Anime’s greatest P.I./mercenary returns 20 years after his series ended.

Last month fans of landmark anime/manga franchise City Hunter were excited to see the photos of its currently-in-production live-action adaptation. Except, there’s a bit of a catch there.

The French film is technically an adaptation of Nicky Larson, the French-localized version of City Hunter. But that doesn’t mean there’s no new and genuine City Hunter content on the horizon, thanks to the surprise announcement of a brand-new City Hunter anime movie.

Eschewing the standard marketing tactic of starting off with a still image piece of concept art, then slowly trickling out bits of concept art for the next few weeks, the producers of the film, currently titled just City Hunter: The Movie, have dropped a fully animated teaser into fans’ ecstatic laps. In another crowd-pleasing move, the series’ core vocal cast is being reunited, with voice actor Akira Kamiya once again providing the unmistakable voice of Ryo. Also returning as Ikura Kazue as Kaori, one of anime’s earliest (and arguably most famous) female characters with the ability to pull a hammer out of hyperspace when she gets mad…

…Harumi Ichiryusai as Tokyo Metropolitan Police detective Saeko

…Tessho Genda as mercenary/cafe worker Umibozu

…and Mami Koyama as Umibozu’s boss and lover Miki.

Also stepping back into the world of City Hunter is director Kenji Kodama, who directed the original City Hunter TV anime and film, as well as a handful of direct-to-video OVAs and one of its TV movies (though not the 1997 or 1999 TV series, which serves as the last installment of the anime beyond a nebulous freebie produced for purchasers of a reprint of the manga). Character designs are by Kumiko Takahashi, animation director for the City Hunter TV series who went on to serve s character designer for Cardcaptor Sakura, Ouran High School Host Club, and Gundam Unicorn. Ryo and company’s appearances in the trailer don’t look too far removed from the designs originally provided by Sachiko Kamimura, however, retaining their long limbs and meticulously styled hairdos (excepting the perpetually bald Umibozu, of course).

▼ The film’s poster

On the audio side, the preview is accompanied by the franchise’s long-standing theme, TM Network’s “Get Wild,” one of the few anime songs outside of children’s series to achieve long-standing, mainstream recognition and popularity in Japan. As the video comes to a close, Ryo, using his “cool guy” voice (as opposed to his “pervy guy” voice) intensely intones “This city needs a guy like me, you know.”

Story-wise, no details are available, though the preview promises plenty of dramatic turning around by the supporting cast. The new City Hunter anime movie is scheduled to open on February 8, but ticket presales start on August 3, with early purchasers getting a replica keychain of the message chalkboard by which clients contact Ryo. Starting ticket sales six months before a movie’s opening date is surprising, but on the other hand, it’s exactly the sort of boldly confident move Ryo himself would approve of.

Sources: Comic Natalie, Jin
Images: YouTube/アニプレックス

Follow Casey on Twitter, where seeing Akita Kamiya show up unannounced to sing at Anime Expo’s karaoke room open-mic is one of his favorite otaku memories.