We’re back with another episode of the best live action series based on a Go Nagi work! I mean, at least as far as I can think of. Sure, there’s like twenty Kekko Kamen movies but has anyone besides me actually WATCHED any of them? Yeah… this is better. ANYWAY!! The last episode was an improvement on the first, but can this one continue that trend and improve the series even further? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins with a bit of Déjà vu considering that once again Cutie Honey is on the ropes and is about to get taken out by the Panther Claw dude which is exactly how the LAST episode began. Hayami recognized this pattern as well and does his best to sneak past the Panther Claw dude so that he can save Honey.
Panther Claw dude (after scaring off Hayami) is about to land the blow when he gets a phone call from a guy who speaks… ENGLISH!?!? That’s right! One of our villains is played by the bilingual bad ass Mark MOTHER FUCKING Musashi! How bad ass is this guy? That name is actually his bad ass stage name because his REAL name (Masaru Edward Fulenwider-Musashi) would be too much for the rest of the world to handle. If a name like that showed up in the credits of a movie you were watching, your TV would just explode. He’s a very well trained martial artists who’s done stunt coordination and motion capture work on a lot of projects, including Avatar, Metal Gear Solid 3, Bayonetta, and The Wizards of Waverly Place. Here, he plays Duke Watari, a suave motherfucker with a goatee and mean streak who puts the fear of God into the Panther Claw dude.
In this scene though, he’s just calling the Panther Claw dude (who we finally learn is named Nakajou) that they need to meet soon to discuss some business. By the time Nakajou gets off the phone though, Cutie Honey has SOMEHOW managed to escape!
While Cutie Honey goes off to lick her wounds, we get to see that meeting between Nakajou and Watari which can’t just take place in an office building or a nice restaurant. Nope. They decide to talk about their illegal business dealings while masseuses rub them down and give them manicures! The business they need to discuss involves recent complaints that some of their clients have had in regards to Nakajou’s recent schemes which they believe to have been fixed. Nakajou doesn’t take these claims very well and informs Watari about the buxom pink haired fighter for justice that has thrown a wrench into his plans as of late which Watari finds very intriguing and wishes to learn more of. Unfortunately, one of the masseuses accidentally chips one of his nails and he flies into a rage which basically cuts the conversation off short. On top of being a bilingual bad ass in snazzy suits and a penchant for kicking things, that’s the guy’s primary gimmick. He stays calm and collected for the most part, but gets EXTREMELY agitated at the slightest of provocations. He’s EXACTLY the kind of person you don’t want to be waiting on when his latte comes back with not enough foam.
Back at the Hayami Detective Agency, all the local bums have gathered together to cook a stew and celebrate their lot in life. One such bum is a guy who appears to have been a baseball player but had to quit after an injury and then became homeless, all of which couldn’t have happened THAT long ago considering the dude still has all the muscle mass from before he lost his job. Gee. I wonder if this is going to come back at some point. Well we’ll have to see if it does because now it’s time for classroom shenanigans!!
Yeah, Honey is still lacking in anything resembling a personality or restraint, but Mikie Hara always puts in everything she’s got into the role of Honey Kisaragi so the foolish antics are at least enjoyable to watch. Speaking of foolish antics, we’re three episodes into an action series which means we’re long overdue for a training montage! Hayami pulls Honey out of the middle of class so that they can begin improving her combat skills for the next inevitable fight against the forces of evil. How? By firing metal baseballs at her over and over again! It goes surprisingly poorly considering she’s a combat android.
Alright, I think that’s enough hi-jinks at the moment. Now it’s time for the plot to kick in, which involves that one homeless baseball player (Matsuda) who has GONE MISSING!!! The other homeless guys haven’t seen him since the party and believe he went to a local hospital that’s known for providing free health care to the poor, but no one at the hospital seems to have heard of him. Oh boy here we go. I’m SURE the hospital is just giving away free medication and health screenings out of the goodness of their hearts! Why, I bet there are NO ulterior motives like… experimental treatments that they can observe the effects of after administering them to unsuspecting and desperate people. Boy am I glad THAT’S not what’s going on!!
Alright, so the hospital is in cahoots with Panther Claw and while the treatments appear to give their patients super powers (the guy who dies was able to jump up a tree with wire-fu), it definitely seems to lead to death. Of course, Honey and Hayami can’t seem to figure this out during their investigation considering that the former is pretending to be a nurse (and getting hit on constantly) while the latter comes down with a stomach flu and decides to get treatment there… despite the fact that they are investigating the place for the disappearance of one of their friends. Honestly, the Honey shtick here is pretty unpleasant to watch as she’s constantly getting straight up harassed by three of the patient, and it only gets worse when Honey’s reaction to it is mild disapproval followed by reassuring admonishments. Hell, one basically grabs a handful of her ass and her only retort is to pat him on the head, give him a smile, and lead him back to his bed so he can try it on the NEXT unfortunately nurse to stroll through this wing. Yuck.
