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« Kizuna IchigekiChris Robinson's Japanese Animation: Time Out Of Mind »

‹ Wednesday, November 2, 2011 ›

05:31:00 pm , 5691 words, 9180 views     Categories: Animation, TV, Lupin III, Telecom

The animation of the second Lupin III TV series

The second Lupin III TV series ran from October 3, 1977 to October 6, 1980 - a tremendous run of 155 episodes in 3 years. It can be hard to know where to dig into such a long show to find the quality episodes if you don't have time to sit through all 155 episodes, so I thought I'd provide a guide to the animation of the second Lupin III TV series. (this is an updated version of this old post)

Essentially, the animation of this show was provided mainly by four studios: Tokyo Movie Shinsha, Oh Production, Telecom, and Topcraft. There may have been some freelance staff or other misc studios involved.

Tokyo Movie Shinsha was the main studio producing the show; the others were subcontractors, although Telecom was closely affiliated with TMS, having been formed just prior to the start of this show by the owner of TMS as a branch of TMS. You can pretty much tell which episode is done by which studio by looking at the names in the key animation credits, to say nothing of the animation, which differs dramatically depending on the animator and studio. Here's a basic breakdown of which animators belonged to which studio.

Animators of the four main Lupin III Part 2 studios

Tokyo Movie: Junzaburo Takahata, Yokoyama Hiromi, Koichi Maruyama, Hitoshi Oda, Masayoshi Arai, Sachiko Kodama, Toyoaki Emura, and others.

Oh Pro: Koshin Yonekawa, Tomonaga Kazuhide, Tsukasa Tannai, Kenichi Okamoto, Higashi Numajiri, Toshio Yamauchi, and Joji Manabe.

Telecom: Koichi Maruyama, Atsuko Tanaka, Michihata Yoshinobu, Nobuo Tomizawa, Yoko Tsukada, Keiko Hara, Yasunao Aoki, Tomonaga Kazuhide, Toshio Yamauchi, Masako Shinohara, and others.

Topcraft: Kazuyuki Kobayashi, Hidemi Kubo, Masahiro Yoshida, Hidekazu Ohara, and Mitsuru Hosotani.

Basically the episodes to really seek out are the Oh Pro episodes with Kazuhide Tomonaga, the Telecom episodes, and the Yuzo Aoki episodes. I've also heard that Junzaburo Takahata did a lot of good work on the show, though I haven't explored his episodes yet. Here's a short overview of some nice bits in each group.

Lupin III Part 2 Oh Pro episodes

EpisodeKey animators
#4: ネッシーの唄が聞こえる
I can hear Nessie's song
Koshin Yonekawa, Kenichi Okamoto, Kazuhide Tomonaga
#8: ベネチア超特急
Venice super-express
Koshin Yonekawa, Kenichi Okamoto, Kazuhide Tomonaga
#13: サンフランシスコ大追跡
Great chase in San Francisco
Tsukasa Tannai
#14: カリブ海の大冒険
Adventure on the Carib sea
Kazuhide Tomonaga
#16: 二つの顔のルパン
The two faces of Lupin
Tannai Tsukasa
#20: 追いつめられたルパン
Lupin cornered
Kazuhide Tomonaga, Kenichi Okamoto
#25: 必殺鉄トカゲ見参
The killer iron lizards
Kazuhide Tomonaga, Kenichi Okamoto
#31: 白夜に向かって撃て
Shoot into the dark of the night
Kazuhide Tomonaga, Tsukasa Tannai, Kenichi Okamoto
#37: ジンギスカンの埋蔵金
Genghis Khan's buried treasure
Tannai Tsukasa, Kenichi Okamoto, Numajiri Higashi
#41: かぐや姫の宝を探せ
Find the treasure of Kaguya Hime
Tannai Tsukasa, Kenichi Okamoto, Numajiri Higashi
#45: 殺しはワインの匂い
Killing smells like wine (Yuzo Aoki storyboard)
Tannai Tsukasa, Kenichi Okamoto, Numajiri Higashi
#55: 花吹雪 謎の五人衆(前篇)
Snowstorm: The mysterious five (1/2)
Tannai Tsukasa, Kenichi Okamoto, Numajiri Higashi
#63: 罠には罠を!
A trap for a trap!
Tsukasa Tannai, Kazuhide Tomonaga, Higashi Numajiri, Toshio Yamauchi, Kenichi Okamoto
#67: ルパンの大西遊記
Lupin's great journey to the west
Tsukasa Tannai, Higashi Numajiri, Kenichi Okamoto, Toshio Yamauchi
#71: ルパン対新選組
Lupin vs. the New Shinsengumi
Tsukasa Tannai, Higashi Numajiri, Kenichi Okamoto, Toshio Yamauchi
#92: マダムと泥棒四重奏
Quartet for madam and thief
Toshio Yamauchi, Higashi Numajiri, Kenichi Okamoto, Kazuhide Tomonaga, Joji Manabe
#98: 父っつあんのいない日
A day without pops
Toshio Yamauchi, Higashi Numajiri, Kenichi Okamoto, Kazuhide Tomonaga, Joji Manabe

