New Cutey Honey Collection Vol. #1 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 15 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: New Cutey Honey Collection

New Cutey Honey Collection Vol. #1

By Chris Beveridge     November 21, 2000
Release Date: November 21, 2000


New Cutey Honey Collection Vol. #1
© ADV Films


What They Say
In a futuristic world where evil comes in all shapes and sizes, she is the ultimate warrior. Cutey Honey is a one woman S.W.A.T. team whose android chassis is capable of changing at will into a dazzling array of hard-hitting hardbodies each with its own unique set of skills, weapons, and other impressive physical attributes.

The Review!
Based off of the original TV series that ran in the early 70's, this semi-continuation of the original is definitely an updated version of the classic.

Audio:
Things definitely sound good here in both departments. The English and Japanese tracks are pretty solid with a fair amount of directionality used in various scenes throughout. Dialogue is very clear and understandable with no noticeable distortion.

Video:
This is a near flawless transfer. Considering its origin age of 1994 and knowing how materials from even a few years ago can degrade, this is show looks like its made in the past couple of years. Colors are very well represented, with a lot of vibrant sections on this combined with the overall dark and gray tone of the setting. We couldn't detect any bleeding or any rainbows throughout these four episodes. There's a bit of grain through some of the last two episodes, but it's pretty minimal and mostly visible in some of the darker scenes. The one real flaw, and it may just be my disc, is during the 85:30 section of the disc. When the spider guy says "Impossible!", there's massive artifacting for all of two seconds. I was able to reproduce it on four different places even after cleaning the disc. Otherwise this disc would have been a solid A for video.

Packaging:
This is a nicely stylized package overall, with the front cover containing the, um, subtle hint of fan service to be found within. The back gives a good summary of the events within and shows off a few choice pieces of animation. The extras are listed, though one of them is missing from the list. The insert is pretty nice with a different piece of art of Honey while the reverse side is the same but with the chapter marks.

Menus:
Bright and shiny! And chock full of catchy music! While the submenu screens are static, they're eye-catching with shots of Honey in various poses. The main menu has a full color picture of Honey and four running clips cast in blue behind her. The access times to submenus is pretty good with no noticeable lag. Selections are spot on and the language selections followed my players presets.

Extras:
Thankfully, this disc contains the extras that were available on the VHS a couple of years ago. And it's pretty full of stuff too. First up is the press conference, which introduces the director, the singer, original creator Go Nagai, voice actress for Honey and the voice actress for Chokkei. It's pure marketing fluff, but for me, it's great to see some of the people involved in the production and a few hints of their background. The live action cosplay event is also another piece of marketing fluff, but is rather fun to see how promotion of shows go with the press. The production portfolio is a running video that goes about 5 minutes long with various sketches. Since it was ported over from the VHS, I'm not surprised it wasn't put in as a regular gallery. Also here, and a pretty cute and fun extra, is the animated phone messages. Find which phone message you want on your answering machine!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Having not seen the original series at all, I was somewhat hesitant about this show. To date, I've not been much of a Go Nagai fan at all. Yes, yes. Sacrilege. Burn me at the stake. While I enjoyed Cutey Honey much more than his other works, it really doesn't rise up too much higher than thinly veiled fan service with something of a story.

Not to say that's a bad thing. Heaven knows plenty of us buy fan service shows and simply enjoy the ride. They're practically the equivalent of popcorn movies from Hollywood. And in this regard, Cutey Honey succeeds admirably.

It's another futuristic world where things have gone bad and the majority of the city has turned to crime. Even the usually good folks have taken up crime as a way to exist, whether they're any good at it or not. The city's mayor, Mayor Light, and his assistant Miss Honey are doing what they can to reassure people that justice will prevail and things will be normalized again someday. Just at this time, the typically evil biker gang makes its entrance and starts going after the mayor and his assistant.

Young Chokkei, aided by his grandfather Danbei, try to help out and fend off the evil bikers. Danbei is sufficiently equipped to say the least, and they manage to cover themselves. In addition to the bikers however, they also face a half dressed (from the waist down) villainess whose trying to kill anyone. It's her who ends up freeing Miss Honey from her blocked memories and returns to her the ability to change into Cutey Honey, a lovely warrior from the past who will set things right.

The show follows a familiar pattern along the following episodes. Discover the villain, watch them turn into a demon of some sort (their true form, according to the bad guys who inject them), fight them and move on. The difference of course is the characters and their interactions with each other. Young Chokkei has a love for Honey while his grandfather, Danbei, simply has lust. Chokkei's parents are in the picture as well, as a rather amusing couple. His mother even insists on getting naked in front of everyone at one point to compete with the lusty Honey.

Oh, lets face it. it's all about the half to completely naked transformation sequences. They're grrreat! Honey transforms into a wide variety of different forms and personalities, each to serve a particular moment of necessity. Cutey Honey is of course the main personality and gets the most screen time, but some of the other forms are quite a bit more appealing. The fight sequences are pretty well done and provide some fun moments watching Honey battle the various demonic forms.

There is an underlying story to the episodes that gets brought out in the fourth episode of the disc that will presumably be dealt with in more detail in the second collection. Some of the villains are pretty well done, such as Dolmeck, but most are the run of the mill types who you might see as being just a bit too risqué for the magical girl fare.

The animation is top notch and looks great. I was really impressed with the production values of this show and the quality of the presentation here on the disc. While the content didn't wow me over, this is a slick presentation.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Live Action Cosplay,Press Conference,Animated Phone Messages,Production Portfolio

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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