The first episode of Cutie Honey Universe succeeded at making me feel like I was watching a series with a lot of history behind it. It didn’t directly reference any past anime, but it also made no effort to introduce Honey or any of the other characters. Well, part of this is probably because this is a series by Go Nagai, meaning its storytelling style has some oddities and unique flavours to it (a very in media res opening, for instance).
The first episode has some problems as well, though. The visuals and sound aren’t particularly impressive, and the explicit violence and deaths (though they fit Go Nagai’s style very well) don’t really mesh with the sexualisation of Honey, in my opinion. But on the topic of sexual content, the rest of the episode had some interesting and surprising elements. Women explicitly having sex with each other, bondage (and related fetishes), traditionally male gender roles being filled by women, stuff like that. And it definitely makes me interested in the series as a whole. I may continue watching Universe, or I may jump into one of the older anime instead.
Verdict: Surprising and cool ideas, made me interested in the series. May continue.
Caligula is unfortunately one of those shows this season that I couldn’t really concentrate on. Thus, I only have a rudimentary understanding of what it’s about: A boy who is interested in psychology and philosophy ends up finding out that reality may not be what it looks like through the eyes of a human being. It turns out that the people of the city he lives in are mind controlled (at least I think so) by idols, and so he can’t really trust anyone, not even himself.
The concept of all of this is pretty cool, but the execution is lacking. The breakdown of reality is portrayed as a mess of shots of static in between jump cuts, which are so confusing that it’s hard to follow what’s going on. As such, it feels less like capitalising on interesting ideas and more like uninspired “mindfuck”. In addition, in the last scene the mind controlled people turn into some kind of demonic monsters, which kind of deflates the potential scariness of seeing humans under the influence of collective mind control (a few earlier scenes are properly unnerving in a really good way, and I wish there had been more of that). So, unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be watching this one.
Verdict: Interesting ideas, but not so great as a whole. Dropped.