‘City Hunter’ 2024 Ending Explained & Film Summary: Did Saeba And Kaori Save Kurumi?


City Hunter is a 2024 Japanese action comedy film streaming on Netflix that is basically a live-action adaptation of the popular manga series by the same name. The plot follows two private detectives, Saeba and Makimura, who take on a job to find a missing young girl but soon get involved in great trouble. Reports of human beings suddenly turning violent and unleashing terror before dying also make the police in Tokyo’s Shinjuku quite distressed, and the matters might all just be related. Overall, City Hunter is fast-paced and funny in a sleazy manner but ultimately makes for a mostly average watch.

Spoiler Alert

What is the Netflix film about?

City Hunter begins with a young woman walking into a restaurant in Tokyo’s Shinjuku city to meet someone. She is desperate to find her missing younger sister, Kurumi, who has not contacted her family in the last few days after supposedly meeting with someone in Kabukicho. It becomes clear that the woman is actually talking to the protagonists of the film—Ryo Saeba and Hideyuki Makimura, who are private investigators by profession. While Makimura is sincere about the cause and agrees to look for Kurumi, Saeba is a playboy who is charmed by the client’s physical beauty, making the pair take up the case. 

As the protagonists’ search for Kurumi begins, they spot her being held captive by a group of gangsters inside an apartment building, and Saeba immediately barges in to help. His excellent sharpshooting skills come in handy, and the goons are quickly brought down, but Kurumi refuses to be helped by him. As soon as the coast is clear, the young woman runs out of the room and tries to evade both Saeba and Makimura, who have also joined the pursuit. The two detectives are once again surrounded by gangsters belonging to the local syndicate, who are not happy with such an intrusion on their turf. Kurumi, meanwhile, escapes the building by making an exceptionally long jump to the other side. Although the detectives are able to catch up to her in some time, Kurumi ultimately escapes by making another humanly impossible jump onto the roof of a nearby truck. All that Makimura can find at the place are two vials of some blue liquid inside, which he immediately hides in his pocket.

As the night’s action seems to be over, Makimura goes over to a restaurant to celebrate his younger sister Kaori’s eighteenth birthday. He also intends to make use of the occasion to let Kaori know that she is not his biological sister, as their father had adopted the girl in her early childhood. Although the relationship between the stepsiblings is very close, Makimura cannot fathom the courage to tell Kaori the truth, and tragedy strikes before he can reveal it. A truck suddenly rams into the side of the restaurant, and the driver, who is clearly under the influence of some drug or supernatural element, comes out and kills Makimura. As Saeba rushes to the scene after hearing the loud bang from the crash, he meets his dear friend for the last time, with Makimura asking him to take care of his sister. Although the world moves on from the sudden and tragic death of Makimura, Kaori grows determined to solve the mystery of her brother’s death and insists on Saeba helping her along the way.

What is the blue liquid in the vials?

After Makimura is stabbed by the drugged assailant, he remembers to hand over the vials to Saeba before ultimately succumbing to the injuries. The vials, which contained a mysterious blue liquid, had originally dropped from Kurumi’s pocket when the woman made her escape from the detectives, and the contents of the vial are one of the main elements of the film. A number of strange and unexplainable occurrences had been happening all over Shinjuku in the past few days, in which certain individuals were turning extremely violent and killing people. One of the officers in the local police department, Saeko Nogami, has very close ties with the protagonists, and she explains that the perpetrators in these incidents were mostly young men and women who lived lonely lives and did not really have any family members or friends to go look for them. She also mentions that the perpetrators were found dead within a few days, making it all the more peculiar as to why they would suddenly take their own lives. In fact, the man who kills Makimura is also found, shortly afterwards, lying dead in an alleyway.

