From left to right: Train, Sven, Eve, and Rinslet.
Black Cat, by manga artist Kentaro Yabuki, centers around a pair of bounty hunters, also known as "Sweepers", Train Heartnet and Sven Vollfied. Perpetually struggling for cash and jobs, they each harbor a secret: Sven is a former agent of an international police force, and Train used to be XIII, a deadly assassin for the world-spanning organization Chronos.They would be content to just live out their lives chasing bounties and living a carefree lifestyle, but Train's old life has a habit of catching up to him: former partner Creed Diskenth is attempting to overthrow Chronos and take over the world with his own group, the Apostles of the Stars. And Creed wants Train to join him, no matter the cost. And did I mention that Creed killed the woman who convinced Train to abandon the assassin's lifestyle?Allied with world-renowned cat burglar Rinslet Walker and living bioweapon Eve, Train and Sven try to live a carefree life even as both Creed and Chronos attempt to drag both into an escalating global conflict.Now available on Hulu in subbed and dubbed format. (If you live in the U.S.)Not to be confused with the same-named Marvel Comics character. Or the horror movie The Black Cat. Nope, not even Edgar Allan Poe's poem.
This series has examples of:
Absurdly Sharp Blade: Eve turns her hair into two of these in the final assault, but the first time she used it she overdid the work and rendered two mooks naked instead.
Adaptation Expansion: At the cost of cutting out certain aspects of the manga plot, the anime added an entire arc towards the end of its run that sought to tie together the significance of Eve's origins and the work Dr. Tearju did, along with providing some background on The Doctor. Add to that several of the Chrono Numbers who appear in the anime only and it's kind of sad that they had to sacrifice much of the manga's character development. It truly could have been awesome. On the other hand, Train and Saya's relationship was much more developed in the anime, making Train's motivation more moving.
Anticlimax: In the manga, Train getting turned into a kid via nanomachines is a serious issue, requiring him to visit Eve's creator to figure out how to reverse it. In the anime, Tearju is missing from the series until the anime's Gecko Ending, so Train just...gets better. Somehow.
Ax-Crazy: There are a number of these in the series. Creed has more than a bit of Ax-craze, Durham and Gyanza qualify, and two of the Numbers are obviously insane and bloodthirsty, and will even attack their own comrades. Neither Creed's gang nor the Numbers like their bloodthirsty comrades.
The two aforementioned Numbers are far and away the most psychotic. At one point in the manga, another number mentions that they’ve wiped out towns in order to kill their target.
Badass Beard - Many male characters have beards, and most that do are good guys.
In the original pitch of the series, Sven had a beard, which was degraded into (still Bad Ass) Perma Stubble.
Care Bear Stare - In the anime, apparently Train's Orihalcum bullet from his railgun shot against Creed acted as this, causing Creed's sudden Heel-Face Turn.
Cat Smile - Train, during more comedic moments, and Kyoko, occasionally.
Celibate Hero - Train isn't attracted to Rinslet, Kyoko, Creed, or pretty much any girl or guy he ever meets. And even with Saya, it is revealed canonically that he only saw her as a close friend.
Chick Magnet - Train. Kyoko, Saya (what "close friend" invites a guy to a (romantic) evening looking at fireworks?), and even Rinslet develop very obvious feelings for him. You just know that Jenos wouldn't even have a chance with Rinslet if Train showed at least the smallest sign of reciprocating her feelings.
Crazy-Prepared: Belze´s (Number II) fireproof coat, Sephiria´s (Number I) bracelet. It explodes upon her death, killing the target.
Crystal Dragon Jesus - Given the alternate-universe nature of the world it takes place in, this is surprisingly averted. The first scene of the anime (ignoring the foreshadow sequence that precedes the opening sequence) explicitly takes place in a church, with a man praying to Jesus for mercy.
Cute Bruiser - Eve is tiny, adorable, a bookworm, and she can kick your ass.
Defeat Means Friendship: Whenever Train or the other main characters beats one of the Apostles of the Stars, they convince them to give up their life of crime and some even come back to help later.
