Black Cat Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B-
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: D+
  • Age Rating: TV PG
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Black Cat

Black Cat Vol. #2

By Justin Rich     July 04, 2007
Release Date: January 30, 2007


Black Cat Vol. #2
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.


What They Say
As all attempt to hide and heal, Train's conscience grows deep... Deep enough to make the decision to leave Chronos for good. Unfortunately for him, the life he has left proves unwilling to let him go. Creed is sent out to retrieve their best assassin, but when he fails to bring Train back into the fold Sephiria sends her officers to make sure things go right.Following his first failed attempt to recruit Train, Creed resorts to more desperate measures, eventually seeking out that which Train cares for most... Saya. What is the cost of redemption for the damned?

The Review!
The loss of Train's only friend drives the Black Cat away from Chronos and turns him into a sweeper!

Audio:
Due to the fact that there wasn't a 5.1 Japanese track I decided to view the disc in the English instead. The dialogue was clear without drop outs from the first three speakers, with Train continuous gunfire rattling behind you in the rear speakers. I did a spot check on episode six The Cat Under Fire and found no problems with the Japanese 2.0 soundtrack.

Video:
Black Cat began its run in October of 2005 so the transfer is 16:9 widescreen. Animation is sharp and crisp with beautiful combination intense fighting sends blended with an imaginative world which differed in each episode. There is no bleeding in the animation making the background scenery and the characters come out vibrant and lifelike.

Packaging:
The disc comes in a white lockcase with an insert that has the cover of volume 3 on one side and a cross promotion with Viz for Black Cat manga on the other. The cover is a white back drop with the Gonzo and FUNimation logos side by side in the upper right corner, Shonen Jump logo sits atop of the Black Cat series title with the disc title "The Catastrophe" to the lower left and vol. 2 to the lower right. The main picture of the front cover is built around a large picture of Train racing to save Saya with Creed off to the left with a rose in his mouth and mysterious #1 member of Chronos with sword pointing forward behind the logo. On the back cover is a similar picture of Saya inside the black top half with a ton of screen caps and episode names on the bottom white half.

Menu:
There is a thirty second sound clip from where Train usually is rushing into battle looping over this dark colored menu, with the Saya in prayer position on the left and the series logo with the disc title directly below in white cursive writing to his right.. Below the disc title is Play all, Episodes, Audio and Extras all in gold with a white cat paw as the curser which responds easily and quickly, also as you travel between portions of the disc you move back to the menu with a gold XIII, which adds a nice touch.

Extras:
One of the major disappointments with this release is once again the anemic amount of special features. The only things on here are textless songs of the opening Dain no Hana by Yoriko and closing Namidaboshi by Puppypet. Also we get a plethora of FUNimation trailers including: the FUNimation channel, Black Cat volume 3, Baki the Grappler, Lupin the 3rd box set, Fullmetal Panic TSR volume 3, Robotech, Afro Samurai, and finally the Z-Store.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The discs begins with Train turning his back on an assignment to erase a target signifying his decision to stop being a ruthless killer, and taking the final step away from his former life into that of a new person. The choice to become something else is brought forth but the continuing relationship between Train and Saya that forces him to make the choice to stop killing for good. Train is brought in to headquarters because he isn't killing his targets and instead he quits Chronos for good. Creed is sent to return Train but he has his own prerogatives, and instead tries to recruit Train for his own take over. Saya's influence on Train is huge shifting his character dramatically, but Saya also draws the attention of Creed for different reasons. Creed views Saya as a threat to his master plan by changing the heart of Train.

Chronos sends number one to either return Train to Chronos or kill him, while a pair of some lower numbers are sent to dispatch Creed for treason in Chronos's grand scheme of justice. Creed though makes short work of his would be assassins and makes sure that his message is sent back to the Elders of Chronos that he is coming for them as their number one enemy and that Train is his property, in Creed's twisted perspective of how the world is going to work; mean while Train dodges enough attacks from Sephiria that she allows him to get across to a nearby roof when Sephiria is attacked by Shiki, a Taoist bug master, trying to retrieve Train for his master Creed.

After escaping the battle Train gets in a foot race with Saya and she returns Hades, his gun, back to him as their relationship strengthens and they decide to go on a date to the fireworks together, which makes Creed's blood boil. Unfortunately, Saya gets there first, and Creed easily slays her as she desperately attempts to protect the small children around her. Train arrives in time to her Saya's final words and wage a personal pledge to kill Creed. This sets up Train and Creed as mortal enemies instead of partners; leading a complete back fire of his plan. Creed is one of the most unscrupulous villains I've seen in a long time and it makes the overall feel of this volume much more entertaining watching such pure evil set into motion and seeing how the newly reborn Train must rise up against his former friend.

Sven and Eve are also at the fireworks and her keen sense of smell detects blood in the air, and they arrive just in time to save Train and the children that both he and Saya were protecting. After a week of recovering Train finally wakes up in Sven's hideout as the new sweeper team begins to form, with an unique commonality drawing them together, primarily their rank on the Chronos hit list. Of course, from their previous altercations, the relationship between Eve and Train starts out a little bumpy, but soon is starts to develop into a sibling-type relationship just as Eve and Sven have a father-daughter style relationship. That is one of the real fascinating parts of Black Cat is the unique family that forms from these three plus the added fourth of Rinslet returning.

Eve and Train show the first signs of the growing relationship when he shows up to save her from Jenos Hazard aka "lucky 7" in his first introduction into the series. Even though Train makes him look foolish and destroys his jeep forcing him to walk back to the city after his demoralizing defeat from the two sweepers. This is far from the last time we'll see Jenos, but it made for an amusing introduction to this character.

The last episode of this volume brings Rinslet back into the fold as they all go for the same target. Jenos blackmails her into working for Chronos, while the sweeper team is looking for food money. We also get to look into how Creed is building his forces, and a glimpse of the true power of the Taoists, and their unique abilities that are brought out by the strange elixir they drink will explain the immense power that the surviving users can use, and make them a very high threat to Chronos. Although, the chance of actually surviving the drink is small and most of the test subjects that Creed's minions has broke free from jail have exploded for the power of the elixir. Plus this episode also allows the group to gel together as a team of four as they battle a horticulturist gone mad.

In Summary:
After the bumpy ride getting used to the different time line used in the series I allowed myself to sit back and forget everything I knew about the Black Cat universe for volume two. Fortunately, Creed is still a dastardly as ever, making him a perverse pleasure to watch, leaving you feel bad for how much you can enjoy watching him. Creed is a heartless villain, with no remorse for any other human being other than Train, which makes him do despicable things to those in his way. Train is able to see the error of his ways through the innocent eyes of Saya and the merciless eyes of Creed turning him into a reborn person with new friends in Sven and Eve. Also in the volume we see the seeds of Creed's plan start to emerge making for an interesting three way battle between Creed, Chronos & the new sweeper trio for the next four volumes to come.

Features
Japanese 2.0 language,English subtitles,English 2.0 language,English 5.1 DTS language,Textless Songs

Review Equipment
Sony SAVA D9000 Dual Stack DTS w/ 5 Disc Changer in stack 1 and subwoofer in stack 2 via Monster optical cable. Tv is Sony 55" SXRD Grand Wega 1080p widescreen rear-projection HDTV, Sony Playstation 3 Blu-Ray player via HDMI cable.

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