Catwoman Meets Lupin III: Cat’s Eye

Cat's Eye

Three thieving sisters live double lives in the manga and anime series Cat’s Eye.

Hitomi, Rui and Ai Kisugi own a cafe.  But, at night they have a secret identity. They become cat burglars, on the prowl for art.

However, they aren’t just looking to steal any art.  The art that they are stealing was created by their father, Michael Heinz (also spelled Michael Heintz).  

It seems that their father was a famous German artist (and/ or art collector) who went missing. The sisters are trying to get the art back, and hopefully discover what happened to their father.

The Kisugi sisters have their own personal Zenigata, a police detective named Toshio Utsumi.  Toshio is searching for the art thieves, and he never seems to have any luck catching them.  He doesn’t realize that one of the thieves is actually his girlfriend Hitomi, the middle Kisugi sister.

You might gather from the above description that the manga and anime series is sort of a female version of Lupin III, and it’s not a bad comparison.

There is a lot of humor to the series, and you are definitely rooting for the “bad guys” to win.  There is a lot of action, and the schemes are a mixture of planning — when things go well — and improvisation — when things go wrong.

The three women are essentially three Fujikos. While out on their nighttime adventures, they tend to dress more sexily than even Fujiko does.  

Like Catwoman, they are fashion-friendly cat burglars in skinsuit outfits.  They can also wear disguises when needed, another Lupin trait.

The romance between the cop and the robber is an interesting twist. Lupin’s relationship with Zenigata is a lot more platonic, except in fanfics.

In the Beginning

When the women find art which they want to return to their rightful owners (themselves), they leave a calling card beforehand — which seems a lot more polite than leaving one behind afterward.

The police rush to action and post guards at the museum or wherever the art is kept, yet the cat burglars always manage to escape.  It seems that by telling his girlfriend about his day, Toshio is accidentally and unintentionally leaking information to the group.

In the first manga chapter, the police are guarding a painting called “Lady of Rome.”  Toshio comments how the lady looks like his girlfriend, Hitomi.

Toshio offers a fellow detective some of the coffee that Hitomi kindly packed for him.  The two nearby uniformed policemen don’t drink any.

The two detectives who drank the coffee suddenly fall asleep.  The other two officers are, of course, the cat burglars in disguise. They steal the painting and escape easily.

Later Toshio talks about the case to the sisters at their cafe.  They are shocked, shocked at the theft, but they are fascinated to hear about it.  They want to know if the police can catch Cat’s Eye, whoever he is.

It seems a bit odd that Toshio doesn’t notice that Hitomi’s cafe is called Cat’s Eye, the same as the name on the calling cards.  But the women do seem to be leading him astray. For example, they all refer to Cat’s Eye as “he.”

Toshio even wonders out loud if there could be a mole somewhere in the police force.  Hitomi’s worried reaction to this is priceless.

Things don’t always go so smoothly.  In the next case, the precious jewel is fake, planted by the police.

Toshio even manages to get his hands on the thief.  It’s dark and he can’t see that the legendary Cat’s Eye is his girlfriend.  He accidentally grabs her chest, she yells “Molester!” and slaps him.  

In the confusion, she escapes. He still has no idea who she is, but he now knows that the thief is a woman.

Cat and Mouse

Of course, there are other thieves on the loose.  A man that the police nickname “Mouse” leaves behind a coin pendant after his crimes.   The women of Cat’s Eye complain that the Mouse is a copycat.

A journalist named Masato Kamiya just happens to show up at the same time that Mouse makes his appearance. He gets friendly with the detective and hits on the women.  

Of course, Mouse is a threat because he’s after the same stuff that Cat’s Eye wants to steal.

 The new thief turns up several times in the manga. In his civilian guise as Kamiya, he creates something of a love triangle with Toshio. As Mouse, he becomes a rival thief for Cat’s Eye.

Lupin III?

