It’s impossible to talk about great 80’s Anime without discussing Tsukasa Hojo’s Cat’s Eye. What began as a serialized Weekly Shonen Jump Manga in 1981, quickly became a cult televised Anime TV series that ran from 1983-1985. Two live-action adaptations followed in 1988, with yet another 1997 theatrical release by Kaizo Hayashi. In 2010, Tokuma Shoten’s Monthly Comic Zenon released a Cat’s Eye Manga remake by Shingo Asai, which ran until January 25, 2014. Cat’s Eye has been a fan favorite for over thirty years, and thanks to Nozomi/Lucky Penny, we’re finally able to enjoy a remastered DVD release of the original TV classic.
Combining the charm and wit of Charlie’s Angels and the athletic prowess of Catherine Zeta-Jones from Entrapment, Cat’s Eye is an action-comedy that radiates with personality and superbly animated acrobatics. The series is cheesy, predictable, yet undeniably charming. The plot revolves around three sisters who lead double lives as art thieves and cafe owners. Hitomi, Rui, and Ai are on a mission to uncover the truth behind their missing father, who was an art collector during the Nazi regime, and reclaim his prized collection.
"Combining the charm and wit of Charlie’s Angels and the athletic prowess of Catherine Zeta-Jones from Entrapment, Cat’s Eye is an action-comedy that radiates with personality and superbly animated acrobatics."
The sisters are skilled thieves and repeatedly tease the police by announcing their upcoming jobs. Toshio, Hitomi’s high school sweetheart and police detective, is completely clueless about his fiancee’s identity, despite the cafe being named Cat’s Eye. To further complicate things, Toshio has vowed to halt the marriage until he captures the thieving trio. It doesn’t stop there. Hitomi constantly uses Toshio to reveal security details for their next job, making them always one step ahead of the police.
Despite romantic undertones, Cat’s Eye is fundamentally a slapstick comedy with plenty of action. Like most TV Anime of its time, the show is episodic with major plot developments only occurring towards the end. Each episode revolves around the sisters tricking Toshio and triumphantly escaping with the stolen art. Toshio’s stupidity can be borderline frustrating, but the series is self-aware and never pretends like it’s vying for something greater than rudimentary comedy. Cat’s Eye may lack a deep narrative, but its characters are irresistibly likeable and carry the show through all 73 episodes (2 Seasons).
"Its simplistic plot leaves a lot to be desired, but the wonderful art direction, expert animation and fun characters are a reminder of why the trio had such a long lasting fan following."
While the lack of a proper blu ray release is disappointing, the DVD remaster is excellent. Cat’s Eye may be an old series, but Nozomi/Lucky Penny did a great job in restoring the animation. The image quality is clean and well polished, with only a few minor visual distortions popping up once in a while. Colors are vibrant and the audio quality still holds up, despite being limited to stereo.
I grew up with Cat’s Eye, and even after all these years, the series is still as enjoyable as it was decades ago. Its simplistic plot leaves a lot to be desired, but the wonderful art direction, expert animation and fun characters are a reminder of why the trio had such a long lasting fan following. Right Stuf currently sells each season for only $44.99, and it would be criminal to miss out on this timeless Japanese cult classic.
Review by: Tin Salamunic | Published by: Right Stuf