OP Sequence

OP: 「愛がなくちゃ戦えない」 (Ai ga Nakucha Tatakaenai) by AOP

「あなたは全てが完璧」 (Anata wa Subete ga Kanpeki)
“Everything About You Is Perfect”

Barring the horrific removal of the classic Cutie Honey theme song, this revamp of Cutie Honey relies on only basic knowledge of the universe in order to understand. From there, it’s quite quite easy to get what’s going on. One of this year’s Nagai Go adaptations to share the spotlight with DEVILMAN crybaby, Cutie Honey Universe is centered around Honey Kisaragi (Sakamato Maaya), an android magical girl who fights against the Panther Claw crime syndicate to avenge her late father. This time around, she has multiple forms to aid her in different ways as she takes on the group, utilizing everything from the standard Cutie Honey attire to a black-haired motorcycle expert. Along the way, she gets help from Detective Hayami Seiji (Asanuma Shintaro) and his partners, and her best friend Aki Natsuko (Horie Yui), and some mysterious company who infiltrates her network to work with and sabotage her efforts.

There is no pretense of subtlety with Cutie Honey Universe. Right from the get-go, we are introduced to antagonist Sister Jill (Tanaka Atsuko) in her lair of women who adore her and make out with one another. The first authority figures we see at Honey’s academy are two eldery women having sex in the bushes, a disciplinary teacher who loves whipping the clothes off of girls as her punishment of choice, and an all-girls gang leader whose musclebound physique is balanced with the flustered feelings she holds for Honey. Honey and Natsuko’s relationship is affectionate to the point of Honey getting into a tickle fight with Natsuko as she’s bound in the disciplinary teacher’s rope bondage. Most, if not all, fights in Cutie Honey Universe involve clothes coming off and glamour-shots of the characters’ assets, and Seiji has a difficult time keeping himself composed when viewing Honey in an erotic light. This show hits viewers like a truck with the level of bombast and eccentricity that it offers, but it’s all par of the course for a Nagai Go series. It can be hit-or-miss depending on your tolerance or enjoyment of this level of tongue-in-cheek eroticism, especially since the goofy artwork and smutty, pulpy nature of Nagai’s manga are a very required taste. Knowing this much, I couldn’t help but get a kick out of how crazy and suggestive the series got, but I can get why some people would be thrown off.

What made the first episode amusing was the absurdity of it all that plays off much like Saturday morning cartoon, but with the level of explicit content that would never make it past late night programming. There’s magical girls, evil crime syndicates, and baddies of the week to defeat, but there’s also sex, fanservice, and enough violence to make it feel like a parody of more family-friendly fare. There are some hiccups like how awful the cars look, or how ridiculous it is that Sister Jill is able to go from her Inspector Genet disguise to her demonic evil form without anyone noticing, even within the same scene without anywhere to hide. The latter can be chalked up to how easily fooled that the leads in younger-skewing anime tend to be, but it does operate off of the same mentality that taking it seriously was the furthest from this show’s intentions.

Cutie Honey Universe is an anime that you will either love or loathe for the exact same reasons. It’s a fun and trashy show that isn’t ashamed of itself, and that level of tenacity is what gives Nagai Go’s works some charm to them, where the debauchery teeters between fanservice and art, comedy and titillation with little distinction between the two. It’s definitely not as artful or violent as crybaby, but it’s a decent gateway into what you can expect from his body of work. Whether that’s your cup of tea or not will determine if that’s a good thing or not. For those who are on-board with everything Cutie Honey Universe throws at us, it’s shaping up to be a scandalous, bawdy, and entertaining trip.

ED Sequence

ED: 「Sister」 by Luz


    1. So are the BDs going to be any better?

      In terms of what? More ecchi & nudity?

      Sorry and all that, but Devilman Crybaby really raised the bar for Nagai Go adaptations.

      I’d say DMC is about even with (if not below) Mazinger Z: Infinity (2017). Out of all Go Nagai anniversary projects, I put MZI at the top spot so far. The problem with MZI is that it’s a theatrical movie and also a continuation of the older series/manga so it’s not easily accessible to newcomers, unlike DMC.

      As for CHU, I think it has good potential and this episode really has an enjoyable madness to it, kinda like Kill la Kill back then.

  1. That was okay, but I wonder why they didn’t just give Yui Horie the main role if she’s already in the show, considering that she was also voicing her in Re: Cutie Honey.

  2. After having watched this first episode, the first thing that came to mind was the old Krusty “What the hell was that!?” clip from The Simpsons. Between the fact that we’re dropped into the middle of the story with no explanation as to what’s going on, the wild swings in tone and whatever exactly was supposed to be going on with that whole “gravity tunnel” sequence post-transformation, this smacked of a production that is both confused and confusing.

    Assorted thoughts:
    * The lack of the iconic theme song isn’t a dealbreaker for me, though it was a very surprising choice. If the intent was to showcase that this version is going to try for different things, then mission accomplished.
    * While CH has never shied away from depicting its characters as homosexual (or at least bi-curious), It’s never been this in your face about that depiction before. It’s a little distracting in some places here, though.
    * Assuming that the “Universe” in the title is meant as a sign that this is pulling from multiple past iterations of this franchise. This first episode mostly seems to pull from the original comic and its TV series counterpart (the basic designs of the characters and setting) and the Sailor Moon-esque Flash (the school being so beautiful and palatial; Honey’s more standardized magical girl personality and long winded transformation sequence). Though bits from Re: (Seiji being an inspector instead of a reporter, the general camp level) also seem to be installed.
    * For as much as the gimmick of having different actresses play Honey in her various disguises was touted in advertising, it sure wasn’t on display in this first episode. I don’t think Uchida Maaya got to say two words during the brief Hurricane Honey sequence.

  3. Very nice episode but so sad they didn’t have their own version of the Cutie Honey theme, like come on that was part of every Cutie Honey series since the 70s 🙁


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