Anime Quick Information
|Average Rating: 9.00|
darkstorm scored this with 6/10. Disagree?
Cutie Honey stars, well, Cutie Honey who lives a double life as an office worker and the super heroine with extraordinary powers given to her by her father one year ago after a car accident. When her uncle is kidnapped by the infamous Panther Claw group, Cutie Honey steps into the scene and makes it her mission to save him. Along with the police officer Natsuko Aki and eccentric journalist Seiji Hayami in tow, expect one big and wacky adventure!
Like the Utena film, I know next to nothing about the series the film is based upon; any call backs to the source material or whether it’s close to the original story will, of course, be lost on me. So my views are purely based upon what I see on screen as soon as the DVD goes into my player. And speaking as someone who likes Magical Girl and guiltily enjoyed the Sailor Moon live action series; I thought Cutie Honey was a fun 90 minute ride of crazy shenanigans and lively characters.
The film’s strength lies in the vivid visuals and the utter craziness of the lengths they go through to make the live action film as animated as possible. If you watch the original Japanese trailers in the extras it doesn’t sell itself as an anime or live action version of one, it instead calls itself a ‘Digital Comic’ experience, and in that respect it does so very well. The film adopts 3 different styles throughout; the live action footage takes up the bulk of the movie but small anime segments are used for the theme song and explaining parts of the back-story then the bigger explosive attacks implement a stop-motion effect with comic-style stills (similar to what you’ll find in Scott Pilgrim Vs the World – although not as fluid). The costumes are all very colourful and beyond comprehension in terms of wear-ability – if the actors had difficulty walking whilst wearing them they certainly didn’t show it. The battles, stunts and attacks are all overblown and ridiculous; a simple kick sends a henchman flying into space ala Team Rocket style, as a result the battles are hilarious to watch. The special effects vary from looking good (Honey’s transformation sequence) to cheap (the various attacks from the Claw members) but nevertheless give the impression of being in another world entirely. Even in the scenes when no Magical Girl antics are happening you get the random scene where it’s still utterly bonkers, for example one take where Honey and Seiji are talking about the enemy whilst randomly riding segways – why? I dunno! Plus, if I didn’t know any better I would’ve said this film was a Magical Girl parody with its 4th wall jokes and numerous one-liners taking the micky out of itself.
Visually it’s all fun and games, so of course the story and pacing takes a huge back seat. Speaking as someone who doesn’t know much about the original, I don’t feel I learnt much more after watching the film. There’s something about an AI system, Honey having eternal life and the villain has kidnapped numerous women, or something or another...if anything was explained in deeper detail it was lost in the quirky costume fights and camera angles showing off Cutie Honey’s physique. Maybe it’s a result of condensing too much of a plot from a 25 episode anime into a 90 minute movie or maybe they were mainly aiming for entertainment value to really care. The movie also makes little to no effort in character development; Cutie Honey goes from being a happy-go-lucky heroine to a very abrupt change 30 minutes in where she’s full of angst and wanting revenge for her father’s death – which is only explained briefly seconds before – just in time to kill a baddie then revert back to her chirpy self. The film also has some very random scenes within itself that I can only describe as padding; easily 20 minutes could’ve been taking out to tighten the structure and gotten us quicker to the fun battle sequences. You have a random drunk karaoke scene complete with boxing gloves, Cutie’s time in her daytime office job leads to nowhere and a scene where she talks to her cat in only her underwear – for the fan service? Cobbled with the cheap “loves conquers all” ending that unfortunately comes with this genre, the fun factor will be purely for shallow reasons.
When the DVD cover’s only nice thing to say about the leading female actress is that she looks good in a bikini, you know not to expect Oscar winning performances. Eriko Sato’s acting is a subtle as a neon sign; when Honey is upset she pouts and wails, when she’s happy she skips across the office and sings. However I will say that Sato looks like she’s having fun with the role; when she’s fighting bad guys and performing ridiculous stunts she is quite involved in the action. Plus with her nice abs she looks great in the Cutie Honey outfit and the numerous fan service scenes do take advantage of her hot figure (running to the supermarket in a bin bag never looked so good). Other costume capers also look great in the colourful outfits; the various Claw members try to look menacing in their ridiculous cosplay but their over-the-top performances sell their crazy world well. The not so vibrant looking cast such as the police woman and journalist add their own spark to the creation. Mikako Ichikawa plays the stick-in-the-mud Natsuko, she has her cliché troupes of not really needing glasses but wears them anyway and being a tough girl on the outside but shy on the inside; she connects very well with her polar opposite Honey and the actresses work well together.
The soundtrack is a surprisingly enjoyable listen; instead of the overly cutesy J-pop that comes common with this genre instead the score contains jazz, R&B and even classical elements. The several songs thrown in as well are appropriately bouncy and catchy with all vocals (including remake of the famous theme song) provided by one of Japan’s biggest voices; Koda Kumi, who also has a small cameo in the film. Annoyingly the subtitles only provide the lyrics/translations of only 2 of the songs; the title track isn’t subtitled so its cheeky lyrics go completely over the non-Japanese speaker’s head.
DVD extras include a stills gallery, original Japanese trailers and a Making of. There is no dub.
Yes the writing is bad, yes the acting is poor, yes the camera work looks amateurish, yes the concept is ludicrous and yes it’ll send anyone who’s not an anime fan running away screaming. But it’s also a good laugh, cute and the only version of the story that's commerically avaliable in the UK right now. It’s not one you’re going to watch over and over again but it’s worth whipping it out now and then to show to a fellow anime fan for a laugh or just to show the amusing age certificate text on the back saying; contains mildly sexualised posing.
Screenshots (click to pop out)
|Score:||6 out of 10|
|Date Published:||Wed, 11 Jan 2012|
|Your rating of "Cutie Honey"?:|
|out of 10|
Type the characters you see in the picture above.