A few years ago Rica Takashima, the magnificent author of Rica ‘tte Kanji!?, was cleaning out her apartment and she gave me a bunch of cool early yuri magazines and manga. Her seminal works. One of these was a collected volume of the original Cutey Honey manga, by Go Nagai. When she gave me the book, she commented that, as a little lesbian, she was really into Honey, who was the first heroine who really didn’t need a man around at all. I never had a chance to read it thoroughly and then, as my manga collection grew out of control, I wasn’t able to find it. I knew it had to be *somewhere*, but couldn’t pin it down, until I got these new shelves. ^_^
Anyway, last night I sat down and really read the story and wow! was this one of the grimmest, most violent and depressing stories I’ve ever read! It was quite amazing.
The spoilage on this story is so huge that I won’t put it in the main review – I’ll add it in as the first comment, so no one who doesn’t really want to know has to suffer.
In any case, like the first iteration of Cutey Honey in anime, Kisaragi Honey is awakened as an android, the Black Claw attacks her father, she swears revenge. She attends a girl’s school and befriends Na-chan, who immediately falls for her more than a little. The two main teachers are, as in the anime, the openly lesbian and thoroughly repulsive Alphonse-sensei and the pinchy-faced and sadistic sensei who the girls all call “Histler.” (This is not a typo. Histler, *not* Hitler, nuh-uh.) The Prinicpal of the school is a no-name doughball who, before the final traumatic ending finds love (and hot, yet horrible to contemplate, lesbo sex) with Alphonse-sensei.
Honey sneaks off every night, naked transformation scenes abound and she always beats the Claw henchmen. Lalalala.
Oh, and btw, Seiji in the original manga is a total doofus. He mostly gets captured and tortured and Honey has to rescue him. I think Nagai-sensei really let his character get out of control and become too important in subsequent versions. Bad insane genius, bad!
Because this is Go Nagai, there is a ton of nakedness, male and female, lots of torture, some seriously hideous lesbians, and general horribleness of all kinds, including a topless gang leader with exceptionally hairy…erm, everything. Shudder. She was horrible. Yes, she.
The end of the main part of the story is violent with a capital “Oh my god!” Which was made truly appalling by the light-hearted romp that was the final chapter in which Honey destroys Sister Jill and sings her own musical theme.
Art – 6 (Early Go Nagai….bad anatomy….)
Characters – 3 (each more horrible than the last)
Story – 5 (c’mon! she has a CLAW coming out of her head!)
Yuri – 8
Overall – 5 for normal people.
On the whole, I really liked it, except when…oh, hell, I’ll admit it. I thought it was brilliant. Brilliant, disturbing, weirder than anything I could come up with on acid, Cutey Honey was, and is, a lesbian manga icon.