Cat's Eye Vol. #5 - 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. #5

By Chris Beveridge     November 13, 2007
Release Date: November 13, 2007


Cat's Eye Vol. #5
© 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!
Shifting down from five stories to four, Cat's Eye holds up a touch better as it explores some of the characters pasts and present relations.

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 of Hitomi in her standard outfit for the cafe 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)
The fifth installment of the series sees the small change in episode counts as it goes down by one to accommodate the length of the show. In moving to just four episodes, when watching the disc as a whole it doesn't feel quite so bad. The sense of too much at one time was fairly common with the first four volumes so having a bit less here gives it a little more breathing room. It also helps that while there are capers here, they tend to focus a bit more on the characters themselves.

The four episodes that are here were surprisingly fun overall even though they do play to some of the usual issues of believability. The opening episode has Hitomi causing a bit of a problem during a caper that has her swiping a pendant. During her escape she ends up dropping it and Toshi ends up grabbing it. Rather than return it as evidence however, he wonders if he can use it to get closer to Cat's Eye and figure out who she is. Hitomi figures it out when he shows up with it and the sisters plan an elaborate trap to get it back from him. He's acting suspicious about things in general which tips off Asatani who, along with the chief, follow him in some bad disguises since they think he may be working with Cat's Eye. The entire trap is far too elaborate for what's involved, particularly since Ai nearly managed to swipe it back without him noticing earlier. It's all in good fun though especially as we get to see Asatani's unmentionables.

Another fun story which really helps to show the age of the series involves the arrival of Toshi's younger cousin Yukiko. She's run away from home to come and marry Toshi. He had made a promise to her when she was younger that she could live with him when she could make it to the city on her own. She's done that a bit too young and it's causing all sorts of problems for him since he doesn't tell her that Hitomi is his girlfriend. In fact, he only introduces her as a friend which steams Hitomi easily. To make matters worse, Hitomi actually met Yukiko before she met up with Toshi as she rescued her from a car sliding on some ice. She also ended up doing it while in her Cat's Eye costume and now Yukiko is an eye-witness that's very valuable. It's all goofy in a playful manner as they go about with the advanced computer sketch artist and you're left wondering why they aren't using a regular sketch artist considering the importance of it all.

Another interesting story that touches on character relationships and the past a bit comes when the sisters are ready to swipe a ruby of importance in their quest. The museum that it's in is easily cased by Hitomi as she does it while with Toshi of all people. What becomes problematic is that she learns that the director of the museum will be fired if Cat's Eye actually steals it. That normally wouldn't bother her but it turns out that the son of the director is someone that Ai has a crush on. This creates quite some good conflict within the trio but it's one where Ai's age shows through. When she challenges Hitomi on the cruelty of the situation, she doesn't realize that what she's feeling is something that Hitomi likely does as well considering what she puts Toshi through. Hitomi doesn't hint at it so it doesn't come up but it certainly would be weighing on her at times.

In Summary:
Cat's Eye is still a fun show overall and it's strange to admit that having fewer episodes on a volume makes it flow better. The four episodes here cover some of the usual silliness and they are overall lighter than some of the previous volumes. Nothing feels particularly serious nor are there any dire situations that the girls have to face. The usual suspects are still trying to unearth them and they're getting a bit lazy about who they reveal themselves to but it all fits within the framework of what this show is meant to be. Light, campy fun that reflects what kind of shows were being made in 1983, Cat's Eye is a prime example. It may not hold up well in a lot of regards but it is good fun overall.

Features
Japanese 1.0 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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