City Hunter and the Curious Case of Mokkori

Ryo Saeba taking aim from the wing of an airplane

I started watching City Hunter. Its formula is simple: Ryo Saeba is a cool guy, a badass, and a lecher. Akira Kamiya does a great job depicting all three facets, changing from his serious voice to a perverted one in seconds. Seeing him transform like that makes the show exciting to watch.

Funnily enough, Ryo Saeba the lecher is what intrigues me the most. For those who don’t know, Ryo has his own catchphrase: mokkori, which pretty much means “erection” in Japanese. Be it mokkori hips or mokkori aerobics, Ryo is always on the lookout for all things mokkori. Predictably, his advances only end up in a single grope before he gets, err, disciplined by his beautiful victim–Ryo never really gets any, and this is a shounen manga. There are limits.

Why mokkori, then? Do we really need these sexual antics? It’s not that I’m condemning them–far from it, Ryo’s escapades descend into hilarious slapstick–but I’m curious as to why they’re around. Their humor comes from their utter brazenness! Did Tsukasa Hojo think that City Hunter needed levity of the raucous kind, to keep the series from becoming a teeny version of Golgo 13? Did he want kids to relate more to Ryo? Not only is he a great shot and a smooth talker, he’s also a ravenous pervert like you, kids! Man, Shounen Jump used to be this wild and tough.

It even has its own Wikipedia entry. Look at that mascot!

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9 Responses to City Hunter and the Curious Case of Mokkori

  1. r042 says:

    Oddly enough City Hunter is one of the series I’m featuring in my “Anime: 1970-97” talk at an upcoming con because male nympho Roy Fokker and his pal Jerid Messa dicking about in near future permanent 1980s setting is great fun.

    That said the humour is very of its time (but not as bad as some of Lupin III or anything involving Analyzer) – it’s interesting, therefore, as an example of the far more raunchy approach to smutty comedy older anime had.

  2. Hums says:

    The original joke in the City Hunter manga wasn’t just that he had a mokkori catchphrase but that Ryo would literally get a massive erection that showed through his pants. This of course would never play in a TV anime. So instead Sunrise added more slap stick in hopes of replacing the lost visual humor.

  3. rockmanshii says:

    And yeah, I recently started reading the manga on Batoto and it’s much more huuh, visual with the Mokkori.
    Maybe you should check out Hagure Yuusha no Esthetica, first person I thought of when seeing the hero Oosawa Akatsuki is Saeba Ryo.

    • schneider says:

      I think I’ve seen a whiff of Hagure Yuusha no Esthetica. It’s not really my cup of tea, but let me investigate further.

      Funny, the torrent I got had a helpful image charting the relationships between all TV series, specials, and movies. There’s a whole lot of material!

      • rockmanshii says:

        Yeah there’s quite a lot of City Hunter animation to enjoy.
        When you’re done with everything and feel bored there’s the live action movie with Jackie Chan for a good laugh.

  4. Matt Wells says:

    I think the in-universe excuse for Ryo’s mokkori antics was the super soldier conditioning that made him a crack shot also gave him an incredible sex drive. Hence his desire to bang everything that moves. I’m not sure why Hojo went equal parts goofy and gritty crime stories, but his works always have demonstrated a healthy streak of pervy humor. Maybe he likes having his cake and eating it too.

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