June 21, 2012

Pink Jacket Lupin 5

Here's episodes 31-38. I spoke too soon when I said that the series had gotten consistently wacky. At least the designs stabilized, fortunately into the more exaggerated ones which I preferred, but the animation still swings wildly between being delightfully crazy and being disappointingly normal. A run of largely boring-looking episodes made me lose interest a bit and slowed my progress, but things are starting to pick up now that I'm getting close to the end.

Somebody on the show really likes using multiple limbs to suggest fast, frantic movements. Obviously I'm aware of the technique, since it's used often in western animation, but for some reason I'm always surprised when I see it in anime, even in the more cartoony stuff like Lupin and Urusei Yatsura. Over the last few episodes I've seen some very fast movements that, when I still-framed them, turned out to just be a single frame. This example (above) manages to read as a frenzied tantrum between two more normal held poses. Obviously, using multiple limbs can do a lot to stretch the value of individual frames, so I'm sure the budget-minded supervisors were pleased. I know Masahito Yamashita would get in trouble for drawing too many frames.

Episode 31 features Fujiko's most garish outfit yet. A cross between a trench-coat and a bikini. But honestly apart from this, the fashions in the show haven't been nearly as ridiculous as I expected, given the show's reputation among Lupin fans. The pink jacket being the obvious exception, because it is pretty cheesy. I think people who aren't as interested in the animation can't really pick out what makes this series look so different, so they just pick the obvious thing, which is that it's got some 1980s fashion, and point to that as a reason for why it looks 'bad.' But taking fashion tips from Lupin is never a good idea no matter which series you're talking about-- bright red or green jackets aren't exactly normal either, and most male characters have long sideburns that are a reminder of the series' 1960s origins.

(In the picture above, the guy on the left is Lupin disguised as Zenigata, and on the right is Zenigata disguised as a guard. That's why they have the same face.)

Unusually, this English writing is basically correct, apart from some weird syntax and punctuation errors. Zeni is obviously short for Zenigata, and Tottsan is Lupin's affectionate nickname for him, usually translated as "pops" or "old man."

Despite the dodgy subtitles on my copies of the episodes, some of the verbal jokes are actually still funny. But there are a lot of moments where the subtitles say things like "this situation surprises me greatly" or "I am upset by your statement." And sometimes the nonsense subs are funny for the wrong reasons. I can't tell what this line was supposed to be:

Episode 34 has a fantastic, well-animated chase scene where everyone in the entire city is armed with a machine gun and trying to kill Lupin and Jigen, even the little old ladies. The episode as a whole isn't that great, but the chase makes it one of my favourites. Lupin, and surprisingly Jigen as well, make a lot of funny noises as they run from everyone they meet.

This episode also has a little bit of background animation, which isn't something you see too much in TV animation (outside of Urusei Yatsura, which was unusually full of it).

Episode 35 is the first to feature the wonderful Yuzo Aoki-animated opening that condenses everything that I love about this series into a minute and a half.

I like this scene where all the guards from each boat keep having to jump to the next one as theirs gets sunk.

 Look at these gloriously mis-shapen hands.

Episode 37 has an interesting plot where Zenigata, smitten with a young girl who claims Lupin has wronged her, gets really serious and wants to kill Lupin. It's one of the more memorable stories, although the animation is pretty mundane for the most part.

I do love this run cycle (above) though, with Zenigata trying to chase Lupin while his head is stuck in the door of a prison cell, along with two other officers... Particularly since they forgot to actually make it look like he was stuck, so he just appears to be carrying it for no reason.

Episode 38 has lots of dolphins. LOTS of dolphins. Also some mermaids.

 It also has this face which is pretty terrible. It reminds me of a South Park design.

On a side note, I've been enjoying the new Lupin III: A Woman Called Fujiko Mine series a lot more recently. For a while it seemed to be treading water, but the main story is finally starting to unfold and it's pretty interesting. But I have enough to say about it that I'll leave it as a subject for another post, once the final episode is released so I can just write my thoughts on the series as a whole.


Ben said...

It's great seeing all these caps again... It's funny, I just watched the whole show not long ago, but I don't remember most of these drawings. There's just so many interesting drawings packed into every episode, especially the wilder episodes. Almost every shot is cap-worthy in the good eps... I capped so many images, way more than I posted for my post, just because I couldn't resist, even though I didn't think I'd post most of them.

Love the general's stubby hands, and all the other crazy Ryuno drawings in ep 36... although I wonder if those crazy drawings are by Ryuno or maybe Shoji Furuta. There seems to be one animator who draws *particularly* extremely wacky drawings, but I haven't been able to narrow down who for sure. You can see some of the same kind of extremely wacky drawings as those in ep 36 in the upcoming Ryuno/Furuta solo ep - ep 40 - which is in some ways the most extreme of the Pink Jacket eps in terms of the insane drawings.

LOL at the subtitles. I watched the show without the subs, but maybe I should have watched them with the subs to double up on the hilarity. Still, it's a little sad there aren't decent subs so you can at least follow the show's humor instead of having to settle for laughing at its bad subs... I sampled a few of the subs just now and geez, a lot of it is gibberish.

Aaron Long said...

Thanks for commenting, Ben!

Yeah, I've sort of given up trying to capture every drawing that stands out, because it would just take forever. I'm doing the same thing you did and capturing more than I end up posting, because I then try to narrow down the selection so the posts don't take forever to load.

As for the subtitles, they're very inconsistent. Sometimes they're alright, but other times they add unintended comedy. We're talking "Backstroke of the West" levels at some points. You really have to crane your neck to see past the literal translations and figure out what they might mean.