「無垢の美しさ」 (Muku no Utsukushisa)
It’s a miracle because we finally have an episode where Honey changes forms! For her next assignment, she goes undercover as her idol alter ego Misty Honey, fights off Panther Claw with her Armored Honey gear, and camouflage forms in case she needs them. It’s a fresh breath of air to see her go into her other forms outside of Hurricane Honey because it offers up something new to the table as fights can be fought and missions can be accomplished outside of changing into the classic Cutie Honey outfit and running a sword through her foes. Some are very situational to the point where you’d wonder when Misty would get any more usage in the series, but it’s nice for the series to at least acknowledge that many of Honey’s missions won’t always be easy or straight-forward enough for her to just put on the standard issue battle outfit and automatically win. This episode also shows that her abilities allow her to create the perfect disguises. Because her shape-shifting has been vague up to this point, it would have been hard to guess that she could disguise herself as a hired mook and plant a decoy Honey to pull a fast one on the Panther Claw.
The largest elephant in the room is a part from the original manga that was kept in where Honey pulls off a statue disguise to make the Panther Claw after her assume she escaped. Her dedication to playing the part goes too long, however, when Danbei and Junpei come in to “admire” the nude statue. The shamelessness of the two licking, kissing, and rubbing a nude statue in public is one thing to emphasize the comedy behind how the two lack self-awareness, but admittedly, it does play out uncomfortably long, especially as Honey writhes in discomfort. There was humor to be had with how Danbei had spent so long trying to convince himself that the statue couldn’t have made noises because of the graceful shouts of affection he makes, and how Junpei automatically opted to kiss her butt, but the two are so outwardly obnoxious that it’s a surprise the objective wasn’t for the audience to want them gone. It is a relief that she’s able to rebuke and scare them, but it does beg to question that if the two could walk on over to the playground without getting attacked by the Panther Claw, why stay in the statue form any longer? She would have scared them anyway, but it seemed like it prolonged the inevitably because of the duo’s perviness.
On a narrative level, there is further intrigue on the layers behind Sister Jill being slowly peeled back as those around her grow weary of her antics. As Genet intricately helps Honey come up with the plan to infiltrate the Panther Claw lab by getting captured, Seiji felt the same suspicion that others have had about Genet’s motives as she knows all too well about how the plan will come about. Her true identity as Sister Jill is also in a complicated state as she raises suspicion with her own henchwomen with the lack of clarity in her declaration to both destroy Panther Claw and the police force from the inside out. The sketchiness of Jill’s vague agenda is starting to wear thin on those on her followers who are being told to let themselves get killed by Honey for her sake while those on Honey’s side are starting to put the pieces together about how Genet could know such confidential information about Panther Claw if she wasn’t telling them what to do. The most interesting Panther Claw member so far is shaping up to be Tarantula, who is the most suspicious of why she’s being told that the Panther Claw will be destroyed and ordered not to kill Honey by Sister Jill herself. She’s still on her side and likely won’t change, but it is unique to see a member of the Panther Claw being as fleshed out as some of the other prominent members of the cast, and positioned as the face of Panther Claw’s skepticism over Sister Jill’s motives.