Black Cat may not have the most innovative or sophisticated plot ever conceived—our hero and his friends face off against a mentally unbalanced bad guy and his lackeys—but it’s executed so well and the characters are so likable that I can’t help but be thoroughly entertained each time I consume another chunk of the story.
In volume twelve, Train and friends meet with Dr. Tearju, a nanotech expert who might be able to help Train (now in the body of a child) return to normal. Tearju’s advice enables Train to overpower the nanomachines causing his condition and use them to develop a new power—immediately dubbed the “rail gun”—which essentially allows him to electrify his bullets. Creed’s forces attempt to draft Tearju, and when that fails, they use a monkey with clone powers (I am not making this up) to steal both her appearance and her knowledge. All of this makes Eve decide that the time has come to go after Creed, as he’s much too dangerous to remain free.
Train agrees, and after revealing the story of his past and deciding that he wants to administer justice as a sweeper rather than pursue vengeance as the Black Cat, he sets about acquiring intel on Creed’s whereabouts. While Sven goes off to train his “vision eye,” which allows him to see a few seconds into the future, Train and Eve enter into an alliance with some other sweepers. This is quite a fun twist on things, and the fourteenth volume ends with a (literal) boatload of sweepers making their way to Creed’s island hideout.
There are six volumes left of this series, and if they’re comprised of a huge epic battle between the sweepers and Creed and his goons, I think I could be quite happy indeed. As I said, this isn’t the deepest series ever, but it’s genuinely enjoyable to read and whenever I finish the volumes I’ve got on hand, I always wish I had more. I like that the characters seem to genuinely like each other, too; some of the best moments are things like child-sized Train and Eve going to see a movie called “A Dad and His Dog” together.
Lastly, I rejoice that I have finally gotten an answer about those weird things on Train’s jacket! Tucked away in a character popularity poll was the information I’d been seeking. Yabuki writes that the “donut-shaped accessories on Train’s chest are made of wood with a metal interior. They serve as a sort of shield.” Not that we ever see them function in that capacity, but at least we need wonder no more!