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Manga / Honey Honey

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Honey Honey, or Honey Honey no Suteki na Bouken (lit. "Honey Honey's Wonderful Adventures"), first a 1966 manga series by Hideko Mizuno, Osamu Tezuka's assistant and one of the first successful female mangaka. Later it was made into a 29-episode anime series by Toei Animation for the Kokusai Eiga (MIC) company in 1981 and telecast on Fuji Television from October 1981 to May 1982.note  The manga also got a re-release in 1981 to coincide with the premiere of the anime.

The story begins in Vienna, 1907 (sort of) with vain Princess Flora'snote  nineteenth birthday celebration, where suitors from all over the world are gathered to try to get their hands on her vast fortune and her hand in marriage. The classy masked bandit named Phoenix crashes the party and declares brashly that Flora wouldn't be nearly as beautiful as she is without her ring. Shocked at Phoenix's brashness and fed up with her suitors' motivations, in a fit of rage, she tucks her priceless diamond ring, the "Smile/Star of the Amazonnote ", into a cooked fish and chucks it out the window. A little white cat named Lilly eats the fish whole, swallowing the ring along with it. Flora then declares that she will marry whomever can retrieve the Smile of the Amazon and return it to her.

Lilly belongs to Honey, a young orphaned waitress who has owned her since she was a little girl and considers Lilly like a younger sister. Phoenix catches up to her and asks her for her cat, her closest companion, and Honey demands 100 million for her while running off in a hot air balloon along with Lilly. From then on, it's all about the wacky chase over all of Europe (and beyond), in a race to retrieve a missing ring, with even more surprises in store for the princess, suitors and Honey & company. These surprises range from encounters with more racial stereotypes, King Kong, the evil Slag, Vikings, and more...

Note that unlike most early shojo series, Honey Honey refuses to take itself seriously (except once or twice, towards the end, and that doesn't stick too much).

Not at all to be mistaken with Cutie Honeynote  or Candy♡Candynote , the latter being a melodrama. Also no relation to the hit song by Abba.

The rights to the series are currently held by Enoki Films USA, although the series has had no American re-release since the mid-1980s. Some English dubbed episodes occasionally turn up online, though.

Tropes related to the series:

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Early promotional artwork for the anime depicts Honey as a brunette (and Phoenix as blond). She remained a brunette even in some merchandise released when the show was already on the air. In the finished product, she became a blonde. Also, Lily has white fur in the anime, but is colored pinkish-purple on the covers of manga re-releases that utilize the anime character designs.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: In almost every dub, except the Portuguese dub aired in Brazil, which used the Japanese closing theme for both the opening and closing.
  • Animation Bump: Episode 22, "Snowbound Castle", in general features some of the best animation of the series, directed by Toei veteran Akira Daikubara.
  • Arab Oil Sheikh: One of Flora's many suitors, all of them encompassing one offensive racial stereotype and playing it for laughs.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: The opening animation, along with the accompanying theme song (at least in Japanese, English, and Italian), suggests the viewer is in for a straightforward shoujo adventure. Only Honey crashing into a banquet table while dancing suggests this series is going to be anything but a straightforward shoujo adventure.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Between Honey and Phoenix. Princess Flora secretly likes Phoenix too, but reacts like a spoiled child whenever he teases her; Honey's more apt to react with a little teasing and/or sarcasm of her own.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In virtually every episode.
  • Brought To You By The Letter H: Honey's purse is embroidered with the letter H.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: Hamelin in episode six is a Crazy Cat Town, with the townspeople, having had their children lured away by the famous Pied Piper, substituting cats for children. Phoenix plays Pied Piper to get rid of the cats.
  • "Double, Double" Title: This series is released in some countries as simply Honey Honey.
  • Dub Name Change: Honey's name is almost always changed (she's Fiorellino in the first Italian dub, Pollen in French, etc.), but most of the rest of the other characters' remain unchanged. This was inverted in the Mexican Spanish dub instead. The Brazilian Portuguese dub is still titled Honey Honey, but the main character was renamed Favos de Mel (meaning "honeycombs").
  • Engagement Challenge: As per usual with the trope, sets off the plot entirely.
  • Fallen Princess: What Honey turns out to be.
  • Fiery Redhead: Princess Flora.
  • Gag Dub: Particularly the Portuguese dub, but the original Japanese is equally silly.
  • Gag Series
  • Hidden Purpose Test: The Vikings capture Honey and force her to walk on red-hot coals. She thinks it's just to torture her. Actually, she has to remove her shoes because they are looking for a rose-shaped birthmark that represents royalty on a young girl's foot. Guess what, she has it!
  • Historical Fiction: Played for Laughs.
  • Horny Vikings: Kidnapped by Vikings. Yes. They turn out to be former retainers of Honey's parents (hence why they knew about the rose-shaped mark), and their leader Erik is also Phoenix's father.
  • Love Triangle: Honey and Flora both like Phoenix. This being a shojo, it's obvious who he ends up with.
  • Meaningful Name: The nuns who raised Honey Honey gave her that name after they found her abandoned in a flower garden, surrounded by honeybees. Carries over into some of the Western dubs as well, with the original Italian calling her Fiorellino ("little flower"), the French calling her Pollen (as in bee pollen), and the Brazilian dub renaming her Favos de Mel ("honeycombs").
  • Medium Awareness: Depending on the dub, but most characters make references to the writers or the commercial break.
    Gustav: Here's a surprise, Phoenix! My new laser ray!
    Princess Flora: I didn't know lasers had been invented already!
    Gustav: They haven't, but in cartoons, anything is possible.
  • Mood Whiplash: The death of Phoenix's father/Honey's protector Erik is one of the few dark spots in an otherwise very light and fun series.
  • Novelization: Episode 6 was adapted into a children's storybook, scanned and translated into English here.
  • Purely Aesthetic Era: The Anachronism Stew is Played for Laughs. It starts in episode one, including Japanese text on Phoenix's wanted poster in Vienna, which Honey, an orphan, is somehow able to read perfectly.
    • The character designs (both manga and anime) count as well, as they just scream late 1960s despite the series taking place in the early 1900s and the anime being made in the early '80s.
  • Shout-Out:
  • World Tour: Honey goes to nearly every corner of the world to protect Lilly, from New York to Norway to London to Tokyo.

Alternative Title(s): Honey Honey No Suteki Na Bouken