Cutie Honey (2004), directed by Anno Hideaki (Neon Genesis Evangelion), is a story about an android who sets out on an adventure with her friends to defeat the evil Panther Claws.
Based on the action anime of the same name, the movie immediately starts mid action during a large Panther Claw attack on the city freeway. The cops have arrived and the Panthers have gathered their henchmen with the professor in their hands. Set on a stage rivaling other super hero movies, the movie starts with a bang at the arrival of our Cutie Honey. From there it quickly becomes apparent that the movie has much more put into it than just the simple story alone. It’s fast, action packed, and yells at you to keep up. It’s what you would expect an anime in real life to be even if you haven’t watched the series.
Action aside, it’s the little things that make the movie great. For starters, you have stubborn female cop Natty, suave detective dancer Seiji, the trusty uncle, the evil butler, and a league of evil villains that fit the exaggerated personalities only a few people dare to be. Everyone is young, slightly dumb and just plain fun to be with. Cutie and her friends act more like teenagers if anything else. You wouldn’t expect a cop having caught the most wanted hero in the city to party the very same night, and its more light-hearted for having included scenes like that.
The main focus is of course Cutie herself. Cutie is the symbolic representation of all things good. A happy go-lucky office assistant by day; a super hero during after hours. She has the heart of what woman think they should be, the hots that every guy wants to be with, and the attitude that every villain wishes they have never seen. Cutie is nice, strong, and also open minded. Her female appeal is unable to be controlled by anybody, especially the Panther Claws who want her robot suit. She is simply the best around and nothing can keep her down.
Cutie Honey is another one of those movies that doesn’t take itself seriously. It is a quick mindless pop culture mash of action that equal a magazine aisle at the supermarket. The set design is bright, drawing back to the wavy colors of the 1960s like Austin Powers or Scooby Doo to the humor of baked cheese like the Power Rangers. The music is mindless and fun. The cheap CGI work well for its campiness. Its funky, upbeat 2000’s Dance Dance Revolution arcade sound reflect an iconic time in Japanese culture that you have had to be there to experience. If not, then this movie replicates it just fine. Unlike other movie adaptations, Cutie Honey remains true to its original material as live action adaptions come.
Cutie Honey says that friendship is felt in all shapes and forms, that you have to accept everyone wholeheartedly no matter their strengths and defects… because at the end of the work day, love is all we have.