「この世界は二人だけ」 (Kono Sekai wa Futari Dake)
“The Whole World Is Just You and Me”
For a brief moment, let’s talk about Natsuko. In the original Cutie Honey manga, she is killed off after learning about Honey’s secret identity after being incinerated by the second head of Dragon Claw. Since then, her character in several of the adaptations or material to spawn from the manga has differentiated whether it’s being a heterosexual friend of Honey’s or a splitting image of her doomed classmate. The coolest version of Natsuko from Anno Hideaki’s Re: Cutie Honey OVAs is the polar opposite of these representations as she’s a tough-as-nails officer with glasses, a gun, and a reciprocated romance with Honey. Unfortunately, since Universe has been faithfully adapted from the manga with some twists and turns in-between, Natsuko has been once again killed off after attracting the attention of the Panther Claw. With the differences they’ve made in the twists, however, there is some fascinating aspects of her hostage situation and demise to take note of considering how much Natsuko was looking into the connection between Genet and Sister Jill.
Because of the wool being placed over Honey’s eyes, Genet’s identity has been the subject of debate for Natsuko. After all of the red flags that have appeared for Natsuko, Honey still insisted that Genet is trustworthy and doesn’t find her friend’s suspicion to be warranted. As Natsuko tries to let the cat under the bag once Honey comes to her rescue, it becomes more apparent that Genet played a role in having her killed in front of Honey. Although the episode ended too soon to see what exactly Natsuko’s death did to Honey’s psyche, I can see Genet’s identity being a part of the guilt that Honey will feel as her negligence of Natsuko’s feelings and suspicions lead her to put herself in harm’s way and eventually die in captivity just as Sister Jill and her alter ego Genet intended. If Natsuko were to be killed after revealing such information, it’s hit Honey hard to know that the reason Natsuko was kidnapped was because of the lack of trust Honey had in Natsuko’s intuition, shrugging off her ideas and neglecting her while she’s depressed about Honey’s well-being. Twisting the knife was always the intention, and murdering Natsuko to accelerate Honey’s feelings of guilt and break her into giving up her device has a much deeper meaning to it than having her die as a casualty of Honey’s efforts against the Panther Claw when Natsuko went out of her way to take matters into her own hands when Honey was too concerned about keeping her feelings to herself to help.
The episode also marked a point of transition for Tarantula’s character as she had become more outwardly distressed by Sister Jill’s orders and behavior. Having to be the one to kill much of her friends and comrades was hard enough as it is, but being given the task to kill Natsuko was even worse on her as she saw herself in Natsuko’s insecurities on being loved and appreciated by the object of their affection. It definitely didn’t make matters any better when she was split between her murderous and compassionate sides while trying to save Natsuko from falling, creating a conflict between her conflicting attitudes where her allegiance to Sister Jill was challenged by her distaste for her recent tactics. Her feelings of being disposable won’t go away easily as well with how her vicious side was able to do exactly as Jill commanded by throwing her sword at Natsuko’s chest as her good side watched in horror. Whether they stay separated or join together again is anyone’s guess, but it won’t be easy for Tarantula to cope now that the side of her that defied Sister Jill has to contend with two sides that want to hold her accountable for her bad side’s actions.