Review: 'Catwoman: Hunted' (2022) Dir. Shinsuke Terasawa
A bold new direction for DC animation and their next adventure, this time spearheaded by Yu-Gi-Oh! animiation director and inspired by Japanese Anime for a unique spin on Gotham City...
Gotham City theif Selina Kyle (Gillies), also known as Catwoman, is seeking a precious gem known as the Cat's Eye, and she sets out to steal it from under the nose of Gotham crime lords Black Mask (Banks) and Cheetah (Howell-Baptiste).
Yet the job doesn't go to plan, and Catwoman finds herself up against some of the most dangerous villains in order to get her prize. But she's not alone - Batwoman (Beatriz) joins forces with Catwoman to bring the crooks down, in exchange for not going to jail.
Seeking out Black Mask and Cheetah will pit Catwoman and Batwoman against a host of villains uniting to take over the criminal underworld by anymeans, and only their unique mix of stealth, crime-fighting gadgety and athletic skill will be enough to stop them...
The output from DC and Warner Bros Animation is near flawless. If a story doesn't always gel, the quality of animation, respect to the lore and character representation is market leading. DC's world of superheroes and villains has been a joy to watch evolve over many years, with new technology used in the process to keep the output fresh and exciting. We have that once again in Catwoman: Hunted.
This is the first major DC outing inspired by Japanese Anime, under direction from Shinsuke Terasawa who, while this marks only his 5th outing as director, is backed up by nearly 3 decades of working on animation in Japanese features films and television series. Shinsuke knows both brands, and they are blended here seamlessly to bring a new dynamic to the comic book adaptation with East meeting West for an entertaining and fast-paced romp.
We now we spend time with slinky anit-hero Selina Kyle / Catwoman, voiced purr-fectly by Elizabeth Gillies, as she takes on a host of nefarious master criminals including Black Mask, Cheetah and Tobias Whale whilst looking out for her own gain in the process
Running at only 75 minutes, this wastes no time with exposition or heavy duty ploy points that we don't already know. We know Gotham City and the colourful heroes and villains who populate it, and it's another well laid out story that isn't complex at all.
And here she's not alone - Batwoman is brought to life by Stephanie Beatriz with a great amount of dark humour and confidence you'd expect from a Gotham vigilante. She teams up with the Cat to battle the baddies in entertaining ways. It's nice to see a different member of the Bat family front and centre instead of old Bruce Wayne. And in what feels like a first for the DC adaptations, we get a tease of Selina's sexuality and her on/off romance with Kate Kane, aka Batwoman, and the execution of these moments are wonderfully erotic without ever being in-your-face or overly sexual. Great use of editing, animation and colours help add to the intoxication both characters feel in a forbidden position.
The voice talent is top-notch as ever, with support coming from industry greats such as Jonathan Banks, Jonathan Frakes, Kelly Hu and Steve Blum. They've all got the right amount of either sass or sinister drawls to bring their characters to life in this comic-book world.
A jazz fused score by Anime / Netflix composer Yutaka Yamada helps add a new level of originality to this story, and there is plenty of synth and electronica to add a sense of danger and excitement to the action sequences. Yet the jazz just helps remind us of the cool, casual and skittish personna of Catwoman in her sequences, and works surprisingly well.
And it's a superhero adventure, so the action is ever present with a good mix of buddy-cop / espionage elements thrown in with the Bat and Cat working together to use stealth and infiltration instead of loud gadgets and explosive weapons. A mix of traditional animation and CG enhance the locations and style of what we see to add a bit more depth and style to proceedings.
Another top-tier animation from DC and Warner Bros, proving they have the talent and technique to keep their output fresh, original and always unique with a welcome host of both old and new faces to please comic book fans.
'Catwoman: Hunted' is a co-production between DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation