Dark Cat

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sothis's avatar By sothis on Sep 17, 2004

Story
Dark Cat was just... weird. I can’t really think of any other way to put it, because it’s the best word to describe it. I am sitting here wondering who came up with this plot in the first place, because it seems kind of random. We have the concept that evil invades people’s spirits through their dark feelings (and positive ones too, sometimes). And for the sake of the Dark Cat OVA (and many other older horror series, for that matter), the evil manifests itself in gore-like appendages, taking over the human body and turning them into something unrecognizable and disgusting. Now, had it stopped here, it would have just been a generic series, and I would have given the story score a 6. But, it does manage to throw in some more unusual aspects – namely, the concept of Dark Cats. These are once humans, I’d imagine, who have the ability to morph into cats. The two main Cat characters are Hyoi and Ryoi Kagezaki, brothers who search out evil and destroy it. But not all Dark Cats (unless I understood the story wrong) are good, as the evil Jukokubo eats the hearts of souls who have become evil, and claims to have taught Hyoi everything he knows. I can only assume that he is also a Dark Cat, then, though he doesn’t actually morph into one at any point.

Anyways, Hyoi and Ryoi are hot on the trail of a new evil that is manifesting in a local high school, so they go undercover to find out who is the affected person. Twists are involved, and the person may not be who you think it is by any means. In general, the story was unique in some aspects, but seemed very random in general. Who thought up the idea of morphing cat people searching out evil to destroy it? It’s like they used a Mad Libs session to pick the major characters and plot points, or something just as silly.

One other failing problem of the OVA is that there are too many main characters, who get an equal amount of air time. It would have been nice to have a clear handle on who were the main individuals involved, so your attention isn’t scattered between three totally separate storylines that make up the whole.

A decent yet generic story, with some very unusual elements thrown in, earn the score of 7 in my book.
Animation
The animation style is fairly generic and forgettable as far as older series go. The only semi impressive factors were Hyoi and Ryoi’s character designs, which definitely had a cat-like appearance to them. The morphing scenes were decent, and the backgrounds and scenery used were detailed. The most disgusting element was definitely the "evil" manifesting into the gory appendages, which looked quite a bit like intestines pouring out of the body (complete with pus filled pouches everywhere). Really gross and all, but I couldn’t help but wonder if they could have been any more creative with the whole "morphing into a monster" thing. Colors used tended to be dark, with no CG or unusual special effects used.
Sound
A lot of the music was INCREDIBLY cheesy. I’m talking full blown 80s synthy jean-jacket wearing music, that you’d expect to hear while watching the Breakfast Club or any teen 80s movie. But for some reason, it managed to fit the tone of the series anyways. Light piano music was also used for touching moments, which was very appropriate for the scenes.

Voice actors used fit everyone involved.
Characters
I felt like the character development and interaction was the low point of the OVA for sure. As previously mentioned, it was never easy to tell exactly who were the main characters. We have Hiroki, who is loved by Takako (in a very one sided fashion). Then we have Ryoi and Hyoi, in their quest to find the evil. Since all of these characters have pretty much equal air time, it’s always difficult to become involved in the plot. Also, basically zero character development happens. The one positive point is that we do feel badly for Takako, who loves Hiroki but can’t get his attention no matter what she does. Another negative is that there is no back story for Ryoi and Hyoi, so we have no idea how they came to be Dark Cats, why they are Dark Cats, how their power works, or what they were before hand (were they humans?). All in all, too loose on the roles, not enough development, no explanations, and nothing that makes you feel empathy for the characters.
Overall
While Dark Cat is not inherently bad, it definitely isn’t great either. With a story that is slightly better than generic, plenty of gore (if that’s your thing), hilarious music and character flaws, it isn’t something that I’d probably watch again. If you enjoy old series with horror, though, or rarities, you may enjoy this.
7/10 story
6.5/10 animation
7.5/10 sound
6/10 characters
6.5/10 overall
Shidira's avatar By Shidira on Nov 21, 2009

Story: This was an interesting anime, to say the least. This story had about three different plots going on at the same time, making it hard to follow which story is being told when, and for what purpose. The "main" story that is trying to be told is of two brothers, Hyoi and Ryoi, who infiltrate a school in order to find a source of evil behind the disappearances of random people. Very quickly these brothers find the mastermind behind the disappearances, a man named Jukokubo. Hyoi and Ryoi also encounter some monsters that look like blobs with tentacles, but later find out it is the evil emotions within a human that bring about the form, so the story also contains a bit of gore. What is funny about these three is they can all switch between a cat and human form. Hyoi and Jukokubo are from a group called Dark Cats, though Hyoi left because Jukokubo is evil and is the one who taught him everything he knows (as I understand it).

One of the other plots trying to force itself to the front is centered on a girl, Takako, who is in love with her childhood friend Hiroki, who does not share her feelings. This plot line is presented with about as much time as the previous plot, which makes it difficult to tell a complete story on either end, with the 60 minute time limit.

In the end, I decided the story deserved a five rating. The base idea was pretty good, but was not capitalized on. The story had a bad habit of jumping from one story and back to the next, but making no connections in the process. Other parts of the story made no sense, such as Hyoi needing healing by a tree in a forest. By the end, the story had more holes than Swiss cheese.

Animation: The animation fluctuated a little too much. In many parts, the animation was pretty poor, but in other spots, it was well done. The best animations were typically done with the few gory parts. Due to the large jump between poor and great animations, this was given a rating of 6, though the good animation scenes saved this from a lower score.

Sound: The voice acting was not bad, but it was not great by any stretch of the imagination. The voices for Hyoi, Ryoi, and Jukokubo were the better of the lot. The music was just a crazy dash of horrible 80's teen music, with the occasional piano piece set in the most emotional parts. Other than the piano parts, the rest of the music was placed in bad spots and ruined some of the moments. The sound effects were not too bad either. They were used appropriately and moderately, not bogging the story with unnecessary sounds. The piano parts and the sound effects were really the saving graces of this anime's sound, warranting a six rating.

Characters: There were too many characters with too much air time to develop any well enough. Between Hyoi, Ryoi, Takako, Hiroki, and Jukokubo, it is difficult to focus on anyone character enough. This is one of the weakest points of the story. The situation between Hiroki and Takako is explained a little bit in the end, with just enough to have a basic idea of what happened between them, but a background story on them and the others would have really helped develop a better idea of who these characters were and why the viewer should care about them. I felt a five was necessary, due to the lack of development of any of the characters to a better extent.

Overall: This anime had some really neat ideas abounding, but decided to lose itself among all the random happenings. If this OVA had been given a little more attention and made a little longer or given a second episode, the story could have been really interesting and worth the watch, but as it stands now, it is hardly worth a mention.

5/10 story
6/10 animation
6/10 sound
5/10 characters
4/10 overall