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City Hunter: Secret Service
City Hunter: Secret Service
City Hunter: Secret Service is the fifth TV special in the series. It debuted in Japan during the early part of 1996 and was directed by Joe Flint. City Hunter is one of the more successful Japanese franchises, with graphic novels, movies, television specials, a television series, and a live action film that starred Jackie Chan.
Joe Saeba is back in action as the City Hunter when James McGuire, an ex-political prisoner now running for president of the third-world country Guinam, hires him to protect one of his secret service agents. Things are slightly more complicated when it is revealed the agent is none other than his long-lost daughter, Anna, and that her life is in jeopardy from unknown assassins. Now the City Hunter must uncover who they are, while Anna and her father come to terms with his secret past.
For the most part, I enjoyed City Hunter: Secret Service, though the things that bother me about the series, such as the mallets and Joe's obsession with "nookie," are still here. I suppose these attract some people, but sometimes it gets to be a bit much. I think City Hunter works best when Joe is more serious, and the last part of Secret Service is terrific. The special, running about ninety minutes in length, is rarely dull, though can sometimes be taxing with Kaori's outrageous ways of catching and dealing with Joe "in the act." The special is given a 15+ rating by ADV, which is appropriate, given the sexual innuendo and a few violent scenes.
City Hunter: Secret Service is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The transfer is quite good, with vibrant colors, solid blacks, and no color bleeding or smearing. However, there is some noticeable aliasing and edge enhancement.
City Hunter: Secret Service is presented in Dolby 2.0 Stereo in English or Japanese. Optional English subtitles are available in two flavors – subtitles in English for only the music and feature-length subtitles. The stereo mix makes adequate use of the front soundstage and features some minor directionality. Dialogue throughout is crisp and clean with no distortion. Though I primarily listened to the Japanese track, I watched a fair amount with the English dub, and it certainly wasn't bad. The English subtitles take out some of the humor that's more apparent in the dub, though the voice actor for the City Hunter (Mark Hildreth) sometimes slips into a southern accent that sounds out of place.
Extras include the opening and ending textless, TV spots in Japanese and English, ADV Previews, and a City Hunter Extra. Though I'm not entirely sure, the City Hunter Extra appears to be an epilogue of sorts, as it features the criminal that appeared in the prologue. It runs a few minutes in length. ADV Previews are available for: Excel Saga, City Hunter: The Motion Picture, Dai-Guard, Wild Arms, Steel Angel Kurumi, and Orphen.
City Hunter: Secret Service is definitely worth checking out for fans of the series, though newcomers might want to start with City Hunter: The Motion Picture, which should be coming out from ADV later this year. Recommended.