(キューティーハニー, Kyūtī Hanī
?, also spelled Cutey Honey
) is a Japanese media franchise created by Go Nagai. Cutie Honey first appears on volume 41 of the 1973 edition of Shōnen Champion
. The titular character of Honey is considered the prototype for the transforming magical girl. According to Nagai, she is also the first female to be the protagonist of a shōnen
The franchise spans many works, including numerous manga series, two animated TV series, two OVA series, two drama CDs, and two live action adaptations. The animated and live-action versions share a common theme song, which has been covered many times by different performers. While Honey's exact appearance differs among the various versions, they all portray her as an outwardly ordinary girl named Honey Kisaragi, who can transform into the busty red- or pink-haired heroine Cutie Honey and other specialized forms to fight against assorted villains who threaten her or her world.
Nagai's inspiration for the character of Honey comes from classic shows that featured protagonists who took seven different forms, including the Bannai Tarao
mysteries and Rainbowman
(1972). Honey is notable for being mischievous for a Japanese female hero, often teasing her male friends and mocking her enemies in combat. When transforming into Cutie Honey, she gives a brief rundown of the forms she has previously taken in that particular episode, and then declares, "But my true identity is ..." before yelling "Honey Flash!"