Reviews: Black Cat

A good series to look into.

I'd say this is a nice one for newcomers to anime and manga, due to the fun and interesting plotline, vivid characters, good action sequences, and quality art. The plotline isn't hard to follow or mind-numbing.

Black Cat is the story of an expert assassin, Train Heartnet/Hartnett, who turns to a different sort of life and undergoes epiphanies. The antagonist, Creed Diskenth/Diskence, is his old accomplice who desires to have things his way, no matter what the cost. Along the way Train forges strong friendships and overcomes adversaries and obstacles with them. Overall, fairly standard storyline. I would reccomend the manga over the anime, since I don't like the changes made to some of the characters in the anime— although it's really up to the viewer's preference, since the anime follows the manga closely.

The art catches the eye and isn't sloppily done, and the characters are all different from each other and are well developed, particularly people such as Train and Eve. Nothing in the series is totally original or unique though, so if you are tired of the old "cold, bad guy becomes a good hearted person, and then saves the world" type of story, you won't find Black Cat as entertaining.

A Slight Cliche Storm Which Still Manages to Grip and Impress

Black Cat is an interesting series. Most shonen manga purists will spot the rather obvious parallels to such series as Rurouni Kenshin, Cowboy Bebop and Trigun in it, but despite heavy reliance on older ideas, Black Cat still manages to come out as an above-average story. While the plot (a group of bounty hunters who are always out of money face an evil connected with the hero's dark past) and main characters (an ex-assassin-turned-bounty hunter, a snarky sidekick and a sexy femme fatale) aren't anything most people haven't seen before, they are handled well enough that it never really becomes a problem. In addition, many of the supporting characters, especially the villains, are extremely interesting and compelling, and add a lot to the story. From Kyoko, the Cloud Cuckoo Lander Pyro Maniac Genki Girl, to Durham, the masked, trigger-happy, Ax Crazy Blood Knight, to Charden, the mysterious Noble Demon, it seems like the antagonists used up the author's entire supply of originality. But like the plot, the main characters are handled quite well despite being expies. The real strength is in the dynamics between the characters, especially Train and Eve.

The anime is notable because of how different it is from the original manga. It's often considered to be Adaptation Decay, but Your Mileage May Vary on that. The Eve/Rudman arc is significantly shortened, and Train, the hero, starts the story as one of the Chronos Numbers, and doesn't join Sven until several episodes in. This changes the formula of the first few arcs. Technically, the beginning in the manga makes more sense story-wise, but the beginning in the anime seemed more compelling and original.

Another change was the decision not to make Saya a Posthumous Character in the anime. This was one of the best things about the anime, because she really felt more like an actual character. In the manga, her murder at the hands of Creed seemed like a plot device to kick off Train's story. In the anime, her death scene shocked me, horrified me, and broke my heart, which, of course, was what the scene was supposed to do. Although it's inferior overall to the manga, it's these few great advantages that make the anime worth watching.

I would definitely recommend Black Cat to any shonen fan. If you can put up with a slight lack of originality, you'll find a lot to love about it.