The moment the colorful credits splashed across the screen in Catwoman: Hunted, I knew I was in for something a little different, and the stylish aesthetic is just the start. An original jazz soundtrack, a twist on the beloved Cat and Bat team-up and an impressive cadre of villains round out the surprises in the new animated movie. These highlights and more seamlessly combine for a new kind of adventure in the DC Universe.
Directed by anime industry veteran Shinsuke Terasawa, Catwoman: Hunted incorporates some of the medium’s signature features like eye-catching character designs and dazzling action sequences. Selina Kyle (Elizabeth Gillies) makes an immediate impression when she steps onto the scene in a throwback-inspired evening gown. Things escalate quickly with a jewel heist and cliffside car chase packed with banter and explosive action. (As a longtime anime fan, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the classic car chase in Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro, a film that screenwriter Greg Weisman has cited as an influence on Hunted.)
Catwoman: Hunted might show off the high-speed cars and high-tech gadgetry of Batman’s world, but the film has a timeless feel thanks in part to the captivating jazz soundtrack from composer Yutaka Yamada. From the breathless excitement of the opening to the perfect piano accompaniment for Catwoman’s steamy bath, the soundtrack stands out in all the best ways.
After the theft, car chase, explosions and aforementioned steamy bath, we get to the heart of the story: a surprising partnership with the Bat…but it’s not the Bat you’re thinking of. Batwoman (Stephanie Beatriz, in her first voice role since she stole all of our hearts as Mirabel in Encanto) has teamed up with Interpol to take on the criminal syndicate Leviathan. Leviathan has Catwoman in their sights after that heist, and Interpol needs the thief’s help in taking them down for good.
Catwoman agrees to help—for a price.
And so begins the Cat and Bat team-up I never knew I needed. The two have instant chemistry that Catwoman is more than happy to use to her advantage. The usually unshakeable Kate Kane can’t help but be flustered by Selina Kyle in one of the movie’s most unforgettable scenes. But then it’s all business, and the two quickly get to work.
When Selina and Kate put aside their differences to fight as partners, they’re practically unstoppable. They throw quips almost as quickly as they throw punches (and elbows and knees). Even though they don’t agree on everything, Batwoman and Catwoman have each other’s backs and are fighting on the same side. Not that either of them will ever admit it.
Selina and Kate need every one of their collective skills to take on Leviathan. The international syndicate has a firm grasp on just about every crime you can think of, from drugs to human trafficking, and some real powerhouses are in its ranks. Just look at this lineup: Black Mask, Tobias Whale, Solomon Grundy, Cheshire, demons, monsters and mecha-suited brawlers—and they’re just the henchmen! It’s the women running the show in this organization, Barbara Minerva and Talia al Ghul, and they’re the real threats. We don’t see women take both the lead superhero and super-villain roles in animated features very often, and it’s one of my favorite things about Catwoman: Hunted.
Catwoman faces Minerva in a final confrontation that’s so intense that you’re not quite sure of the outcome. Cheetah’s claws come out and Selina Kyle knows she’s in for the fight of her life.
“Catfight?” she asks, resigned.
Cheetah answers with a vicious grin and the hunt is on. As Cheetah’s monstrous claws rip and rend anything that gets in her way, Catwoman scrambles to find safety. The stakes feel very real in this climactic fight that I want to replay over and over again. You’ll just have to watch for yourself to find out what happens to everyone’s favorite cat burglar.
Pounce on the opportunity to catch Catwoman in this original new anime-inspired outing! Catwoman: Hunted is now available on digital and Blu-Ray.
Kelly Knox writes about all-ages comics and animation for DCComics.com and her writing can also be seen on IGN, Nerdist and more. Follow her on Twitter at @kelly_knox to talk superheroes, comics and pop culture.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Kelly Knox and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.