Cutie Honey Universe – Anime Preview
Synopsis: After a run-in with the organization Panther Claw, Honey makes it her mission to bring them down. One day, she meets a new friend named June who seems to have nefarious ulterior motives. (Official HIDIVE Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: When we first got word of the latest Cutie Honey adaptation it wasn’t marked as Ecchi..but let me tell you, THIS IS ECCHI! It’s non-stop with Honey’s outfit constantly melting and disappearing in credits and the episode itself, girls’ clothes often shredded into nothing, girls constantly making out with each, etc… We’ve even got risque Ecchi comedy in the form of two female teachers grinding on each other, completely undressed save for their panties ON SCHOOL GROUNDS DURING LUNCH BREAK. At least I assume it’s for comedic purposes, as it plays no other role in the episode and both teachers are drawn to look ‘weird and ugly’ in true old school gag form. I’ll be honest, Cutie Honey Universe feels sexist and trashy from a female point of view. Almost every ‘normal’ looking girl exists to be ogled at and to top things off, Honey is CONSTANTLY talking about being motivated by her ‘papa’, how she’s doing this all for him and doesn’t intend to waste the life she gave him which is likely to give newcomers to the franchise the idea that she’s harbouring a serious ‘daddy complex’.
Tom: It’s almost mind-boggling why this title wasn’t listed as an ecchi prior to release. Sites like MyAnimeList, AniDB or Livechart call it a romance, a shoujo when elements from either genre/sub-genre are fleeting at best. The comedy is almost entirely of a sexual nature as Linny described above and I struggle to think of any actual content that could be described as shoujo or romance. But perhaps more frustrating than its lack of proper representation is how this doesn’t feel all that welcoming for newcomers. It’s not to say Cutie Honey Universe is unapproachable, but for something again listed as a new, stand-alone adaptation, rather than directly related to other versions of the same property, Cutie Honey Universe feels entirely uninterested in guiding newbies into its wild and pervy landscape.
Linny: There’s clear signs that the show expects you to have some familiarity with its origins, or even other, older adaptations, as it never bothers to explain the source of Honey’s powers or her backstory, instead diving straight into a day of her life as a crime fighter. The show also never bothers to explain all the in show terms and items, something that’s going to alienate and confuse newbies.
Tom: For fans of the Go Nagai design sensibility, Cutie Honey Universe has it all. The sexualized designs, the Go Nagai oddly styled villains and mechanisms, everything here screams classic 1970s Go Nagai. Cutie herself is even a pretty straight-forward heroine, ignoring her daddy complex anyway, fighting the good fight and never backing down, sure to appeal to audiences who like their heroes stalwart and defiant with few flaws. Circling her are a cast of weird and bizarre characters who leave their mark if not for their designs alone but through how quickly their activities descend into overt sexual activities.
Linny: Cutie Honey Universe’s biggest hurdle is that the plot shows its outdated age. It’s sexist and cliched. The villains, character designs and very set up itself all scream of an era bygone. That should be perfect for anyone with a nostalgia fetish or an extreme fondness for Go Nagai or those seeking to experience old school anime/manga with better animation but there’s really nothing else for anyone falling outside those three categories.
Tom: Cutie Honey Universe suffers a lot of big issues beyond approachability and misrepresentation of its content. The animation isn’t terribly impressive, the story feels perhaps rushed and underdeveloped, exclusively aimed at Honey fans. Between this and Devilman Crybaby, Cutie Honey Universe is a massive step down. Even the Mazinger Z Infinity film, something that didn’t hold much to offer beyond sheer spectacle, was a stronger outing for Go Nagai’s 50th Anniversary than what we have here.
Cutie Honey Universe is available for streaming via HIDIVE