Foreign Friday: Black Cat

“Number XIII! The Black Cat!” – Black Cat

This week’s series is the action-packed adventure Black Cat by Kentaro Yabuki.

The Story

Train Heartnet, also known as “Black Cat,” was an infamous assassin for a secret organization called Chronos…until he abandoned that cold-blooded existence to live life on his own terms as an easygoing bounty hunter. But is Train’s past as far behind him as he thinks?

The Characters

Train Heartnet is the ultimate fighter, but you wouldn’t know it from his laid-back attitude. His I’m-just-out-for-the-ride attitude makes him an enjoyable hero, even if it means he often loses his bounty and doesn’t get to eat. His partner, Sven Volfied is more serious about the business end, but even more so about serving justice through their job as bounty hunters. Because of this, they end up with the third main character, Eve, a genetically-modified girl whose nano-machine infused body can transform into anything. Because she knows little of the world, her outlook is the most serious of the three.

What I Thought

Black Cat has been praised as fast-paced and exciting, and I have to agree. The story arc is interesting (if not wholly original) and the characters are entertaining. Train is a fun character to follow, an his interactions with the other characters gives the series a lot of it’s humor. The action sequences are easy to follow, and while the sub-plots could have been developed a little further, they don’t over-confuse the main story. My only grief is that the series seems to end prematurely. The entire series is available in English in the US.

Black Cat was also made into an anime, a well-done production that, while it doesn’t follow the manga exactly, does a good interpretation and even expands the ending to something that (I felt at least) completed Eve’s story arc more satisfactorily. Interestingly, the artwork in the anime doesn’t follow the exact artwork that appears in the manga (which is a little unusual for an anime). In the show, Train appears a lot younger than he is in the manga.

Next week will be another series! Stay tuned!

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