Black Cat (Vol. 20) – Kentaro Yabuki
Published by Viz Media
Here it is, the twentieth and final volume of Kentaro Yabuki’s Black Cat. Not a bad length for a shonen series, a fair number of volumes but nothing obscene that invokes the thoughts of a never-ending cycle of recycled plot lines. I’d say Black Cat was just right.
That said, this final volume really took its shonen genre to heart with an epic final showdown between Train and Creed. Speed lines are all over the place as the two duke it out, gun to sword, pulling out all the attacks, special abilities and emotional-banter that twenty volumes have worked up to. Meanwhile, Sven and Eve continue their flunky battles, reiterating that they’re just as cool, if not more so (or easily more so in the case of Eve) than the story’s lead character.
The ending itself likely won’t surprise any readers accustomed to shonen clichés, especially the final attack exchanged between Train and Creed, but despite its predictability, the finale still offers a concrete resolution that neatly ties up any remaining loose ends. I was disappointed that prior fears regarding newly introduced, and quickly tossed again, side characters were proven true when they all garnered no further relevance past their short uses as fodder in previous books.
Also included in this wrap-up are some short flashbacks to Creed’s past, multiple amusing comics regarding the story’s creation, and a tidy epilogue that shows us where the lead cast are eight months later, including Eve sporting an adorable new outfit and hairdo that leaves me begging for a spin-off. Unlikely, but what can I say? I love that nano-machine enhanced little butt-kicker. She’s adorable and will be missed by this reader!
Sporting a pretty ‘this is obviously the final volume’ cover featuring a character collage and a whimsical looking Train, as well as some consistently admirable release work by Viz, Black Cat volume twenty brings the series to a regrettable, but still mostly satisfying, end with much of the same charm and action that carried readers on from volume one.