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Cat's Eye (キャッツ アイ Kyattsu Ai?) is a Japanese manga by Tsukasa Hojo. The manga was made into an anime series which was originally broadcast in 1983. Cat's Eye has also aired in a number of countries outside Japan, including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Philippines and China. On April 16, 2007, ImaginAsian announced that they would broadcast the first season of Cat's Eye on ImaginAsian TV, and would thereafter give the series its first North American home video release.[1] The show began broadcasting in June of that year, with the first DVD released later that September.

Plot

File:Cat'sEye.gif

The protagonists of the series are the three beautiful Kisugi sisters — Rui, Hitomi and Ai — who run a café called Cat's Eye. The sisters lead a double life as a trio of highly skilled art thieves, leaving razor-thin "Cat's Eye" calling cards (adorned with a red cat emblem and capable of slicing through metal, skin and imbedding into concrete walls) at the scenes of their crimes. They steal works of art (mostly paintings) that belonged to their long-missing father, Michael Heinz, who was a famous art collector during the Nazi regime), in the hopes of him contacting them.

Toshio Utsumi, a young clumsy police officer investigating the Cat's Eye case, is the fiancé of Hitomi and a frequent visitor of the café. Proud and dedicated to his profession, he swears to capture and bring down the Cat's Eye Gang, but is completely clueless about the sisters' true identities, even when his coworkers have already begun to suspect the truth. Hitomi regularly informs the police in advance about her next job, and then uses Toshio's research about the security surrounding the target to help plan the job, which Toshio has no idea about.

At the end of the series, Heinz leaves a note for his daughters stating that he cannot reveal himself yet because the mafia may kill him, but he may appear in five years' time. However, the "Heinz" turns out to be the sisters' treacherous uncle, Cranaff, who betrayed Michael years earlier. After losing a final bet to the Cat's Eye, Cranaff decides to atone for his sin by setting fire to the museum, killing himself and all the crime syndicates. Hitomi eventually admits to Toshio that she is part of Cat's Eye and flees before he can arrest her. Toshio vows to track her down, attempting to "arrest" Hitomi at the airport with a wedding ring. He resigns from the police force and travels to America to find Hitomi, but finds that she has lost her memory due to a viral meningitis. Toshio spends time with her until her memories come back, and the two rekindle their relationship.

The Cat's Eye cafe also appears in Hojo's later works, City Hunter and Angel Heart. However, the three series do not share the same continuity.

Characters

Rui Kisugi (来生泪?, Age 27)

Hitomi’s elegant and fashionable older sister. Rui is the leader of the “Cat’s Eye” group and the one who usually outlines and plans the heists. With model good looks, worldly sophistication and a razor sharp intelligence she is able to handle almost any situation. She is extremely athletic and is proficient in a great number of activities and skills including car racing, hang gliding, parachuting, helicopter piloting, motorcycle riding, roller skating, skateboarding, martial arts, electronics, handguns and scuba diving. She is a skilled actress and is able to disguise her appearance effortlessly. She is also fluent in a number of languages including English, French and German.
Rui acts as the “mother figure” for her sisters and is very protective of them. She is the only sister who has any lasting memory of their father and mother.

Hitomi Kisugi (来生瞳?, Age 24))

Second daughter of Michael Heinz. Hitomi is usually the one who actually commits the heists, and is hence uniquely referred to as the Cat's Eye. Like Rui, she is an accomplished athlete and well versed in a number of disciplines and skills ranging from horseback riding to safe cracking. She is a skilled gymnast and is able to perform complex acrobatic moves with ease and grace. She is able to escape most restraints and handcuffs with minimal effort, and it is inferred that she is ambidextrous as well as double jointed. She is a skilled martial artist with proficiency in a number of disciplines, most notably judo, boxing and karate, and also has degrees in kendo and aikido.
Like Rui, Hitomi is also able to disguise her appearance effortlessly and can speak several other languages.

