So you've got the license to a famous anime franchise and you made a live-action adaptation that was pretty damn popular despite the fact it was quirky as hell. Where do you go from there? Why, make a twenty-six episode live-action television show!Cutey Honey: THE LIVE is quite possibly one of the most indecisive series ever produced. At times, it attempts to be a deadly serious and dark drama with the very worst traits of humanity on full display. Then Cutey Honey comes along and the show turns into a bubbly, light-hearted martial-arts romp with heaploads of hilariously blatant Fanservice. The combination is both strange and unique, and when the show takes a sharp right-turn into Cerebus Syndrome it becomes an incredibly sombre tale about the value of life and the nature of evil.Main characters include:
Honey Kisaragi/Cutey Honey: Our favourite transforming Robot Girl is back, and she's even more of a clueless Ditz than ever before. Annoyingly happy. Loves everyone. By "Flashing", she can transform her outfit into any form, including a red battle costume. Has boobs.
Seiji Hayami: An incompetent but lovable private detective who is working on a thesis on Japan's seedy underworld; to achieve this end, he lives in a slum. He has a special friendship with Honey, but often has little to no clue about what's going on. Is very tall.
Miki Saotome/Sister Miki: Miki is a stoic loner who happens to have the same power to Flash as Honey. However, her power is flawed and causes metallic objects to be absorbed into her body, whereupon they are (painfully) forced out through her skin later. Has plenty of dark secrets. Wears blue.
Yuki Kenmochi/Sister Yuki: The third of the three Flash girls. A rich girl who is much closer to the Sheltered Aristocrat than The Ojou. When she transforms, she turns from a kind, slightly clueless girl into a merciless, ice-cold fighter. A Schoolgirl Lesbian with a massive crush on Honey, she gets put through the emotional wringer more than any other character and ends up as a Psycho Lesbian. Wears white.
Yuji Nakajo: A genius who can sprout wings with razor-sharp feathers, and has three split personalities: an adult, a child and a complete monster. He later gains a fourth personality, a Villainous Crossdresser. He runs Deadly Games and has his clients bet on the outcome.
Duke Watari: A European gentleman who speaks Surprisingly Good English.note Mark Musashi is half-Japanese, and was born in Japan but raised in America. His gimmick is that he screams, "SHIT!" when someone commits some minor slight against him. Oh, and he has razor blades in his feet. He kidnaps homeless people and converts them into living weapons to sell to the highest bidder.
Mayumi Karasugawa: A Psycho Lesbian who can regurgitate whole hen eggs at will. She can also transform into her own battle costume. Develops an unhealthy obsession with Miki. Her job is to scout out new members of Panther Claw through the private school she runs. That is, when she isn't spending too much time with her female students.
This series contains examples of the following tropes:
Actor Allusion: Hayami, played by Shouma Yamamoto, goes crazy and starts fighting a group of bikers with a long pole. This is reminiscent of his previous role of DAN White Knight of the Midnight Sun in Garo: Beast of the White Night, where his Makai Weapon was a bo/spear.
All of the Other Reindeer: The three main characters are outcasts in their school due to the weirdness that surrounds them. Miki especially has a hard time since she's a massive Tsundere on top of it.
Ass Kicking Pose: Honey really wants to have one with Miki since that's how it's supposed to work. Miki is less than keen on the idea. Honey does get one with Yuki, however, and when all three girls finally go into battle together, they do end up posing. See the trope below.
The aforementioned Ass Kicking Pose Cutey wanted with Miki consisted of this, essentially. There were moments, however, when the two girls had to stand back-to-back for the purpose of strategy. At one point when this happened, Honey tried to pose and Miki quickly caught on to what she was doing and walked away.
Yuki and Honey go back-to-back a couple times. Most notably towards the end of the series when Yuki turns evil without Honey realizing it. Their pose ends up being an example of when Rivals Team Up. At this point, Yuki has a The Only One Allowed to Defeat You viewpoint.
Hiromi Tanaka and her husband do this a few times as well.
Berserk Button: If Duke's image is tarnished such as getting his suit torn or getting cut while shaving, he goes ballistic.
Blessed with Suck: Miki and Yuki. When they flash (turn into their android forms), they usually teleport chunks of metal inside of themselves. It is quickly pointed out that the more they do this, the closer to death they become.
Body Horror: The examples above, plus the various cybernetic enemies. They usually end up a twisted mess from the process.
Brainwashed and Crazy: Honey is brainwashed in a two-part episode and Panther Claw often brainwashes their victims into being cybernetic killing machines.
Breast Attack: Miki does this to Mayumi at one point, likely in response for Mayumi contantly groping her female opponents in battle (see page image).
Miki also does this twice to Honey's friend as a way to bully her.
Cerebus Syndrome: It starts off as a silly action series with a few creepy bad guys. By the end of the series, it gets a little depressing.
Cerebus Rollercoaster: There are a lot of wacky hijinks, the kind of things that would happen in the original series taken Up to Eleven. It can also become insanely bleak. Near the end, the wacky seeped away and it was a very dramatic final arc.
Clip Show: Episode 13 highlights the past episodes and clues the viewer in that things are about to get a lot darker.
Deus Sex Machina: At one point, Honey gets captured by Panther Claw. Miki tries to find her but the only person who knows where Honey is located is Mayumi Karasugawa. It is heavily implied that she uses the opportunity to exchange the information for certain favors.
Love Redeems: Subverted: Honey tries this every single time and it never works. The worst was with Nakajou. At one point did no less than tell it to her straight that he'd helped her once before not because he's actually a nice guy at heart, but because getting her away from the other generals would mean that he could have all the profits from taking her apart to get the Flash device in her guts to himself, and as such, she really, really ought to quit helping him. She didn't listen and it didn't end well.
Les Yay: Invoked very very much in regards to Miyumi's *ahem* rivalry with Miki.
Manchurian Agent: Effectively what Duke does to his victims, with far worse consequences
Mooks: Panther Claw has them. One of them is revealed to have fought Honey a few times in the series, suffering physical and emotional trauma in the process. The funny part is that the Flash Back shows previous episodes where Honey randomly beat a mook. Turns out it was the same guy all along.
Precision F-Strike: Watari has an incredibly filthy mouth, but only drops the F-bomb once when Honey escapes from him.
Watari: "...the fuck?!"
Rant Inducing Slight: The slightest grievance will cause Watari to shout "SHIT!!!", tell off whoever pissed him off, then often go their boss, yell at them, and order them to fire the person who slighted him.
Supporting Protagonist: The series is named after a single, famous Japanese character but it quickly shifts gears and ends up being about a trio of girls with the same power. In fact, one could argue that Yuki and Miki are much more competent and skilled than Honey, making her almost obsolete in battle.