At least Hiyami’s subplot doesn’t have that problem, and there are some actually funny moments as we find out just how bad his diet is and especially when the doctor starts making up illness that he has so that he can give him the EVIL shots. The doctor is great as well as he seems calculatedly designed to be nice and comforting, yet it’s so much to the point that you KNOW he’s up to no good!
Fortunately the investigation does pan out as Honey eventually sees Matsuda leaving the hospital, and proceeds to give chase. For whatever reason the guy decides to run and while he does give it his all, he is still no match for Honey who runs circles around him. He finally confesses to Honey that he was a former baseball pitcher that got hurt, but the new treatments have healed his shoulder and he’s planning on trying out for a team soon. Before we can see how the trials turn out, we have some subplot catch-up to play as we see the woman in jail from the previous episode (Miki) is still very much incarcerated. We don’t get much here other than that she’s an unemotional ice queen who takes endless amounts of abuse in stride and will presumable pay back these indignities a hundred fold.
There’s also a bit more at the hospital as we see another patient of the good doctor who stops a robbery, so presumably he’ll come into play later. For now though, let’s see how Matsuda is doing at the tryouts! Does he make it on the team!?
HOLY SHIT!! The mother fucker’s arm came off at the elbow! It only gets worse from here however as the entire episode takes a dark turn from the light and fluffy atmosphere to a more serious action drama. Okay, it doesn’t turn into a Fincher film, but it’s more than what was needed from this show and I like that they put in the extra effort here. An ambulance comes rushing to the scene to carry Matsuda away with Honey riding along to keep him company, but unfortunately the emergency vehicle is just a ruse by Panther Claw and the goons drag her ass out the back. Not deterred in the least, Honey starts to fight off the goons (including the patient who we saw at the hospital only a few minutes ago) and the ambulance gets away in the process. The fight scene itself is up the pretty decent standards that the show has already set for itself, and it’s clear they’re working to improve it with each episode. The more serious tone here also means there are less gimmicky moments like tie grabbing and ass blocking, which definitely helps to give this a bit of gravitas.
Now that Matsuda is out of reach with no way to locate him, Honey is about to take out ALL her frustrations on the poor bastard who’s still standing in her way. It won’t be easy though as the guy’s hand turns into this fleshy, alien looking, laser cannon thing and he begins to fire wildly at her. The special effects for the laser beam are pretty weak, but I like the one-on-one fight for the most part, especially this one moment where she wraps around the dude’s neck and starts decking him in the face over and over again.
Things take a turn for the worse though as the guy manages to pin her down and is about to blast her head off, but luckily Honey has magical main character powers and somehow summons a sword out of thin air at her moment of crisis to deflect the beam. Now this sword has always been a staple of Honey’s arsenal (I believe it is called The Silver Fleurette) and it’s awesome to see her wield it in this incarnation, but I’m not a fan of having magical doo-dad just show up at moments of drama and I’d much rather see her earn it through training or something. The sword does give her the opening she needs and she manages to defeat the bad guy with one of her patented Honey Flashes; and by defeat I mean COMPLETELY ATOMIZE THE POOR BASTARD!!!
GOD DAMN! She didn’t have to go THAT far! I’m sure he was a poor bastard just like Matsuda who was given these dangerous drugs in a moment of crisis and is probably under some sort of mind control! I guess it does go along with what she’s feeling right now as she’s in quite a bad mood considering one of her friends could be dead right now and there’s nothing she can do to help him now. The fight finally comes to end, but it doesn’t go unnoticed as Watari was watching the whole time from his bad ass limo, and he finds all of this quite intriguing. The episode ends on a foreboding note as not only has Watari learned of Honey’s existence but also that it’s made all too clear that Hayami has already undergone the medical treatments that will soon turn him into either a Panther goon or a corpse. I guess we’ll have to wait until the next episode to find out if he survives!
The show still has a long way to go, but I think this is the episode where it’s clear that this is going to be something special. Its humor is a bit more refined and the introduction of Mark Musashi adds a lot to the menace of the villains who were already pretty interesting what with the guy who has split personalities and a chicken arm. The dark turn at the end as well shows that they’re willing to take things a bit more seriously than what we saw in the first two episodes which puts it more in line with the other iterations of the Cutie Honey franchise that took itself seriously enough to make something of quality instead of disposable fan service. The only problem is that Honey still doesn’t have much going on character wise (though the anger and despair she displayed at the end helps on that front) and the sexist moments where men just treat her like a piece of meat are incredibly irksome. Still, I always thought of this series as one of the few examples of a show that actually gets better with each and every episode, and this definitely helps to prove my case. There are hi jinks and zaniness, but there are also some well-done action sequences and some solid drama for good measure. The next episode will continue on with the evil hospital story line and hopefully it will manage to bring it to a satisfying conclusion!