at best.
  • 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 he could defeat 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.
  • 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 an 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.
  • Nurse with Good Intentions: Yoshimi Iwai, oh so much.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Overprotective Dad: 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.
  • Panty Shot
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Rare Guns: We have a strange example with one of Ryo's guns: the Smith & Wesson Model 58 is already rare due little production, but Ryo has one particularly accurate due a quirk of manufacturing that happens only on one gun every thousand. Given that the total production of the Model 58 is of about 20,000 guns, there are only twenty of those 'one of thousand' over-accurate guns (and Ryo breaks out his one only when he needs to bring Up to Eleven his already near-perfect aim).
    • Done in a more classical fashion with the appearance of a couple AutoMag. One of the owners is a rich man with many resources and little knowledge of weapons (his Mooks, being actual military forces duped in his service, employed more standard military hardware), while the other is a former mercenary who initially carried .38 firearm and grabbed the first powerful thing he could find when he realized that a .38 bullet can barely wound Umibozu.
      • Another one showed up in the anime as the side arm of Geruma of the Lodos Mafia, who was even faster than Ryo (Ryo survived only because he was almost as fast and shot his bullet in air, and then shot him before the hitman recovered from the shock of having a bullet shot down in air). The gun is implied to be chambered either for the .44 AMP or the more widespread .45 Winchester Magnum, as the following scene shows the gun is more powerful than Ryo's Python. In a mild subversion, Ryo and Geruma explains one of the problems of using an Auto Mag: it's not a good weapon for a quick draw (the fact Geruma could still outdraw Ryo is a minor moment of awesomeness).
    • The manga-only character Mick Angel carries a Desert Eagle. Differently from all other appearances of Rare Guns in the manga, Mick is a professional who could have a better choice.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Many, many times, from pretty much everyone, but Reika (Saeko's sister) topped everyone with her way to search and identify a Corrupt Cop who was selling informations and confiscated drugs to Yakuza groups and had murdered and dishonored another cop: blackmail said Yakuza groups and take so much of their money they'd have to beg the Corrupt Cop to deal with her, and using the Yakuza money to pay the pension the family of the late cop would get had he not been dishonored.
  • 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: Hideyuki.
    • Mick Angel too: his death at the hands of Union Teope serves to show that shit has hit the fan hard.
  • 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).
  • 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 Coat Flashing: Saeko does this to distract the hijackers on a plane.
  • 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.
  • She's Not My Girlfriend: The usual Ryo/Kaori dynamic.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Telepathy: Episode 41 of season 2 where Ryo's client is a young girl with a unique telepathic ability to read minds.
    • Dirty Mind-Reading: The young girl, Sara, is entranced by Ryo and his abilities, despite the fact that his mind is filled with "Mokkori" most of the time.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Tsundere : Kaori, just Kaori.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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!"


Video Example(s):


City Hunter

Kaori's blush is mistaken for a fever.

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Example of:

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