I reviewed the Cutie Honey live-action movie back in 2004 when it first came out and fundamentally, none of my opinions have changed. It remains an incredibly silly, thoroughly enjoyable, and overwhelmingly fannish look at one of anime and manga’s longest-lasting superheroine series, Cutie (or Cutey) Honey.
For new readers, Cutie Honey is the name of a cute female android created by a Professor Kisaragi. Honey uses the I-system (a pun on “Ai” the Japanese word for love) to transform into whatever form best suits the situation. From motorcycle rider, to Office Lady, to S&M Queen to Bad Guy henchclone, Cutie Honey’s form will be just what is needed to save the day. Her true form is as a ally of love and justice and several times an episode we are given the opportunity to enjoy Honey’s at least partially nude transformation, because that’s the way the series works. In this live action movie the transformations are more coy but we get plenty of partially-clothed Honey for other, even less justifiable reasons, because that’s the way the movie works.
In every incarnation, Honey fights the crazy baddies of the evil Panther Claw gang: in this case the nipple-ringed Gold Claw, creepy Cobalt Claw, short-lived Scarlet Claw and pop idol-wannabee Black Claw. It comes as no surprise to anyone who has watched any of the Honey series that she will win in the end. Because, after all, love always wins the day.
Because I did indeed already review this movie, I just want to make a few comments on the official US release. One – go get it. It’s really wonderful. Thoroughly cracktastic – from the music to the use of animation, the bizarre body language to the choppy cinematography. It’s like Power Rangers for grown up otaku.
Secondly…the subtitles. *What* was going on with the subtitles????? The two most obviously persistent problems were in regards to Sister Jill-sama, the chief bad guy. Sometimes translated “Lord Sister Jill,” sometimes “Lady Sister Jill” and other times not translated at all, the phrase “Sister Jill-sama” because a cue for me to try and guess the next version. Worse, the translators apparently had serious issues with Honey’s Uncle’s name. You say Uzuki, I say Utsugi – the translators used both. Indiscriminately. And they never settled on one version by the end of the movie. If it hadn’t been so sad, it would have been hysterical.
Thirdly, and most importantly. Is it love between Na-chan and Honey? Despite reporter Seiji’s aborted attempt to get close to Inspector Aki Natsuko, by the end, it is SO Honey who has taken over the tough-as-nails inspector’s heart. For pity’s sake – even Jill’s creepy butler notices. And when, in the final scene, Seiji kisses Honey’s hand, no one is gonna tell me that Na-chan’s reaction is not pure jealousy. Not for Seiji, either. It’s really obvious that it’s on Honey’s behalf.
I’m not sure that someone new to anime and manga would “get” this movie, but for anyone who is even remotely a fan of the legend of Cutie Honey, it’s a must-see. It is just so much fun!
Story – 8
Character – 9
Cinematography – 8
Costumes – 9
Music – 9
Yuri – 5
Overall – 8 edging into 9