It’s not like Cutie Honey the Live is good or anything. In fact, it’s pretty horrid; a veritable blivet of pandering, service and pervtastic-ness. And yet…I love it. Like Ikkitousen and Kannazuki no Miko, I can look past the stuff crammed into it to pander to the somewhat-lower-than-lowest-common-denominator to see something worth watching.
Like all of the versions in the Cutie/Cutey Honey mythos (barring Cutie Honey Seed) in this edition, Kisaragi Honey is the android daughter of the brilliant Professor Kisaragi. Like the original CH manga, Honey is a schoolgirl and her best friend and roommate at the White Rose School (Shirobara Gakuen) is Aki Natsuko. In this incarnation Na-chan is sadly reduced to a cringing dweeb – a far cry from the hyper-competent, muscular, gun-toting public peace officer I loved in Cutey Honey a-GoGo.
After the initial story of Honey’s existence and the death of her father, this Live-Action TV series deviates from the previous incarnations. Hayami Seiji is a homeless doofus who fancies himself a suave guy and crack private investigator. He’s really just an amusingly jerky guy. The kind of role a young Bruce Campbell might have played.
Honey this time is a bit bubble-headed, but likeable. She has no ego or pride, which makes it virtually impossible for the school bully and her henchchicks to make fun of Honey – something that they keep trying to do and at which they fail amusingly every time. I prefer Honey to be a bit more on the ball, but I have to give this actress some real credit – she’s got some actual stunt skills and does not at all suck in the role.
Panther Claw seems to be run by four leaders (who in my head I call Black Claw, Silver Claw, Scarlet Claw and the to be named, but probably Cobalt or Gold Claw.) Black Claw is a super-suave, bilingual metrosexual and Silver Claw is a schizoid personality. They are both good fighters and play a variety of freakish games that utilize society’s most pathetic people, to make money. (And while I wouldn’t swear to it, I believe that the old guy who keeps winning the games is Go Nagai himself.)
Scarlet Claw just showed up a few episodes ago and with her, the first real sign of Yuri. (I knew we’d get some eventually. Along with the panty shots and dress-up and other fetishy stuff, Yuri’s a good bet in CH.) By day, she’s a teacher at a high-end school and she’s clearly seduced several of her female students (and, just as clearly has no time for her male ones.) She also has a really disgusting egg fetish thing which I found quite nasty, but she made up for it by having an aesthetically pleasing costume as Scarlet Claw. :-) (The two guys just wear suits. Boring.) Scarlet Claw is totally an EPL. Thumbs up.
Now, here’s where the story starts to get good. In this incarnation, Honey is not the only AI-system android. Early on, we encounter the world’s most miserable girl, Miki. Where Honey lives happily, going to school, playing with Seiji and his homeless friends and generally being hopelessly cheerful, Miki’s existence is full of misery and grim, with a side of despair. We first encounter her in a girl’s juvenile detention center – and no one likes her there. Poor Miki. Only, she’s not helpless and when the Panther Claw start killing girls mysteriously at juvie, Miki takes matters into her own hands. Where Honey wears a red heart pendant, Miki wears a blue spade and also becomes a “Cutie”-type android…although I blank from calling her Cutie Miki, ’cause she such a miserable soul. ^_^;
Miki transfers to Honey’s school, but rebuffs Honey’s attempts at being friends. Miki learns that Honey is also an android, but manages to keep her own existence as one secret. Miki’s awesome – and kinda hot too. Scarlet Claw has some fun groping her, but of course she and Honey escape the evil clutches, etc, etc. Miki’s actress also has some decent physical skills, but not as much as Honey’s actress.
And that, I thought, was going to be that. Only, I was totally wrong. Yay!
In one episode, the school bully and her henchchicks recruit Miki to destroy Honey’s reputation. Cleverly they come up with a plan to make Miki do bad stuff and blame Honey, so it will sound like Honey’s doing the bad things herself. The first thing they try is to steal money from a sweet, naive rich girl. But she’s so eager to help them that she gladly hands over a lot of money and the bully and her henchchicks freak. “Put that away!” they yell. “Someone’s going to steal that!!” Trust me – it was funny. The rich girl walks off bemused, but concerned for the person she thinks is Kisaragi Honey. Several episodes later, the same rich girl, Yuki, is kidnapped. Because she’s charmingly loopy, she tries to help the kidnapper, eventually meeting the real Honey and engaging her assistance. Together, they save the day – and the life of the kidnapper.
In episode 10 Yuki, once again in the story, eventually confesses to Hayami (well, threatens him, really) that she’s in love with Honey. So, they go on a date. Unfortunately Hayami comes along and you know this isn’t going anywhere, but yay! Yuki’s in love with Honey! And that’s not even the best part. Silver Claw and Black Claw double-team Honey and beat her unconscious. Yuki runs up, demanding to know what they are doing. When they send their Panther Claws mooks after her, Yuki presses the white diamond pendant she wears and – lo and behold! – we’re up to three AI-system androids. Yuki leaps another notch up in yayness. Yuki’s actress is clearly a dancer and has pretty much no “fighting” skills – her moves are very PGSM-style “fighting.”
All of this leads me to believe that we are one Claw and one android short on the series, because it defies logic to think that we have a heart, a spade and a diamond, but won’t be getting a club. And here’s where I *just* had a brilliant thought. ^_^Wouldn’t it be the coolest thing evar if Na-chan was the fourth android? Just thinking out loud, but…cool, huh?
Once again, do *not* be watching this show if panty shots, breasts, maids, nurses and other staples of the fanboy fetish closet bother you. This series is not subtle or classy. But if you can either deal with those things and like me, watch around them or if, heaven forfend, you actually enjoy them, and you like Yuri, Cutie Honey the Live is another notch in Go Nagai’s headboard.
Characters – 7
Story – 5, with moments of 8
Live-Action Adaptation of Manga/Anime – 8
Yuri – 6
Service – 827
Overall – 7
I find the ending sequences rather charming, too. For the most part, we see Honey fighting the masked Panther Claw dudes in a fountain – and she looks like she’s having a blast. The song totally fits her. When Miki arrived, we saw her fighting the PC in the same fountain, looking considerably less cheerful. Again, the song fits her. Now that Yuki has arrived, this week we got *her* fighting the PC, same fountain, and a song for her. It’s kind of cute, actually. Here’s keeping my fingers crossed for Na-chan being the fourth.