Cutie Honey (Review)
Based on some Anime I’ve never read or seen, Cutie Honey explodes on the screen with outlandish costumes, outlandish overacting, an overly complicated plot, and female characters who can’t seem to keep clothes on. The film tones down the exploding clothes and keeps Cutie Honey running around in her underwear, which is different from what I’ve heard about the ink-drawn source, but confirming that would make me feel far too creepy, so it shall remain a mystery for now. Cutie Honey tries to keep it’s source in mind, as many scenes and dialogue have the look and sound of just jumping off of a cartoon into reality. Some of the situations make little sense in the realm of the reality presented her, or in the real world, but one just goes with the flow. The film itself if entertaining, and does it’s job of being a mindless popcorn flick full of flashy colors, exploding things, fighting, and pretty girls.
We start out with Cutie Honey in the bathtub, the first of many scenes where she runs around half-naked. She gets a call from her uncle, who is a scientist who just found something important, but is being attacked. She sets off a “Honey Flash” to jump into action, but she’s low on energy so nothing happens. Hiding her shame with a garbage bag, Cutie Honey (or, at this point since she’s still in normal mode, Honey Kisaragi) grabs some food and eats it while running full speed, which gives her the power she needs to perform a “Honey Flash” and become Cutie Honey, in full costume, and jumps on a motorcycle speeding to her uncle.
Uncle Dr. Utsugi is held hostage by a costumed villain named Gold Claw. Gold Claw is one of the Four Claws, the rest will show up later. Think “Power Ranger Costume” to get her looks, and “overacting like Rita Repulsa” for her mannerisms. Hundreds of cop cars have her surrounded, with lights flashing. The Local Chief of police arrives, instead of some gruff fortyish man, it’s a 25 year old hot babe with glasses named Natsuko Aki. What she seems to be chief of I am not sure, she doesn’t run the police department, and you’d think with that many cops the Commissioner or someone would show up. Instead, we get Nastuko, who demands the surrender of Gold Claw. Gold Claw responds by turning a bunch of cops into Panther Claw goons, giving them terrible costumes and gold guns. The menace, but Chief Aki is dragged away by Cutie Honey, who also saves Dr. Utsugi. Gold Claw demands to know who is responsible for this, and Cutie Honey replies that she is a Love Warrior.
Okay, the dialogue isn’t that great.
Cue the J-Pop song! Cutie Honey kills all the Panther Claw goons, then fights Gold Claw. Gold Claw uses her “super-hair” to flip Cutie around, followed by her Gold Claw and Gold Missiles, which blow up most of the 5000 police cars sitting nearby. Gold Claw then forms her hair into a helicopter, and flies to freedom, but a Honey Boomerang is employed to chop her down, she falls in the sea. Cutie Honey is immediately arrested by Chief Aki, but Newspaper Reporter Seiji Hayami is there as well to try to smooth things over. Instead, he gets arrested as well, but one “Honey Flash” later they’ve both vanished. With hundreds of police cars exploded and dozens of officers turned into goons and summarily killed, you’d think there would be some sort of horrible crisis on the hands of the police, but they seemed to have been overstaffed and overstocked with cars, as the massive losses do not affect the force on iota. Chief Aki is upset her only lead has just vanished. Now, the young, nubile Chief could have only gotten this job if she was extraordinarily smart, and having just heard Cutie Honey called Professor Utsugi “uncle” should have given her another clue. Instead, she just fumes, but thanks to her glasses, looks attractive while doing so.
