“I want to kill City Hunter”. How many times, in over thirty years now, have fans of the work of Tsukasa Hojo have they read or heard this sentence? Yet, it is not a mystery, it is always a bit funny, especially for what is the outcome, more often than not, of the clash, which has always ended with the overwhelming and deafening victory of the good Ryo Saeba. Nonetheless, despite the lifestyle of the most bizarre and perverse private detective in the history of Japanese animation, that sense of continuous danger can become heavy, especially when the passage of time reminds us more and more how difficult it is and at the same time wonderful to have something to lose. With the animated adaptation CITY HUNTER THE MOVIE: Angel DustI study Sunrise it really seems to want to take weight of what was said above and forcefully blurt it out in the faces of the spectators who, let's face it, have always had a visceral love for the protagonist of one of the most long-lived and famous works of his reference medium. On the other hand, the specific weight of the narrative arc discussed, one of the most important on a thematic level of the entire story, was evident that it was destined to lay bare everything we said earlier, thanks not only to an exciting story and full of action but also, and above all, a narrative matryoshka that has its roots in a past never truly explored properly.
Angel Dust it is a rich, well-made product, full of very prominent cameos and, why not, nothing short of pyrotechnics on an audiovisual levelbut above all it is a journey that reveals a side of the protagonist and also of the story itself that perhaps we had not yet truly discovered, especially if we refer only to television material.
- Original title: 劇場版シティーハンター 天使の涙 (Gekijо̄ban CITY HUNTER: Tenshi no Namida)
- English title: CITY HUNTER The Movie: Angel Dust
- Japanese release: September 2023
- Italian release: February 19, 2024
- Platform: Cinema
- Type: action, detective, drama
- Duration: 94 minutes
- Animation studio: Sunrise
- Adapted from: manga by Tsukasa Hojo
- Tongue: Italian, Japanese with subtitles
We reviewed CITY HUNTER The Movie: Angel Dust thanks to the preview provided to us by Anime Factory and PLAION.
Back to the past
Angel Dust It has the great merit of being a river full of emotions and events, right from the start. The film created and supervised by Kenji Kodama takes off like a rocketamong other things by inconveniencing big shots (a number chosen not by chance!) like the three sisters Kisugi (in the Italian version Tashikei), that is, the unforgettable protagonists of the series Cat's Eyewho for the occasion join Lupine And Jigen to create a highly appreciated cameo of large proportions, more for the intrinsic value than for the amount of space received. The beginning of Angel Dust it opens the doors to a very classic story in its management and conception, which however immediately seems to have all it takes to open up to potentially never explored horizons. The fight against the inevitable criminal organization, which for some strange reason seems to be hunting the good guy Ryo Saebaends up, slowly, fading into the background, also due to the arrival of a mysterious figure who, for reasons that we clearly don't want to reveal to you, approaches the protagonist: the beautiful and enigmatic Angie.
Angie: the blonde angel who drives Ryo crazy
Angie he is a highly stereotyped character, but he works well and almost steals the show from the protagonist. His figure stands out to say the least, especially if you contextualize it at the end of the race. The young girl with the icy eyes is destined to strongly upset the ecosystem on which history has been based for years, fundamentally because her presence symbolizes the specter of a past which, like the worst of debt collectors, has returned to ask for the bill in ruthless, cold, impatient and insensitive manner. The plot of CITY HUNTER The Movie: Angel Dustyou will have understood by now, it is very dark. Of course, let's be clear, there is no shortage of the usual hilarious comments and erotic gags of the protagonist, promptly chased and brought back into line by his Kaoribut the change of direction is nothing short of obvious, especially in the second half of the film. CITY HUNTER The Movie: Angel Dust it works very well in terms of narrative, which we found interesting and well orchestrated throughout its duration. The narrative framework, between unwanted and painful discoveries, phases of action and pure espionage, works properly and above all manages to shed light on many of those questions that many fans have asked themselves over the years. All this translates into a vortex of events which, especially at the end, opens the doors to an uncertain future, which this production, created to celebrate thirty-five years of life of the animated series, will have the task of illustrating, also because it is truly impossible don't wonder about how the pieces will then fit together.
