「あなたに出会えた事の心からの喜び」 (Anata ni Deaeta Koto no Kokoro Kara no Yorokobi)
“The True Joy of Having Met You”
Episode 1 aimed to show the audience the appeal that the Cutie Honey series has as a raunchy, tongue-in-cheek magical girl series, set up the structure of how Honey Kisaragi conducts her missions within Universe, and introduce the Panther Claw, but Episode 2 gives us a more formal introduction of who and what Honey really is. It gives us a thorough origin story of Honey, who was born as a super-powered android that her father Dr. Kisaragi made as both a daughter of his own and a vessel for the highly valuable “Airborne Element Fixing Device” that gives her the power to materialize her powers from thin air. With her father’s death and a pre-made hologram video he made for her, Honey gains the resolve to fight the Panther Claw organization to avenger her father and protect the device that gives her life and power.
It efficiently retells the story to fit in with the Universe story as it goes through the same events with emphasis on her father introducing her to the different modes she can cycle through for different abilities such as Idol, Hurricane, Misty, Fancy, Flash, and Armor. What it also does is contextualize it as a part of her origin story to tell to Inspector Genet in confidence as she acts as a double agent against her own syndicate. Sister Jill’s Genet alter ego is possibly one of the weirdest aspects of Universe as she works against the Panther Claw members she creates and urges Honey not to die in battle, yet is still more than happy to continue creating more Panther Claw members and attack everyone involved with Honey. It creates an unusual dynamic where Sister Jill and Honey are bonding and getting to know each other on more cordial terms even if Jill is acting under a facade. What Sister Jill’s angle is, how this would help her get Honey’s device, and what this does for the Panther Claw’s relationship with Jill as some could potentially catch on to Genet being Jill in disguise are questions that make Cutie Honey Universe a fascinating twist on the story. Universe positions its story as identical to past iterations of the franchise, yet different enough to give fans food for thought on what kind of scenario can be born from Sister Jill working alongside Honey.
And it helps that the show retains the spirit of the original decently to reintroduce Honey to today’s market. Although Go Nagai’s name on this production is for branding purposes to align with his career’s 50th anniversary, the mischief and kitsch of his work is faithfully imprinted into the anime. Much of the action is messy, yet fluid as Honey tears through members of the Panther Claw unit, and the comedy is campy with Hayami Danbei being stripped down by a villain’s razor-sharp weaponry and his youngest son Junpei’s budding crush for Inspector Genet. It’ll be a lot of fun to continue following Cutie Honey Universe and seeing where it goes from here as Sister Jill’s plans become more apparent.