I wrote about Koshin Yonekawa and Murata Koichi's studio Oh Pro before. Oh Pro was heavily involved in the first half of the second Lupin III series as an animation subcontractor. There was one particular animator who was working at Oh Pro at the time who stood out from the pack. His presence made the Oh Pro episodes something to look forward to when they rolled around: Kazuhide Tomonaga.

Kazuhide Tomonaga: Oh Pro's rising star

Kazuhide Tomonaga was unmistakably the most flamboyant and exciting animator to work on the second Lupin III series. He did a large amount of animation on the show from Oh Production between episodes 4 and 98, virtually all of it very distinct and thrilling to watch. After a gap of a few dozen episodes he then returned with a little bit of work in the last few Telecom episodes. The Oh Pro episodes to look for are the ones with him in the credits.

Kazuhide Tomonaga is best known as the animator who created convincing animation of spaceships flying realistically in the original Yamato series as well as other Toei robot shows. He created the lavishly animated catastrophe scenes in Galaxy Express 999 movie. He was one of the pioneers of more realistic mecha and effects animation. Toshiyuki Inoue is among the many animators influenced by him. Yoshinori Kanada and Kazuhide Tomonaga were, surprisingly, kindred spirits in the 70s. They had a friendly rivalry going. The climactic catastrophe scene in the Galaxy Express 999 movie sees them doing a tag-team of incredible animation as one animates one shot and the other then animates the next shot, etc.

As if it weren't enough that he influenced many of his compatriots, he went on to do a lot of work in foreign co-productions like Winnie the Pooh, Batman, Animaniacs, Superman, etc. that was widely hailed in the west. A few years ago he returned to a Telecom TV show and did animation on Tide-Line Blue under the late Iida Umanosuke. He continues to be very active as an animator, although he is no longer the wild animator he once was. His early work is particularly delightful to re-visit because it is so playful and free and full of youthful vitality.

Tomonaga's work in this show reveals a side of him that might not be as well known. He creates hilarious and exciting character animation full of inventive posing. He uses very quick timing to pack short moves full of fun postures that make the movement exciting to watch and revealing to step through in slo-mo. At other times he creates minutely precise realistic mecha and effects animation that seems to foreshadow what would come in things like the Nemo pilot. He is one of those people like Yasuo Otsuka who has movement in his blood, who was born to be an animator.

Kazuhide Tomonaga episode highlights

Tomonaga did one solo episode in the show: episode 14. It's pretty low-key most of the time, but there are little bits here and there where the animation suddenly zips to life. He creates quick movements that are full of fun drawings and poses that pass by very quickly. The movements are fun to watch, and even more fun to step through in slo-mo to appreciate all the drawings he's packed in. Choice moments include the policeman choking on his cigar pictured below, the scene in the airport, Zenigata kicking down the door and trying to grab Lupin, Zenigata running into the cave entrance wall, and Lupin falling into the trap.

Incidentally, when Zenigata bangs his fist on the table and causes the policeman to choke on his cigar, his hand lands next to an inkpot labelled "OH". Why would a policeman have an ink pot on his desk? And why is it labelled "OH"? It's another little in-joke like the one pictured above. (The one pictured above is from episode 25.)