Cutie Honey in Honey Kisaragi form works in an office job serving tea to the workers, where most of the employees hate her, except an older female janitor. She gets fired from serving tea (I thought she was fired fired, but she’s back at work a scene later.) Meanwhile, the Police Commissioners yell at Chief Aki, and also mention scores of kidnapped girls that are missing throughout the city, but only passively and it’s rarely brought up, despite being somewhat integral to later in the plot. The next day, Professor Utsugi is kidnapped again by Panther Claw gang, and this time they get away with him. Meanwhile, Cutie Honey is running around dressed like Chief Aki, looking for clues. No one seems to notice she looks nothing like Chief Aki. Is she supposed to be physically identical? She’ll do this later with no one else noticing, either. Reporter Hayami returns to the movie to give her some information, and they ride Segways around. Yes, Segways. Okay, this movie just crossed over into “unbelievable” territory. Segways. Bah! Hayami reveals the villains have nano-machines in their bodies. Professor Utsugi is also doing research on nano-machines. Chief Aki picks this time to interrupt, and Hayami starts calling her Nat-chan, much to the delight of Cutie Honey, and us as well. Nat-shan’s normally furrowed brow is even more upset at this cute moniker she is now dubbed with, and her annoyance grows as Hayami starts giving her the run around on information.
Petty bickering aside, we dive deep underground and meet the villains in their lair. All four of the Big Claws are present, to meet their leader, Sister Jill, who has just awoken. Sister Jill seeks immortality, which is why she’s thirsting for nano-tech. She’s also thirsting for the blood of young nubile girls, which is why so many were kidnapped all over Japan recently. Basically, all the Keikos and Michikos are now Fertilizer-kos. Sister Jill is Butlered by a femme-styled assistant with one of the worse mustaches in film history. Probably because he’s played by a girl. Or maybe he’s supposed to be a cross-dresser or something. I’m sure the Anime explains all this. Sister Jill introduces all of the Claws, and thy have some weird obsession with gold weapons.
Cutie Honey is late for work again (being a Love Warrior is like Spiderman, you are always late for work!) Chief Aki followed her, as well as Cobalt Claw. Cobalt? Nat-chan is yelling at Cutie because that’s what Nat-chan does, besides looking hot, when Cutie’s boss arrives, having been turned into a giant spider-like monster version of herself. After some struggle, it’s shown it’s just Cobalt Claw wearing the boss’s skin. They all have a good laugh. Well, perhaps not. They get a good strangling, as Cobalt Claw has tentacles or something. Cutie Honey uses heat from her transforming necklace to fry Cobalt Claw into Cobalt Char, as Cobalt Claw mentioned killing her father. Cutie passes out (and switches back to underwear mode.) Nat-chan takes her home
This gives us a unique opportunity to see the home life of Chief Aki, who lives in a tiny apartment with dead plants, and many copies of the same dull clothing. Her whole place is 100% no nonsense business. Cutie gives the back story for the I System, which is what she uses to transform. She was killed in an auto accident, and her uncle returned her to life thanks to the nano-tech devices, but they’ve robbed her of her memories. Cutie then makes all the dead plants return to life, which enrages Nat-chan and causes her to kick out Cutie.
It’s now time for the sad montage of sad sadness, which is sad. So sad. Sad sad sad. We get a full music video, which is a sad song set to sad images, as Cutie Honey wanders around being sad. Also some lesbian undertones creep around like mice in a barn. Or more like Elephants in a barn, it’s pretty in your face. So the message now is “Be sad, also maybe lesbians.” Lesbians seems to be the antidote to sadness!
Nat-chan is reassigned because the Commissioners are too busy blaming people for all the problems instead of doing anything. Eventually Nat-chan, Hayami, and Cutie all get together, and have a drunken Karaoke night, waking up with hangovers the next day. All three get invitations to Jill Tower from Panther Claw, and are told to wear formal attire. Nat-chan looks pretty smoking in formal attire… What is Jill Tower? Why are they accepting invitations from evildoers without question? Glad you asked, as I can answer each one of these questions. They won’t be good answers, mind you. Jill Tower is a giant drill the Panther Claw uses as a hideout, hidden deep underground. Our Heroes are going to just stroll in to rescue Professor Utsugi. They don’t have a plan, or any idea where they are going, but that’s what they’re doing. They also have one less Claw to deal with, as Sister Jill kills Golden Claw for her failure in the beginning of the film. I guess the delay of execution is similar to if they were under the US legal system. Jill Tower then surfaces, by drilling upward. Right underneath Tokyo Tower. So Tokyo Tower goes flying up into the air and a gigantic drill building appears, dwarfing every other building in the city. People are like “Hey, look, a big drill building has appeared. Oh, well, back to work!” Do giant drill buildings appear every day in Japan? It’s like when Godzilla attacks, and everyone is like “Bah, just Godzilla. I’m not going to evacuate until we have five monsters minimum.
