The Autumn of Black Cat continues! We’ve already looked at the first five volumes of the series, but now it is time to take a look at one of the central characters. I’ve spoken a lot on this blog on how some series hit the absolute jackpot when it comes to character design. ReZero’s Rem is one such example, a character that even people who don’ know the series are aware of. Evangelion’s Rei is another example, pretty much kick-starting an entire wave of clones that would dominate the landscape. Yet we’ve never really talked about a character whose design was so good, i was used twice, and a character who is the very rare benefactor of having an ecchi version and a non-ecchi version. So after the cut let’s take a dive into the main secondary lead of Black Cat: Eve.
Eve at her heart, like almost everything about the series Black Cat is basic. She is a very basic character who does what she needs to do in the story. She does it well, but she also doesn’t really push the envelope either. Anyone who has been around the manga and anime world for sometime will have seen Eve’s character before. The shy withdrawn human weapon who, thanks to the actions of the series leads, learns to open up and reclaim her humanity. It’s been done countless times both in anime and out. Some of the most famous series and famous characters have done this story-line, and frankly it is a story-line that has been picked rather clean. Yet while Eve herself doesn’t really add anything new to the menu, what she does do is provide readers with a solid, well built and thankfully not all-encompassing story.
One of the Black Cat’s strengths, in fact it’s biggest strength is that it shows up, tells the story it wants to tell, and then ends. Eve’s story line of regaining her humanity and seeing the world is the series main B-plot, and like the rest of Black Cat, it too doesn’t overstay its welcome. Eve’s discovery of the world not being the central focus of the story makes it so that story isn’t bogged down by story arcs and beats we’ve heard before. Instead it is a light touch, sprinkled throughout the various chapters and story beats that add either introspection, depth or even comedy. One of the best thing about Eve’s character arc is that while she always keeps a piece of that quiet subdued personality, she quickly evolves out of her shell, showing moments of comedy, feeling and sarcasm that blend in with Train and Sven’s dynamic.
Furthermore, Eve’s entry into Train and Sven’s world does much to help the central cast, giving them a “daughter” for both of them to raise and look after. While Sven takes the more central role of the father figure, and is the main figure in bringing Eve into their world, Train’s place is just as significant. In a way Train seems Eve as another version of his past life, a person shackled by their duty and dark past who only wants to live life free and unburdened. To Eve, Train is a free spirit who has thrown off his difficult past self and embraced the sweet taste of freedom, one that she herself wants with her dream to become a sweeper, and the reason she views him as a “rival.” Again while Sven takes the more important role as the ‘Dad,” Train is only second as the “cool uncle’ who none the less makes sure to provide a positive example to the young girl, and prevent her from repeating his mistakes.
However, we could not talk about Eve without mention her legacy, not in Black Cat, but in another series: To Love Ru. As one of the most famous ecchi manga ever made, Kentaro Yabuki, who would do all the illustrations for the series, was able to take Eve’s character, powers, and design and re-use it in the manga. Not only did this work, it became so popular that Eve, rechristened as ‘Golden Darkness’ would go on to be a central character in the sequel To Love Ru Darkness, where as you could expect, the ecchi is cranked up to eleven and Eve is no exception. This has always personally humored me, because since Black Cat has so much restrained in terms of it’s fanservice, that we get to see Yabuki absolutely run WILD with Eve and the other characters in To Love Ru. Yet while some may raise an eyebrow, especially those who knew Eve from Black Cat, I’ve always found it something to make the characters stand out, and in fact I think Eve might be the only character in anime history, who doesn’t need to “rule 34” herself. She got her own completely unique series to do it for her.
Eve is a character that clearly has a lot of love from her creator and her fans, and she is another example of a design, personality and power set that struck a cord with viewers. To see her used so well in both Black Cat AND To Love Ru is a testament that Yabuki was clearly on to something, that he found of ‘pot of gold’ that he just couldn’t leave alone once his first series had wrapped up. Again there is nothing amazingly special about Eve, but what she does she does very well and the short nature of her debut manga makes it so flourishes to her best extend (unlike in the anime). To then see her re-made and re-tooled for what would become one of the most important ecchi series of all time is a treat in of itself, and she again remains the ONLY example I know of a character being reused in a totally different genre. I am really looking forward to seeing more of Eve as I continue my look into the manga, but I hope this post has encouraged you to take a look at a character whose legacy is a rather surprising one.