Re: Cutie Honey Vol. #3 (of 3) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, May 23, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, December 21, 2004
What They Say
The final member of Panther Claw's "big four," Black Claw, is destroyed by Honey's anger. However, Honey's confused feelings lead to Sister Jill taking her in. The world is in danger of being fused together through the Jill Trees, and only Natsuko's voice can reach Honey's soul. It is time for Honey to rise to her destiny as the warrior of love!
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.
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 anamorphic widescreen transfer looks very good and suits the show well. At times the linework suffers from aliasing on lesser players, but the occurrences are infrequent.
The opening sequence is played at the end of this episode with scrolling staff credits, and the orgy of action shots results in some blurring and artifacting compared to the previous two volumes, which had static credits.
The front cover saves the best for last, with two eye-catching shots of Honey in different states of transforming, showing off acres of flesh. The same illustration is also used on the disc, booklet, and reverse side of the cover. The back side has the requisite screenshots and episode summary.
The first edition bonus this time was a cute mini keychain figure of Honey in one of her regular outfits.
With the darker tones of this final episode it's nice to see the main menu changed up with imagery of Honey fighting and a dramatic string version of the Cutie Honey theme playing in the background. The animated transitions from the two previous discs remain, and load as fast as ever. The menus manage to have style and simplicity and get you to what you want quickly, a great combination. For those who only want to skip a little bit at a time, there's 49 chapter stops on this 46-minute episode.
The final part of the roundtable discussion is present, featuring Yui Horie (voice of Honey), Hideo Ishikawa (voice of Seiji), Kazuki Nakajima (screenwriter), and Hideaki Anno (director). Following the interview with Anno on the last volume, there are two to be found here with Nakajima and Ishikawa. It's too bad the clean opening and closing sequences took flight after the first volume, they would have helped round out the extras. Still, it's great to hear from people involved in the creative process, especially Anno.
Content: (may contain spoilers)
The opening sequence is skipped for this final chapter, and we see the fate of the thousands of naked captured women that disappeared at the end of the previous episode. Sister Jill has come out of hibernation, and a 'Jill Tree' has sprung up in the middle of Tokyo, enveloping the Tokyo Tower. Meanwhile, Inspector Natsuko is told by one of her superiors to stay away from the situation. We also get a glimpse of Sister Jill's past told through flashback, where she remembers being created like Honey, except things went wrong at the lab and the project was aborted.
While all this is happening Honey and Black Claw go at it, and Honey is definitely overpowered from the start. When things are looking hopeless, Natsuko shows up and blasts Black Claw with a grenade launcher. Of course this isn't enough to put Black Claw down, and Honey is promptly attacked again. As the two cross blades, Black Claw reveals to her that she was the one that killed Honey's father. Honey's Ai System gives her a burst of strength, and she dispatches Black Claw with maximum prejudice. Exhausted after the battle, Sister Jill comes after Honey, but she's saved by an unlikely ally " the cleaning lady from the office!
We learn more about Seiji and the people he works for as well, and it seems that Honey and Sister Jill are very similar, but Sister Jill was created to be a weapon while Honey was meant to live as a human like Professor Kisaragi's deceased daughter, whose cells are a part of Honey. As she recovers from the battle, the friendship deepens between Honey and Natsuko, and they promise to come back together after battling Sister Jill.
After getting inside the Jill Tree, the duo is in for some surprises, the least of which is Sister Jill's manservant, who bears a remarkable resemblance to Professor Kisaragi. Honey drops to her knees, upset and confused by what he says, and Natsuko faces a quick death at his hands. Seeing her dear Nat-chan in trouble, Honey snaps out of her stupor and throws her choker at Natsuko, blasting her out of the tree to safety. This leaves Honey in a catatonic state, and Sister Jill enters her mind in an attempt to merge with her and become complete. Sister Jill tells Honey that she was lonely, and that she wants everyone in the world to merge with her. To this end, Jill Trees spring up in locations all over the world.
The old anime standby of a last-resort nuclear attack is brought into play, and time is running out as Honey has apparently failed to eliminate Sister Jill. The Americans place Seiji under arrest as a result, but a mysterious secret agent places a call to the President of the United States and gets him freed. Natsuko loads up on weapons and heads back to the tree, where she sees the cleaning lady hanging up the phone. Joining the reunion is Seiji, who picks Natsuko up in a VTOL jet and takes off for the tree to rescue Honey. Sister Jill notices their attempts and the tree turns into a bat-like creature that sends out tentacles aplenty to try and destroy the jet. After some great action sequences, Natsuko gets to where Honey is and tries to awaken her. Seiji passes them by while parachuting down, and gives Natsuko a special liquid to bring Honey back. Since Honey is nonresponsive and is unable to drink it, Natsuko has to do mouth-to-mouth, which does the trick both for Honey and the viewers.
Not surprisingly, Honey is able to save the day by using her amazing Ai System, set against some great animated pyrotechnics. The ending is satisfying since her and Natsuko are truly able to do what they do best as friends and partners. Even though Honey's nanomachines grant her powers, it's the human part that helps her to accomplish the incredible.
Re: Cutie Honey was fun from beginning to finish, and it's somewhat of a shame that only three episodes were made. The show accomplishes what it sets out to do and makes no apologies about it. Anno's kinetic direction imbues the show with energy and really makes it seem like a complement to his live-action version. The snazzy visuals, peppy music, and fanservice galore make this a light fluffy treat that won't leave an aftertaste.
Japanese 2.0 Language,Roundtable discussion (part three),Q&A with Kazuki Nakajima,Q&A with Hideo Ishikawa,First edition bonus - mini keychain figure
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: B+
Audio Rating: A-
Video Rating: B+
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