Black Cat Vol. 2: The Catastrophe
Released By: Funimation
NOTE: This review is a continuation of my reviews of this series. If you have not seen any of the volumes or my previous reviews, you risk spoilers by continuing.
A series that I was unsure about before decides to rapidly change its game plan and now I’m still unsure.
When we pick up in the second volume, the search for Eve is on now but she’s escaped with Sven and Rinslet. The two are hiding out and Sven has decided to just take care of Eve for the time being since he is sure that Chronos’ assassins, such as Black Cat, will be coming back for Eve. Meanwhile Train is back at his place thinking about his life and why he let Eve go. He is ordered by his superiors to eliminate Eve once again but he decides to strike out on his own, telling his bosses off in the process making him alone and now a target of his own. Creed is the one sent after Train and their battle is a creepy one and it leads to yet another new offer for Train to consider.
The second episode starts with Train facing off against Number 1 who has been sent to kill him though he is without his gun and Creed is facing off against those who want to take him out as well before the battle is completed, yet another person comes forward with a want to take Train away with him. This time it’s a Taoist who has ties with Creed. Train is finally forced to ally up with the sweeper that he’s been getting closer to, Saya… and even gets a date in the process but Creed makes this a short lived arrangement. On the other side of the plot, Sven and his gang have been found which puts them on the run once again.
In the third episode of the volume, Train now has a new mission in life which is to get revenge on Creed while Eve gets to see her very first fireworks display, unfortunately her fun gets spoiled when she senses the battle between Creed and Train going on elsewhere on the same dock. Train wakes up a week later taken in by Sven and Eve in his hideout with very few memories of what had happened before while yet another party has been sent out by Chronos to find Eve. This is what will begin a very uneasy alliance between Train and Eve.
The last episode of the volume takes us even further into the future. At the start of this episode, the trio of Train, Sven and Eve have been on the road for six months trying to escape the minions of Cronos. Both Train and Eve have started working and helping Sven with his sweeping though Train now acts more like a cat and eats constantly (was I just redundant?). Rinslet is off on another mission and being a thief when the numbers approach her to help them find a group of Tao users a reward of 10 million gold pieces. Somehow though the most miraculous thing happens and all of these people find themselves meeting at a café in the middle of nowhere.
The Good And The Bad
This is the first anime in a very long time where I was actually fairly surprised with what I saw on the second volume of this anime. The approach that it’s taken in presenting itself is much different than how it was in the first volume which makes for a very interesting viewing experience.
The first thing that I really noticed about this volume, it’s writing and how it presented itself was that the comedy relief is much better in this volume, right away the jokes are written with a much crisper approach that rely on easy sight gags as opposed to any intelligent puns or other language play.
Of course, one of the other big reasons for the change in presentation is how quickly the characters all become redefined. Nowhere is this more defined and played out than in the transition from the end of episode three to the start of the last episode of the volume after the three have been traveling on the road together for six months. Eve has become a smarter and worldlier character, Sven has become a father figure to her and Train has gone from a cold, emotionless killer to a guy who acts like a cat. You can’t really get much further away from where you started from than that.
At the same time though, this volume is much more bloody and violent than the start of the series which takes some getting used to. The balance I found throughout this volume was definitely one that had me interested because when the anime chose to be light it was almost always gags and light exposition but then when it needed to be dark such as the final battle between Creed and Train, especially with the dramatic scene with Saya, it becomes very dark, very bloody and very violent very quickly. It was just a very rapid change and it made for very stark lines. It made for an interesting presentation really and I’m still not entirely sure how to classify this anime.
I found that the background music was much more pronounced on this volume and it really seemed to jump out of the background sometimes to heighten the mood of the scene. I found that in particular that the very powerful opera music used for some very tense battle scenes was quite interesting and well done.
The techno theme used during Eve’s sweeper scene was really interesting as well but I did find that it gave the battle scene a bit more of a surreal feeling (as though the battle itself didn’t do that).
Dub vs. Sub
Neither track was poorly done. I was pleased with what I heard on each episode and I didn’t notice any performances that I felt were flat at all. This is really a viewer’s choice and you shouldn’t be displeased with either track.
Just some text less songs and clean animation.
Like I said earlier and I apologize for repeating myself, I was honestly surprised at what I saw on this volume. I didn’t have the foggiest idea that it was going to go from such a dark drama to such a weird comedy with some dark moments. It’s just a very odd transition for me. I’m entirely sure how this affects my judgment on this series. It’s still enjoyable but if I put in volume three and I see a change in presentation again I’m going to have to seriously question if this series will be able to get its act together by the time the second half rolls around and deliver a strong finish. Recommended.
Final Grade: 81% – B