All of the dead bodies of these individuals had similar clues, which suggested that they had been heavily influenced by some drug or medicine, which had visibly turned the nerves on their necks blue. While Saeko fears that a new drug has been introduced to the market and is taking a grip on the youth who are most vulnerable to it, Saeba figures out that the cases must be related to the vials with the blue liquid that Makimura had given him. When he gives one of the vials to the police officer, and she gets its composition tested, it is clear that all the dead suspects had traces of this liquid inside their bodies. Further tests reveal that the liquid directly affected the subjects’ brains, giving all of them an inhuman level of strength. The drug also affected their personalities, making them extremely violent and aggressive, which is why they all attacked whatever and whoever they found in front of them. However, once the effects of the drug had worn off, the individuals collapsed and died on their own, meaning that they had not taken their own lives, but the drug had essentially killed them.

With all this information, Saeba deduces that the liquid must be a scientifically created potion called Angel Death, which he had earlier heard about. Angel Death, which is an invention in the world of City Hunter, is basically a serum or potion that can turn any human being into an extremely aggressive and efficient warrior. As Saeba explains, the serum was originally developed many years ago with the purpose of being used in warfare. After all, injecting it into anyone turned them blind with rage, and so there was no chance of having guilt or empathy when killing enemies. However, Angel Death was eventually banned by all governments and institutions as it was deemed too inhumane. But as is clear from the current events in Shinjuku, someone had continued working on it, for the drug seems to have been made more potent than before, and they were now spreading it among people.

Why is Kurumi being searched for?

When Saeba finally agrees to let Kaori be a part of his mission, for he was already secretly investigating the death of his ex-partner, Makimura, they take help from the local syndicate. Despite his sleazy act, Saeba is actually very determined and loyal to his close ones, and is also rather decent when it comes to real situations. Although he is addicted to adult videos and magazines, Saeba later steps in to prevent paparazzis from taking indecent photographs of the cosplayers, indirectly teaching an important lesson in consent. They find out that Kurumi, who can reveal a lot of answers as to why the detective had been killed and about all that has been going on in the area recently, might be in the Toyoko region and instantly rush to the place. While Kurumi initially seemed to be directly involved with the perpetrators who were drugging the people, her character turned out to be one of their victims instead. As Kurumi, a cosplayer by profession, reveals what had happened to her, it becomes clear to Saeba as to why she was being targeted and searched for. After all, the young woman mentions that she had no living relative whatsoever, let alone an elder sister, which means that the client at the beginning of the film, who had appointed the detectives to find her, was not actually related to Kurumi.

Kurumi lived a pretty solitary life, finding respite in her online popularity as a cosplayer and in the company of a handful of friends. However, her close friend, Kento, suddenly disappeared without a trace, and she was naturally very concerned about his well-being. Kurumi went in search of Kento in the area where he had visited recently, and here she was met with trouble herself. A few men in black suits suddenly came out of a van and kidnapped Kurumi, taking her to a medical laboratory of sorts. Here, she saw a number of men and women trapped inside glass chambers and clearly drugged with some substance, which made them act very erratically. She also spotted her dear friend Kento among the hostages, but before she could do anything, a man wearing a lab coat injected her with a syringe. The injection made her senseless, and when she woke up much later, she could see the nerves on her face turn black. 

But Kurumi was still in her senses, and she managed to escape the laboratory, even stealing two vials of Angel Death from there, as proof of her kidnapping. The Angel Death impacts the young woman as well, as she supposedly killed some men, two of whom were gang members, because of which she had been cornered by the goons at the beginning of the film. However, neither did the violent rage last very long in her, nor did she die after the effects of the serum waned off. In fact, Kurumi still had the superhuman powers that the drug gave her, such as the ability to jump exceptionally high, and yet she had not turned into a reckless monster like the others. 

Thus, Kurumi is the first and only test subject in this entire experiment whose body has successfully integrated with the Angel Death serum. It is in order to study her blood and other physical characteristics, to ensure that the perfect Angel Death serum can be developed, that the perpetrators behind this evil plan now want to get hold of her. Saeba and Saeko figured out that the use of the Angel Death serum on unsuspecting citizens in the Shinjuku region was a sort of advertisement being run for the rest of the world to see. The creators of the drug clearly want to sell their invention as a means of warfare to any interested client in the world, and so they want to track down Kurumi and perfectly fine-tune their serum at the earliest. The woman who had posed to be a client at the beginning of City Hunter, desperately asking for help from the detectives, was also part of the gang, and she wanted Makimura and Saeba to find Kurumi for them since the girl had gone underground.

