「あなたの幸福を祈る」 (Anata no Koufuku o Inoru)
“May Fortune Befall You”
It didn’t last long for Cutie Honey Universe to start killing off the main cast. In one barrage of rose bombs, Honey’s entire academy aside from Natsuko was killed. Snake Panther’s ambition to murder everyone in sight except for Honey resulted in the show wiping through all of the students, teachers, and side characters at the academy as if they were nothing. The two teachers in love were given a morbidly tongue-in-cheek send-off as the nuke that killed them created fireworks in their image. Of the cast who died, Naoko was given the most fanfare as she survived the first explosion she was caught in so that she could avenge her dead friends, save Honey and Natsuko, and sacrifice herself to the bomb that would get Snake Panther in hot water with Sister Jill. While it is a Go Nagai staple to straight-up murder a large chunk of the cast, losing Naoko was genuinely sad as she was the outlier of the all-girls gang, genuinely adored Honey, and went out of her way to protect her and Natsuko from the Panther Claw whenever their paths crossed.
The artwork of the show tends to be hit-or-miss with the neatly replicated artstyle being marred with poorly-animated action scenes, but this episode did an effective job with its artistic flair with regards to the academy attack and Honey’s emotional state. Having roses spawn, blossom, and bloom the bombs went off created a unique look for the explosions as buds engulf the academy. Close-ups are impressive as usual, but Honey’s sorrow and rage were on-point in the episode as we see dynamic, minimalist scenes to depict Honey’s grief in the reality that the Panther Claw’s pursuit for her device gave them incentive to slaughter her entire school. Similarly, her reaction to Naoko’s death was shown as the her sorrow channeling itself into rage as she cries red streams of blood and swears vengeance on the Panther Claw. Her fight with Sister Jill began with an impactful note as her eyes distorted into a wavy, piercing stare while the intensity of her fury builds up to its boiling point. It’ll be interesting to see how Honey acts for the remainder of the series with how personal the fight has gotten now that her teachers and classmates are all dead.
The Panther Claw are also in a strange position at this point as Sister Jill made her presence in the storyline far more apparent in this episode than with her undercover disguise as Inspector Genet. As the one who helped spearhead the attack on St. Chapel Academy alongside Dragon, Snake, and Tarantula Claw, she holds the most desire in ensuring that she can bring out the most pain from Honey. Snake Panther, however, had an ego trip as her warpath to murder everyone but Honey put her in a vulnerable position to be punished if she managed to kill Honey along with everyone else. Naoko’s sacrifice complicated the matter even further as the large explosion gave Sister Jill the idea that Honey was murdered by Snake Panther’s reckless abandon, resulting in her execution. As Snake was being slowly punished and killed by Sister Jill, you can see Tarantula being increasingly concerned for her own well-being as Sister Jill’s cruelty, paired with her motives as Inspector Genet, are likely feeding into her uncertainty of whether her lack of job security will land her on the chopping block next at some point. Again, not much might come from Tarantula operating out of fear, but it’d be a neat twist to see what would happen if she were to have more conflicting thoughts about her role in the syndicate.