「Thank You for Your Compassion and Encouragement」
Time to grieve, however, is the last thing on Honey’s to-do-list as she works the pain away, and aims to destroy the Panther Claw in a far more ruthless fashion than before. Her ability to shapeshift is brought out the most through the montages of her slaying Panther Claw members, yet her push to continue the trend of doing nothing but fight to avoid her feelings is asymptomatic with the amount of stress she’s placing on herself to hide the pain. Where Honey comes off as robotic and unnatural in how she processes grief and pain the more she pushes herself not to confront any of her insecurities or sadness. It’s also a bulk of what her own personal issues are as Natsuko’s end can be attributed to how willing she was to cast aside any of the doubts she or the Hayami’s presented in Genet’s suspicious behavior. You might be pulling your hair at how numb Honey is trying to make herself to every situation she’s come across, but it does make her fascinating in the sense that her character flaws are centered around the restrictions she places on herself to vent or relax, resulting in her grief coming out as either deflection from the problems around her or outright hostility.
Honey’s growth comes in the way of having to face the reality of the situation she’s in as a newly-reformed Tarantula (her black-haired side, at least) trying to capture the essence of who Natsuko was by mimicking her appearance and personality. It’s the first we’ve seen of an offended and irate Honey, but also the most we’ve seen of her being able to naturally cry over the loss of Natsuko and her closest friends. With Natsuko as an avatar to let Honey know not to feel guilt for the lot in life that she was stuck in and as the voice of reason to remind her that Genet should not be as easily trusted, Honey was finally able to drop all of the pretense of being permanently happy by crying for Natsuko.
Luckily, it was a more light-hearted episode outside of Honey’s circumstances as Tarantula and Dragon switching sides made for some easier-to-digest humor. The back-and-forth between Honey and Tarantula about whether Sister Jill is more or less attractive than Honey offered levity as a change of pace from the darker tone of the past episode. Additionally, Tarantula fits like a glove with the rest of the cast as she uses her transformation powers to create both an acceptable human version of herself and a Cutie Honey that is more accepting of Danbei and Junpei getting handsy. We also have the good fortune of seeing them get punished for their actions as Dragon’s human form gave her the chance to spank the perverted duo. Hopefully, this adaptation is generous with Tarantula and Dragon considering how new it is to see allies formerly of the Panther Claw helping out, and is one of the cooler twists to come from the Universe iteration of the franchise.