Cutie Honey

Go Nagai's popular comic-turned-TV-anime gets its first live-action treatment in this giddy extravaganza that'll tickle you pink-as in the hot-pink vinyl uniform of its sexy superheroine. Somehow marketed for youths, the exploitative original featured a crime-fighting schoolgirl android whose magic words “Honey Flash!” sent her clothes exploding and transformed her into a “Warrior of Love” ready to take on the cackling villains who had killed her father. In one of the finest examples of adapting anime into live action, this latest manifestation remains largely faithful to Nagai's basic plotline and gratuitous spirit, with director Hideaki Anno (Neon Genesis Evangelion) turning the dress-up-doll heroine into an exaggerated vision of today's office-working Tokyo girl (irresistibly embodied by idol Eriko Sato). Anno fuses Honey's modern-day happy-go-lucky vigor with the go-go fashions, bubblegum palette, and groovy music of the sixties and seventies, creating a giggle-out-loud action comedy (or “an embarrassment of kitsches,” as Variety cracked) for today's psyche.

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