Disguised in Drag - Both Train and Sven end up in women's clothing at one point, Train because his body got de-aged for a while and Eve's clothes were all that fit him, and Sven because he had to pose as a woman to lure out a bounty. Attractive Bent-Gender is very much averted, as he points out.
Disposable Woman - Saya was pretty much introduced just to give a reason why Train is at odds with Creed.
More so in the anime than in the manga, where her spirit visits Train and helps him out.
Elegant Gothic Lolita: Eve has a particular predilection for black lace dresses, tights and silver cross jewelry.
Epic Flail: Baldor from Chronos not only uses a flail, but one that is powered by rockets for additional awesomeness.
Even the Guys Want Him - Train has many female admirers and one very obsessed male admirer who refuses to take "no" for an answer.
Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Played straight and inverted. Creed just can't understand why Train wouldn't want to join him... or why Train would be upset at all his attempts to Murder the Hypotenuse. Meanwhile, in part due to being Oblivious to Love, and in part due to leaving his own time as a sociopath behind him, Train can't understand just why Creed would do the various evil acts he does throughout the series.
Evilutionary Biologist - Tao, nanites... whatever can give him power, Creed wants it and wants to use it on his followers.
Extreme Doormat: Train in the anime was this for quite a few episodes during his time in Chronos.
Eyepatch of Power: Sven's eyepatch isn't there because he's missing an eye, but because he has a magic seer's eye that can see a few seconds into the future.
Fainting Seer: Early in the series, since Sven never really used his precognitive powers much and doesn't have much control over them, he gets noticeably exhausted no matter what he sees. As the series progresses and control over his abilities becomes more important, he gradually starts to get over the Fainting Seer syndrome.
Fountain of Youth: Creed wants to use nanites to make himself immortal forever. Also Train gets temporarily deaged by nanites... which is less fun than it seems, since he can't fire his gun properly.
Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Averted with Charden, who's probably the most sane member of the Apostles. The Doctor, on the other hand, plays this straight.
Gecko Ending: A very bizarre case, as the anime actually does get to the end of the manga, and then suddenly a new arc comes out of nowhere with only one very minor piece of foreshadowing ( Rinslet finding a CD with the word "Eden" printed on it,) to keep it from being a complete Ass Pull.
A God Am I: Creed does this after he uses nanomachines to make himself immortal.
Gondor Calls for Aid: Final few episodes of the anime, during the Eden arc. Train literally calls upon every single character ever introduced that isn't dead and/or directly allied with Mason to assist with Eve's rescue.
Good Guy Bar: The bars where Sweepers can trade information on targets.
Green Lantern Ring - Eve's shapeshifting powers wind up turning into this as her imagination develops and she thinks up new ways to make herself useful.
Describes most of the Numbers, actually. Except for the Axe Crazy ones, the Numbers tend to be rather nice compassionate people (Belze, Jenos, Shaolee, Sephiria) who still kill their targets.
Err... in the manga at least, Shaolee seems kind of nice and caring, especially to River and the Sweeper Alliance thing, until you finally see him fight... and gratuitously dismember one of his opponents, leaving him alive long enough to tell him basically "well, aren't you just unlucky to fight me." Then he kills him. Jenos is freaked out, which tells you something for a Number. And Jenos is a guy who uses Razor Floss for a weapon!
Also, Sephiria has some Manipulative Bitch-like tendencies: such as reminding Train about what happened to Saya so he would hunt down Creed, using the Sweeper Alliance as a decoy, knowing full well that some of them might die and acting like a total bitch towards Rinslet. Her polite moods are a reminder to Beware the Nice Ones.
Hyperactive Metabolism - Train manages to eat huge amounts of food (including a giant plate of deep-fried bread crusts) and still remain stick thin.
Hyperspace Mallet: reconstructed by Eve since the mallet doesn't actually come from hyperspace
I Am Not Left-Handed: Although he's trained himself to be ambidextrous, Train switches to his originally dominant left hand in a fight with Creed to incrementally increase his speed.
