Black Cat (manga)
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2009)|
The first tankōbon volume of Black Cat, as published by Shueisha on January 6, 2001.
|Genre||Action, Adventure, Comedy-drama, Fantasy|
|Written by||Kentaro Yabuki|
|Magazine||Weekly Shōnen Jump|
|Original run||2000 – 2004|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Shin Itagaki|
|Original run||October 6, 2005 – March 30, 2006|
|Black Cat: Hoshi no Zanshou|
|Written by||Tomohito Ōsaki|
|Published||October 24, 2005|
Black Cat (ブラックキャット Burakku Kyatto ) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Kentaro Yabuki. It was originally serialized in Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump from 2000 to 2004, with the chapters collected into twenty tankōbon volumes. The story centers on a man named Train Heartnet who withdrew from an elite group of assassins called the Chronos Numbers to become a bounty hunter, or Sweeper.
The series was adapted into a twenty-four episode anime series by Gonzo studio, which aired on the satellite television network Animax and the terrestrial Tokyo Broadcasting System channel from 2005 to 2006. The manga was licensed for English-language publication in North America by Viz Media and by Madman Entertainment in Australasia. Funimation Entertainment licensed the anime for an English dub and North American broadcast on their own Funimation Channel, with Madman releasing it in Australasia and MVM Films in the United Kingdom.
Chronos, an organization bent on world peace, rules one third of the world's economy. To maintain the balance of the world, Chronos is therefore essential, and there is a need for people to protect Chronos. Thirteen special elite assassins each possess unique orichalcum-forged weapons and are called the Chrono Numbers (時の番人 Kurono Nanbāzu ), assassins who work for Chronos. When the thirteenth Chronos Number (Train Heartnet), also known as the infamous Black Cat, meets a Sweeper (licensed bounty hunter) named Saya Minatsuki, Train's morals and values are changed from those of Chronos's to those of his own. Instead of killing his victims like he is ordered to, he merely uses Hades (his orichalcum gun) to stop them instead. This leads to tension between him and the Chronos Elders, the leaders of Chronos, and eventually culminates in Train's departure from the organization. Creed Diskenth, a Chronos assassin, resents the way that Saya changed Train's life, and murders her. Two years later, Train is an easygoing Sweeper, traveling with his partners Sven Vollfied (who possesses a special eye that allows him to see a few seconds into the future) and Eve (who contains millions of nanomachines in her body, allowing her to transform herself at will), when Creed appears before Train once more. Creed, now with followers and power that rival anyone alive, including the numbers, vows to get Train to join him. Train must choose his friends and new life, or revenge, as Creed threatens to undermine Chronos and start his own World Revolution.
According to Kentaro Yabuki, Black Cat's main theme is Train's journey to find freedom. When the manga ended serialization, Yabuki expressed desire to make a sequel from the manga labelling the series as "Part 1". As he was not sure if there could be a sequel, Yabuki still remarked that the characters of Train Heartnet and Eve may appear in other titles he would make in the future.
Written and illustrated by Kentaro Yabuki, Black Cat was originally serialized in Japan by Shueisha in Weekly Shōnen Jump from 2001 to 2004. One hundred and eighty-five chapters were collected into twenty tankōbon volumes by Shueisha. The first volume on January 6, 2000, with the final volume released on October 14, 2004. The series was released in twelve cheaper bunkobon format volumes, published from September 16, 2005 to February 17, 2006.
It was licensed in English in North America by Viz Media as they first announced at the 2005 San Diego Comic-Con International. The first volume released on March 8, 2006 with the final volume released on May 5, 2009. Madman Entertainment published Viz's English release in Australia and New Zealand. The series is also licensed for regional language releases in Dutch by Glénat Benelux, French by Glénat, Italian by Star Comics, German by Carlsen Comics (in their Banzai! magazine), Simplified Chinese by Chuang Yi, and traditional Chinese by Tong Li Publishing (in their Formosa Youth magazine).
Gonzo studio adapted Black Cat into a twenty-four episode anime series, directed by Shin Itagaki. It was broadcast on Animax and the terrestrial Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) from October 6, 2005 to March 30, 2006. Episode fifteen was not broadcast by TBS, but only by Animax. The series was released across twelve Region 2 DVD volumes from December 21, 2005 to November 22, 2006. Each volume was also published in Premium Edition which included various extras. The DVD volumes were gathered in a limited release DVD boxset by Sony Pictures Entertainment on April 23, 2008.
