Black Cat, Vol. 2 - The Catastrophe
As all attempt to hide and heal, Trains conscience grows deep Deep enough to make the decision to leave Chronos for good. Unfortunately for him, the life he has left proves unwilling to let him go. Creed is sent out to retrieve their best assassin, but when he fails to bring Train back into the fold Sephiria sends her officers to make sure things go right. Never send a man to do a womans job. Following his first failed attempt to recruit Train, Creed resorts to more desperate measures, eventually seeking out that which Train cares for most Saya. What is the cost of redemption for the damned?
- Episodes 05-08
- Textless songs
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And after several episodes of being a blank-eyed assassin, Train Hartnett starts to break free of his bloodsoaked past in the second volume of the "Black Cat" anime. The storyline becomes much darker and bloodier as Train's only friend is targeted by his former partner -- and a vast conspiracy is suddenly revealed. Turns out that Chronos isn't the only hazard out there.
As Eve and Sven go into hiding, Train is taken to task for failing to kill Eve -- and shocks his superiors by quitting, making him a traitor in their eyes.
His ex-partner Creed offers to try to lure Train back into the Chronos fold... but when he confronts Train in a heated sword/gun battle, Creed reveals that his loyalties are not to Chronos, but to the magic-using Apostles of the Stars -- and he wants Train as his partner. And as the Numbers attack both Creed and Train, Creed also reveals a lethal new Taoist power.
But when Train turns to his new friend Saya, Creed decides to dispose of "that witch," leading to a bloody showdown with Train during a fireworks show that leaves the "Black Cat" critically injured. Hidden and cared for by a reluctant Sven and Eve, Train must forge a new identity for himself -- and learn to trust others -- even as he deals with the Numbers sent after Eve.
Skip ahead several months -- Eve decides to apprehend a lucrative bounty all by herself, not realizing that this particular murderer has been given a Taoist potion by the Apostles of the Stars. And in the meantime, one of the Numbers -- Jenos Hazard -- has hired Rinslet Walker to find the Taoist potion.
Kentaro Yabuki's "Black Cat" manga never explicitly went into Train's years as an assassin for Chronos, so it takes awhile for the main substance of the series -- Train as a "stray cat" sweeper" -- to come into play. Most of the second volume is devoted to Train's sudden defection from Chronos, his growing friendship with Sven and Eve, and the savage murder that Creed committed.
So unsurprisingly the tone is rather grim -- lots of dark alleys and rooftops, giant magic bugs, bloody seaside murders, and lots of slam-bang action amongst the warring Numbers. These darker episodes also addresses the moral ambiguities of Train's old profession, such as killing for the good of the masses and the prices that must be paid for freedom.
Things lighten up in the last episode, though -- the tone is goofier and more comic ("You complain about the food, yet you keep shoving it in the hole under your nose!") despite the giant plant-monster man. And it's clear that there's now a real friendship among the three sweepers, despite the competition between Eve and Train.
Train himself really blossoms here, turning from a blank-eyed assassin into a more quirky, talkative person who dares to ask Number I, "Is wanting to live free so wrong?" He's downright cuddly after a few months with Sven and Eve. And Creed reveals the full extent of his obsessive gay crush on Train, combined with his crazy world-domination schemes. Those are some crazy eyes.
The second volume of "Black Cat" finally wraps up Train's days as a Number, and moves on to the more entertaining and chaotic stories about a "stray cat" sweeper. It gets better after this.
This anime has plenty of action and comic relief. The animation is great and so is the soundtrack. Both English and Japanese voice tracks are pretty good. I think this anime had a little too much filler in it, but not enough to hurt the series. All of the characters are cool and very likable. The story is also kind of unique.
I had a good time watching this anime and for the price you can't go wrong.
Black Cat leaves Chronos. Creed approaches him with an interesting opportunity. Sephira shows up to make sure Black Cat's departure is permanent.
# 06: The Cat Under Fire
Sven and Eve's hiding place is discovered. Saya goes to meet Black Cat at a carnival only to run into Creed instead. Black Cat's life changes forever.
# 07: The Wounded Cat
Black Cat is laid up in Sven's hideout, healing. Eve offers Black Cat a very special gift. Business isn't finished with Chronos, who has just sent No. 7 to kill Eve.
# 08: The Sweeping Cat
Black Cat, Sven and Eve go after the bounty on Igor Planter, but before they do, they run into an old friend.
This volume packs a wallop in the emotional department, especially in the episode, "The Cat Under Fire." All time seemed to stop during one of its scenes. This is the DVD where things change in the series, both in character and in flow and becomes even more so in line with Kentaro Yabuki's manga.
The humor, mostly coming from Sven, is laugh-out-loud funny. Each character also has their moment under the spotlight to give their witty observation of the situation or an outlandish complaint to make you chuckle.
The "manga moments" return in this DVD, moments where the characters go from being drawn standard anime style to very cartoony to emphasize an emotion then back to normal again.
Groundwork for further storytelling was also laid in this volume while a couple other threads were wrapped up.
I can't wait to see what happens next.
Language warning: Cursing and blasphemy