Cutey Honey was a TV anime that originally aired in 1973 and has since enjoyed multiple adaptions and remakes over the decades.
Cutey Honey is the first example of a warrior magical girl in anime. However, unlike our modern image of this sub genre i.e. Sailor Moon who is a school girl saving the day via magical healing moon escalations in the name of justice, Cutey Honey is literally a school girl android who stabs people in the chest in the name of vengeance. Due to Cutey Honey’s violent story line and overtly sexual humor and themes (this show pioneered the naked transformation), many western fans assume it to have been aimed at an older male audience.
The opening for the original series featured the above shot as well one with Honey in the bath tub and one displaying unsafe motorcycle practices.
But the series enjoyed an early evening time slot before kids went to bed. And its title screens had furigana so that children could read them. So in reality Cutey Honey was a kids’ show, but specifically a girls’ show. While the creators knew it would appeal to boys as an action series, the merchandising featured dolls of Honey that were meant for girls to purchase. Cutey Honey was also apart of Toei’s Majokko brand and enjoyed crossovers with fellow magical girls like Sally the Witch and Akko-chan.
Majokko Daisakusen was a crossover video game aimed at young girls.
Kumiko Saito, a Japanese scholar, cites Cutey Honey in her analysis of the magical girl genre as being intended for an audience of preteen girls.
That is not to say Cutey Honey was the best role model for young girls but assuming that she wasn’t one at all only reinforces stereotypes about the types of media each gender is “supposed to” or “allowed to” enjoy.
[This post was originally posted: Nov, 5th 2016 on the Otaple 1/2 Tumblr]