Re: Cutie Honey Vol. #2 (of 3) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, March 16, 2005
Release Date: Thursday, October 21, 2004
What They Say
It is the near future. The destructive acts of a mysterious armed group, Panther Claw, were occurring around Tokyo and frightening the citizens. Though the police and riot squad, led by Inspector Natsuko, were dispatched, they were unable to apprehend the criminals.
In order to please the mysterious Sister Jill, one of Panther Claw's "big four," Cobalt Claw, puts her brutal powers to work on Honey's body. Honey also falls into the trap of Scarlet Claw, who enters her heart. Watching Honey from the background and ready to strike is the fearsome Black Claw, who is willing to do anything to make Sister Jill happy.
The only audio track available is a Dolby Digital 2.0 Japanese track encoded at 384 kbps, and it's quite nice. Channel separation is excellent and there are some nice surround effects thrown in. The mix is nice and dynamic, with clear dialogue and ambient sounds in addition to the music. The slight muddiness problems from the first disc have been cleaned up, and it's a good auditory experience.
Released in 2004, the show benefits from the latest in digital animation technology and everything really jumps off the screen. Compared to the older cel-based Cutie Honey shows, Re: Cutie Honey really shines and brings Honey's world to life. The video bitrate is high as you'd expect with only one episode to be found, and the anamorphic widescreen transfer is fantastic. At times the linework suffers from aliasing on lesser players, but the occurrences are infrequent.
The front cover art has a nice shot of Honey in street clothes with a smaller shot in the background of her in a biker outfit as seen in the previous episode. The back cover has a nice mix of action and fanservice shots, many of which are used on the disc's main menu. The DVD itself is picture-labeled with the illustration from the front cover.
The first edition bonus this time was a Panther Claw minion mask. It's quite comfortable and the ears are a nice touch!
The menus are very well done and laid out cleanly. The main menu is animated and has various scenes from the episode in a rotation while music from the show plays softly in the background with a different piece for each submenu. There are stylish animated transitions between the main menu and submenus, done in the 'zoom across still frame' style used in the opening. Access times are quick and the menu designs capture the show perfectly. Once again, the DVD production people have gone crazy and put 39 chapter stops on a 46 minute episode.
After the great selection of extras on the first volume, this one slims down a bit but still has fresh content. Though the clean opening and ending sequences have headed to parts unknown, there's part two of the roundtable discussion featuring Yui Horie (voice of Honey), Hideo Ishikawa (voice of Seiji), Kazuki Nakajima (screenwriter), and Hideaki Anno (director). In addition there is a separate interview with Anno, complete with multiple camera angles and closeups showcasing Anno's scruffy beard and huge ears. Rounding out the extras are trailers for Gainax's 20th Anniversary projects.
Content: (may contain spoilers)
The first episode was a blast, with action, fanservice, and comedy mixed together with a dash of style on top for a fun time. This second episode brings more to the table, with two bosses coming to the fore and the stakes raised even higher by the dastardly plans of Panther Claw. Will Honey be able to survive it all with clothes intact?
The show wastes no time throwing us right into the action again, with Honey and Cobalt Claw going at it in a gentlemen's club and trashing it in no time flat. Their fight spills out into the streets, where Cobalt has her way with Honey. Despite Inspector Natsuki (called "Na-chan" by Honey) crashing a car into Cobalt and emptying an entire clip at her, Cobalt escapes without a scratch. It becomes clear that the superhuman abilities of the Panther Claw goons means that only Honey has the power to stop them. Meanwhile, Scarlet Claw directs the destruction of the city in a deliberate effort, with the damage spelling out "Idiot Honey" when viewed from above.
The end result of all the fighting and senseless destruction is that the general populace is turned against Honey with a "if she wasn't around, none of this would be happening" mindset. At work the next day, Honey's co-workers lump her in with Panther Claw and label them both nuisances. Even the police commissioners avoid the issue of having to deal with Panther Claw by taking the same stance. Natsuko is assigned the task of dealing with Honey and Panther Claw because the commissioners don't want to get their hands dirty.
A budding friendship develops between Honey and Natsuko, and Honey is glad when Natsuko tries to help her against Cobalt Claw. Honey even plans to have Natsuko over for dinner, but is crushed when Natsuko distances herself from her after the talk with the commissioners. All of this weighs heavily on Honey, and when Panther Claw starts capturing women in an effort to find Honey or lure her out, Honey sits alone in the shower unaware of what's happening. I've enjoyed Yui Horie's work as Honey thus far, and her cute and perky voicing of Honey fits in well with the show. However, in the more serious parts of this episode, Horie seems to lack the gravitas necessary to pull off Honey's loneliness and inner turmoil.
Needless to say, Honey comes out and fights both Cobalt and Scarlet Claw. Bringing forth the rivalry and tension hinted at throughout the episode, Scarlet surprises Cobalt and vaporizes her into nanomachine ash, which is then used in an attempt to take over Honey's body. This messes with Honey's Ai System, and before you know it she's barely hanging on by a thread. Seiji reveals a bit more about himself as he whips out a gun that can kill Honey, leading Natsuko to stop him and open up with her feelings, letting Honey know that she does indeed care about her. Sadly, Honey falls lifeless to the ground, but is saved by some naked cuddling with her Na-chan.
After this scary incident, Honey becomes even more powerful and defeats Scarlet quite handily. All isn't well at the end of the day though, as the captured women disappear and we see Black Claw gazing at an evil-looking tower on the horizon. It's a bit of a cliffhanger unlike the first episode, and hopefully the conclusion won't disappoint. Though this episode had more serious moments than the previous one, it was definitely enjoyable and was a real treat to watch.
Japanese 2.0 Language,Roundtable discussion,Director interview,Gainax trailers,Limited edition Panther Claw mask
Sony KLV-23M1 23" LCD HDTV, Toshiba SD-4900 progressive region-free player via Acoustic Research component cables, Sony STR-DE897/S receiver, Sony SA-VE367T 7.1 channel speaker system.
Mania Grade: A-
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: A-
Extras Rating: A-
Age Rating: All
Region: 2 - Japan
Released By: Toei Animation (Japan)
Running time: 46
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Re: Cutie Honey