Cat's Eye Vol. #6 - 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. #6

By Chris Beveridge     November 15, 2007
Release Date: November 13, 2007


Cat's Eye Vol. #6
© 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!
Returning to the multi episode format for a brief spell, Cat's Eye gets to stretch out its stories in an enjoyable manner.

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 all three sisters in dance practice clothes 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)
As Cat's Eye progresses along it's starting to find a bit more diversity in its stories which is to be expected. The focus shifts occasionally, such as Asatani being essentially absent from the bulk of this, but for the most part it revolves around the four primary characters. The really nice change is that the locales aren't centered in Tokyo all the time so we get to see more varied places which bring in new unrealistic challenges.

The opening episode is fairly silly as it has the three sisters and Toshi going to a mountain retreat for some skiing. Their time there is given something of a downside as a local rich heiress is causing all manner of grief for people since she feels entitled to do so. Events even lead her to challenging Hitomi to a particular ski-off wherein the prize is that Toshi gets to kiss her if she wins. If she loses, she'll ski down the mountain naked. It really does seem like Toshi wins on all counts on that, which makes up for the way he seemingly loses everywhere eels on his life. Of course, there's more to the story than a ski-off as it revolves around a statue that the girls want to swipe that the heiress owns and is intent on protecting. The way it plays out is entirely silly since moving such an object just isn't easy and the method chosen just has you laughing out loud. It's all in good fun but it's one of those episodes that stretches believability further than others do, which is saying a lot.

The last episode on the disc plays in a similar manner as it takes the girls to a different locale and situation, again with some slightly unbelievable aspects. The caper itself is a non-issue beyond the fact that it involves a painting that's being stolen and that Ai is the one carrying it off as Hitomi distracts the police. Where it goes awry is when Ai returns late, wounded, and suffering from short term amnesia. The story turns silly as it has her treating Rui as her mother and Hitomi as some stranger old lady. Even more amusing is that though Toshi's usual joking manner, she believes he's her father. Bits of her memory are already starting to come back which could incriminate them in a bad way and there are some terrorists that are aiming to eliminate Ai because of what she saw. The show takes on an almost Lupin-like atmosphere as the group of four are out driving about and the bad guys are shooting at them, turning Toshi's tiny car into a dynamic and far too stable piece of equipment.

Where Cat's Eye has really shone for me is when it comes to their multi episode storylines. They're few and far between but this volume gives us another two part adventure which allows for the story to not feel quite so cramped and rushed. It gets to layer things a bit more, as the opening story is just that, a piece to set the stage for the real story that will unfold. The goal of acquiring artwork and items is always the same, but the locales change considerably with this as the girls head to a small island call Runan in which a very secretive group resides and protects their area very strongly. The mission of discovering where the artwork is kept and then going after it is one that puts everyone in peril as the man behind the scenes is actually very aware of who Cat's Eye is and uses that information to get them to take on a job for him that will give him some large bargaining chips on the international stage.

The two part storyline does provide a nice way of getting Toshi close to everyone and nearly discovering their secret but it's such an overused cliché within the series now that it's hard to take seriously. You know that he's going to get close but you also know that they aren't going to change the dynamic of the series. Half the time you wonder if Toshi's just a real idiot for not figuring it out yet or if he has figured it out and is just being considerate to Hitomi. On the flip side of annoyances, I continue to adore that the series really takes chances with costume designs. The sisters are never wearing the same outfits and often change multiple times within an episode. If not for the garish Cat's Eye costumes themselves, I'd think that they have a real sense of style and love to show it off. It's the small things like that which make the show enjoyable, especially in an age where so many shows keep to just a single outfit constantly.

In Summary:
Cat's Eye continues to be the weakest of the three series from the Imaginasian launch line up but it has its own special charms that keep me coming back. It's silly yet simple comedy and capers are just the antidote needed to the various overly dramatic shows and school age scenarios that play out in so many modern series. This isn't high art, though it dabbles in it surprisingly well, but it knows what it wants to do and if you can sync yourself up to the mentality needed to enjoy it, you'll have a grand old time. Similar to the previous volume, the shift to four episodes per volume really works in its favor in feeling like each volume isn't overstaying its welcome. At the end of the day, these releases may actually get me to watch City Hunter some time.

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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