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.
This is Japan's 176th (give or take) attempt on giving Cutie Honey the anime adaptation it deserves. At this point, I am convinced that there is no director alive nor studio in existence that can do it today. The only person who could have ever done it in the history of anime is Kunihiko Ikuhara, it should have happened 20 years ago, and the title of the anime be Shoujo Kakumei Cutie Honey - or Revolutionary Girls Cutie Honey in English.
Cutie Honey is a giant. It's hard to deal with, and even harder to understand. The best way I can think to describe it is
call Cutie Honey the combination of Revolutionry Girl Utena and Katanagatari. When a show which no one is watching and which mean score starts with a 5 gets compared to these cult shows that have set standards to both old and modern anime, it's easy to see this as an insult. I think highly of both of the mentioned series and at the same time, see incredible potential in the story and settings of Cutie Honey. Let me put it this way: This year, Devilman finally got the anime adaptation it deserved. Cutie Honey could have -realistically- been Devilman. But it wasn't. Oh. Why am I mentioning Devilman Crybaby here? Because Cutie Honey was written by the same guy.
The original manga was released in the early 70's. Typical for that time period, the work got overlooked by many for being ahead of its time. People were simply too busy praising Tezuka for Phoenix and Buddha. On top of that, 70's is when great many strong female lead series were created. Lady Snowblood, Rose of The Versailles, Glass Mask, Galaxy Express. Cutie Honey came out in a bad time. On top of that, there is the Utena factor in it. While Utena was released in the 90's, Cutie Honey is the exact same thing. Both have lacking source material which full potential could only be unleashed by a director who has a clear vision on how to make it better. That is the one single thing has always been missing from Cutie Honey, and unfortunately still is.
The director is on the right track, but lacking polish, details and abstractly. Which is most likely because his experience with anime directing is on par with a potato. Apparently he was fired from Madhouse after failing with an ecchi show. This is his only experience in the industry as a director if excluding a short animation with even lower mean score than Cutie Honey has. I don't want to say this guy is bad and should quit, but this is not a show he should have directed. On the other hand, I can't name anyone who should do the job instead. We could blame the budget as well. On the other hand, David Production didn't have any problems with their artistic vision on what Jojo's Bizarre Adventure should be like. I call it a lack of basic understanding on what would have made this anime miles better.
To put it simply: Cutie Honey is greatness masked in a shell so non-great that most of its viewers will never even see how amazing this series could have been. Of course, show of that sort is not deserving a praise, but it is worth of noting, and at the very least, worth of a watch for anyone who is interested in modern state of anime. There aren't many shows produced in the year 2018 that will interest anime historians and the connoisseurs of this medium as much as Cutie Honey Universe, but that's pretty much all there is to it.
Don't get me wrong, this show had A LOT of direction's issues, but if you enjoy Go Nagai's mangas, you may enjoy Cutie Honey Universe, since this is one of the closest versions to the original source, albeit with creative freedoms.
If we are going to compare this with something else, it would be with Shin Mazinger or Dororon Enma Kun Meramera, although these did a better job than Cutie Honey Universe.
I agree with another review in which the author said that if someone could make a good Honey's adaptation, that should be Ikuhara, the creator of Revolucionary Girl Utena. Instead, we had a director who
felt quite newbie at his job.
But not everything is bad because will got a lot of Go Nagai humor, eroticism, and a quite interesting development to certain characters. Possibly my favorite version of Natsuko and Sister Jill, although Jill needed more development because what they did with her had more potential
... I also liked what they did with other characters like Naoko.
100%. respect for the Go Nagai's characters.
The battle scenes are too chaotic and the decision to add a blue background was questionable.
Although it doesn't have the original opening for legal reasons, the new opening and ending are satisfactory. The rest... the OST is a mixture of very good and very bad themes, focused mainly on electronic music that I don't think that it fits very well.
Best Natsuko, best Jill and best Naoko.
If you're a Go Nagai fan, you will enjoy it like me, but if you're not, look Re: Cutey Honey, It is very far from the essence of Go Nagai, but it is a good series of OVAS that by themselves.
I just don't get the latest entry into the Cutie Honey universe. I am not a fan of the series or Go Nagai in general but Re: Cutie Honey knew what it wanted to do & was entertainingly fun.
Cutie Honey Universe was neither. It looks fine with some occasional very interesting visuals (such as in Episode 6) undercut by some quite rough moments. Music was also fine. I quite like the new theme actually but that the original theme is missing is a slightly disappointing. Some of the action and fight sequences were also genuinely quite good. Not great but not terrible either.
I felt with the visual and audio presentation however were minor compared to the problems I had with the overall tone, plot & characters. The story had difficulty maintaining anything asides from negative momentum, slipping and sliding to its eventual sad misguided conclusion. The 'fanservice' and 'comedy' moments, standard Go Nagai tropes, were not well used and only served to bring any story momentum to a screeching halt. Too many characterizations were illogical, insubstantial and ultimately infuriating.
Ultimately anything good that Cutie Honey Universe achieves is really undermined by bad writing and misguided direction. Not recommended.
I've had Cutie Honey and its adaptions in my Planning list for a while now. I was excited to learn there was an adaptation that had only finished airing about a month ago, and so I began watching the series. At twelve episodes, it didn't take long to finish.
