Manga-ka: Kentaro Yabuki
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Released: September 2008
Synopsis: “Train and River put aside their differences as they face off with Shiki, one of the most powerful members of the Apostles of the Stars. Shiki is determined to show that the Tao is the ultimate form of power, and he’s going to take down Train, his friends and all of Chronos to prove it!”
Black Cat continues its bout of stereotypical badguy-to-badguy fight scenes in this sixteenth volume as the characters battle their way through enemies to find Creed. Train and his partner-by-circumstance, the punching machine, River, are this volume’s star players. After defeating their last opponents, they now find themselves matched against the powerful member of the Tao responsible for stranding them all here on the island in the first place.
Sure, the fights are somewhat predictable and continuous but Black Cat remains entertaining through all it’s stereotypes. Best of all, the fights are action-packed yet brisk: these aren’t back and forth fights that you’ll be following for volume upon volume.
Train and River’s fight with the bug-man wielding Taoist is certainly the most intense battle so far, from some painful looking injuries to some crazy powers and abilities. Along with them, Sven and the knife-wielding, Silphy, also gets their share of the page time against a crazy Taoist with ice powers. Sven’s training in the previous few volumes finally comes back with some interesting effect and Train looks like he has some new tricks up his sleeves for the next installment. No Eve in this volume, unfortunately for me, and her absence only reminds me just how much I love reading this series for her.
At this point, I’m really enjoying the important roles these very recently introduced secondary characters are getting to play in the plot. I hope they aren’t casually tossed aside entirely to put the focus entirely back on the main cast, just because I really like the variety the larger cast brings. Besides, it’d be a waste of some pretty cool people.
Sixteen volumes of Black Cat in and I still care about what’s happening, which for any long-lasting shonen series is impressive enough for me in itself. I really like the characters, thus care where they’re going, and the story being told with such visually appealing and consistent artwork certainly doesn’t hurt either! The story may be suffering a tad here in the shadow of the fight scenes which fall victim to total shonen-cliché, but it’s still none the less an enjoyable read.