Ive 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 didnt 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 youve done the bare minimum for research of this anime you know precisely what youre 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 formfitting midriffbaring suit with a cleavage window guarantees that the more eyecandyminded 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 didnt quite care for was Danbeis. Well get back to him in a moment. The music is also pretty great. I didnt notice at first but a lot of the tracks are insanely catchy and practically burst with groove and/or style. Sister Jills theme in particular is a standout track. I wish there was an OST. Now time to get to the story. Theres a reason why Im talking about this last. Yes it exists and no its not terrible perse. Its just not very good either. The premise is as follows: Honey Kisaragi is an android attending the allgirls academy Saint Chapel. When not attending school Honey works alongside the lawenforcement 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 fathers 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. Honeys doublelife is hardly acknowledged to the point where the anime hardly makes it clear that Honeys best friend NatChan doesnt know shes Cutey Honey. The mysterious organization Panther Claw remains just that mysterious. Were never given a definite answer to their origin or motivation. While this in and of itself isnt terrible Cutie Honey Universe has so little going for it storywise that this lack of detail really shows. Were also not given much detail of Honeys life before Dr. Kisaragi was murdered. If you were expecting a serious narrative youll 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. Dont get me wrong Saturday morning cartoon shows can work. Im not exactly sure why but this one just didnt. Maybe the shows characters werent good enough. Maybe everthing was a bit too static for my taste? I cant 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 its a bit too little too late having Gundam ZZs 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 credits due the second half saved this show from being rated lower. The finale isnt fantastic but its good enough for this type of show. The characters arent terribly interesting. I suppose I should be glad that theyre mostly inoffensive however. The characters that stand out the most are Honey Genet/Jill Natchan and arguably Naoko. Honeys selfproclaimed title of warrior of love its interesting to see how Cutie Honey is a precursor to the Magical Girl genre is an interesting contrast to Jills 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 lets talk about Danbei and Junbei Hayami easily the worst characters of the show. The former is the perverted father of one of Honeys 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 cant 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 theyre indulging themselves in watching the show. If you think the fight scenes could elevate the show youll be disappointed to find that theyre 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 its just to ensure that Honeys clothes will rip. If you came for the ecchi and wanted to stay for the story I cant recommend this anime. It gets better but a great work of fiction wont have you wade through rubbish to get to the good parts. Of course the show is mercifully short so its ultimately your call. If youre 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. 6.9/10 And by 6.9/10 I meant I just wanted an excuse to be juvenile. 5.9/10
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