Train Heartnet is an assassin for an underground organization called Chronos. Or he was until he met a female bounty hunter, otherwise known as a Sweeper, and begins to rethink his life. Mix in hard-on-his luck ex-cop, Sven, a cunning thief for hire, Rins, and a bio weapon named Eve and you can see where the desire for freedom might come up for the infamous Number XIII. Unfortunately, his attempt to run from Chronos’ stronghold of bloodshed is marred by another assassin, Creed, who is planning something far larger than a simple betrayal.
Even though this show contains a great deal of fighting, blood is pretty rare. Usually characters are only scratched up or their clothing is torn. There are a few disturbing scenes, however. One criminal has acidic hands and “melts” his victims. Although detail isn’t shown, it can be a scary scene for children. Also, villains further in the series are cut and shot at frequently and, while they don’t die, their regenerative powers can be a bit gross. Oh and two villain characters kinda shrivel up when they overuse their power. It’s not pretty.
The horrid “illegitimate-son-word” makes a few appearances. Which is why I’m thoroughly confused as to why the official rating is PG…
No outright nudity here, although Rins has a…. um… rack. This is played on a few times (via clothing that shows major cleavage), thankfully not often. Probably the closest to nudity happens near the end of the series with Eve, who is in a capsule of some kind. She isn’t wearing anything. However, all details are covered or her whole body is in a bright glow that obscures any details.
Most of the heavy symbolism is saved for the tail end of the show. Without giving too much away, Eve is taken to a place called “Eden” and there she meets “Adam.” The symbol of eating an apple (which is often understood as the fruit given to Eve by the snake/Satan) triggers the “end of the world.” It’s clear that these symbols are pulled from the Bible (even though there is no evidence that an apple was what Eve ate as the Bible only says it was “fruit”). These symbols are only used for the story’s sake and really don’t seem to have any ulterior motive.
Note: It’s not in FUNimation’s translation, but the idea of “demons,” which in Japanese is “oni,” is often applied to Eve in various parts of this show. Again, unlike America’s ideas of demons, the Japanese understand it as more of a horrifying monster than for any “religious” purpose.
First off, this anime is quite a trip visually. Unlike many animated adoptions of Shonen Jump series, Black Cat had an animation team that wanted to be different. They succeeded. Camera angles, colors, style, scene progression, and more are all far removed from typical animation styles. I personally enjoyed it. But then, I’ve seen so many traditional shows, I find this kind of thing interesting. Nevertheless, there are drawbacks. Fight scenes are occasionally hard to follow. But unlike Samurai 7 (another Gonzo studio release), Black Cat’s strangeness is throughout the show, so there’s not much in way of surprises. The camera angles you see in episode one are used all the way through to the end. So if the visuals aren’t to your liking when you try it, it’s not going to change later.
As for characters, Train is a wonderful contradiction of deadly seriousness and goofy. It’s actually quite brilliant how this is pulled off so well in one character. Eve’s personality also grows over time, which is both pleasant and, at times, hilarious. Even some of the major villains have interesting progression. Although the outcome of many of the battles are a touch predictable, the tone of the show, which is largely positive, makes up for it. Where most shows that star heroes with such troubled pasts as Train often become marred in doom and groom, Train largely keeps things positive, which falls in line with the theme of “freedom” the director was originally going for. As does the plot, which focuses on various factions in and outside of Chronos seeking the meaning of “freedom and peace.”
If you enjoy fighting, a dash of plot, well placed characters and a positive message, this show is a great one to try out. Just be well warned that Creed’s laugh might creep you out for a few weeks.
Personal Rating: Young Adult
Languages: Dub and Sub
Official rating: PG
Genre(s): Action, comedy
Legal streaming: N/A