Cat’s Eye at a Glance

Posted by Michael Pinto on Jul 21, 2007 in Animation |

Cat's Eye manga from the 80s which was pretty close to the anime version...

Above: The manga from Cat’s Eye.

So after a week of hard work I got to catch up with my DVR and watch Cat’s Eye which is playing on ImaginAsianTV (thank you Time Warner Cable). The last time I saw this classic anime show was back in the 80s. Back in the day the only way to see this stuff in the United States was to watch it on VHS tapes. The problem for most early anime fanboys like myself was that you were watching a copy of a copy of a copy, so my first shock in looking at Cat’s Eye was the lack of static and high audio quality. It was also a real pleasure to hear the audio without any tape hum, and back in the day there were no subtitles so it was a real treat not to guess what was being said by each character.

In fact the nice thing that ImaginAsianTV is doing is that unlike Adult Swim they’re showing the episodes in Japanese so you get a better flavor for the show, it’s like having a high quality version of a YouTube experience. Although I admit that it’s odd to shift gears when they go to a commercial which is always in English.

On the whole I have to say that Cat’s Eye has held up pretty well for an anime tv show that was made over twenty years ago. Looking back at it I can see why I became an anime fan in the first place, the quality of the animation looks better than pretty much any animation made in the United States at that time for television or even theaters. The other thing the show reminded me was that in an era before the Simpsons, Cat’s Eye was aimed at an older audience which American animation was avoiding in the 80s.

The opening titles of the show still hold up well, when you remember they they were created in an era before After Effects it’s hard not to be blown away by the design which reminds me a bit of a James Bond title sequence. The animation itself isn’t amazing but it’s still very watchable as the Cat’s Eye is more of a soap opera and situation comedy at heart than an action show or space opera. Although as a side note I have to say that the draftsmanship for the manga (which the show was based upon) still looks amazing.

What makes the show work so well is the contrast between the sisters doing their dull day job running a coffee shop and then living it up as jewel theives at night. The interplay between the sisters also reminds me of more devious version of Charlies Angels. It’s also interesting to note that while the show features quite a bit of 80s looking fashion, that so much of that look has come back today that the show doesn’t look dated but rather hip unlike say Gatchaman which is stuck in the 70s.

But most importntly the show made me laugh a few times, so it’s well worth your time to make a date with your DVR and capture a few episodes. Also if people support the show by watching it and buying the DVDs my hope is that ImaginAsianTV might bring over some other TMS classics which I’d love to see.

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