Back in July, I reviewed the Cutey Honey manga and Cutey Honey Flash anime, as collected in the Anime Essential Collection. Today, it is my *great* pleasure to review what has been, to me, the most deeply satisfying anime I’ve seen all season. Re Cutie Honey strikes a perfect balance between honestly good and enjoyably bad.
Produced by Gainax In their 20th anniversary year, the animation for Re Cutie Honey feels like Powerpuff Girls meets Batman. More angular than past incarnations, more action-filled (although with less violence, go figure) the new Cutie Honey has changed more than just the spelling of her name.
Like all incarnations of Honey, this OVA begins with an origin episode that establishes the bad science behind Honey’s creation, and her blonde good-girl persona as Kusanagi Honey. In this incarnation, she appears to be an Office Lady in a city government office.
We are quickly introduced to Aki Natsuko (“Na-chan”) a tough-as-nails female cop, who almost instantly dislikes Honey and everything she stands for. For Na-chan, justice is not about flashy costume changes and mass destruction, but grunt work and police procedure – and she resents the damage that Honey’s “justice” leaves behind.
Complicating matters, Honey and Na-chan are next-door neighbors. Honey tries to make amends, and desperately wants to be liked by Na-chan, but the policewoman has worked too hard and long to see Honey’s point of view.
Episode 1 passes with nary a shared look between the two, but in Episode 2, Na-chan and Honey have a blowup, as Na-chan totally rejects Honey’s overture of friendship. The two spend a tearful, melancholic night separated by a single physical wall and a huge emotional one. Honey, rejected and distraught, shuts down in the middle of her next battle, but Na-chan, realizing that Honey actually *needs* love to survive, strips down and brings her back to life in a spectacular use of fanservice.
Episode 3 concludes the highly charged arc between them, as baddie Sister Jill (we’ve lost the original Panther Claw and her gang of mask-wearing baddies) tries to take over the town. Sister Jill desires to possess Honey (as well as, of course, the rest of the world.) It turns out that Sister Jill was also created by Honey’s father, and so is a kind of big sister to Honey, although Jill’s desire for Honey doesn’t seem particularly sisterly, if you know what I mean.
But, of course, love wins the day, as a super butched-up, bristling with weapons Na-chan takes on Sister Jill and with a faux-kiss that was pretty sweet, once again gives Honey the will to survive. The battle ends with a big bang, but I knew that the story wasn’t over, because I’m an old hand at this, and Honey *never* dies.
The epilogue shows us the new improved butchy Na-chan and Honey have gone into business together and appear to be (to discerning eyes wearing their Yuri goggles) a couple. As they ride off to the scene of the next attack, Na-chan in her Akio-red car and Honey on her motorcycle (we remember what *that* means,right?) we can sit back and bask in the knowledge that fanfic writers everywhere are working on their “Honey and Na-chan get it on” fics even as we smile.
Good, bad and indifferent all at once, Re Cutie Honey is a thumbs up for fans would don’t mind taking their Yuri with a shaker or two of parody, perversion and pathos.
Story – 6
Characters – 9
Art – 8
Music – 9
Yuri – 9
Overall – 8.
“Hey, You got your Gainax in my Go Nagai!”
“Hey! Your Go Nagai’s in my Gainax!”