Reviews of Cutie Honey (2004) and related work

Cutie Honey (2004Moving picture, 94 minutes)

Anno Hideaki (director).

An android superhero fights the minions of a bored immortal in modern Tokyo.

Theatrical live-action feature. Live-action adaptation of and tribute to a classic manga-based franchise. Sentai-like action. Mind-blowingly campy. Brief moments of fun, and many improvements over the original 1973 series, including the absence of Junpei. Those who like it better than I do probably already like CH or vapid J-pop culture.

moving picture Gainax Japanese production fiction

Re: Cutie Honey (2004Moving picture, 135 minutes)

Anno Hideaki (director).

The near future. The android superhero fights her megalomaniacal “sister”, who is a recent creation.

OVA series. Tour de force of style reminiscent of FLCL (2000). Somewhat darker and more serious than the movie (social commentary!) and in many ways a lesbian love story, but still full of campy nostalgia. Really heavy fan service and cultural riffs, alluding to Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003), among other things. Anno directed the series with a different co-director for each episode, a lot like the way Tsurumaki made FLCL. Screenplay by Nakajima Kazumi.

It is hard to believe that an expensive live-action feature was made so closely together with this totally superior variation in a far more suitable medium. Even the character designs of this are sometimes more realistic than those of the movie: the “butler” looks ridiculous in the movie, but realistic here.

The OVA has more depth, more style, the aircraft carrier George W. Bush, and loveable SD cops. The latter is pure genius, a significant improvement over the episode 138 ninja of Urusei Yatsura (1981), for instance. The finale once again approaches that awe-inspiring pinnacle of geekdom reached at “Daicon IV” (1983), marrying Godzilla, a cataclysm and a Shinji-esque philosophical juxtaposition to Japanese-style supers.

References here: Despicable Me (2010).

moving picture remake Gainax animation Japanese production fiction series