If you haven't checked out Black Cat yet then you're missing out on one of FUNimation's best and newest series. Granted it's not a sweeping drama or grand expose about a complex world so if you're looking for a deep show this isn't for you. However, come expecting to have a good time with some fun characters and a vibrant world and you won't be disappointed.
The show takes place in a town renowned for being over run with criminals, gangs, and all manner of bad people. This is a world filled with bounty hunters known as "sweepers" and people that are out to make a name, buck, and living for themselves. Train Heartnet is the titular character because his nickname is the Black Cat. He's an assassin of sorts for an organization known as Chronos and wherever he and his number 13 tattoo go, trouble and death is sure to follow.
At least he used to be an assassin for the organization. After the introduction to the show Train turned to the good side and broke free from Chronos' powerful grip. Helping him live his life as a sweeper are Sven the one-eyed bounty hunter, Rinslet a thief, and Eve a nano-technological breakthrough with the ability to transform her body into weapons. Unfortunately Chronos isn't about to let Train go freely and an old ally named Creed steps forward with aspirations of his own. Several other such warriors have joined his cause to become revolutionary Apostles and through it all Train and company find themselves walking on eggshells.
In volume five the battle between Sweepers, Numbers, and Apostles escalated to a climax on Creed's island. Everyone squared off with their own personal conflicts in between the significantly larger one. Once the dust settled Creed was left virtually powerless and the temporary peace between allies was shattered. This all left the future of Black Cat up in the air and Chronos; or rather the Numbers, stepped forward with their own ambitions.
In the aftermath of Creed's defeat a group of Numbers and Apostles betrayed the others and joined forces to create the Zero Numbers group. They are essentially led by Mason who sets out to kidnap Eve for something more nefarious. His ultimate goal is to combine Eve with the Eden Project to create the world according to his vision. Mason and the Zero Numbers succeed in capturing Eve and removing her personality. This leaves her character blocked off and her body becomes a deadly and easily pliable weapon against those that would stand in Mason's way.
With Eve a part of Eden now, Mason uses the creation to succumb the populous to his will. He creates a rain infused with nano-machines to supply Eden with more power and in the process the true horror of the weapon is revealed. Train, Sven, and company head off to confront Mason before it's too late and in between the battles several other characters from the show's history pop up. This volume makes good use of the cast of personalities that may have been forgotten along the way and if you have watched from the beginning you'll appreciate a lot of what transpires.
In the end Black Cat's torrent of events culminates into one satisfying ending. This was a show with heart, loads of action, and personality throughout the course of its run and it's nice to see these values being held on to in its final moments. If you haven't had the opportunity to check this out and you're looking for a unique and fleshed out series definitely give Black Cat a spin.
Black Cat is presented with a 16:9 anamorphic widescreen transfer which isn't too surprising considering that the show finished production within the past year. The image is pretty clear with a vibrant palette and that great sense of style and fluid animation we have become accustomed to from Gonzo. Like previous volumes there were many moments where compression and grain could be found in each episode. They don't make the show look bad by any stretch of the imagination but they are a flaw that can't be completely ignored.
As is the case with most all anime these days Black Cat gets an English 5.1 presentation along side of pair of stereo tracks for English and Japanese. Like the first volume this one features very strong audio quality in each of the selections. The 5.1 track offered quite a lot of depth during action sequences and the sense of immersion was pretty good. At other points the use of rear channels was minimal with some dialogue and music being improved only slightly. It's still more diversification than you'll get out of the 2.0 stereo track though.
I was hoping that the final volume of Black Cat would have included some more interesting bonus material but sadly that is not the case. Once again all you'll find here are textless animations and trailers.
Black Cat has been a fantastic show from beginning to end. I'm sad to see that it's over but in retrospect it was one hell of a ride while it lasted. Throughout its run this was a series that offered interesting characters, a fun back story, an enjoyable plot, and tons of action. There were only a few dull moments in between but if you give it a chance this is a show that will grab you and not let go. Highly Recommended
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