Black Cat [1934]

Black Cat (2005) brings together a trio of unlikely characters in an off-beat sci-fi comedy-adventure. Train Heartnet, The Black Cat, uses his superhuman speed and marksmanship as an assassin for the sinister cabal Chronos. Sven Vollfied, a perennially broke "Sweeper" or bounty hunter, talks his way into and out of adventures. This improbable duo collides when Sven tries to rescue Train's next target: Eve, a little girl who's been turned into a killing machine through illicit nanotechnology. A mixture of naiveté and murderous transformations, she's another example of the deadly moppets in recent anime. The story initially focuses on Train and his decision to live his own life, rather than continue as a deadly puppet for Chronos. But the subplots proliferate, climaxing in a baroque scheme that pits Sven, Train, Eve, and their friends against a power-hungry gang armed with nanotechnology and Tao superpowers. Director Shin Itagaki uses fast cutting, unusual colors, and interesting camera angles skillfully: he keeps the story moving, even when it doesn't make sense. Like Lost Universe, Black Cat shifts jarringly in tone from comic to heartwarming to dramatic. Voice actors Brandon Potter and Jason Liebrecht make Sven and Train an appropriately quarrelsome pair of buddies, but their voices sound too old for the characters, who look much younger than the designs inKentaro Yabuki's original manga. The 24 episodes in this set could have easily fit on four discs. Rated TV PG, suitable for ages 14 and older: violence, violence against women, brief nudity, alcohol and tobacco use) --Charles Solomon

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