Re: Cutey Honey

Genre: Action
Format: 3 OVA
Allegiance: Gainax/Toei Douga/Laterna/Towani
Director: Anno Hideaki
Vintage: 2004
Intelligence Agency Report by: Niner
The fair city of Tokyo has been plagued by the machinations of the evil Panther Claw organization. Totally hell bent on causing random and utter chaos, they seem almost unstoppable. That is, until one fearless fighter dares to go toe-to-toe with their army of anarchy. Who is this person? It’s the warrior of love herself, Cutey Honey!

Field Agent Report by: Niner
Overall 8.25

It’s about time someone revisited this classic anime. Easily one of Go Nagai’s most recognizable characters, Cutey Honey and her real-life alter ego Honey Kisaragi helped set the stage for future magical sword-wielding heroines like Revolutionary Girl Utena and the Magic Knights Rayearth. Just about twenty-five years after the original groundbreaking series aired, Gainax gives the franchise a breath of fresh air with this stylish remake. Who better to lend his unique directorial flair to the series than Anno Hideaki?

The first thing you’ll probably notice right off the bat is how everything seems to jump out at you. Not just the slick animation, which is certainly top-notch, but the visuals and sounds as well. From the onset, the scenery is a dazzling display of sleek angles and flashy colors, all of which make the action sequences a visual treat. The upbeat music adds to the overall experience, especially Koda Kumi’s toe-tapping remake of the Cutey Honey theme song which, I assure you, will get stuck in your head. Honey herself is the bombshell I expected her to be, looking supremely foxy in her modern-day makeover. Giving life to her vocally is Horie Yui, who most people will remember as Narusegawa Naru in Love Hina, and she does an absolutely smash-up job, lending her talents to breathe excitement into such a famous character. Her supporting cast, featuring Noda Junko (also of Love Hina fame) as the consummate police detective Nat-chan, is equally brilliant. Her hard-boiled and commanding tone provides an excellent foil to Honey’s cheerful exuberance. Together they lend infectious vocal exuberance to complement the frenetic onscreen activity.

However, even with all the glitz and glam, Re: Cutey Honey falls short in a few notable areas. The story takes a back seat to all the action, and as a result, you’re never really sure what’s going on except that Honey’s battling another nefarious bad guy sent by the Panther Claw organization. Some light is shed on both Honey and the evildoers in expository scenes, but the information is often scant and ambiguous, leaving you to try to make heads or tails of what it means. There is really only so much a writer can do with three OVAs, after all. Towards the end, things tend to slow down as the plot tries to take itself seriously, but it just ends up bogging the flow of the anime down. Honey and Nat-chan play off each other very well and provide as much character development as they can, given the short amount of time we are exposed to them, but the baddies suffer from a serious case of monster-of-the-weekitis. Even the major villain, Sister Jill, is subject to such mediocrity. Granted, she puts up a hell of a fight in the final battle, but that’s to be expected, as is Honey’s eventual victory and her requisite reflective emotional self-realization.

These three OVAs demonstrate what Honey’s best at, which is providing a thoroughly entertaining experience with healthy doses of style and panache. Those were my expectations going into watching it and I was not disappointed. Whether you’re an old-time anime veteran wanting to see the rebirth of a classic or a relative newcomer looking for something to whet your appetite for action, Re: Cutey Honey delivers.