Episode 20 has a lot of funny drawings of the German soldiers and the Fuhrer character, but there isn't one particular section that screams out Tomonaga like in some of the other episodes. His work seems to peek through here and there. The shot where the soldiers attack the dummy Fujiko and Lupin is particularly nice, though I'm not exactly sure it's by Tomonaga. The timing of the animation where Zenigata hits the water after he's thrown out of the window by Lupin and Fujiko is great - he stops dead for a moment when he hits the surface, and only after a second slowly sinks down. Another nice part is the Charlie Chaplin Dictator homage sequence where the Fuhrer dances with the globe but winds up getting smacked in the face with it and knocked off the table. Tomonaga also may have done some of the tank action and explosions in the second half.

Episode 25 is also pretty low-key in terms of the animation, but there are still little bits here and there in the first half that have a nice feeling, like the part where the officer announces that Lupin has escaped. The part obviously screaming Tomonaga comes in the second half with some very nice animation of a boat. In particular, the shot of the boat jumping over the missiles chasing it shows off Tomonaga's genius for very quick timing the likes of which few people this side of Toshiyuki Inoue can achieve.

The dogfight in the next Tomonaga episode, episode 31, is another great mecha action sequence like the boat sequence that shows off Tomonaga's skill at very detailed and realistic animation. One shot in particular where a plane gets shot is amazing in the perfect timing of the animation. These two shows make you realize why Tomonaga was such an influence on people as a mecha/effects animator in the 1970s. He was one of the first people in Japan in the modern age to draw such detailed and realistic animation that at the same time was incredibly exciting to watch.

Tomonaga also seems to have done little bits here and there throughout the episode, such as the still shots of the vikings and the delightfully ludicrous animation of Zenigata riding the torpedo at the end of episode 31. There seem to be two animators in Tomonaga: an animator who creates crazy character antics full of hilarious poses, sort of in the vein of Yoshinori Kanada but more fluid and thought-through rather than pose-to-pose, and an animator who creates realistic effects and mecha animation. Kanada himself was also known for both his character and FX animation.

There are lots of other nice Tomonaga bits buried here and there in the Oh Pro episodes, but I won't go into too much detail save to mention that episode 8 has a considerable amount of good early Tomonaga character animation work, and the musical sequence at the very end of episode 63 is short but sweet.

Lupin III Part 2 Telecom episodes

EpisodeKey animators
#72: スケートボード殺人事件
The skateboard murder mystery
Yoko Saeki, Miwako Takagi Masami Ozaki, Keiko Shimazu, Atsuko Tanabe, Harumi Shibata
#77: 星占いでルパンを逮捕
Arrest Lupin using horoscope
Koichi Maruyama, Atsuko Tanaka, Keiko Hara, Yoko Tsukada, Yoshinobu Michihata
#82: 最後の差し入れはカップラーメン
I'll have cup ramen for my last meal
Tsukasa Tannai, Koichi Maruyama, Keiko Hara, Yoshinobu Michihata, Toshiyuki Biruma
#84: 復讐はルパンにまかせろ
Leave revenge to Lupin
Nobuo Tomizawa, Atsuko Tanaka, Yoko Tsukada, Yoshihiro Shida, Miwako Takagi
#99: 荒野に散ったコンバット・マグナム
Combat magnum scattered in the field
Nobuo Tomizawa, Koichi Maruyama, Atsuko Tanaka, Keiko Hara, Yoko Tsukada, Yoshinobu Michihata
#105: 怪奇鬼首島に女が消えた
A woman disappears on eerie Demon Head island
Yoshinobu Michihata, Yoko Tsukada, Toshiyuki Biruma, Yasunao Aoki, Yayoi Kobayashi
#143: マイアミ銀行襲撃記念日
Miami bank heist memorial
Nobuo Tomizawa, Koichi Maruyama, Kazuhide Tomonaga, Yayoi Kobayashi
#145: 死の翼アルバトロス
Albatross, wings of death
Nobuo Tomizawa, Koichi Maruyama, Eiko Hara, Junko Tsutsumi, Yayoi Kobayashi
#151: ルパン逮捕ハイウェイ作戦
Arrest Lupin Highway Plan
Kazuhide Tomonaga, Yoshinobu Michihata, Eiko Hara, Ryoko Kashiwada
#153: 神様のくれた札束
The god-given bills
Nobuo Tomizawa, Atsuko Tanaka, Masako Shinohara, Junko Tsutsumi
#155: さらば愛しきルパンよ
Farewell, dear Lupin
Kazuhide Tomonaga, Toshio Yamauchi, Yoshinobu Michihata, Masako Shinohara, Atsuko Tanaka, Ryoko Kashiwada

