Astro Toy With Rob Bricken: Taito Cutie Honeyby Rob Bricken, Aug 23rd 2009
Toyline: High Grade Real Figure
Series: Cutie Honey
Sorry for the absence of Astro Toy in your lives last week, guys — I decided to take a small breather to recharge the ol’ anime-toy-hating batteries. As it turns out, I'm lucky I did, because I hate the hell out of this week's feature toy, and I needed to be at the top of my game if I really want to express my loathing.
Let's start with a few basics — I dig Cutie Honey. Yes, she's partially responsible for the magical girl genre (not my thing, but I'm glad it's part of anime) and yes, she transforms from a sexy girl into a sexy superheroine by having her clothes fly off. It's not especially progressive, but since she was created by Devilman’s Go Nagai for teenage boys and not as a feminine role model and also still manages to be one of Nagai's least perverse creations, I really don't mind. Bottom line: Cutie Honey is naughty without being especially sleazy, and is still kind of a classic, an important character in the pantheon of manga and anime. So I dig her.
I also really like her design, whether it's Nagai's original manga…
…or the ‘80s anime OVAs that were so popular…
…or even the Hideaki Anno-directed live-action movie.
All of these versions of the iconic heroine have their charm. SO WHY ON GOD'S GREEN EARTH DOES THIS CUTIE HONEY STATUE LOOK LIKE THIS
Bleagh. Taito says this is a “High Grade Real Figure” but it doesn't look “real” to me, except maybe real ugly (Zing! And I seriously question the “High Grade” aspect as well). She's too realistic to be the anime or manga versions, but she doesn't look particularly real either. It looks more like Honey has tripped, fallen and broken her leg somewhere in the uncanny valley.
Same goes with the rest of her body. Now, I really feel bad saying this, as this is pretty much the first piece of anime girl merchandise that has anything close to realistic female body proportions, but… er… this statue is not that attractive. Her, er, proportions don't match any of the designs of the Honeys above; and it's not like Japan has ever cast a reasonably sized woman in any role, instead using whatever new girl the j-idol factory has churned out that week. I guess I should be pleased or proud or something, but this statue looks nothing like any Cutie Honey that's come before. And I seriously doubt that the sculptors would choose a statue of an anime character where her clothes are flying off to make the first bold stand for women's self-image issues anyways.
Thankfully (for my own psyche) that's hardly this Honey's only problem. See if you can tell what's wrong with this picture:
Now, it might be tough to tell in the picture, but the Cutie Honey logo is facing the viewer meaning that this is the front view of the statue. You are looking at her dead-on. And while this might offer the best view of her “realistic” chest as her clothes explode, I would venture to say that perhaps the statue shouldn't be obscuring her own entire head in her main pose. I'm honestly boggled, folks — I've never seen any other collectible, anime or otherwise, do this. Generally, most statues and figures screw up by being designing to only be appreciated from one angle. You're looking at a figure that can be appreciated from no angles.
This is the pose that appears in the figure's promotional material (check it out if you want to see what the figure they offered looks like, versus what I received), and while you can kind of see her face, it's not much better. Her torso and costume is mostly obscured behind herself, she's still holding her sword at an awkward angle, and she looks less like she's leaping heroically and more like she's trying to strike a pose but is about to fall over (which is pretty close to the truth). It's just pitiful all the way around, people.
And sadly, this is not the worst aspect of the Cutie Honey statue. You may have noted the price — $40-50 — and thought that it seemed a bit pricey, even by anime merchandise standards. Surely, even Japan wouldn't charge more than $20-25 for a figure this knowingly crappy, would they? The answer is no, they wouldn't.
But they'll happy charge you $20-25 apiece for two.
OH, INDEED. You can't buy this marvelously crappy Cutie Honey figure separately; no, you have to buy them in pairs, one the crappy colored one, and one of the same horrible @#$%ing statue in pure yellow plastic. It's everything you hated about the regular statue, but this time, it looks like it's made entirely of snot.
I would honestly rather have been beaten than to have spent money on this piece of @#$%, even though Anime News Network reimburses me for these reviews. I am appalled that I gave anyone who makes such a horrible @#$%ing toy —and then has the audacity to make a non-painted, one-color-plastic version, and forces people to buy them together — money. I'd much rather have kicked them in their junk. They are horrible, evil people, and they deserve jail time for this depravity. There's not even a basis in the anime for this horrible mucus color — the whole point of Honey undergoing her transformation is that she's naked. There should be laws against this kind of crap.
So. In summary: I hate the painted version of this figure, and I wish I could use the unpainted yellow version to beat its makers at Taito to death. And since this Honey has such “realistic” proportions — or as Krauser might put it, Honey's got back — I'm sure it wouldn't take me too long to create some kind of fatal head wound. She's got a good heft to her. It's a shame that that's her only good point.
You can read more of Rob Bricken's bitter, needlessly mean-spirited thoughts on toys and many non-anime subjects over at ToplessRobot.com (which is safe for work).
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