In April of this year I found and fell in love with Cutey Honey a Gogo. My biggest complaint was the volume ended abruptly, right in the middle of the story. And no Volume 2 ever appeared. It was criminal, when you consider how awesome CHaGG was. Then, one innocent day, Amazon Japan emailed me with one of its automated suggestions and lo and behold! It was for Cutey Honey a Gogo, Perfect Edition. Oh, how I rejoiced.
It is perfect (and totally not coincidental) timing for this volume’s release, as a new Cutey Honey Live-Action TV series is running even as we speak. Review will be forthcoming…of course.
Historically, Cutey Honey is rather important to us, the Yuri audience, and especially those of use who are female. Honey was the first, ever, magical heroine who succeeded all on her own, without a man in her life. It’s true that the Hayami family existed in the anime (Seiji, his kid brother and repulsive grandfather,) but they were there to primarily serve as victims, hindrances, perverts and other forms of comedic relief. Honey didn’t need them – in fact, she probably would have done a lot better if they had gotten out of her way. The fact that there has been some light to moderate lesbianism in pretty much every version (excepting Seed, which really isn’t about Honey at all) just keeps it on the list of series we should keep an eye on.
Cutey Honey a GoGo originally came out about the same time as the Live Action movie and Re Cutie Honey. And like those two, it was pretty great. Honey in these versions was much more like the original Honey; smart, fun-loving and mischievous. She’s also self-reliant and strong, with a clear emotional bond with Aki Natsuko.
In the original manga Na-chan was Honey’s classmate, another student at St. Chapel Jogakuen. In all three of the 2004 versions, Na-chan was a police detective. MAJOR powerup for Na-chan. I approve. She’s awesome as the tough-as-nails cop. Much better than as Honey’s beloved, but ineffectual, school friend.
So this perfect volume includes CHaGG Volume 1 and the never-before printed Volume 2. (For which artist Itoh Shimpei apologizes in the back, but I have no doubt that it is not his fault.)
Volume 2 picks up the story after Honey has been staying with Na-chan for some time. Na-chan is not falling for Honey, or anything, but as Seiji picks on her about it, Na-chan just says, “all the flowers are blooming.” When she had lived alone, she had tried to take care of all sorts of plants, but no matter what she did, they just died. As soon as Honey arrived, the flowers all blossomed. I (and Seiji) think that’s an apt metaphor for Chief Aki Natsuko’s life as well. ^_^
The plot picks up with more Panther Claw baddies doing the usual bad stuff and Honey doing the usual to stop them, with Na-chan bringing up the rear carrying the heavy artillery.
But they learn that bizarre things are occurring at – can you guess? – St. Chapel Jogakuen! So Na-chan signs up as a teacher and Honey as a student and they head off to this mysterious and strict private girl’s school.
They are met by the obviously sadistic Miharu-sensei, who was not a Panther Claw operative as I suspected, but another nod backwards to Honey’s history and the odious Histler. And here’s where the story gets wacky. ^_^
Honey’s roommate, Ayumu, is a nice kid. But Miharu-sensei, when she can’t catch Honey during her nightly transgressions, and frustrated with her inability to punish Na-chan who drives her nuts, targets Ayumu. Honey appears to be stalked by a dark, large and very gloomy upperclassman, who ultimately (I’m skipping a lot here) turns out to be in love with Ayumu. She blames Honey for Ayumu’s troubles, and attacks her, but when the Panther Claw attacks the school and lots of random, unnecessary and unpleasant deaths occur, she backs off and let’s Honey stop Spider Claw. The horrible deaths are yet again a nod back to the original work in which *everyone* died. Horribly.
At the end of this volume, Sister Jill-sama names four new top Claws – Black, Gold, Cobalt, and Scarlet and if you watched Re CH or the live action movie, you’ll be familiar with the names. At the end of the book, Na-chan vows to protect Honey (not the first time she has done this, and we all know where that leads) and Honey vows to fight to the bitter end to stop Sister Jill.
Bar none, this is my *favorite* version of Honey. I can only hope and pray and the manga gods are smiling favorably upon this lone fan and wait to see if we ever get more. It worked once, I’m not going to stop now. ^_^
Art – 7
Story – 8
Characters – 9
Yuri – 5
Service – 7
Overall – 8
How much do you think it would cost me to pay Nagai and Itoh to continue this series for me? ^_^