Re: Cutie Honey Vol. #1 -

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Mania Grade: B+

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  • 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)
  • MSRP: �5800
  • Running time: 45
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Re: Cutie Honey

Re: Cutie Honey Vol. #1

    February 24, 2005
Release Date: September 21, 2004

Re: Cutie Honey Vol. #1
© Toei Animation (Japan)

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. One of Panther Claw's "big four," Gold Claw, appeared in a television station, went crazy, and took it over. Suddenly, a beautiful girl appeared, calling herself Cutie Honey, warrior of love.

The Review!
The only audio track available is a Dolby Digital 2.0 Japanese track encoded at 384 kbps, and it's quite nice. The music and sound effects come through nice and clear, as does the dialogue. There are parts where the mix gets a bit muddled with a lot going on, but those are far and few between. Channel separation is excellent and there's some nice surround effects thrown in. The latest version of the opening song is performed by pop idol Kumi Koda, who also did the ending theme.

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 front and center of Honey in battle mode along with a smaller shot of Honey in her office worker outfit munching on some onigiri. The background is trippy and suits the show's retro styling well. The back cover features a collage of shots from the show, some of which play up the fanservice aspect. The DVD itself is picture-labeled with the illustration from the front cover.

If one was lucky enough to get a first edition copy, a great box sized to hold 4 discs was included. This is enough space for all three OVA discs and the live-action movie. The box is very well-constructed and has a nice piece of wraparound artwork by character designer Sadafumi Hiramatsu covering the whole thing. Another nice bonus was a set of three postcards with Honey in various outfits.

The menus are very well done and laid out cleanly. The main menu is animated and has Honey in all her various guises rotating towards the front every few seconds while music from the show plays softly in the background with a different piece for each submenu. Access times are quick and the menu designs capture the show perfectly. There are a whopping 41 chapter stops for this 45 minute episode, which requires three text-only pages to get them all in.

There's a good selection of extras on the disc, with clean opening and ending sequences, a live event with Go Nagai, a peppy-looking Hideaki Anno, and some producers discussing the new project at the Tokyo Anime Fair, a segment where the seiyuu talk about the show, and a roundtable discussion of the show with Yui Horie (voice of Honey), Hideo Ishikawa (voice of Seiji), Kazuki Nakajima (screenwriter), and Hideaki Anno (director). There's also a cute feature that lets you directly jump to any of the fanservice-laden scenes.

Content: (may contain spoilers)
Another one of Gainax's 20th Anniversary projects for 2004, Re: Cutie Honey had renowned Evangelion director Hideaki Anno at the helm. Though some fans in Japan wondered whether Anno's style would mesh with Go Nagai's work, the resulting product was quite good. Complementing this three part OVA, Anno also directed the live-action Cutie Honey movie, starring busty idol Eriko Sato.

In this latest iteration of the long-running Cutie Honey franchise, Honey Kisaragi is an android imbued with the Ai (Love) System, which grants her incredible powers, including the ability to transform with a touch of her choker. By day, Honey works a boring job in an office, never failing to show up late for work. Her side job is where all the excitement is, fighting crime as Cutie Honey. She does it out of revenge against the group Panther Claw, who killed her father while going after the Ai System. Sister Jill, the leader of the group, seems to take an interest in Honey...

Before the opening sequence even rolls we're thrown right into the action, with Sister Jill's minions wrecking Tokyo and Honey taking them out one by one. The show has a lot of style, with blocks of bright colors splashed all over the screen and simplified backgrounds. Anno's fingerprints are all over both the OVA and the movie, with interesting shot framing, fast action, and quick cuts. The characters are the main focus though, and at times it almost seems like they're performing on a stage against the simple backdrops.

The main thread of this episode involves Honey's clashes with Gold Claw, who gets the better of Honey and has the chance to finish her off in their last battle. We're also privy to scenes of Honey in her normal life, where she seems rather lonely. Along the way Honey meets a tough cookie in Police Inspector Natsuko, who is very businesslike and isn't convinced of Honey's do-good nature. We also meet mysterious newspaper reporter Seiji Hayami, who knows about Honey's past and more than he lets on.

It wouldn't be Cutie Honey without copious amounts of fanservice, and this installment delivers. When Honey runs low on energy her outfit begins to disintegrate, and of course there's plenty of clothes-shredding action during the course of battle. This is in addition to the sexy outfits and panty shots, which are thrown out even in the opening and ending sequences.

Re: Cutie Honey manages to blend character drama and comedy in with the action, making for a fun and exciting mix. The very wrong scene at the Comic Market with the naughty cosplayers is a hoot, and the scene with Gold Claw's breast missiles going up against Honey's is great. With only two episodes to go, hopefully things aren't rushed towards the end, but from the looks of this first volume there's fast pacing from the get-go. It may be fluff, but it's enjoyable stylish fluff.

Japanese 2.0 Language,Clean opening and closing animation,Event footage,Roundtable discussion,Limited edition box and postcards

Review Equipment
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.


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