What’s that, you say? Cutey Honey has no Yuri? Well, you are both right…and wrong. This is, after all, Go Nagai’s baby, and hence, *will* have implicit, mild Yuri.
Let me back up. I was given a copy of the original Cutey Honey collection, circa 1985, from Rica Takashima, who was cleaning out her closets and thought, “A-ha! Here’s a desperate gaijin who loves crap! I’ll give it to her!” And she as right – I love crap…and I have a house in America, not a small apartment in Tokyo, so I can coexist with far more crap than she. She told me that Cutey Honey was her first favorite manga, because she was the first anime/manga superheroine not to need a man at all – that she’s totally independent and that throughout the series, she saves girls from various threats repeatedly. In effect, the perfect heroine for a young, Japanese babydyke.
And so I received the manga for Cutey Honey. Upon initial review, there is some mild akogare, as Cutey Honey is assigned to a private girls’ school to protect the innocent lambs from their troublesome, and occasionally lascivious, teachers (including the female ones.) Honey’s schtick is a full-frontal nude transformation, so there is alot of nudity, Honey’s and the other girls’, because, like I said, this is Go Nagai. The adoration the rescued girls have for Honey is sweet and really not terribly sexual, except as it’s frequently expressed while both parties are naked, it adds to the Yuri ambiance. ^_^
I also have a volume of the New Cutey Honey manga, which ran in 2002 or so, and that is quite a bit darker and more adult. The art has become more sophisticated, there’s a lot more blood, but less Yuri. I think as Go Nagai has aged, he’s decided that blood sells better than sex, because all his newer stuff is darker and violent. I keep meaning to look for more of this series to see whether there’s the usual implied Yuri, but it keeps slipping my mind.
BUT, last night I indulged in a spot of watching Cutey Honey Essential Collection, Episode 2 gave me *just* what I was hoping for – an evil S&M-type ojousama baddy, named the “Jewel Princess,” with too little clothes and a pretty girl fixation, who wanted to posses Honey’s body in a decidedly not nice way. :-) To my delight, when Honey transforms, she does so with these words, “You may call your self a Princess, but…” [insert nude henshin, while Erica grins like a moron, because she knows what’s coming next] “…but you can call me *Queen.*” At which I clap my hands in delight, because Honey has transformed into her “S&M Queen” form. And when the Jewel Princess *also* claps her hands and says, “Oh! Now I *really* want this one!” it just made my day. ^_^
So, of course, Honey defeats the evil princess – which is a terrible shame – and delivers a kiss to the peach-fuzzed cheek of the young lad who is the hero of the show, but I, and all other Yuri fans, know that there will be more than one evil Princess lurking out there who wants to possess Honey. ^_^
So, okay, this series is NOT a “yuri” show. It does have moments, and occasional whole episodes of big Yuri fun…and the manga has lots of naked girls hugging.
The “Yuri goggle” rating on Cutey Honey: Anime – 7; Manga – 6
And, before I go, let us not forget that a new live-action Cutey Honey movie has just been made. It looks not *quite* as awful as the live action Kekkou Kamen, but you know I’m going to have to see it one day. It pairs Honey up with “seemingly cold policewoman Natsuko Aki” and you what *that* means, right? ^_^