Ai Kisugi (来生愛?, Age 16)

Baby sister of the trio. Ai has a spunky, tomboyish personality and demeanor, and has a genius-level I.Q. and is particularly adept in mechanics, computer programming and engineering. She has built a wide array of gadgets to help her sisters in their heists. A typical teenager, she seems to be preoccupied a lot and dreams of falling in love. Being a high school girl, she also has a pet tabby kitten called "Tiger".
While not as skilled as her sisters, Ai has none-the-less mastered a number of skills and is regularly the one who operates the get-away vehicles for the heists, including helicopters, gyrocopters, trucks, motorcycles, cars and mini-planes. Her greatest weakness lies in the fact she is physically the weakest of the three siblings (eivident in the anime when she tried to suplex a wrestler, only to have the maneuver backfire on her), but in exchange, she is also the most agile.

Toshio Utsumi (内海俊夫?, Age 24)

High school sweetheart to Hitomi. Toshio always dreamed of being a police detective even when in high school, and upon graduation from Academy was assigned to the Inunaki (犬鳴?, "Crying Dog") District Police Station in the heart of Tokyo. While Toshio has wanted to marry Hitomi, he has vowed not to until he has captured the Cat’s Eye (he has however made the first step and proposed to her).
While a bit clumsy and not very good at finding clues, his dogged determination and unyielding persistence has impressed his supervisors. He is however very stubborn and gets into verbal fights with his Chief constantly. Toshio doesn’t carry a gun and prefers to use his wits and fists to contend with criminals. He has a weakness for beautiful woman and constantly makes Hitomi jealous.

Chief (課長 Kacho?)

Toshio’s demanding Section Chief, who oversees the Detective’s Division of the Inunaki Precinct. Nothing really is known about him, even his full name is never disclosed. He is constantly at odds with Toshio over his handling of the Cat’s Eye investigation, and scolds Toshio at every opportunity.

Mitsuko Asatani (浅谷光子?, Age 24)

A special investigator sent in from Tokyo Police HQ to assist in the Cat’s Eye investigations. Asatani has a very shrewd intellect and has a very cunning personality, and is considered an elite officer of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department. She is an expert markswoman (won the All-Japan Air Pistol Championships) and is proficient in several martial art forms, she's a 4th-degree black belt in karate and 2nd degree black belt in judo, making her more than a match for Hitomi. She is also quite a beauty, even being crowned a beauty queen during one of the Cat’s Eye cases. She is one of the first person to suspect Hitomi as the true identity of Cat's Eye, but is never able to find definitive proof. Her main weakness is that she must wear prescription glasses all the time, as she is practically blind without them.
While never really elaborated in the TV series, in the manga she is said to have a secret crush on Toshio, much to the chagrin of Hitomi.

Michael Heinz (ミケール・ハインツ?)

An Wunderkind artistic prodigy in Germany during the 1930’s, Heinz was so gifted that by age 10 he already began composing the beginnings of his impressive art collection, which contains not only elaborate paintings and lithographs but also one-of-a-kind jewelry, sculptures and metal works. Heinz’s was even able to create exquisite musical instruments. As such Heinz’s works were highly sought among art collectors and galleries and many would pay exorbitant amounts to own one of his works.
When the Nazi party began taking over Germany, Heinz fled the country for fear of political/artistic suppression. Traveling around the world, he eventually settled down in Japan where he met and married a young Japanese woman. After the birth of their third daughter, Heinz travelled to the U.S. where he disappeared under mysterious circumstances. His vast and priceless collection of art works were soon auctioned off and dispersed to art dealers around the world. Eventually many pieces found their way to Japan in the hands of various private deals (many with criminal ties). In subsequent years, the collection were stolen piece by piece, regardless of heavy security, by a trio of thieves calling themselves "Cat’s Eye", who were actually Heinz's grown-up daughters seeking clues to his whereabouts and hoping to get his attention to get him out of hidding.
Rui, Hitomi and Ai find that their father is in the U.S. and they go there to track him down. It is eventually revealed that Michael was actually betrayed and forced into exile by his jealous twin brother Cranaff (クラナッフ), who then stole Michael's identity for profit with the syndicate. The revelation ends the sisters' hope of finding their father through recollecting his art work, and the Cat's Eye cease operations afterwards.

