March 09, 2008

CUTIE HONEY - THE LIVE (2007) new TV action series

(2007, Japan)

Tokyo TV - 25 x 25 minute episodes

his is a new live-action TV series, based on the classic anime and manga, but following up the recent success of the live-action movie, which was even released on DVD in the US. Although the new series isn’t as futuristic as the movie, and also lacks Erika Sato (The Slit-Mouthed Woman) in the lead, it still provides sexed-up Kamen Rider thrills with huge buckets of humour.

Cutie Honey, a ditzy do-gooding android, even manages to work her bust into the weekly kickboxing fights with the enemy hordes. There's also some brief topless nudity, indicating that this was aired later at night.

Honey is usually chirpy and naïve in her many undercover disguises, though of course she's hiding on Earth disguised as a schoolgirl. She saves up her aggression and skills for her transformations into a one-woman fighting machine. Mikie Hara appears to be doing many of the complex fighting scenes herself.

The story concerns the evil organisation Panther Claw's six-pronged attack on law-abiding society, including the use of alien nano-technology to turn humans into bio-weapons and mobile phones into swords!

Only Honey Kisaragi can physically stop them, but as usual she still needs help. Besides her usual dapper, private eye, sidekick Seiji Hayami (Syouma Yamamoto), she befriends the surprisingly informative occupants of a riverside shanty village (now a common sight with so many homeless people in Japan's big cities). Also, it appears that she's not the only super-android in the neighbourhood...

Cutie Honey is a perfect chance to dress up a beautiful actress in a wild variety of sexy wish-fulfilment outfits, catering for an ogling audience. Though it's treated in a cheeky way, rather than laciviously. The good-natured, infantile, slapstick humour alternates with the fairly nasty antics of the invading aliens. It's a uniquely bizarre comedy superhero adventure that you can only find on televisions far, far away.

Cutie Honey has appeared in many anime series that are just now appearing on DVD in the USA. Whether or not Cutie Honey - The Live will follow up these and the movie, remains to be seen.

Volume 1 of a non-subtitled DVD release is imminent in Japan. Available, for instance, here from CD Japan.

The Japanese website for the series can be found here.

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