Initially daily but now sporadic blog about anime and world animation with a specific focus on the artists behind the work. Written by Ben Ettinger.
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Archives for: January 2012, 24

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

06:48:00 am , 812 words, 9115 views     Categories: Lupin III, Studio: Tokyo Movie, Animator: Yuzo Aoki, 1970s

Wrapping up Lupin III part 2

Whew, it took a lot of work, but I finally finished watching the entire Lupin III part 2 series. It was enjoyable, even when the episodes weren't particularly brilliant. I kept a brief diary of the episodes in the comments of the original post. I wanted to make sure I hadn't missed anything really notable in my original post, to make sure it was comprehensive. For the most part, my original post covered all the bases, but I thought I'd add a few little things I discovered along the way.

Must-watch episodes
There weren't that many notable episodes I forgot to mention, but I found one episode that wasn't on my radar at all and is a must-see: Episode 73 is a great racing episode full of insane antics and great directing. If you only watch a few episodes in the show, watch this episode alongside the good Telecom episodes and a few Yuzo Aoki episodes and Kazuhide Tomonaga episodes. Usually you can narrow down who was responsible for making an episode good in this show - usually it's either an animator or a director. But in this case it's hard to pin down exactly who is responsible for making this episode so good. The writer, the storyboarder and the director all did OK work throughout the show, but nothing quite like this episode. (While I'm at it, I talked about the Aoki-Urasawa Broadway episodes before, but episode 117 is the best one after the Kabashima episode (78) and the Telecom episode (143).)

Seijun Suzuki
The great Nikkatsu yakuza film director became the 'supervisor' of this show around the episode 50 mark, and his imprint can clearly be felt in the increasing nonsensical/crazy tone. I suspect that it's the influence of Seijun Suzuki, if anything, that is to thank for the craziness of episode 73. Seijun Suzuki also co-directed the Babylon movie together with Shigetsugu Yoshida, which gives clear indication of his style.

Seiji Suzuki
Although Yuji Ohno is well known for making the music of Lupin III all these years, Seiji Suzuki is the music director of the show. (For some reason I thought Seiji and Seijun were brothers, but it seems that may not be the case.) The two of them have remained in these posts throughout the years. Seiji Suzuki was one of the major figures responsible for giving the show its unique flavor due to his very unusual way of arranging music. Rather than laying down tracks in the traditional way, he inserts little shards of different tracks with split-second timing, using the music almost like a sound effect. He is very playful, and he has a good sense of humor about the music, and a broad selection. Beyond arranging Yuji Ohno's amazing music, he sometimes unexpectedly inserts incongruously serious familiar classical pieces to heighten the absurdity of a situation.

Hatsuki Tsuji
There were a lot of 'solo' episodes in the show. Kazuhide Tomonaga, Hiromi Yokoyama, Junzaburo Takahata, Fumio Sakai, Tsukasa Tannai, Yuzo Aoki, Takeshi Yamazaki and Tanaka Atsushi each drew solo episodes at one time or another. Tsuji Hatsuki drew the most, and I found watching the show that I enjoyed his work a lot, even though it didn't move in a flamboyant way like Kazuhide Tomonaga and wasn't drawn interestingly like Yuzo Aoki. Episodes 83, 107 and 117 are good spots to get a taste for Hatsuki Tsuji at his best. He just seems like a real pro with real power.

Junzaburo Takahata
This guy was an animator at Tokyo Movie in the late 1970s. He was a regular throughout Gyators at the very least, but I haven't seen his name very much elsewhere. He has perhaps the most pleasing and unique drawing style of anyone in the second Lupin III series after Yuzo Aoki. The two even worked together several times on the show. His characters are very well stylized, but differently from Yuzo Aoki, more lanky and more fluidly animated, closer to Monkey Punch's original. The beginning of episodes 79 and 89 and the car crash in 85 showcase Takahata's animation style well. He uses more drawings and has a strong sense of momentum.

Uncredited Yuzo Aoki animation
It turns out there was uncredited Aoki animation in most of Aoki's storyboard episodes, and it's all very identifiable and as delectable as any of his credited work. He did uncredited animation in episodes 89, 117, 129, 138, 146 (not an Aoki storyboard) and 149.

Yasumi Mikamoto
I didn't bother translating the writing/storyboarding/directing credits for every episode for one because it would have cluttered up the credits and for two because, for the most part, there isn't that noticeable a difference from episode to episode in terms of the directing. Yasumi Mikamoto is one of the few directors on the show who did seem to elevate the directing to a slightly higher level. His episodes are often tighter and better balanced. Episodes 116, 137 and 148 are good examples of Mikamoto's directing.