And let me tell you, Cutie Honey Universe is weird.
Seeing as how Cutie Honey is a series about a superheroine that regularly takes clothing damage, has a copious amount of fanservice, and is notable for being the first anime with a nude transformation sequence (ala Sailor Moon), this is to be expected. If you've done the bare
minimum for research of this anime, you know precisely what you're getting into. If shameless fanservice makes your skin crawl, do not even think about watching Cutie Honey Universe.
If you do like fan service, then Cutey Honey Universe has you covered every step of the way. Even if an episode is on the serious side, the fact that Honey Kisaragi fights in a form-fitting, midriff-baring suit with a cleavage window guarantees that the more eye-candy-minded viewers will have something to look forward to. This is helped by the fact that the animation never feels objectively bad.
The character designs as a whole are pretty great. From beautiful and cute designs such as Genet, Honey, and Jill, to the unsettling designs of most of the Panther Claw members, to the unique designs of characters such as Naoko. The only design I didn't quite care for was Danbei's. We'll get back to him in a moment.
The music is also pretty great. I didn't notice at first, but a lot of the tracks are insanely catchy and practically burst with groove and/or style. Sister Jill's theme in particular is a standout track. I wish there was an OST.
Now, time to get to the story. There's a reason why I'm talking about this last. Yes, it exists, and no, it's not terrible perse.
It's just not very good, either.
The premise is as follows: Honey Kisaragi is an android attending the all-girls academy, Saint Chapel. When not attending school, Honey works alongside the law-enforcement organization, PCIS, as the superheroine of love, Cutie Honey. As of late, her days as Cutie Honey are spent fighting the mysterious organization known as Panther Claw, a crime gang filled with monstrous women. Honey has a personal vendetta against Panther Claw, for they are responsible for her father's death. Panther Claw desires the device that allows Cutie Honey to transform, the Airborne Element Fixing Device. Making matters more complicated is the fact that her new partner has a secret identity of her own: Sister Jill, the leader of Panther Claw.
The premise sounds interesting enough, but its true potential is never realized. Honey's double-life is hardly acknowledged, to the point where the anime hardly makes it clear that Honey's best friend, Nat-Chan, doesn't know she's Cutey Honey. The mysterious organization, Panther Claw, remains just that, mysterious. We're never given a definite answer to their origin or motivation. While this in and of itself isn't terrible, Cutie Honey Universe has so little going for it, story-wise, that this lack of detail really shows. We're also not given much detail of Honey's life before Dr. Kisaragi was murdered.
If you were expecting a serious narrative, you'll be sorely disappointed with Cutie Honey Universe. The anime plays out like a (strangely sexual) Saturday morning cartoon. Monster of the week format? Check. Somewhat low stakes? Check. Plot seemingly standing still no matter the recent devlopment? Check. Don't get me wrong, Saturday morning cartoon shows can work. I'm not exactly sure why, but this one just didn't. Maybe the show's characters weren't good enough. Maybe everthing was a bit too static for my taste? I can't pinpoint the reason, but it made it hard to binge the first half of the show.
The story hits its stride around episode eight, but it's a bit too little too late, having Gundam ZZ's problem of taking too long to get good. Even if things get more serious, Cutie Honey Universe desires to have its cake and eat it too, inserting crude comedic moments that more than ever feel out of place. Still, giving credit where credit's due, the second half saved this show from being a 6 or below for me. The finale isn't fantastic, but it's good enough for this type of show.
The characters aren't terribly interesting. I suppose I should be glad that they're (mostly) inoffensive, however. The characters that stand out the most are Honey, Genet/Jill, Nat-chan, and arguably Naoko. Honey's self-proclaimed title of warrior of love (it's interesting to see how Cutie Honey is a precursor to the Magical Girl genre) is an interesting contrast to Jill's obsession with corruption. I commend the show on its depiction of sexuality. It was revolutionary in the 70s and its still pretty marvel for an anime today.
Now, let's talk about Danbei and Junbei Hayami, easily the worst characters of the show. The former is the perverted father of one of Honey's PCIS colleagues, and the latter is his equally perverted son. Their only function is to grope and assault Honey every chance they get and any scene with them is uncomfortable. A particularly horrible scene is when Honey transforms into a statue and the two proceed to lick her breasts and vagina. The show already has panty shots and skin galore, so why in the world were these two characters necessary? Their antics quickly grow frustrating and they leave nothing but a feeling of squick in their wake. No matter the stakes, no matter how bad Honey is feeling, if they have the chance, they will harass her. They can't be audience avatars because no one would want to be these two. If anything, their perverseness would seem to make the audience feel bad that they're indulging themselves in watching the show.
If you think the fight scenes could elevate the show, you'll be disappointed to find that they're mostly lackluster. They tend to be over too quickly and generally take place in a strange dimension with boring backgrounds. When the fights are interesting, they stand out, but unique fights are few and far between. If a fight drags on, you can bet that it's just to ensure that Honey's clothes will rip.
If you came for the ecchi and wanted to stay for the story, I can't recommend this anime. It gets better, but a great work of fiction won't have you wade through rubbish to get to the good parts. Of course, the show is mercifully short, so it's ultimately your call. If you're enticed to watch this show for nothing more than the attractive heroine with a penchant for ripping her clothes, you just might be in for a good time.