Can a 90's OVA sequel do a 70's classic justice?
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That Long-Haired Creepy Guy says...(The following is mostly opinion-based, so take it how you will.)
I feel as though I need to come to this anime's defense, if for no other reason than because it was one of the first things I watched that really drew me into the genre. The juxtaposition you mentioned didn't faze me back then because most anime from that time carried a varying mixture of gritty noir and slapstick goofiness. There are some things about the series, though, that I would like to point out.
The character of Dolmeck is admittedly a For-The-Evilz dark lord. However, the super-drug and the cliched villain-of-the-week got turned on its head in the fourth episode, when its revealed that Honey fighting the standard villain format was actually a trap, and part of a bigger plot to bring back Panther Zora.
You aren't wrong, though, that watching the show for the first time feels rough if you know nothing about the history of the show, or the original series it was lifted from. I had to do a little digging before I understood what the series kept referring to. Also, the rough story formal can be partially blamed on the OVA getting dropped after eight episodes, instead of the originally-planned twelve. I've heard rumors that the project ran low on money before it could be completed, so the OVA stopped short of finishing the tale. The whole Panther Zora plot from episodes 5-8 was supposed to conclude with them, but we never got to see it.
Anyway, that's my two cents. I still look back on this show with fondness, but I will freely admit that it isn't for everyone.