GME! Anime Fun Time Episode #18 – Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine and Jigen’s Gravestone

double_feature

The latest GME! Anime Fun Time is a double-feature in which Tom, Violence Jill, and I explore the 2012 TV series Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine (directed by Sayo Yamamoto) and the 2014 short theatrical film Lupin the Third: Jigen’s Gravestone (directed by Takeshi Koike).

Topics of discussion include feminism, the influence of Gothic Romantic literature, how Lupin means different things to different people, and Tom and Jill’s inherent revulsion to moe anime involving school idols and alpaca. CLICK HERE or on the Bluray covers above to download the show.

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2 Responses

  1. I’m so happy to see other people calling Love Live shit. It makes me realize I’m not alone in this world.

  2. Let the record show that even I have no idea what roughly three-quarters of the Japanese cartoons and comics that Paul and Tom talk about watching even are. I can only assume the general GME! listenership feels “huh, I never heard of this stuff but if Paul and Tom know about it, it must be what those anime people are into!” DON’T BE DECEIVED.

    In the laserdisc videogame Cliff Hanger which used footage from The Castle of Cagliostro as well as The Mystery of Mamo, Lupin’s name wasn’t “Chase Tracer.” It was “Cliff Hanger,” hence the game’s title. The “Chase Tracer” licensing name for Lupin didn’t come about until the 90s or thereabouts. I’m pretty sure it was never actually used in any localization, but it was present on contracts and international licensing pitches.

    While I’m personally a big fan of Lupin in general and The Woman Called Fujiko Mine–that is my quote on the Fujiko Mine packaging and I did record a commentary track for one of the less high-profile commercial releases–what turned away several long-time Lupin fans had less to do with the tone, thematic content, or plot revelations than its animation quality itself. As Paul brought up briefly, The Woman Called Fujiko Mine certainly features great character designs and striking direction, but it’s not the showcase of exceptional top-rate animation that is typically expected of Lupin the Third, particularly “Lupin, from the makers of Redline!” as Fujiko Mine was advertised. Understand that Lupin the Third is considered the gold standard bearer of this sort of thing: anything short of that, to say nothing of Fujiko Mine which utilizes such a limited animation approach, is a major letdown to the animation buffs. I’m not the type of person for whom this would ruin my Lupin experience, but it’s undeniably the case.

    In this regard, Jigen’s Gravestone is sort of the “make-good” to satisfy that substantial portion of the Lupin fanbase. Notice that the first thing to appear in its opening credits is that the animation is being handled by Telecom Animation Film; they’re the ones who did the other Lupin TV series as well as hallmark entries like Mamo, Cagliostro, Fuma Conspiracy, Dead or Alive, and the recently concluded fourth television series. They put the animation studio in big giant letters as the very first credit anyone sees; it’s sending the message “don’t worry, THIS time the animation’s what you were expecting!” Of course, Goemon doesn’t appear in it at all and Fujiko’s role is more like Monkey Punch’s original manga–which despite Jill’s advocacy, I should note people by and large don’t actually particularly enjoy–so fans of The Woman Called Fujiko Mine’s narrative stylizations are often disappointed by it.

    That’s why although Jigen’s Gravestone is marketed as a sequel to The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, I consider it a precursor to the fourth television series due to the setting, art style, and the fact that Lupin’s jacket is blue instead of green like in “Fujiko Mine.” I disagree that the fourth series is “overly child-friendly.” More accurately, it’s a stylistic grand unification of the various interpretations of Lupin the Third over the decades. It strives for a happy medium: serious without being overly so, comical without being madcap, avant-garde in its direction without being psychedelic, etc. If you want to introduce Lupin the Third to people who’ve never seen it, show them that 2015 “Part IV: The Italian Adventure” series. It’s got the best animation while still featuring many of the original staff (so it doesn’t look or sound “old,” which is a major impediment for many), is NOT hundreds of episodes long, and utilizes a partially serialized narrative with a beginning, middle, and ending. The English dub of that series will be out soon for those disinclined towards subtitles, and it’ll be a very good one since much of the cast and crew of the Adult Swim version are handling it.

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