Cat's Eye > Michel Heinz

Michel Heinz (a.k.a. Michell Heintz) is the Kisugi sisters' lost father. Although the manga gives a satisfying (albeit creative) explanation concerning the disappearance of Heinz, the anime followed a different logic. Clues spread throughout the anime series are inconsistent with explanations found in the manga. This text is thus an attempt to gather the facts presented in the anime, and find an explanation for Heinz' disappearance.

The Heinz Theory

The Facts

To unveil Heinz' secret, it makes sense to start with the background. Throughout the anime series, many hints are given, but actually never up to the point that something is definitively said. It may well be that the writers were not too concerned with logical or consistent explanations. The plot holes prove however to be a fascinating source for inspiration.

Recapitulating what we know from the anime series, the trio's father is German. Already very talented at the age of ten [48], he had to leave the country shortly afterwards, being one of the painters who had to suffer under the Nazi regime. [34] Thus, he left the country before WW II. Here, it is already unclear how a young boy could really be persecuted as an artist. As a family member, surely, but as a painter?

Sooner or later, Heinz must have found his way to Japan, where he got married and had three children, Rui, Hitomi, and Ai. Is it just a case that the sisters do not bear their father's name, or is this a hint that Heinz did not want his last name to be known? (Whether or not Kisugi is the mother's last name never gets said. We actually never get to know what happened to the mother, but as the girls never talk about her, she cannot have disappeared with her husband. She will have had to be dead or long gone. Either way, she does not seem to be too important for the plot.)

It is unclear when this did occur, but Heinz is being chased by some unmentioned foreign government, the apparent reason being that one of Heinz' paintings depicted a politician aiming his gun at an unarmed farmer during the war. As this meant spoiling the politician's chances of winning an election, he sought revenge. [36] This is even harder to believe and will require even more creativity on our side to come up with a satisfying answer.

Around 1966, shortly before Ai's birth, Heinz went to the United States for a short trip. [24] It is not said if he ever did come back, but if he did not, this might explain somehow Ai's obsession about finding her father. Still, Heinz is alive [04], his tracks leading to Paris at first, [36] and back to Japan at a later stage [37]

The Heinz Collection

Is there a link between Heinz' disappearance and his scattered art collection? At the age of ten years, Heinz will not have had much of an art collection, especially not a big number of own paintings. These had to be created much later, which rules out his escape from Germany before WW II as the reason for the disappearance of his art collection. If Heinz created most of his works after having left Germany, until the mid-sixties or later, there is no apparent reason why his paintings would be spread all over the world, and especially in the hands of criminals.

Heinz could have sold his works one by one (and art dealers are criminals anyway :-), but throughout the series, the "Heinz Collection" is being explicitly mentioned by both the police and Cat's Eye. Thus, it must have been known that Heinz actually had a collection worth its definition. It may have disappeared with him, but this is never said. Another interesting aspect is that Heinz signed most of his paintings. He thus was either not aware of being in danger, or he was never planning to sell his works.

Research work

Creative speculation is now required to come to an acceptable and consistent explanation of the events. In 1966, Heinz feels threatened and decides to disappear. To keep his family from being discovered, he bring his pursuers on the wrong track: He gathers his collection, maybe pretending to go exhibiting the artworks, and travels to the US. He knows that he cannot take the collection with him, nor is he willing to leave it in Japan, where it might be discovered. Heinz' enemies would have heard of his exposition and expect to find him in the US.

Heinz may have decided to sell the collection, maybe hoping to be able to see some of his works now and then, or even hoping that, one day, he might buy them back. On the other hand, he might have been forced to leave his collection behind. One way or another, the collection ends up on the black market (oddly, mostly in Japan), where Cat's Eye starts to steal it back. From Heinz' point of view, Cat's Eye may be doing exactly what he did not want to happen: Gathering the collection in one place again, collecting clues and focusing his enemies' attention on Japan.

Note: A few years back, a new fan fiction (working title: "Flashback") was started by Franck-Sévérin and me. It required developing a fairly complete and consistent account of Heinz' past, which is what we did. Since this analysis unfortunately contains some spoilers, we are not going to make it public before the fan fiction has been published. Please bear with us in the meantime.