Cat's Eye Vol. #3 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B-
  • Video Rating: C
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: All
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ImaginAsian Entertainment
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Running time: 120
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Cat's Eye

Cat's Eye Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     October 25, 2007
Release Date: October 16, 2007


Cat's Eye Vol. #3
© ImaginAsian Entertainment


What They Say
Rui, Hitomi and Ai are three beautiful sisters who spend their days running their cute cafe - but when night falls, the claws come out! The trio transforms into Cat's Eye, the super and sexy art thieves! But there's more than meets the eye: stealing artwork is their only chance to find their missing father. When Hitomi's unaware boyfriend is assigned to investigate Cat's Eye, will their secret be let out of the bag?

The Review!
Mixing in a two part storyline that works rather well, Cat's Eye hits a run of solid stories with this volume.

Audio:
Unsurprising considering its age, Cat's Eye is presented in its original language of Japanese in a mono format. The 128 kbps encoding isn't one that will wow anyone but it's serviceable enough for the material and is essentially problem free during playback. Cat's Eye features a number of action sequences, car chases and other such moments and they do feel like they lack any real impact here but it's representing the source materials fairly well, particularly for what people actually heard at the time. It is a touch low at times but it's in good condition and certainly comes across rather clean and clear during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 1983, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The series received a remaster and box set release in Japan back in 2001 which has certainly helped to clean up the elements here. Beyond some minor speckling here and there, the print is in surprisingly good condition. Part of the first wave of releases from Imaginasian, this one feels like it's right in the middle of those two in terms of video quality. The show doesn't have as much noise to the backgrounds but it's still there. The opening sequence where it "lights up" at first shows a good bit of chroma noise in it, and similar problems can be found throughout in the dark blue sequences. Some of the black scenes come across with heavy blocking as well. Colors themselves look good without any noticeable bleeding or oversaturation but they have a hard time maintaining a solid feel due to the noise. In watching this across different sets after our first full viewing, it's continually apparent that the smaller the screen size the better this will look. The problems we had were less on our 50" than our 70" and less still when we shifted down to a 34" CRT.

Cat's Eye is one of the anime titles to be released under the TitleMatch program in which all the authoring is done as normal but instead of replication it's done through burning to DVD-R, giving smaller publishing houses a chance to do some Print On Demand DVDs. Containing some copy protection, it's essentially the same as a regular release except in how it's actually put to disc. We popped this disc in a few of our players to see if we'd have any compatibility issues and it worked in just about everything except for our Toshiba TV/DVD combo unit.

Packaging:
None.

Menu:
The menu design is simple but fits nicely with the show though that TMS Classics logo is a bit bigger than I care for. The static background is an illustration that has the character artwork from the back cover as a bit of music plays along to it. All the logos and the navigation strip, which is simple considering how little is really here, are along the right side in order to give the character artwork some room to breath. Access times are good and fast and everything loads without a problem.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the first two volume of Cat's Eye, I was in the position of enjoying the show for what it is while still being fully aware of the flaws within it. Enough of the flaws are related to its date of origin but also a certain kind of disbelief that must be kept for a show of this nature. In a lot of ways it shares traits with popular action shows from Hollywood that were on TV back in the early 80's. From today's perspective they're a bit difficult to swallow at times but there is a certain charm underneath all of it with the simple characters.

Something from the first two volumes that had bothered me was the way everything plays out so perfectly within the twenty or so minutes allotted to each episode. Everything goes by too quickly and there isn't always enough time to build up a proper story. This is taken care of on this volume by bringing in a rather enjoyable two part storyline where Toshi is sent to investigate a secret casino in the city and he brings Hitomi along as part of his cover. While there however, she comes across a painting that they had no clue about its location which sets her in motion to acquiring it. It plays up some basic but enjoyable classic Bond moments as the gambling gets underway and Toshi gets sucker punched into becoming a background character.

With the double episode length, it shifts across several locales and allows for the trio of girls to interact in different ways. While Hitomi plays up the role of a young woman who is quite lucky and is after a painting she really likes, Rui moves into the position as a dancer at a different but related casino and works her way up the chain to a roulette table dealer. It's admittedly all over the map in how quickly it plays out but it runs with a certain kind of energy to keep it all going well. Toshi comes off the worst though since he's ostensibly going in to deal with a mob casino issue and finds himself being beat up and stowed as cargo for quite a lot of it.

The remainder of the volume has three standalone episodes which run through some of the typical cat and mouse games we've seen so far. There are a few nice changes mixed into them however that helps keep it flowing well. One of those is an episode where Toshi talks about taking the test to become a detective and that will require him to go to Osagawara for a year if he passes. His obliviousness does enter the picture when he doesn't realize that he's putting Hitomi in a tough position. Not unlike before, their relationship is really hard to decipher since it's so superficial and based on years of knowing each other that hasn't been explored. Perhaps it's cultural to the time, but most of the time they don't even come across as being any kind of couple.

In Summary:
Cat's Eye is more of the same for the most part with this volume but that isn't being said in a bad way. The show has a certain charm to it and it is good simple and almost wholesome fun by today's standards. The stories are short and to the point for the most part and there are small moments throughout that help to push along the larger storyline of the girls finding their father. This volume has some rather good stories to it and provided a great deal of entertainment when you consider it's five episodes for ten bucks. There won't be mass appeal for a show like this but the audience it's intended for will surely enjoy what they're getting here.

Features
Japanese Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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