Cat's Eye Vol. #8 - Mania.com



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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. #8

By Chris Beveridge     December 31, 2007
Release Date: December 11, 2007


Cat's Eye Vol. #8
© 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!
The first season draws to a close as more of Heinz is discovered and a new phase is kicked off for the sisters.

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 their uniforms alongside Toshio 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:
The final volume provides a few new extras that are very welcome for the series. The first is that we get a textless version of the opening sequence which is good to see without any text blocking the animation. The second and much bigger piece is a twenty-eight minute long art gallery. This piece runs with a new bit of cel animation, design sheets or artwork piece every few seconds so it's filled with a ton of items. The differences in appearance from the show proper is quite fascinating since the colors are so much richer and bolder, giving it a much more current feeling at times. This is a very welcome piece to see though it does change the impression of the show a bit.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The first season of Cat's Eye comes to a close and it surprised me as to how much I got into it. Part of that can be attributed to the way it started to pick up in the overall storyline throughout these episodes as it needed to bring some closure to events while setting the stage for the second season. Though it's been a long time in coming, the police start to get a clue about what's going on and the sisters start to get some real leads on their father. Of course, both events can bring disastrous results to the core relationship of Hitomi and Toshio.

That relationship makes up a good chunk of these episodes, starting off with Toshio having dreams about Hitomi being Cat's Eye. His subconscious is giving him the good but his waking mind isn't able to process it well, though it does work to his favor. In talking about it with the Chief, a truly daffy man himself, he suggests that his internal conflict is in that he hasn't made his commitment to Hitomi real and that's making it feel elusive like Cat's Eye is. Toshio's intent to capture Cat's Eye so that he can marry Hitomi has been a double edged sword for everyone, but with some new resolve under his belt and some basic competence, he's much more aggressive about it suddenly.

That aggressiveness is done in parallel to his attempts at getting things going with Hitomi. Their relationship is terribly cute and ineffective since they haven't really kissed much if at all and their dates are continually interrupted by Cat's Eye events. With the mindset of actually asking Hitomi to marry him, he hopes to set things down the right path. What is really cute is how he does it in that he decides to ask for Hitomi's hand by asking Rui about it. The way he tries to figure out the best way to ask is comical and the actual event for it is priceless yet fits in perfectly with the kind of relationship everyone has. All of this slowly moves their relationship forward at long last, though again I don't think we even see them hold hands yet. As sexy as the show is at times, this relationship is far too chaste to fit in well.

At the same time that this relationship progresses, the sisters and their father hit some new moments as they get closer to him. More people from the past start to show up that know their father and new paintings and jewelry enter the picture that require their acquisition. What provides some good impetus for all this is that Toshio starts to put two and two together and figures out that there is something about the Heinz collection and that Cat's Eye is seeking it out. This simple piece of detective work gives the police something to work with, but even there it's given a weird vibe as the chief doesn't believe him and dismisses the idea far too quickly when things seem to change. Even Asatani seems to not believe it too much, which gives credence to the Chief's comment that she may be picking up some stupid from Toshio.

In Summary:
As a closer for the first season, this is in my opinion the strongest volume of the series yet. It has more underlying continuity to it, less completely far fetched things going on and some aggressiveness on the part of Toshio that starts to tie it all together. Cat's Eye is the series I've considered the weakest of the opening wave from Imaginasian, but it's episodes like these that keep me coming back for more. The shift in venue for the second season looks to be appealing and the idea that there may be some potential to reach the end goal in regard to Heinz has me wanting to see how it'll all play out. Imaginasian did a good job with this series and they ended it much stronger than they started it as an overall release. Fans of the show will likely really like it while it'll vary for others as to its appeal. The strong episodes aren't as regular as I would like, but this is a very strong volume.

Features
Japanese 1.0 Language,English Subtitles,Textless Opening,Art Gallery

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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