Cutie Honey a Go Go!

By Shimpei Itoh, Go Nagai and Hideaki Anno. Released in Japan by Kadokawa Shoten, serialized in the magazine Tokusatsu A. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Zack Davisson, Adrienne Beck and Wesley Bridges.

Another day, another reimagining of a classic property that I enjoyed a lot more than I thought I would. Indeed, I enjoyed it a lot more than the Japanese audience apparently did, as not only was this cancelled after ten chapters, but the second volume was never published until this omnibus edition. The afterword is filled with the author’s apologies, but I’m not sure they’re merited, because I thought this was a pretty terrific adaptation. The cynic in me wonders if the series didn’t take off because it’s not filled with high school girls – Natsuko, aka the reason everyone should read this, is an adult police detective in this version, and I can’t help but think that this was Cutie Honey’s StrikerS. But I’m not going to complain too much, as what we do have is silly, over the top fun with lots of fighting, a lot of over the top bloodshed, and some yuri subtext. Everything you’d want from Cutie Honey, in other words.

As noted, Natsuko is a police detective with a penchant for being “a cop on the edge” – she exists in a constant haze of cigarettes and violence, beating the crap out of anyone who pisses her off, which is everyone. She’s having a particular bad day due to Panther Claw, an evil organization which has started destroying the city and its inhabitants due to the city not answering its demands – which no one actually seemed to receive. Fortunately, there is one woman here to save the day and defeat the bad guys (OK, bad girls – Panther Claw is an all-female monster team). Honey Kisaragi is an android built by her “father”, Dr. Kisaragi. She’s a combination of sentai warrior, magical girl and cute young airhead. Unfortunately, her father doesn’t last long in this series, and it’s noted that Panther Claw keeps coming after her. There’s only one thing left to do – go undercover at a Catholic Girls’ school.

If this sounds a bit ridiculous, it’s because it is -despite all the bloodshed, the ‘a Go Go” version of Cutie Honey is very much in the lighthearted vein. It was produced in tandem with the anime “Re: Cutie Honey”, which explains why Anno is listed as one of the creators. Natsuko’s angry reactions have those classic “all teeth” faces you see in a lot of Rumiko Takahashi works. That may be why the manga didn’t do as well – the ending, where the author was clearly told “you’re cancelled, wrap it up”, is noticeably darker than the rest of the series, with people getting their heads cut off and put on display or simply sliced completely in half. The main cast survives to fight another day, though, and readers might want to look towards the anime for a less ambiguous ending. There are other things going on here (a “reporter” who’s meant to be charming and irritating but is mostly the latter), but honestly the best reason to read this is Natsuko vs. everything around her.

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Comments

  1. Yes, very much the StrikerS of Cutie Honey. I quite like Itou Shinpei’s art here, as well. It’s come a long way without being substantially different from Hyper Dolls.

    By far and away my favorite version of this series.


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