Angel Heart - 18: Family Ties

Title:Angel Heart
Episode:18: Family Ties
Xiang Ying (in the body of a child) finds herself in the midst of a dream which recounts the time when Ryou and Kaori first met. Ryou lies seriously wounded and seemingly unconscious on a bed at Doc's clinic. Kaori, serving as a nurse there, whispers to this strange man, "Mr. Stray Dog" as she calls him, and implores him to survive. Ryou, who is in fact conscious and had been about to attack her with a piece of broken glass, is touched by her words. Next, Xiang Ying overhears Hideyuki explain that Kaori is not really related to him, but was adopted by his policeman father--he wonders if she might have realized this. When Kaori returns to Ryou's room, he has vanished. Ryou runs into Hideyuki in an alley. Hideyuki asks if Ryou might be the professional killer who despatched three "scumbags" recently. He actually has no objection--"There are times when one must punish crime even if it means breaking the law" he explains. Ryou admits nothing, but in return implies that Hideyuki might himself be a well-known vigilante, and, if so, advises him to watch his back...
Gee, and I thought I was something of a City Hunter expert because I'd seen the first few episodes of the 1987-vintage TV series! Along with the previous episode, this one acts as a prequel to that series, revealing a good deal of new detail about how things got started, including who the original City Hunter was, how Ryou and Kaori first met, how Ryou and Hideyuki teamed up, and how Ryou got his name. This might explain why Ryou seemed a bit more bloodthirsty early in the TV series--like the time he assasinated a boxer during a prize fight. Let's just say we get a look at the dark side of Ryou Saeba, which is quite unlike his mokkori-man personality (which we also see some of the first stirrings of!). I'm glad these details were saved until now, because the original series would never have handled them in as powerful and touching a manner. Still no mention of Ryou's career as a mercenary, though...

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