I Didnt Mean to Turn You On - Numerous times, Train unknowingly causes Creed to be aroused when he kills. In the anime, he even gets turned on when Train smashes his sword with his orichalcum gun. Train even SITS on Creed with his legs spread , and belatedly realizes that Creed is practically having an orgasm over Train's awesomeness, and moaning "Oh Train, you are the best!" (In the English dub: "That's it... my Hartnet..." which is arguably even worse).
I Don't Know Mortal Kombat - Train is lousy at video games - even first-person shooters and light gun games (the latter particularly perplexes him, as he notes the similarity between them and target practice).
If I Can't Have You - Creed eventually tells Train that, if Train is unable to "break away from that woman's curse" and join him, he will kill him.
Implausible Fencing Powers - As mentioned before, Kranz is a blind man who can cut bullets apart with a knife. The first appearance of Sephira's weapon, a stylized broadsword, involves her using the blade to juggle a glass of water without damaging the glass or spilling a drop as fencing practice.
Several of the the Chronos Numbers also use some really odd weaponry, including a Razor Floss glove and some kind of bizarre rocket-powered flail. The winner would have to be Number X, Lin Xiao Li, who uses what can only be described as a weaponized blanket. It has Orichalcum fibers woven into it to make it bulletproof and razor-edged... but it's still a blanket, and he still uses it as a weapon. Somehow.
It's Personal: Train's reason for wanting to kill Creed. He gets over it.
Eventually Train turns out to want Creed to redeem himself and "rebuild this world as a human." Creed actually pays attention to this, which could be seen as a baby step.
Just in Time: Train does this a LOT when rescuing people. Quite a few times on purpose, as it is later revealed in a few instances that he had arrived earlier but wanted to wait for dramatic effect.
Karma Houdini: Train allows Creed (who at least ends up in psychosis-induced a coma), Shiki, Maro, Echidna, The Doctor, Kyoko, and Charden to escape Whether getting the crap beaten out of them first and (in some cases at least) finding a new lease on life is enough of a punishment is left up to the reader.
Whether or not it is personally satisfying, it fits with the tone of the manga, given that Train (and some others) sees 'himself' as a Karma Houdini of sorts. He may be doing his best to repent his days as an assassin, but even he thinks he got off pretty lightly.
Love at First Sight: Creed is revealed to have fallen for Train at first sight (as shown in a short excerpt in the manga, where the scene of their first meeting is shown). This also cements Creed's status as a masochist, considering that his first interaction with Train consists of Train glaring disdainfully at him and basically telling Creed to shove off because he's useless to him. And Creed, being Creed, ends up getting aroused by this and becomes Train's Stalker with a Crush.
Love Dodecahedron: This trope happens to go hand in hand with the All Love Is Unrequited trope. It's incredible how intricate and complicated the character's romantic feelings (or lack thereof) for each other are.
Love Martyr: Echidna is this way for Creed. How she can put up with Creed's obsession with Train and insanity is a mystery.
She does end up getting him in the end, albeit as a nurse/mommy substitute.
Nothing of the sort. Lin notes that he doesn't need a fancy disguise, since no one knows what he really looks like anyways.
Meaningful Name: Saya - an alternate translation for the name is 'scabbard'.
Mr. Fanservice: Creed likes to wear chest-baring shirts a lot, and even has a long lingering pan of his body as he lounges naked in a bathtub with only strategically placed roses. Not to mention the shot of him getting OUT of the bath.
Nanomachines: The most commonly used Phlebotinum of the series. They can heal, turn body parts into weapons, mutate people into strange creatures, and in the final battle turns Creed into an indestructible god-man.
Nice Hat: Sven's. After it's destroyed, within a page he has it back (cited as an "emergency spare").
Noble Demon: Charden, the blood-controlling Apostle who realizes that he doesn't approve of Creed's methods. He's still determined to do the right thing for the world, but he has to do it alone. He also jettisons his sidekick Kyoko because he doesn't want her to get hurt.
Older than They Look - Sven, who is comfortably within the Competence Zone, ages from 28 to 30 over the course of the series. He looks a bit closer to mid 20s, but that doesn't stop him from getting called an old man more often than he'd like.
