What They Say:
Together, Hitomi, Rui, and Ai are Cat’s Eye, the greatest art thieves the world has ever known. But they don’t steal for money or fame – they do it in the hopes of finding their father, a great painter who went missing after World War II. While they’re searching for him in Europe, a new female thief claiming to be Cat’s Eye starts wreaking havoc in Tokyo! She steals anything she can get her hands on, and her brutal methods are putting the lives of the police at risk… It’s time for the real Cat’s Eye to head back to Japan and bring her reign of terror to an end!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Cat’s Eye is an anime I honestly didn’t think I’d like at first. The premise of the show was one I wasn’t feeling at all when folks told me about it. I remembered glancing at it in the back pages of Robotech Art 1 way back when, but was more into sci-fi and robots at the time. Romance and comedy weren’t my cup of tea entirely. Eventually, though, I got the first season box set and watched the first episode….. and then watched another… and another still … and before I knew it, I’d marathoned the whole set. It was totally addictive.
A fellow writer has already tackled writing about that set in full but for a primer here, the premise follows three sisters: Hitomi, Rui and Ai Kisugi. Their father Michael Heinz was a prominent collector and artist working with the Nazis during World War II whose works have turned up missing, along with Heinz himself. The sisters become professional art thieves, who only steal works created by Heinz from various buildings, exhibitors and owners. They hope by doing this, they can reunite with their father or, at least, learn his true fate. Occasionally, Cat’s Eye receives help from Nagaishi, who used to know Heinz very well and provides the team with equipment, information, and logistical support.
Although all three women make up Cat’s Eye (or Cats’ as Toshio likes to refer to them as), only Hitomi gets identified as Cat’s Eye in the singular, so she’s the most often pursued by Toshio. They often have close calls, but he never sees her face, only a seemingly attractive woman (seen from afar) who leaves a calling card both before and after the thefts. Meanwhile, Toshio visits the sisters’ coffee shop every day where he tells Hitomi of the day’s cases while hitting on her.
There are many more crazy adventures Cat’s Eye faces. In one episode, Toshio sees Hitomi stealing a painting, but the ladies team up to trick him into thinking the incident was a dream. Another episode is rather amusing to watch because it feels so 80s. A psychologist discovers the team’s identity and he hypnotizes the youngest member with videotapes of music videos with subliminal messages. I swear these are so goof to watch now, reminiscing of the glory days of MTV a bit. The sisters also at one point deal with a rich mogul who claims to have videotape of the team in action, possibly exposing their identities. A late episode has the ladies taking a trip to the beach which is ultimately a trip to find a sunken treasure containing some of their father’s artworks. The girls are hoping to go at this alone, but Toshio comes along hoping for some alone time with Hitomi. This winds up being probably the most deadly serious episode of the season.
This last episode is frustrating in that it’s the closest we get to any resolution of Cat’s Eye finding their father, which is given no real closure at all after watching the series for two years. Also, Hitomi and Toshio’s dynamic are somewhat wrapped up in the show’s final episode in which the youngest sister Ai writes a school play about the adventures of Cat’s Eye and casts Hitomi and Toshio as her two leads, who act out dialogue mirroring their true feelings for each other. The manga gives much more definitive resolution for these plots but after investing time and energy into a lengthy series, I’d want to have something for my entertainment trouble.
All in all, this season of Cat’s Eye more of the same style of hijinks as the first. The ending is unfulfilling, however. There’s kind of a blowoff to Hitomi and Toshio’s relationship. It’s a fun show nighttime comedy adventure though similar to Moonlighting or Remington Stele maybe. The original manga was done by Tsukasa Hojo of City Hunter fame. I wish this show could’ve waited to adapt his conclusion of things, especially about the team’s father. Still, we get some of the better elements of a Tokyo Movie Shinsha production such as background music by Kazuo Otani, with some cues taken from Space adventure Cobra and Super Dimension Century Orguss. Speaking of the music, we get a fun opening and closing sequences of the sisters working out, indicating TMS knew their audience. We also get characters designed by Akio Sugino (Golgo 13) for the anime. Directed by Yoshio Takeuchi (assistant director of Black Jack) Cat’s Eye is a nice fun show focused on adults, something not much present in modern anime. So for that at least, it’s good to check, out and for reminiscing about the 80s to a degree.
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: A-
Extras Grade: n/A
Released By: Nozomi Entertainment
Release Date: November 18th, 2014
Running Time: 925 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Panasonic 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation 3