The anime was licensed for an English-language dubbed release by Funimation Entertainment in June 2006. The episodes were later broadcast on the Funimation Channel. The series was then released across six Region 1 DVD volumes released between December 19, 2006 and July 24, 2007. The DVDs were gathered in a boxset and released on March 18, 2008.
A full anime soundtrack was released on March 15, 2006 entitled Black Cat Original Soundtrack Nikukyu (lit. "Pawpad"). It contains the opening and ending themes along with twenty-one tracks of background music. The background music in the anime was composed by Taku Iwasaki. The opening theme "Daia no Hana Anime Ver." was written, composed and performed by Yoriko. The first ending theme "Namida Boshi Anime Ver." was composed and performed by PUPPYPET, while the second ending theme "Kutsuzure Anime Ver." was composed and performed by Matsuda Ryouji.
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With the permission from the series creator, Kentaro Yabuki, Tomohito Ōsaki wrote a light novel titled Black Cat: Hoshi no Zanshou (BLACK CAT 星の残照 lit. "The Star's Afterglow" ). It was released in Japan on October 24, 2005. It is set a year after the events from the manga and focuses on a conspiracy hidden in Thanatos.
There have been two video games based on the series released in Japan. Black Cat: Kikai Shikake no Tenshi (BLACK CAT 〜機械仕掛けの天使〜 lit. "The Mechanical Angel" ) was released for the PlayStation 2 on March 30, 2006 by Capcom. Black Cat: Kuroneko no Concerto (BLACK CAT 〜黒猫の協奏曲〜 lit. "The Black Cat's Concerto" ) was released for the Nintendo DS on June 21, 2007 by Compile Heart. Characters of the Black Cat series have also made appearances in the games Jump Super Stars and Jump Ultimate Stars.
As of 2008, Black Cat's twenty volumes sold 12 million units in Japan. Volumes from Viz's English publication of the series have also been featuring in best-selling manga rankings such as The New York Times as well as Nielsen BookScan. During 2006, Black Cat was North America's 9th best manga property according to ICv2. In ICv2's Top 50 Manga, Black Cat was listed as the 15th manga property from North America during the first half of 2008. In ICv2's Top 25 Manga Properties Q1 2009, it was the 22nd best manga property from North America during 2009's first quarter.
The anime has been listed as North America's 22nd anime property in summer 2008. Navarre Corporation cited the DVD releases of Black Cat as the main reason for Funimation's profit increase during the last quarter of 2006. The television series ranked 17th in a 2006 poll conducted by Japanese anime magazine Animage.
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- "Top Manga Properties in 2008 - Rankings and Circulation Data". Comipress. December 31, 2008. Retrieved August 26, 2009.
- "New York Times Manga Best Seller List, March 1–7". Anime News Network. March 13, 2009. Retrieved October 14, 2009.
- "New York Times Manga Best Seller List, May 10–16". Anime News Network. May 22, 2009. Retrieved October 14, 2009.
- "BookScan's Top 20 Graphic Novels for January 2009". ICv2. February 5, 2009. Retrieved October 14, 2009.
- "Manga Releases Up 16% in 2007". ICv2. February 7, 2007. Retrieved October 14, 2009.
- "ICv2 Top 50 Manga--Summer 2008". ICv2. September 8, 2008. Retrieved October 14, 2009.
- "'ICv2 Insider's Guide' #65: Top 25 Manga Properties Q1 2009". ICv2. June 10, 2009. Retrieved October 14, 2009.
- "ICv2 Top 25 Anime--Summer 2008". ICv2. September 8, 2008. Retrieved October 14, 2009.
- "Navarre Q4 Report: Profits Up 24.9%". Anime News Network. February 13, 2007. Retrieved October 14, 2009.
- "第28回アニメグランプリ [28th Annual Anime Grand Prix]". Animage. June 2006. Retrieved April 14, 2012.
- Black Cat official site (Japanese)
- TBS's Black Cat anime official site (Japanese)
- FUNimation's Official Black Cat site
- Black Cat (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia