New Cutey Honey (1994-1995)
Directed by Yasuchika Nagaoka

Artistic Value: * *
Entertainment Value: * * ½

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Cutey Honey, a shape changing but always nubile android, returns after a long absence to rid her home, Cosplay City, of the countless criminals who are victimizing her fellow citizens.

Yasuchika Nagaoka's eight part made for video series New Cutey Honey, based ultimately on Go Nagai's manga, is an action filled, frequently naughty, but almost completely vacuous program.

While there are narrative threads that run through the first half of the series, each episode of New Cutey Honey relates what is, essentially, an independent story. Almost all of these revolve around some sexy female villain who, at the end of the episode, is able to transform into a nasty monster with dramatically large breasts who then fights with Cutey Honey. Even though these struggles are enjoyable, and do make up a large part of the program, none of the tales in which they are set are particularly inspired. In fact, most are completely forgettable. Nevertheless, thanks to such action sequences, and to the naughty, leering sexuality with which the program is absolutely filled, it can actually be fun to watch.

Over and over again, the director allows the viewer to gawk at some scantily clad or completely nude female character, whose physical charms are lovingly presented. Whenever Cutey Honey herself, for example, changes her appearance, her clothes literally explode off her body, revealing her slender figure and ample breasts, which the viewer is given an opportunity to ogle before her new garments spontaneously form around her. Even when she is clothed, her breasts play such an important part in the series that they really are two of its most important characters. What is more, her opponents are just as sexy as she is and their bodies are given just as much attention as is hers. The program is never pornographic, but it is always very sexy.

Sadly, other than the female characters' voluptuous figures, there is not much that is appealing about any person who appears in the series. Cutey Honey herself is virtually a complete non-entity. Her friends are forgettable stereotypes, and the villains she fights are even more so. Whenever a character does make an impression on the viewer, it is usually for the worse. For instance, one of the protagonist's allies, a weird, half mechanical old midget, is such a perverted peeping Tom that he can be quite annoying to watch.

Unfortunately, the series' lackluster narrative details are not buoyed up by its visual style. In fact, the animation employed throughout New Cutey Honey is consistently pedestrian and frequently unattractive. The backgrounds used range from dreadfully uninteresting to simply dreadful. Many of the characters are given an appearance similar to that of characters occurring in children's cartoons, and others are just uninspired. The series' female characters, all of whom are outrageously busty and athletic, are carefully drawn, but the designs used for their faces are generally not particularly attractive.

While the numerous action sequences and shamelessly voyeuristic sexuality with which the director has infused the series do often make New Cutey Honey genuinely fun and appealing, its forgettable stories, uninvolving characters, and unimpressive animation prevent it from being nearly as entertaining as it could have been.

Review by Keith Allen

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