Manga-ka: Kentaro Yabuki
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Released: July 2008
Synopsis: “Train and the Sweeper Alliance make it to Creed’s island hideout. However, the Apostles of the Stars are ready and waiting for them. Separated from the others, Eve must finally do battle on her own when confronted by Leon, the wind master. She has the powers she needs to win, but does she has the heart?”
A sudden attack on their ship in volume fourteen has left the newly formed Sweeper Alliance separated and trapped on Creed’s island. Following an expected shonen-story path, the enemy members of the Apostles of the Stars are now hunting them down before they can reach the island’s castle. In this fifteenth volume, Train, Eve and River find themselves under the first attacks.
While the fight scene between Train and the gravity-controlling Taoist was entertaining, it was the long awaited all out fight scene for Eve that I was looking forward to. Facing the wind-master, Leon, a young boy about Eve’s visual age, she is pushed beyond what she has had to face before and goes up against her first opponent completely separated from her partners Train and Sven. It was a really fun battle to read as Eve’s transformation abilities made the fight full of unexpected turns and surprise capabilities. As the manga-ka Kentaro Yabsuki has explained in previous volumes, they partially intended Black Cat to be a coming-of-age story for Eve and this volume is certainly a prime example of how far Eve has come since the beginning.
On top of Eve’s involvement, I continue to enjoy the other characters as well, including the egos of both Train and the newer character, River. Another new member of the Sweeper Alliance is a man named Kevin who was saved by Eve when the boat they travelled on was destroyed. Though an injury kept his involvement in this volume low, I look forward to seeing what he’ll bring to the story in later volumes, especially as a new friend to Eve.
I continue to love Kentaro Yabsuki’s artwork! It’s such a crisp and consistent style that has much of the simplistic solidity of shonen mangas while also maintaining really attractive designs and a pleasant amount of detail. The battle scenes in this volume were especially entertaining to behold artistically both in terms of drawings and panel choices.
So another volume and another satisfying read. Though future volumes of Black Cat promise the stereotypical shonen ‘hop from bad guy to bad guy’ plot pace, the series has proven itself capable of making each encounter entertaining none-the-less and worth my anticipation. Bring on volume sixteen!