Sadatsugu Nagaishi (永石定嗣?)

Trusted friend and confidant to the three sisters, a very good friend of Heinz and his wife. Nagaishi provides detailed information for Cat's Eye's heists and also helps them acquire any hardware and/or other sophisticated equipment that they may need that Ai cannot provide. His background is a mystery but he may have been a member of the Armed Forces as he has some military expertise.

Kazumi (和美?)

A girl from Ai's school who had taking a picture of Hitomi while shooting photographs of the moon with a telelens. She later boasted to one of her friends that she had taken pictures of Cat's Eye, sending Ai (who overheard the conversation) panicking. Kasumi became determined to reveal Cat's Eye's true nature and planned to go to the place Cat's Eye's next target with her camera. She managed to get a good look at the backside of Cat's Eye and thought that Hitomi fits that picture very well, and became only more convinced when she sees Hitomi playing around with some punks in the park. Asatani has noticed this too and takes Kazumi into her confidence. With a story about her dad being away (that it is unsafe for a young girl to be alone at home), Kazumi infiltrates into the Kisugi's home and asks Ai to let her stay the night. However, the Kisugi sisters managed to cunningly circumvent Kazumi's suspicion by appearing that Hitomi was still at home during the Cat's Eye mission.

Media

Manga

All manga were released by Shueisha except for the kanzenban, which were released by Tokuma Shoten.

Other books

  • Cat's Eye novel
  • Parrot: Blessed Person—Tsukasa Hōjō Short Story Collection (Parrot 幸福の人—北条司短編集 Parotto: Kōfuku no Hito—Hōjō Tsukasa Tanpenshū?)

Anime

Cat's Eye first aired 36 episodes in 1983, made by Tokyo Movie Shinsha and directed by Yoshio Takeuchi. 37 new episodes of Cat's Eye were aired in 1985.

The first anime series was released on DVD in North America beginning in September 2007. As of August 2008, it is currently unavailable. However, ImaginAsian Entertainment still holds the license and is working to someday rerelease the series.[1]

Cast

  1. Rui Kisugi — Toshiko Fujita
  2. Hitomi Kisugi — Keiko Toda
  3. Ai Kisugi — Chika Sakamoto
  4. Toshio Utsumi — Yoshito Yasuhara
  5. Chief — Kenji Utsumi
  6. Mitsuko Asatani — Yoshiko Sakakibara
  7. Sadatsugu Nagaishi — Tamio Oki
  8. Kazumi — Chiyoko Kawashima

Opening Theme:

  1. "Cat's Eye" by Anri (eps 1-36)
  2. "Derringer" by Mariko Tone (eps 36-73)

Ending Theme:

  1. "Dancing with the Sunshine" by Anri (eps 1-36)
  2. "Hot Stuff" by Sherry Savage (eps 37-73)

Live action

A TV movie Cat's Eye was made in 1988, including Mie from the band Pink Lady as Rui.

A live-action movie Cat's Eye directed by Kaizo Hayashi was released in 1997 starring Yuki Uchida as Ai and Norika Fujiwara as Rui. The storyline basically follows the anime, though the outfits now resemble the black vinyl Catwoman costume from Batman Returns. This film is not currently available in the United States, though it may be purchased through some Asian DVD retailers.

Influences

  • Volume 11 of the Gin Tama manga features a female thief by the name of "Cat's Ear".
  • In Episode 3 of Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd GIG ("DI: Saturday Night and Sunday Morning – CASH EYE"), Major Motoko Kusanagi adopts the identity of a skilled female thief who bears the calling card "Cash Eye", in homage to Cat's Eye.
  • The Japanese drama Kisarazu Cat's Eye takes the latter part of its name from this series. Like the Kisugi sisters, the male protagonists lead a secret life at night that occasionally involves breaking into buildings and stealing items.

References

External links

it:Occhi di gattozh:貓眼三姐妹

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