The forces of evil are on the rise. When the evil mastermind Sister Jill transforms one of her girls into the bestial Breast Claw and sends her minions out on a mission involving the group Panther Claw and a jewelry store heist, Honey Kisaragi departs from her Catholic girls' school to confront the threat as Cutie Honey. But that's exactly what Sister Jill wants, as she desires Honey's Airborne Element Fixing Device, which allows her to transform into Honey's seven different forms. Meanwhile, Sister Jill is also on the scene in disguise as Inspector Genet, trying to worm her way into Honey's confidence from a different angle.
Being a huge Cutey Honey fan, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Cutey Honey was getting another reboot 14 years after its previous rendition, Re: Cutey Honey. After its initial airing, Cutey Honey Universe has been getting mixed reception as it stand in the shadows of its predecessors.
So what in the world happened?
I have two ideas, both of which points to the theory that Cutey Honey Universe was destined for failure from the very start.
1. Cutey Honey Universe had to follow up the legendary director Hideaki Anno's rendition of Cutey Honey (Re: Cutey Honey) which has the highest score out of all the
installments in the Cutey Honey franchise.
2. This show is being directed by Akitoshi Yokoyama, an animator (which is a shame since his staff credit ranges from Gundam to some of Masaaki Yuasa's works) who barely directed any shows in his career.
So does Cutey Honey Universe deserve to be at the bottom of Spring 2018? Short answer: not really.
Cutey Honey Universe follows the adventure of Honey Kisaragi, an android modeled after the late daughter of Dr. Kisaragi. Within her lies the "Airborne Element Fixing Device" that allows Cutey Honey to manipulate the molecules in the air to create objects and change her appearance. By shouting "Honey Flash!", she is able to transform into the sword wielding warrior-of-love, Cutey Honey. Sister Jill, long time antagonist, desperately wants the Element device to bring chaos to Japan. Honey goes after Sister Jill as an act of revenge for killing her father. Like the original Cutey Honey (1973) installment, Cutey Honey Universe closely adapts Go Nagai's manga with some creative changes added into the mix. For one, it introduce several new characters such as Inspector Genet, an "ally" of Cutey Honey who is actually Sister Jill in disguise.
Like with any other installment in the series, Cutey Honey Universe follows a "monster of the week" format, in which every episode has Honey having to outwit her opponent in a battle in order to foil Sister Jill's plans of retrieving the Element device. The show doesn't change the format like in Re: Cutey Honey (granted that show is 3 episode long) and the story is not all that spectacular, but it gives off the old-school schlock that I found endearing in the original 1973 series.
The characters of the Cutey Honey series aren't that deep, though they are consistent to the other installments of the franchise.
Honey Kisaragi is sweet, charming, and ultimately the hottest character in the show. And I'm not saying that because she's in my top ten favorite anime characters, but because the show likes to flaunt her attractiveness whenever they can. The Cutey Honey series will always unashamedably have her sexualized and will show her being groped or whipped just so they can show some skin to the audience at home. However, I don't blame them, Go Nagai did the same exact thing in his manga and everybody was none the wiser. Besides her attractiveness, Honey Kisaragi is a bright light of positivity and fills the room with her optimism whenever she's on-screen.
Honey's companions aren't that different from their 1973 counterparts, Natsuko is an average school girl and dear friend of Honey, the school teachers and its pupils are still strange and bizarre, and the Hayami family are still annoying as ever. This is disappointing as the show barely tries to change up the personalities of the characters and it feels like a retread of what I already seen before in the original series. Though like I stated before, the show adds in new characters to the show such as Inspector Genet, the three detectives working for Seiji Hayami, and the new underlings of Sister Jill which can be pretty cool to see in battle from time to time.
Now this is where I get really disappointed in this show. The animation work is spotty and is unappealing when compared to such shows such as Shin Cutey Honey or Re: Cutey Honey (granted those are OVAs). Now that's not to say that the show looks absolutely horrendous, in fact, the show looks decent and at most times harmless to the eye. The fight scenes in the show are sometimes thrilling to watch, though they are dreadfully short (and Honey having a limited armory doesn't help with the fact), and the blue-gravity-field environment that the fights are taken place in is just plain lazy. Credit where credit is due, at least the 1973 version has the characters to take advantage of their environment to fight against their opponent (they fought on a gondola lift at one point for christ sake). Overall, the animation isn't too fantastic and is a major detriment to the show's quality.
Cutey Honey Universe is a decent reboot of the Cutey Honey series and while it may not be as exciting as Re: Cutie Honey, still provides a worthwhile experience for anybody who's into the old-school magical girl anime, Although this may change as the show goes on, I give this a 6/10 for being uninspired, yet charming for what it's trying to accomplish.
All of this got me thinking, perhaps the show has a low score due to Yokoyama not using the iconic original theme song that they reuse in all the installments of the franchise. Who Knows?
A complete and total waste of your time and existence on this earth. Go and do better for yourself and skip this completely unnecessary and trite addition to the "Cutie Honey" universe. Heh.
If you really want Cutie Honey, just go watch RE:Cutie Honey. It's like actually fun and cool and inventive and entertaining. This is just soul-sucking.
Boring characters, boring predictable plot, no stakes, no excitement, no creativeness, no aura or core at all. Pure, mass-produced, low-tier quality garbage. It just unceremoniously takes the Cutie Honey franchise and slaps it lazily into a generic, utterly stupefying format with no emotion or passion at all.
implore you, this isn't even so terrible that it is entertaining. It is entirely devoid of life. It will actively make you dread anime in its entirety.