The Femme Butler explains to Cutie that Professor Utsugi has had his memories taken, but his love remains. Oh, vomit. Utsugi is at the top of the tower, so Cutie has to walk all the way to the top by the drill threads, fighting bad guys on the way. Basically this part is a video game. Cue the Super Mario Brothers music.
Scarlet Claw shows up first. She fires some gigantic beam that blasts through several office buildings. A guy looks up through a crater in his building, and we see it is Cutie’s office. Scarlet Claw shoots again, but her beam is deflected back, hitting her and badly hurting her. She runs to the remaining Big Claw, Black Claw, wanting help. He kills her, saying “You have been released from your ugliness.” Black Claw looks like Marvel Comics character Domino, except he’s a dude. You think with a cool opening scene like he had, he’s be awesome. Sadly, he follows up by showing up to fight Cutie by singing a karaoke song. A long song. This is crazy bonkers. It’s through the looking glass. While Black Claw is singing his heart out trying to get on Japanese Idol, Hayami drops some anti-nano machines inside to lower Sister Jill’s activity, which frees all the captive girls. How the llama-raping crap did Hayami get inside before Cutie?
Cutie is fighting Black Claw now, getting trounced. At one point she lands on the car of Go Nagai, the guy who came up with this thirty years ago. Go Nagai stares like the wide eye perv he probably is. Eventually, Black Claw gets Honey Boomeranged and the fight’s over. Professor Utsugi is released, but because Nat-chan let herself be captured in his place. Honey agrees to let herself be assimilated by Sister Jill to let Nat-chan free. Sister Jill trades captives like baseball cards, I guess. So Cutie Honey starts to be absorbed, but Nat-chan shoots Cutie’s collar, activating her I System, causing a Honey Flash. After some mumbo-jumbo about love that would make the Care Bears roll their eyes, the good guys win, and Sister Jill has been devolved into a seed or something, which her femme butler is obsessed with taking care of. The Drill Building follows standard “Boss is Destroyed” rules and self-destructs. The building debris fills the vast hole or something, as Tokyo Tower drops back down. No one in Japan notices. Our three heroes then decide to open a detective agency. The End.
Cutie Honey is a visual acid trip with a plot developed when a crack-addicted squirrel merged with a Valentine’s Day Card factory. Beneath the junk about love, the out of place Karaoke singing villain, the apathetic public, there is a fun movie. The interactions between super-saccharine Cutie and mega-pill Chief Aki are nicely done, though the Hayami character has less development than a five second old embryo. He seems to have been designed as a mix of Clark Kent and James Bond, but instead just seems like some guy who was wandering through the set one day, which would also explain how he gets into random scenes. The villains are classic Japanese weird, and the ending reminds me of Godzilla vs. Biollante, with all the love talk. After seeing a few shots from Google while searching for the anime, I don’t think I’ll be pursuing seeing it, as some of the pictures creeped me out. So this will be my limit for the Cutie Honey universe. As for Nat-chan, played by actress Mikako Ichikawa, she has several movies I can track down, so there won’t be a problem there.
Rated 7/10 (Spider-skank, a HAIRY situation!, More HAIR-brained shenanigans!, Copsx2, Mr. Honey, A SEED? All this crap and she turns into a SEED? WTF?)
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