Cat's Eye Vol. #4 - 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
  • 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. #4

By Chris Beveridge     November 02, 2007
Release Date: October 16, 2007


Cat's Eye Vol. #4
© 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!
Cat's Eye goes back to the well for five more standalone episodes in which the lovely ladies steal things in order to get their fathers attention.

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)
With the series moving to the halfway mark for this season with this volume, I'm slowly moving it to a guilty pleasure section in my mind. Cat's Eye asks us to suspend disbelief on quite a few things which is difficult but some of it can be attributed to the time it came out. Context is key with a show like this, much as shows of a similar nature today will look cute and almost campy come twenty years from now. This is especially true in regards to technology, an area where Cat's Eye is either far too advanced or too weak for its own good.

Ai's role as the chief technologist of the group allows her to get away with a few tricks that are hard to believe but with the way the show has worked so far you can get away with it. If you can get away with having the three thieves were brightly colored spandex and no masks while operating from a coffee shop using the same name across the street from the police station, you can get away with what she does to her toys. Even more so when you have one of the girls dating the lead detective on the case. Or when you have the knowledge of the police's failure so well known at this point and yet you still have companies and individuals coming to them for protection.

The stories in this volume are all fairly simplistic though there are some nuggets of fun to be had there. One story has a painting that the girls want to acquire being kept in a rather secure vault. The trick to get inside is to have Rui pose as a gallery owner and have her own crate put in there so that it's protected as well. Of course, there's a false bottom to it and Hitomi is in there ready to steal the painting after what basic high tech electronics go bad due to Ai's influence. It takes on a dangerous tone when Toshi gets trapped in there and then the air starts to thin and she has to decide about revealing who she is and saving him or letting him die and keep the secret. With a show like this, you know they find a third road to run down that will keep everything rebooted at the end of the episode.

Another fun locked room story involves a priceless statue of a hawk that's being kept at the police station under secure guard. With almost a hundred and fifty officers protecting it and all the points throughout the building, it's a difficult one to be sure for the girls to get into. Of course, their plan is crafty in that they have Ai lure Asatani out of the building and then Hitomi can sneak in wearing a disguise that looks just like her. How it accounts for size differences or the cold personality that Asatani has is beyond me. The girls also have an advantage in that Toshi is the one that is assigned to the room itself in order to guard the statue, something that Hitomi is well able to take advantage of in order to pull off the disguise job.

The stories in general are fairly predictable though there are occasional bursts of violence that almost feel out of place. One storyline has the girls going up against a former Olympic marksman who has a record of killing people "in self defense" in the last few years. This happens at the same time that Toshi is getting busted for his outbursts, enough so that even Hitomi lays into him harshly and tells him he's not qualified to be a detective. Everyone finds that they have something to prove over the course of this case and with bullets flying, a rarity for this series, it has a nice added element of danger to it that others have not. But even there you know things will come out on the plus side for everyone since just about every episode has worked that way. It'd be bad for morale if they lost a round.

In Summary:
Thinking of the show more as a guilty pleasure that won't have any real effect on me, Cat's Eye manages to retain its cute and simplistic feel. It's almost a feel-good thieving show as it revolves around girls who want their fathers' attention but don't hurt anyone to get it. The previous volume had some good flair to it as it provided a two part storyline that allowed it to flex its story muscles a bit more. These stories are back in the traditional mode which is that things happen just a bit too quickly and too neatly within the timeframe allowed. Yet even with those constraints, poor character development and the absurdity of some situations, it remains fun to watch and generally left me with a smile on my face. Provided I only watched one episode a day.

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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