Cat's Eye Vol. #2 (of 8) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, September 21, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, September 25, 2007
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?
Contains episodes 6-10.
The episodic tales continue as the trio of sisters search for pieces of their fathers' collection while avoiding the police and tormenting poor Toshio.
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.
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 a copy protection system called Patronus from Fortium Corp., 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.
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.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The second volume of Cat's Eye doesn't differ too much from the first in terms of stories and design. It doesn't differ much in the kind of fun that it presents either as we see a lot of what has come before. Cat's Eye, at least so far, isn't a series that's really going to challenge the viewer, at least in terms of how it's going to progress. It may challenge the sensibilities of a modern day viewer to accept that such heists can go over so easily and that the police can be so... stupid.
Not too surprisingly, the series is still very much episodic here which means very little carries over from one episode to the next. That gives the show plenty of longevity if you can suspend disbelief enough and just enjoy the antics and escapades. The main areas that seem to be in flux are that of the relationships. The relationship between Toshio and Hitomi is where most of the focus is and we do get a bit more out of them this time. With the pair being friends since high school, their relationship has certainly gone slowly which you see in a lot of shows from this time period. The fact that the two seemingly haven't had a proper kiss yet nor do they share intimate space shows just how timid both of them are. Enough of the situation can be blamed on Toshio but Hitomi certainly isn't guilt free either.
Though not a relationship issue in the same sense, one that causes plenty of trouble comes in the form of fellow detective Asatani. Her presence in the first volume brought in plenty of suspicion for the Cat's Eye girls and she's still keeping an eye on them. She continues to be a thorn in their side in the sense that she causes trouble for Toshio and still makes some snide remarks that lets them know she's watching them. That keeps them on their toes, but in all honesty, if the police haven't dragged them all in by now based on what circumstantial evidence that there is, they likely never will until they're caught red handed. When you have the trio showing up on vacation somewhere at the same place where there is a planned theft and you have all the evidence so far as well, it just pushes the level of disbelief you must deal with.
The stories across this volume do introduce a bit more danger to them but there is still very much a sense of safety. You know nothing bad will really happen, it's just in the nature of the show, and you know that in the end things will work out so that the next episode can go on without any real baggage. One dangerous episode has Hitomi swiping a painting that requires her to escape out the back of the building which leads to a cliff. The belief that nobody would go that way due to how dangerous it is keeps the police from protecting it too much, but you'd think that they'd learn by now. Another episode deals with a foreigner who has his manservant go around trying to eliminate people that want to steal the painting that has significant historical and family value. Guns come into play here, a rarity for a show like this so far, and puts Hitomi in a fair bit of danger. Nothing like revealing yourself to someone.
Cat's Eye does try to have a good bit of fun along the way as well. With a fair bit of fanservice along the way for the men because of skimpily dressed women, be it at the beach or in other realms, they're apparently not above putting the men in a fun situation. When a criminal is cornered inside a building with weapons, Toshio has to dress up as a policewoman in order to get in there. Apparently none of the women on the force (if there are any besides Asatani) could do what he needs to do. This gives Hitomi quite the laugh since she has to get involved as some artwork is threatened and even Ai has some mild humor to provide here.
Cat's Eye continues to be that kind of quaint show that is appealing if you're older I think or if you have a fondness for the material or time period. Watching these five episodes over the course of a day, they provided for some fun capers and chuckles along with decent action and hard to believe situations. I have a certain kind of love for these designs and the way it plays out but it's a show that is very much a hard sell to today's audiences. For fans of it, it's great to finally have a legitimate release to feed that need. My only wish is that the audience for it was bigger which would allow for some better releases overall in terms of presentation quality.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles
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.
Mania Grade: B-
Audio Rating: B-
Video Rating: C
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ImaginAsian Entertainment
Running time: 120
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Cat's Eye