Train Heartnet is an amicable bounty hunter—known as a "Sweeper"—with a talent for sharpshooting. Working alongside his cool-headed partner Sven Vollfied, they hunt down wanted criminals. Unfortunately, however, despite their efforts, the dynamic duo always seems to be short on money, which forces them to accept a job from the beautiful Rinslet Walker, a sly thief for hire, and a mysterious girl named Eve.
However, the motley crew soon discovers a terrible plot to revolutionize the world, and the mastermind is someone Train knows and loathes with a passion. As the plan is set into motion, it is soon made clear that behind the carefree sharpshooter's smiling face lies a tragic past and an insatiable desire for revenge.
Black Cat is like if Trigun's ugly little brother had met Rurouni Kenshin's retarded little sister and decided to wife her, because no one with a modicum of intelligence or self-respect would ever settle for him, and then they had a kid, but instead of a human the kid came out a kitten. Then they got into this big fight because Trigun's little bro assumed that his wifey had been unfaithful. (And it's a pretty understandable assumption. I mean, the kitten was black.) But, as it turns out, this anomaly was due to a birth defect brought on by inbreeding. See, Rurouni Kenshin was actually the father of both Trigun and his sister, making the ugly brother the retarded sister's uncle. Neither of them were intelligent enough to put this together. In any case, they divorced and shared custody.
Black Cat's parents' nasty relationship took a toll on him, (especially when his stepfather, Cowboy Bebop, got abusive after one too many drinks,) and he ultimately absorbed all of the worst qualities of his three parental figures, failing to ever develop a personality of his own.
Let's recap: Black Cat is the inbred, watered-down, spawn of previous anime/manga, that failed to capitalize on anything that made those other anime good, and didn't contain a single original idea. Yeah, that just about covers it.
There is no reason to read Black Cat. Any good ideas found in it are poorly executed and can be seen in multiple other works done better. There is nothing, no substance to it. It's like the mangaka just strung a bunch of clichés together and called it a manga.
One of the characters wears a fedora. Yes, he's a 'nice guy,' and yes, his hair is a lot longer than it really should be.
The main character is named 'Train.' What kind of name is that? Who does this fucker think he is, Thomas the Tank Engine?read more
Personally, I love this manga. With former bad guy assassin turned good guy story lines being done to death in various other manga, it's nice to break away from the format every now and then. The manga focuses on the aforementioned reformed character: Train Heartnet. The former Chronos number XIII, ruthless assassin turned sweeper - or plain old bounty hunter. He's partnered up with Sven Vollfied, a former IBI (International Bureau of Investigation) turned sweeper. And of course Rinslet Walker, the famous thief for hire. Later they are joined by a young girl named Eve, who happens to be a genetically engineered bio-weapon who is infused with nano technology which enables her to transform various parts of her body into objects such as hammers, swords etc. In one volume she was able to grow angel wings onto her back. In the opening volumes of the manga, Eve is rescued by Sven and Train from her creator and goes on to be a sweeper with them. Sven treats Eve almost like a daughter to him, although there is a slight rivalry between Train and Eve (not so much on Train's part) for Sven's attention. It's all very cute, and has plenty of comic relief moments.
The story of why Train became a sweeper is more detailed in the manga than in the Anime. With the manga taking place 2 years after Train was "killed" and therefore, was no longer a part of Chronos. Some of the chapters feature lengthy flashbacks, taking the reader back to when Train was a number and when he met Saya, who was a sweeper and lived her life to the full. Train partly left Cronos to persue the person who killed Saya - Creed Diskenth who was once a candidate for the Chronos numbers but was rejected due to his unstable state of mind. In actual fact, Train took Creed's spot as the 13th member of Chronos. Creed then went on to become the leader of the Apostles of the Stars, a group of people who use Tao to create unique powers. A battle ensues between both Chronos and the Apostles, with Train and the others stuck firmly in the middle. As the story progresses, more of the Chronos numbers are introduced such as Chronos number I Sephiria Arks, and the ever enigmatic number VII Jenos Hazard.
It's a well constructed story line, although I must admit that it can be slightly repetitive in some places. The manga itself contain some well defined characters and a flowing art style, although not as graphic as some others that I have read. Still, it's enjoyable enough to read. The plot itself is pretty much easy to follow, and the intermittent comedy moments are an added bonus. read more
Black Cat at its worst is a typical action manga chock-full of unoriginal characters and plot devices, but at its best an enjoyable series in which those unoriginal characters are endearing, the plot devices are familiar enough to seem almost nostalgic, and the story as a whole flows well (for the most part).
Story: The core story is quite interesting, though it often takes the shonen staples of "I'm gonna fight you just to prove myself" and "I suddenly got so much more powerful" and "I'm the only one that can stop the bad guy." The story is fun and even suspenseful beyond those occasional nuisances.
Art: Black Cat also reminds the audience it's shonen by featuring a lot of guys with spiky hair. Train Heartnet's features are adorably catlike. In case you're not sure who to root for, the good guys look nice and bad guys are usually quite ugly. Nothing about the art itself really jumps out at the reader beyond some of the action sequences, which are nicely drawn. Unlike many other shonen, I actually found myself understanding what had just happened in any given fight.
Character: Characters are not this series' strong point, at least not as far as originality goes. Everyone has seen these characters before at some point, they just looked different and had different names. Train is your heartless assassin-turned all-around nice guy who is also a bounty hunter. Sven is the self-proclaimed gentleman sidekick with some kind of trump card in his fighting ability. Eve is the ridiculously powerful child who's been genetically altered and initially had no emotion. Creed is the guy who has a disturbing obsession with the main character and a vendetta against the world who inevitably decides to rule it over as a god.
That being said, the characters are faithful to their unoriginal archetypes. They rarely do anything unexpected, unless that's their intended personality.
Enjoyment: In spite of the perceived recycled characters and storyline, Black Cat is quite enjoyable. There's plenty of humor interspersed throughout and the characters, to their credit, are diverse enough where a reader could pick one he/she really really likes and cheer them on over the course of the story.
Overall: Black Cat is criticized for not being too original, but that's not really its intention. The idea is to create an interesting story with characters that have been tested and proven to work on an audience before, and besides, if Black Cat were to happen to be the first anime anyone saw, they wouldn't necessarily know the difference. This is, in the end, a worthwhile series for action fans.read more
This series would have been better if I didn't feel like I'd "seen it all before." The idea of a "bounty hunter" character who often ends up broke and refuses to kill reminds me of Trigun. Each of the characters within the story reminded me of some character in another story. And every single person in this manga had some kind of tragic past that made them who they were. This wouldn't have bothered me nearly so much if I didn't feel like everything was just glossed over...only mentioned because the writer felt they needed to explain everything. The mangaka really leads readers around by the hand, explaining everything and leaving not a whole lot to the imagination. Often, details are repeated, drilled into the head of the reader. Sometimes, important things are left unmentioned until convenient (such as Train's "black cross" technique going completely unused til nearly the end of the series). Events seemed very trivial. It was clear who would win and who would "die". Sadly, there are very few original ideas in this story.
That being said, the art is enjoyable. The sarcasm and wit of the characters, their beliefs and their evolutions make this series worth reading. The action is well done and the plot is easy to follow. The look of the characters, generally, were interesting and unique. I didn't confuse people in the series for other characters and (with the exception of a few characters like River, who really looked like a super saiyan that stole some moves from Street Fighter) they were an interesting mix.read more