Razor Floss: Jenos' weapon Excelion uses this. He's capable of slicing stone pillars into rubble and defeating dozens of opponents, although he can also snatch people out of the air without harming them, or tying them up.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: In the manga, Train delivers one at the end: when Creed is in shock at his defeat, wondering why Train could follow Saya's way of life even though Creed and Train are Not So Different, Train notes that Saya had just as terrible a life in her past as both Train and Creed. She just refused to use it as a Freudian Excuse and instead tried to make the world better in her own way, without destroying anything.
Scarfof Asskicking: Train wears a red one in the last four episodes of the anime (episodes 21-24).
Shapeshifter Weapon: Eve's modus operandi in combat. She starts out only able to turn her hands into blades on account of the lack of imagination that comes with her initial Tykebomb status, but as the series progresses she starts to branch out into other types of transformations, like turning her body into steel, growing wings, turning her hands into shields, and turning into a mermaid. Her ultimate technique turns her hair into a mass of monomolecular blades.
Stalker with a Crush - Creed is reeeaally interested in Train and refuses to accept that Train just ain't interested. If Train says no, Creed thinks he must be being influenced by someone evil. Kyoko becomes a more humorous example after her Heel-Face Turn.
Technical Pacifist - Train, which is why he will occasionally throw his gun instead of firing it. Even when he does fire, it's usually something like a "freeze bullet" that doesn't kill but immobilizes.
All the sweepers go to extreme lengths to avoid actually killing anyone, regardless of how much they deserve it. This is explained by a rule that says if anyone dies during the capture, they only get half the reward (except for the highest class of criminals, usually violent murderers).
Even some of the Chronos Numbers, who are assassins, avoid killing. Jenos manages to slice up and pile up a large number of attacking thugs without actually killing them, and Shaolee prefers to slice off hands or guns rather than actually kill (and he likes manipulating people bloodlessly even more).
Took a Level in Badass - Eve is a textbook example of how to do this the right way through character development. At the start of the series her shapeshifting powers are largely undeveloped and limited to turning her hands into blades, and Eve herself is an emotionless tykebomb taking orders from a scumbag weapons merchant. By the end of the manga she's taken a bullet and lived to tell about it, used Heroic Resolve on at least one occasion, thrown down a gauntlet or two, and her developing imagination has shown her dozens of other ways to use her powers. She ends the series as the strongest of the main heroes aside from Train (...maybe) and arguably the most badass.
Unexplained Recovery: After getting age regressed by nanomachines, Train has to seek out Dr. Tearju in the manga to help him get back to normal. In the anime, he sort of just goes back to normal after a while because the writers apparently needed to save Tearju for the Eden arc.
Unguided Lab Tour: Rinslet sneaks into Tornero's lab to steal information and discovers human experiments that look like chimeras.
Unobtainium - Each Chrono Number has a weapon made of indestructible Orichalcum. These weapons bear the Number of its user, and have a mythological name. Train's gun is called "Hades".
Villainous Breakdown: Creed. The breakdown's so bad that in the end, he can't even move or talk, although both Echidna and Train imply that he can get over it. He does seem to improve a little just at the thought that somebody cares about him without his power.
Lloyd could originally see further in the future, but explicitly chose not to fight it in at least one instance... which is how Sven got his eye in the first place.
You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Most hair colors in Black Cat are fine, as it's set explicitly not in Japan. Leon's and Jenos's dark green is probably just stylized black and Echinda was blonde before her Tao mutation, but Sven's green and Rinslet's purple just deny explanation.
Also, Kyoko, who is explicitly stated as being from the in-universe equivalent of Japan ("Jipangu"), does have black hair and dark eyes.
River's hair was inexplicably turned from blond to pink in the anime, though. And I think Leon's hair was light purple in the manga...
You Have Failed Me: Happens to various people like Durham whom Creed killed because he left on his own, screwed up and vowed to kill Train and Gyanza who wasted all his power until he died. Also happens in a much lesser way to Train during his Chronos days, when he was imprisoned for awhile because he stopped killing his targets.