The price of pain
One of the most successful aspects of the production, as we told you above, is the management of rhythms. The story told has great narrative value, it sheds light on many things and lays the foundations for just as many others, but it is precisely the way in which everything was transposed onto the screen that makes us appreciate the film even more. During the viewing, net of the inevitable changes of direction in terms of themes and “heaviness” of the topics covered, we found ourselves faced with the almost total absence of dead moments, and it seemed to us that every piece was always in the right place, at the right moment. As we were saying earlier, the way in which the new character was inserted into the story also convinced us a lot. Angie she is a figure of great charm and, combined with the excellent starting points of an always spectacular cast, she manages to make a truly splendid impression, especially because, in certain moments, it seemed to us that the story revolved more around her than around the protagonist himself.
Clearly, this is also due to the quality of the source material on which the film is based, but we found everything condensed properly and told with the right timing and with a familiar tone, which also had the great merit of taking the viewer and make him understand that, in some way, time seems to have almost stopped. If we really wanted to nitpick a bit, that might be it the management of the ending, which we found perhaps a little heavy and confusing. For obvious reasons of pathos and spectacularity, the producers left a little too little space for the meatiest part of the story but, fortunately, a spectacular, memorable and in some ways solemn final battle took care of the situation promptly. which had the great merit of concluding in the best possible way a story with deliberately ruthless hues and which, in the end, reached a climax of unwieldy dimensions to say the least.
Even on an artistic and audiovisual level, the work carried out on the production was decidedly successful. CITY HUNTER THE MOVIE: ANGEL DUST it is a very valid product in terms of animations and performance in general of all the fundamental elements that represent the objective evaluation index of a production of this kind. The animation studio opted for a clear and pleasant general cleanliness of the image, and for a balanced color rendering, without “tears” tending either towards strong and bright colors or towards more muted and soft ones. The chosen color palette manages to always make the image very pleasant, which, combined with very intelligent animation management, gives a winning look to the entire film. Let's be clear: we are not faced with a gigantic or particularly audacious work, on the contrary, but everything works properly. The animations, as we said earlier, we found them very pleasant, especially in the most excited phases and in the management of the exchanges of shots, always very credible and pleasant to see. The overall calculation is therefore successful, without too many worries, and once again praise must also be given in terms of visual continuity, with the team taking care to give the viewer an overall picture that is familiar in its harmony, which seems to want to swear love infinite to a product that, let's face it, has an immortal charm.
Likewise, we found the work done on the sound sector to be nothing short of excellent. Leaving aside the vibrant emotions generated by listening to an immortal piece like GET WILD, which accompanies the end credits as always and which took us back in time a couple of decades, it is the entire soundtrack that accompanies the film that is nothing short of a winner. The general effects are also of an excellent level, with the sounds of weapons, vehicles and so on, always very credible and well contextualised. What convinced me with reservations, however, is the Italian dubbing. Not all the actors chosen to impersonate the various characters in the film seemed equally focused and well involved in the narrative, and this can be understood also and above all in moments in which we heard lines of dialogue that were not very expressive and in any case poorly contextualised with the counterpart animated by the reference character. Let's be clear, the final result is still valid, but perhaps with a little more attention an even more painstaking job could have been done.
Who do we recommend CITY HUNTER The Movie: Angel Dust to?
CITY HUNTER The Movie: Angel Dust it is a product that we would like to recommend hands down to all fans of the series, even to the “less up to date” ones. The great merit of the film is also being able to tie the threads well with the past and to tell its story wellwithout leaving anyone behind and, above all, opening the doors unequivocally towards a phase of the narrative that has all the flavor of having reached the most ruthless and pure climax of its story.
- Excellent direction
- The story has its roots in the protagonist's past and opens the doors to the future
- Angie is a great character
- Quality animations
- Italian dubbing not always perfect
- Perhaps there is a little too little action, which is excessively condensed towards the ending
CITY HUNTER The Movie: Angel Dust
Action, drama, passion
CITY HUNTER THE MOVIE: ANGEL DUST it works, it fascinates, it takes the viewer by the hand and guides him in a story of capital importance, which sheds light on the protagonist's past and projects everything, with a very solid rhythm, towards an uncertain but very spectacular future to see. All this is combined with excellent work carried out in the audiovisual sector which, without particular creative flashes, manages to be an additional winning element, in a production which, in any case, swears and shouts love from every pore towards the reference material, and that's already good.
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