In honor of Pride Month, I’ve been looking for some recent LGBTQ anime content. 2018 is more so hetero-positive thus far on the anime front, (and it honestly always is on all fronts, honestly), but Cutie Honey Universe takes things in a different direction. I knew of this series for years but never touched it prior to now. Seeing the name Go Nagai, (a name attached to the awesome Devilman franchise including the game changing Devilman Crybaby), attached to this series I truly expected nothing short of amazing.
But is it?
Honey Kisaragi is an android secretly working alongside Japan’s police force under her disguises as Cutie Honey, a superhero. Panther Claw is a growing force of evil in Japan under the rule of the powerful Sister Jill, a woman with the desire for Honey Cutie’s Airborne Element Fixing Device; The device that allows Honey to change into several different forms. Sister Jill’s attempts to steal the device from Honey may become easier as she goes under disguise in Japan’s police force as Inspector Genet.
This series is honestly one of the hottest messes I have ever seen. Lesbianism is very strong in this series which is great on a representation side but is mainly used in a comedic tone. Lesbian teachers have sex in the bushes, a teacher in Honey’s Catholic School whips students when they misbehave, and the school’s primary bully has a crush on Honey and that’s only in Episode 1. Never mind all of the fan-service throughout every episode aside from the transformation sequence alone. Honey can transform into several different kinds of forms and one of which is a brown skinned woman which rubs me the wrong way.
In another sense, Cutie Honey Universe does manage to be a fascinating kind of anime. Like…fascinating in the way of being a guilty pleasure or watching a garbage fire. The best episode thus far goes to Episode 2 as Honey reflects on her past with her father. Their relationship was important to her since she not only made her but raised her as his child. His death motivates Honey to defeat Panther Claw once and for all but Panther Claw is growing in number in strength. The story behind all the fan-service could have been a story to stick with but the writing is so poor on a same-sex and common sense scale.
We should be past the point where same-sex attraction used only as a comedy tactic but some anime still have a long way to go. If you’re looking for a story with strong writing and won’t feel like you’re contributing to the toxic fanboy sexist narrative, try out classics like Revolutionary Girl Utena, Sailor Moon, and Yurikuma Arashi. Or maybe this series could be for you in some way, but it’s just not for me.