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Three years before the start of the series, the crew's captain, Kuro, had built up his infamy via his well-planned out plunders. He was also known to have killed many of his subordinates with his indiscriminate fighting style. However, as time passed, Kuro could no longer put up with the Marines and bounty hunters pursuing him, and decided to falsify his death by sacrificing a lookalike member. The first mate, Jango, became captain, and Kuro taught them all how to survive without him, while instructing them to answer to his calls three years after his departure.
Kuro then feigned being washed up on shore of a local town where the father of a rich girl named Kaya found him, and he was nursed back to health by the family. He then took the identity of Klahadore the butler, slowly earning the villagers' trust by building a reputation of an honest and humble man with a distaste of senseless violence and pirates. Sometime around, Kaya's parents died under mysterious circumstances, to which Jango speculated (much to Kuro's denial) was Kuro's doing. Kaya then fell ill, in which Klahadore looked after her, secretly plotting to assassinate her when the time is ripe.
After the three years have passed, Kuro meets up with Jango and his crew, plotting to have Jango hypnotize Kaya into signing a will that would leave her fortune and estate to "Klahadore". The second portion was to have the crew assault the village to create chaos and distraction, and that the cover story was that Kaya died in the pirate attack. Since Kuro spent three years building his respectful reputation, no one would find it odd that everything was left to him, thus leaving him with the peaceful and wealthy life he desired. Unknown to the crew, however, Kuro plotted to kill them all as well, in order to destroy all evidence and witnesses of all those who know of his true identity, and that nobody would question that a band of pirates died for their criminal statuses makes them untrustworthy.
After Usopp and Luffy overheard Kuro explaining the plan to Jango, Usopp tried to warn everyone in town, but Klahadore's reputation and Usopp's tendency to lie led them to not believe him. Thus, the Straw Hat Pirates took it upon themselves to protect the village. Through a difficult battle, Luffy managed to keep up with Kuro's insane speed and defeat him, and at the same time Usopp managed to protect Kaya from Jango. Afterwards, the crew, sans Jango, fled the island.
The Black Cat Pirates' flag is a standard jolly roger with a skull the shape of a cat's head, completed with slitted eyes, and crossbones.
|Kuro *||Jango ‡||Sham||Buchi||Nugire Yainu †|
- †: the character is deceased.
- *: the character's status is unknown. Hovering the symbol may give further details.
- ≠: the character is non-canon.
- ‡: the character is no longer part of this group. Hovering the symbol may give further details.
The Nyaban Brothers (ニャーバン・兄弟（ブラザーズ） Nyāban Burazāzu?, Meowban Brothers in English versions) are the ship guards of the crew, and consists of Sham and Buchi. It is their duty to watch over the Bezan Black while the rest of the crew leaves for pillaging or other purposes. They are also the top fighters of the crew, each wearing a pair of clawed gloves for combat and fighting cooperatively to overwhelm the opponents; they are called by Jango to deal with more troubling enemies when necessary, and were supposedly stronger than Jango when fighting together. It is unknown if the two are truly brothers or merely as a team name.
Most of the crew is weak by the standards of Luffy's and Zoro's strength, but to the average person, like (at the time) Nami and Usopp, they were formidable and deadly. Aside from their captain they have little strength as a whole. Jango, Buchi and Sham were the only other crew members aside from Kuro himself with any real fighting ability. The crew mostly relies on their first captain's cunning schemes and instructions for effective plundering and second captain's hypnotism for increasing their physical strength to higher levels. Upon Kuro's departure, he had taught them to survive on their own, in order to use them three years later for his own machinations.
Due to Kuro's viewing crew as being expendable and habit of indiscriminately killing them due to his fighting style also weakens the crews overall manpower (through injury and death) and undermines any true loyalty and respect they might have for their former Captain, since most (if not all) of them follow Kuro out fear. This is shown when they started cheering for Straw Hat Luffy to defeat Kuro. Another sign of the crew's disloyalty is the Nyaban Brothers failed attack (an act of mutiny) on Kuro, due to their mistaken belief that Kuro fighting skills had dulled during his 3 years disguised as the butler Klahadore.
Every member of the Black Cat Pirates has a cat theme: for Kuro, this is in his weapons, the Cat Claws and his stealthy speed and agility, as well as his cunning intellect. Jango is the only member that does not represent a house cat; he is depicted as a sphinx, a lion with a human head in Greek and Egyptian mythology, since he has striped beard like the ones worn by pharaohs. Most of the other members have their hair in a cat ear style, and the Nyaban Brothers added a pair of clawed gloves as well to further their theme.
- In One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3, the Black Cat Pirates appear as generic enemy pirates lead by Kuro. During the game's Syrup Village Arc, a few of the Black Cat Pirates defect and ally themselves with the Straw Hats (becoming Allied Units) after Kuro starts indiscriminately killing them. They assist the Straw Hats in defeating Kuro allowing them to survive. While this does not occur in the original storyline, the Black Cat Pirates do cheer Luffy on when he manages to stop Kuro's Shakushi attack.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 One Piece Manga — Vol. 3 Chapter 26, Kuro discusses the details of his plan and past with Jango.
- ↑ One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 5 Chapter 38 and Episode 10, Kuro reveals that he planned to massacre the Black Cat Pirates three years ago.
- ↑ One Piece Manga — Vol. 4 Chapter 28.
- ↑ One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 5 Chapter 40 and Episode 17, Luffy throws a defeated Kuro back to his crew and orders them to never return.
- ↑ One Piece Manga — Vol. 4 Chapter 31.