Black Cat Volume 5

Black Cat’s penultimate volume sees Train and his fellow sweepers make the final confrontation with Creed and the Apostles of the Stars. The upcoming battle becomes more complicated however when the Chronos Numbers decide to enter the fray to settle their own issues with Creed.

To be honest I’m not sure where the series is going now because it seems strange to finish the main plot thread with only one batch of episodes to go. How can the series possibly fit another arc, or even resolve Train’s inner conflicts, when the plot progression often involves battles that play out over many episodes at a time? That will I suppose have to wait for my final review.

Before I get onto the main event in this volume I can’t not mention the opening episode though. It’s just a diversion really, in which Train sets out on his own into the mountains and meets a girl who reminds him of Saya; for all intents and purposes it’s a filler episode apart from a little character introspection on Train’s part but ironically I found this instalment of ‘filler’ to be one of the most enjoyable outings of the series so far.

The story of this episode doesn’t add much to the main arc but the imagination on the part of the show’s art department really caught my attention here. The isolated and timeless locale of the mysterious girl’s mountain home, not to mention the remarkably pretty background art, was brilliantly realised and totally different from the atmospheres of the places the Black Cat cast have visited in the past.

As much as I personally enjoyed immersing myself in it for one mere episode it is ultimately a diversion because we’re soon back on familiar ground as the newly-expanded team of sweepers set out in force to take the Apostles of the Stars down for good. It’s at this point where your opinion on Shonen Jump action shows has a lot of bearing on whether you’ll enjoy this: it will either be generic and predictable or cool and exciting, depending on whether this particular type of anime action floats your boat or not.

I don’t normally have much time for this sort of thing but I must confess that by the series’ own standards the final face-off scenes were very well done. The cheap-looking animation seemed to improve a little where it matters most, which made the kinetic and significant battles suitably exciting and filled with tension. If you do look for supernatural martial arts combat in an anime series you can take comfort in the fact that two full episodes are devoted to the fights between the sweepers, Chronos and the Apostles and stand up reasonably well next to other rivals of the genre.

In Summary
There isn’t much more that I can say about this part of the series since the latter half consists mostly of long combat scenes that apparently resolve the issues between Chronos, the Apostles of the Stars and the sweepers caught in the middle. For those who have followed the series so far it’s well worth your time for the closure and action, and the presentation maintains its (admittedly modest) standards for the occasion. All in all it’s not a bad outing.

7 / 10