Amusingly, one of the other bad guys in Cat’s Eye is a mysterious woman nicknamed Lupin’s Bride. She’s a French thief who, like Mouse, is a rival to the Cat’s Eye gang.   

In the manga, she tries to impersonate a modern art promoter who is in Japan for an exhibition.  She also puts out a fake Cat’s Eye calling card, so that Cat’s Eye will get the blame when she steals the art.

The women decide to turn the tables on her and impersonate the impersonator.

 In the anime, she is voiced by Eiko Masuyama, who is better known as Fujiko Mine from Lupin III.  

Of course, the manga never says specifically if Lupin III is a real person in the Cat’s Eye universe, or if he is just a well-known manga character.  Certainly, readers would have recognized the name “Lupin” and made the connection. 

No Lupin III characters make a cameo in the manga, or even ersatz versions.  “Lupin’s Bride” could also be a reference to the original Arsene Lupin, a French gentleman thief who appeared in many stories.  That Lupin was the inspiration for Lupin III.


In the first episode of the anime, Toshio Utsumi is given an ultimatum to catch Cat’s Eye.  

The missing father storyline, which is the main motivation for the art thefts, is established more quickly in the anime than in the manga.

In one episode, Cat’s Eye is a suspect in a murder case. Lupin’s Bride shows up in the fourth episode.  

Mitsuko Asatani, Toshio’s new partner, is introduced in the fifth episode. She’s in the manga as well. 

She’s a lot smarter than Toshio — indeed, all of the women in this series seem to be.  For example, she suspects that he is leaking information from the police.  Asatani also suspects Hitomi of being a thief.  Asatani is a source of jealousy for Hitomi, since she gets to spend so much time with Utsumi.

The Cat’s Eye women help the police in one episode, when a mad bomber threatens a building full of paintings.

Near the end of the first season, Toshio finally starts to get an inkling of a suspicion that Hitomi might be a thief, but he never quite makes a solid link.

The sisters’ missing father is the focus of the final few episodes of season one.  

Toshio notices that Cat’s Eye has been going after certain artworks by a certain artist, and wonders if there is a connection.  As a result, he starts to investigate Michael Heinz.  There are clues in the paintings.  

The season ends with the women headed off to Paris to find out more about their father.  However, the search is inconclusive, and they have to return to Japan in the second season.

The second season is similar to the first.  There are episodes involving the yakuza, a kidnapping, deadly traps and a fake wedding.   Toshio almost learns the truth about Cat’s Eye a couple of times.

The final episode ends without Toshio ever finding out the true identity of Cat’s Eye.

The episodes are fun, with a lot of wild capers, a lot of humor and quite a few disguises.  The women pose as a pro wrestling tag team and as fashion models, among other things.

Series History

Cat's Eye AnimeCat’s Eye started out as a manga by Tsukasa Hojo.  It ran from 1981 to 1985.  There were 18 volumes.

Hojo’s other works include Space Angel, Ore wa Otoko Da!, City Hunter, Splash!, Taxi Driver, Rash!!, Family Compo and Angel Heart.

In 1983, Cat’s Eye was made into an anime series. It lasted 36 episodes.  A sequel anime, Cat’s Eye 2, came out in 1984.  It contains 37 episodes.

A new manga, Cat’s Eyes, came out in 2010. There were eight volumes between 2010 and 2014.

The three sisters also show up in City Hunter The Movie: Shinjuku Private Eyes.


If you Google “Cat’s Eye” without adding the words “manga” or “anime,” you will find information about a 1985 Stephen King horror film. The anime and manga series Cat’s Eye is not related to that film.

In real life, there is no famous art collector Michael Heinz.  However, Drue Heinz, the wife of ketchup company CEO H.J. Heinz II, was a patron of the arts.   

Heinz supported the Tate Gallery and was on the board of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 2019, Heinz’s personal art collection was sold at auction for more than $81 million.

You can watch the Cat’s Eye anime at Crunchyroll.

Tsukasa Hojo / NSP・TMS
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