Black Cat (anime)/dir. Shin Itagaki/ 24 episodes/ 2005 – 2006
I bought the Black Cat anime series on a whim earlier in the year, about the same time I purchased the Beck anime series. I first watched Black Cat, a series I enjoyed, but then before I could ever write about it, I started watching Beck. And well, this happened.
Beck was one of the best anime series I have ever watched and the unfortunate side effect was that Black Cat was left as an afterthought. So for me, Black Cat has the unfortunate distinction of forever being paired with Beck.
So after a couple of months, I’m finally getting around to reviewing Black Cat, an entertaining series with nice visuals, an interesting set-up, and memorable characters, but the story sputters out towards the end.
(hit the jump for the rest of the review)
Black Cat is the story of Train Heartnet, aka the Black Cat, a trained assassin in the organization Chronos, which (believe it or not) is a secret organization that seeks world peace and controls 1/3 of the world’s economy. Now if a secret organization that controls 1/3 of the world’s economy and has specially trained assassins isn’t a give-away that some shit is going on, then something’s wrong with you. Eventually, Train distances himself away from Chronos and meets up with Sven Vollified, a gentleman bounty hunter, and Eve, a nano-weapon of mass destruction in the form of a little girl (yup this is an anime!) and this rag-tag group tries to find out what the hell is going on, and save the world.
If you understood what I just wrote, then you can already tell that the story is a convoluted mess, Yet still, the set-up really did pique my interest. A secret world-controlling organization, corrupt politicians, an ancient magic, assassins, along with the well done action scenes and smooth animation made Black Cat a pleasant series.
There is actually one part that stood out to me. SPOILER ALERT!
The love story at the begiining of the series between Train and Saya Minatsuki was very subtle and well executed. It was this love story and the death of Saya that made Train question Chronos’ actions and its place in the world. This early plot point really drew me into the series. However, this early plot point also showed the weakness of the series. This nicely done love story lasted all but 3 episodes and had no follow through. Yeah I get that Train’s love for Saya is the thing that pushes him throughout the series, but with only 3 episodes of build-up, clmax and conclusion in the Saya love story, all that emotion is lost when you still have 21 episodes to go. That in a nutshell is the Black Cat anime series. Interesting set-up, exlposions, fast-paced and exciting action scenes, but no follow through. With 2 episodes left in the series, the story takes a major plot twist, and by that time I was done with the world of Black Cat.
Make no mistake, Black Cat is a pretty good series. It’s frantic, it’s fun, the characters are gratifying, but it lacks that certain oomph that brings it to another level, like Beck did.
It does make me wonder though, if I didn’t watch Beck right after Black Cat, would have I enjoyed Black Cat more?