Netflix has greenlit another live-action adaptation of the classic 1980s-era Manga series City Hunter. The streaming giant has also revealed its pick for the leading man and filmmaker in charge of the movie.
Written by Tsukasa Hojo and serialized in Weekly Shounen Jump, City Hunter was one of the most popular manga series of the ’80s and told the story of professional “sweeper” Ryo Saeba, who solves crimes and chases ladies in a fictional version of Toyko, forming the titular freelance City Hunter business to help others and rid the city of crime. The highly acclaimed series is the latest in Netflix‘s acquisitions as it attempts to outpace the competition, even adding mobile games to its content roster in recent times.
The Hollywood Reporter confirms that the streaming giant has greenlit the City Hunter film which will focus on the adventures of Ryo and Kaori, the sister of his former partner who is killed, forcing the two together for Kaori’s safety and to resolve the murder. Tatsuro Mishima, responsible for penning the script for Netflix‘s Yu Yu Hakusho adaptation, wrote the City Hunter adaptation. Additionally, The End of the Tiny World filmmaker Yuichi Sato has been attached to direct the project, which is described as a “modern-day updated version of the manga, set in the bustling streets of Shinjuku.”
The main role of Ryo Saeba has also been cast, with Japanese leading man Ryohei Suzuki emerging as the top pick for the role. “I am thrilled to be playing Ryo Saeba and feel a great deal of responsibility to portray this beloved, legendary character created by Tsukasa Hojo,” Suzuki said concerning the role. “I cannot wait for both existing fans as well as newcomers around the world to fall in love with Ryo Saeba and his fun, action-packed adventures around modern-day Tokyo.” The choice seems fitting and mutually beneficial, similar to when Takumi Kitamura was cast as Yusuke for Netflix‘s Yu Yu Hakusho adaptation.
Hojo, the original creator of City Hunter, also had some words about the adaptation. “I always hoped the lead would be played by someone who really liked City Hunter and thanks to Ryohei‘s unwavering passion, the time has finally come. Thanks to the dedicated cast and crew, I’m looking forward to the title being brought to screen, with a fresh and realistic perspective that isn’t strictly bound to the original Manga.” He also clarified that the adaptation had been in the works for quite some time behind the scenes, with Netflix announcing it almost in tandem with its acquisition of a My Hero Academia live-action adaptation.
While some fans are excited about the adaptation, others are still wary after a stream of failures to properly adapt Manga and anime in live-action format by western companies, going as far back as Dragonball Evolution and most recently seen in the failure of Netflix‘s Cowboy Bebop, which cast doubt on the viability of similar projects in the works. Whether or not Netflix learns from the past will have to be seen.
City Hunter is scheduled to be available on Netflix in 2024.