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ADV Films presents
"Oh, by the way Sir? Can't you find somewhere else to put your hand?"
DVD ReviewCutey Honey began as a manga in the early 1970s from Go Nagai, the creator of Devilman and Mazinger Z (which inspired the huge number of mecha shows to come out of the '70s). She eventually got her own weekly TV series in late 1973, which ran for 25 episodes. Go Nagai continued the manga in 1990 with Cutey Honey 90, and a series of 8 OVAs were produced in 1994 and 1995, making up New Cutey Honey (Shin Cutey Honey), which are a continuation of sorts of the original TV series. The first four OVAs are on this DVD, with the second set, which take place some time after these four, being readied for release as of this writing.
Crime is rampant in Cosplay City, and nearly everyone is breaking the law somehow. We meet Chokkei Hayami (Rika Matsumoto), after witnessing his parent's failed attempt to rob a bank, on his way to a lecture by Mayor Light (Sho Hayami), one of the few that oppose the level of corruption beseiging the city. The lecture is interrupted by a gang of motorcyclists who dispatch the crowd with machine guns, until Chokkei's grandfather, Danbei (Kosei Tomita), appears and begins dishing out his own brand of violence, using his many mechanical appendages. Things are turning in grandpa's favor until Dolmeck (Yusaka Yari), the self-proclaimed Lord of Darkness and the city's crime master, appears. After Mayor Light rejects the crime lord's offer of an alliance, Dolmeck vows to rule the city with his minions of dark forces, and with the aid of his sister, the Black Maiden (Taeko Yamada).
Refusing to be intimidated by the Lord of Darkness, Mayor Light makes his way to another meeting, much to the dismay of his lovely assistant, Miss Honey Kisaragi (Michiko Neya). Meanwhile, back at grandpa's laboratory, Chokkei enquires about the statue of a group of women present in the building, noting that it looks like Miss Kisaragi. Having a sudden revelation, grandpa realises that the Mayor's assistant is actually his long lost battle android, Cutey Honey, and he and Chokkei head out in haste to locate the Mayor and his assistant, arriving just in time for another attack on the mayor. As they wind up in great jeopardy, grandpa urges Honey to summon her true self, though she is completely unaware that she is anything but an assistant. However, with the uttering of her trademark "Honey Flash!" she transforms into her powerful bodysuit, not without becoming completely naked in the process, much to the surprise of Chokkei and the lecherous pleasure of grandpa. Lovely Warrior Cutey Honey is the ultimate fighting machine, able to transform into dozens of costumes, each with its own special and powerful tools.
Each episode in the OVA pits Honey against increasingly difficult opponents, all of whom use a special drug that allows them to transform into fierce fighting monsters, and all of whom are out to destroy Cutey Honey—for good. There is lots of action, tons of fan service, and always the lecherous males trying to get a peek at Honey while she's naked. The animation quality is pretty good, the storylines somewhat predictable, but I don't think the appeal of this show is the depth of characters (except, perhaps, their cleavage). That is not to say there isn't a story behind things either, as the OVAs contain some nice tie-ins to the '70s TV series. The original Cutey Honey laid the foundations for the magical girl show and set the example for the fan service, and these OVAs take that one step further with ample violence and nudity. This certainly isn't Sailor Moon, it's the New Cutey Honey!
Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A-
Image Transfer Review: The full frame image is very good, with only the slightest interlace artifacts present. Colors are rich, detail is well preserved, and the animation looks wonderful. Black levels are solid, and compression artifacts are nowhere to be found, though there is an anomalie at the 01h:25m:30s where it looks like there were some encoding errors for a couple of seconds. For a show of this age, it looks fabulous.
Image Transfer Grade: A
Audio Transfer Review: Both the Japanese and English tracks are presented in stereo, and both sound great and offer decent directionality. There isn't anything to complain about here, though as usual, I'll recommend watching the series in Japanese with subtitles.
Audio Transfer Grade: A
Disc ExtrasStatic menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring Gasaraki, Generator Gawl, Farscape, ADV promo
A cosplay (costume play) section introduces the cast as live characters at the same press conference, including a short demonstration of Honey's fighting abilities, and singer Hitomi performs the title song for the press audience, after we see an exerpt from her band's video for Bus Stop. Unfortunately, the original Japanese version is not included during the features themselves.
For those of you planning to be away from home, the disc also provides a number of answering machine messages (in Japanese) from members of the cast. Here's one way to thwart those evil telemarketers!
The production section features a five minute slideshow covering raw character designs, before and after with outline and colored cells, plus backgrounds, before and after character placement. In a lot of ways I prefer this to static images which require constant user interaction to go through. You can also pause and play backwards with this method if desired.
The disc also contains front-end trailers for Gasaraki, Generator Gawl, the live action Farscape, and the standard ADV mix trailer. They did manage to incorrectly place the "Feature Presentation" chapter before these trailers, rather than before the real feature. The trailers can be chapter skipped through or avoided entirely by pressing your menu button. I would still prefer these as menu accessable, even if the menus were not as elaborate as most ADV trailer menus are.
One other thing to mention is that there are actually five chapters per episode, not four as listed on the insert card. Bonus!
Extras Grade: B+
Final CommentsThe ultimate Lovely Warrior, Cutey Honey gets deluxe treatment on this 4 OVA set from ADV. The feature episodes are well presented, and the extras are a mark above standard character profiles and episode notes. While this isn't something for those looking for extremely deep plots or afraid of cartoon nudity and somewhat excessive violence, the series is very entertaining, and a bargain, with only two DVDs for all 8 OVAs. Heed the 17+ rating, this isn't for children. Honey Flash!
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