Who are the perpetrators behind the Angel Death Plan?

It becomes clear during the later half of City Hunter that the main group behind this plan of developing and selling Angel Death is an organization named Union Teope. Based in Central America, the group gained power and influence through various shady dealings and inhuman acts over the decades, and at present, they have a very strong hold on the global economy. As the rich always strive to get richer, even at the cost of human lives, Union Teope kept on researching and developing the Angel Death serum even after it got banned, only so that it could sell it one day and earn enormous profits from it. Like any villainous corporate organization, they do not care whether their invention would be used to kill innocent people and would simply sell off the serum to whoever would pay them the most money. An American company spreading its evil branches in Japan is also something rather shocking, if we are to consider the history of the two countries, but it is also the extremely capitalist world, where anyone can be bought over by money, is what enables such a situation.

The organization had been spreading the Angel Death serum all over Shinjuku through a Japanese cosmetics company named Lore, which is basically its operational wing in Japan. In a world that is so obsessed with physical appearance and beauty standards, as suggested by the popularity of the cosplay event, to the point of people like Kurumi completely switching personalities when cosplaying, it was rather easy to find targets. The CEO of Lore had also known about this plan, and she cleverly traps Kurumi by organizing a cosplaying event, but then she does not realize how ruthless her bosses are. While the CEO of Lore considers herself a part of the whole deal, she is very soon killed by the unnamed boss of Union Teope, since her job was only to help capture Kurumi, and so she was disposable after this. The organization is in fact, so powerful, that it had even bought Ito, the senior police officer on to their side, which also speaks for the level of corruption that exists in this world. The fact that the corporation is able to target and kidnap solitary individuals so easily clearly reflects the sheer ignorance and self-centeredness that drives the society, both in this film’s world and in our own.

Incidentally, the Union Teope organization also has a personal connection with the central characters, as they had tested the Angel Death serum one more time in the past, around twenty years ago. At the time, one of the workers of the Union Teope group wanted to resign, stating that he had just had a child, and so he wanted to leave this life of crime and violence. But the boss instead turned the employee into a test subject, and he naturally died as a result of the serum. Makimura’s father, who was also a police officer, had been given the responsibility of investigating his death, and when he found out that the victim had a baby daughter, he decided to adopt her since she had no other family. This girl is indeed Kaori, which means that both her biological father and her stepbrother were killed by the same organization. Although the exact reason behind the murder of Makimura is not made clear, it can be guessed that the detective already knew something about the Angel Death serum through his father’s investigation, and so he was a thorn in the side of Union Teope.

How Did Saeba and Kaori save Kurumi?

In City Hunter‘s ending, an intense showdown takes place on the roof of the Lore building, in which the boss threatens to kill Kaori and kidnap Kurumi. As Saeba defeats the corporate goons and makes his way into the scene, the boss is finally cornered, and he calls for his helicopter to come and rescue him. Seeing this as the best opportunity to take her revenge, Kaori points her gun at the man but then decides not to shoot, as her conscience saves her from becoming a killer. The boss makes one last attempt to shoot at the protagonists, but he is killed by the Union Teope bomb inside his body before he can do so. This act and also the company helicopter choosing to fly away suggest that the upper levels of the corporation no longer want to get involved in this mess. Thus, at the end of City Hunter, Saeba and Kaori do save Kurumi, and then the two become professional partners as well. The film also presents a short end-credits scene in which the letters “XYZ” have been scribbled on the message board of a station in Shinjuku. This had always been the manner in which interested clients contacted the detectives, and so the scene means that they are about to get a new job soon, which Saeba and Kaori will work on together.

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Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya keeps an avid interest in all sorts of films, history, sports, videogames and everything related to New Media. Holding a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies, he is currently working as a teacher of Film Studies at a private school and also remotely as a Research Assistant and Translator on a postdoctoral project at UdK Berlin.

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