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Cutie Honey F (1992): Honey Flash Ready to Rumble
Source: TV
Layers: 1
Sketches: 1
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Added 5/3/2012
Updated 2/11/2017
Here is the protagonist of this popular series in her magical avatar, Honey Flash, complete with blazing pink-and-red hair and an eye-catching battle costume. On her left arm is a white ribbon fastened with a heart, which is actually the “Cutie Boomerang” that when thrown has the capacity to cut through most materials (says Wikipedia). And in her other arm she holds the Silver Fleurette, “an extremely sharp sword she wields with great skill” (ditto). She looks ready to start chastising the minions of her nemesis, the evil crime syndicate Panther Claw.

While I’m unlikely to collect cels from this series, I’d been idly glancing at the offerings on YHJ from time to time. This one drew my attention for its intense expression, along with the exciting “white lightning” highlight mark in Honey’s flame-red hair. The pose too is not the standard face-on, but shows her coming at the viewer diagonally, the left arm with the heart ribbon much closer to you than the gloved right arm with the sword. She seems to be floating upward at the same time, as if using her powers to fly or leap up to the top of a tall building, where her quarry is trying unsuccessfully to hide.

This cel was originally oversized, and was cut down in size, I’d guess by Toei Studio to sell to visitors as a souvenir. It came with a douga that was substantially larger (though also cut down at the bottom), labeled A1 (key). However, the cel was cut off at the top, so it lacked registration holes and sequence number. It also did not match the douga (see the thumb), so it’s impossible to tell what its proper number is. (I’m guessing A2 as it shows signs of having been stuck to the A1 douga at one time.)


SENSEI CHECK!

Cutie Honey [キューティーハニー] is a landmark anime syndicate that dates to 1973. Originally, it was planned to be a standard shōjo series, appearing simultaneously as manga in a female-oriented magazine and airing as anime in a TV time slot that regularly aired programming for girls.

However, a last-minute decision rescheduled the series to air in a slot previously given to MicroidS and Devilman, both action-oriented shonen series. So the mangaka, Go Nagai, and the studio (Toei) adapted the plot to interest young male viewers, creating the first really modern androgynous hero.

The protagonist, Honey Kisaragi, attends Catholic high school, believing that she is the stereotypical normal Japanese schoolgirl. After her father is killed by the mysterious Panther Claw conspiracy, however, she learns that she is actually an android equipped with a mysterious power that can transmute matter at will. In particular, she finds that she can use this gift to disguise her appearance, creating and changing her costumes and accessories almost instantaneously.

So a typical episode would have Honey appear in some undercover identity, usually one stereotypically associated with “women’s work” such as singer, stewardess, model, or cleaning lady. While doing so, she spies on the work of Panther Claw, whose baddies never suspect that the innocent-looking blonde is the superhero in disguise.

At the end of the episode, she steps forward and announces the disguises that she had used in the adventure, ending, “...but my true identity is -- Honey Flash!!

At this point, she uses her power to make her current outfit dematerialize, then reappear in the form of a tight-fitting body suit. As part of this process, Honey briefly appears completely naked to her enemies and to the viewers, and even the superhero costume is left strategically open in the front to make it clear that Honey Flash’s true identity is anatomically female.

Both the manga and anime had a relatively brief run, but it was successful enough that the characters influenced many other following series. In particular, it created what became a long-running convention in following mahō shōjo series, in which female protagonists undergoing a henshin or transformation undergo a brief moment of nudity before their new costume materializes.

Further, the bright red hair led to the same color being used for subsequent bold female heroines. It is hard to imagine Hikaru of Magic Knight Rayearth without Honey Flash blazing a trail for her.

Finally, animator Shingo Araki, a newbie character designer and chief animation director for this series, gained enough prestige to earn many such roles later on, notably for Saint Seiya.

Cutie Honey was revived by Toei in 1997, with Sailor Moon’s Miho Shimigasa taking over the role of character designer. It ran in 39 episodes from February 1997 to January 1998. There is also an OVA and movie version and, recently, even a live-action adaptation.

None of these have been licensed in North America; however, the franchise is known well enough that there are many RS collectors who seek out Cutie Honey cels from all the anime versions. Chief among these are Buffalostyle’s Cel-O-Rama and Nylock’s Cel Gallery.


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Curator: 60something-sensei
Gallery Created: 8/3/2002
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