July 30, 2012

Pink Jacket Lupin 8

Here we go with Episode 49 and 50, the end of the series.

Episode 49 is another high point of the show, so if you're only watching the best episodes, this is definitely one of them. It's jam-packed with lots of full, dynamic Oh Pro animation. My favourite sequences are Lupin's jet-pack disaster and the Lupin/Zenigata chase around the fat lady's mansion during the middle of the episode, but really it's great all the way through.


 We get plenty more of that sweet, sweet flailing-limbs animation that has become a trademark of the Oh Pro episodes. I wish I knew who this animator is (and it is definitely the same guy doing it each time).













 There's a lot of impressive explosion/smoke animation in this one as well.

 This scramble on all fours is one of the funniest run cycles I've ever seen animated. I wish it was onscreen longer, it goes by way too fast.



















 
 Actually there's a lot of Lupin and Zenigata scrambling around on all fours throughout the episode. The whole thing is crammed full of beautifully wacky movement. There are a lot of great scenes that aren't represented here because... Well, I'd be here all day if I took a screenshot of EVERY funny frame.



 The trippy backgrounds in Zenigata's dream sequence are really cool.


The fat lady throws a bomb at Zenigata earlier in the episode, and then during the climax she begins throwing hundreds of bombs at everyone, until she blows up her entire mansion. It's a lot funnier than it sounds.

And finally we come to Episode 50. The series sure goes out with a bang, animation-wise. This one is just insane all the way through. Tatsuo Ryuno animated pretty much the whole first half of the episode by himself, and the second half is just as good, since it also features the unmistakable presence of overall series director Yuzo Aoki (who disappointingly didn't do all that much animation himself in the series).




Ryuno's scribbled-out crowd shots like this one are always full of weird-looking characters.



 I love rubbery cartoon doors. I also like how one of the guys breaking in (below) seems to be crawling on the floor.








Like Yuzo Aoki, Ryuno's drawings have a lot of energy and vitality even when it's just a static shot like these old garbage bins. Ryuno knows just how to distort a shape or put it on a weird angle to maximize the visual interest.

 Fujiko's inferior new design is still in effect here. In the goofy wide shots it works alright, but in the more "on-model" close-ups, her eyes are way too tiny and far apart. It's terrible. And oddly enough, Ryuno seems to be the one to blame-- he directed the animation in Episode 47, where this design first appeared, and he drew all the offending shots in this episode. When handled by the other animators later in the episode, she looks the same as she usually does.
I'm not sure why, but the CIA is depicted as a bunch of young punks who crash the villain's party with boomboxes and firecrackers. If this is some kind of social commentary it's going over my head, but it's pretty damn funny.

Everything in this panning shot below is animated, so I couldn't really reconstruct it properly, but you can still see what's going on.
As if Ryuno's animation wasn't already crazy enough, this dance sequence allows him to draw even more absurd poses without having to worry about them actually making sense. Any kind of ridiculous movement can be a dance, and he exploits that to the fullest.



OH GOD I almost forgot how bad this design of Fujiko is. Just when I'd warmed up to the Aoki design which was already a drastic departure, this atrocity comes along. Why Ryuno, why?!
 At one point in the episode Fujiko hums the show's theme song. I always like when they do that in cartoons.


 Zenigata takes his shirt and pants off when he's windsurfing, but leaves his trenchcoat on... That makes sense, right?
Fujiko looks much better in the second half of the episode. The flat hair is gone too.









 Whoever animated the above shot was in such a hurry that they didn't even draw arms on the characters. All the CIA agents are amputees.




The final frame of the series. Then a message from Fujiko comes on in place of a Next Episode Preview: "We thank everyone for supporting Lupin the Third Part III all this time. The program ends today. We will meet again. Goodbye." Even for a series that's this episodic, it's a pretty abrupt way to announce the ending: 'By the way that was the last episode, kthanxbye!'
 
 Finally, here are the cool backgrounds from the end credits. This seems like an appropriate time to post them.





Whew! So that's the whole series done. It was a pretty fun watch. All the variety in the designs, animation and tone made it consistently interesting, albeit schizophrenic. Some episodes were a bit of a slog, but they were worth it to get to the gems. And speaking of which, I know some people have said they've been reading these posts to find out which episodes are worth watching, so here are my picks for must-watch episodes:

#11 has some really funny stuff in it.

#13 is just so weird it has to be seen to be believed. Plus maybe if you watch it, you can tell me what it's supposed to mean.

#22 has a lot of great animation.

#25 is definitely one of the best ones, with a great chase.

#34 has that hilarious sequence where everyone in the city is trying to shoot Lupin and Jigen. It also has the immortal "there is curry over there?" subtitle.

#36 isn't great, but it's interesting because Tatsuo Ryuno gets so sloppy at times that it raises the question "just how far off-model can you go before it starts to look like a completely different character?"

#37 actually has an interesting story where Zenigata becomes super-competent. While that idea had been done before in Lupin, it still stands out.

#40 is possibly my favourite from the whole series. It's got that great scene where Lupin is trying to sneak through a deadly security system, and then somehow gets into a subway tunnel with Zenigata. Almost the entire thing is drawn by Tatsuo Ryuno.

#44 has a funny story where lots of kids come up to Lupin claiming that he's their father, and he has no idea whether it's true or not. Then the end of the episode has an awesome chase sequence.

#49 has a story that's simple and goofy, allowing for lots of fantastic animation set pieces.

#50 has a ton of hilarious drawings, and next to #40 is probably the craziest-looking in the whole series.

The main thing to remember with the series is that the writing and direction are rarely all that great, so as long as you keep your expectations about the story quality low, you can have a lot of fun watching the animation. And sometimes the stories are actually pretty good. But hoo lawdy lawd, those subtitles were a nightmare.

1 comment:

Steven Ostuni said...

Scrolling down the your Lupin III posts is always so fun! You can practically see all the little animations play out ;)