The best known of the Telecom episodes are the two late episodes directed by Miyazaki under the pen name "Terekomu" or Telecom: 145 and 155. These are indeed the crowning jewels of the show, but prior to these episodes Telecom produced some of the finest episodes in the show. Pretty much every Telecom episode is worth seeking out.

Background about Telecom's involvement

If you noticed some overlap between the animators of TMS, Oh Pro and Telecom, it's because there was a gradual migration of animator staff from TMS and Oh Pro (and Nippon Animation) to Telecom over the course of 1979 when Telecom started to work on the TV show. The reason why is because Telecom didn't have any good staff.

Telecom had been formed not long before, and when Yasuo Otuska arrived at Telecom at TMS head Yutaka Fujioka's invitation after finishing his work on Hayao Miyazaki's Conan to train the animators, he found that the 40 or so newly hired (amateur) animators were essentially useless. They'd been working on the Mamo movie until December 1978, when the movie was released, but they had made life a living hell for animation directors Yuzo Aoki and Yoshio Kabashima.

Otsuka decided the best way to train them in short order was not to give them lectures about animation, but to set them to work on an actual TV production. So he chose 6 of the animators and set them to the task of animating episode 72. The results were so execrable that Otsuka had to redraw most of the animation himself, and he maintains that it is the worst piece of animation he ever worked on in his career.

Obviously not wanting a repeat of that, Otsuka started to bring in outside staff one by one to bring up the level of things. (Incidentally, the six animators of that episode never show up in the credit rolls again.) The first of those were Atsuko Tanaka and Keiko Hara, who had left Shin-Ei for Telecom just prior to Otsuka's arrival. Koichi Maruyama, who had been working mostly alongside Junzaburo Takahata on the TMS episodes, appears in the Telecom episodes from this point onwards, though I don't know whether he was officially Telecom or worked from TMS. This team did their first Lupin work for Telecom on for episode 77.

More staff came in with each new episode, raising the quality gradually with each episode: Tannai Tsukasa joined from Oh Pro in episode 82. Toshio Yamauchi joined from Oh Pro later after first working on Cagliostro. Nobuo Tomizawa joined from Nippon Animation in episode 84. Nobuo Tomizawa had worked on almost every episode of Miyazaki's Conan alongside Masako Shinohara. Masako Shinohara stayed on to work on Takahata's Anne before finally also leaving for Telecom to work on Miyazaki's Cagliostro. She then worked on two of the remaining Telecom Lupin episodes.

The first six Telecom episodes (72, 77, 82, 84, 99, 105) were animated between January and June 1977 and aired between March and October 1977. After this there's a gap of several dozen episodes without any Telecom episodes as the team switched to animating the Cagliostro movie that had gotten OKed 3 days after the release of Mamo.

For Cagliostro, Otsuka set his best Telecom animators to the task of animating the movie. Kazuhide Tomonaga temporarily left Oh Pro to work on the film. Tomonaga had presumably caught the eye of Otsuka due to the remarkable work Tomonaga had done on the series from Oh Pro up until that point. Tomonaga wound up staying and he worked on the remaining Telecom episodes. By this time all the big animator stars of Telecom were there: Atsuko Tanaka, Kazuhide Tomonaga, Toshio Yamauchi, Michihata Yoshinobu, Masako Shinohara. These are the folks who make the late Telecom episodes so impressive.

Cagliostro was animated between July and October 1979 and released in December 1979. Afterwards the staff immediately set to work on more Lupin episodes. The Telecom episodes that follow the work on Cagliostro are heavily influenced by Miyazaki's work on the film in terms of the drawings, acting, layouts, and directing. Miyazaki himself returned to direct two of these episodes.

Telecom episode animation highlights

Most of the Telecom episodes are must-see in terms of the animation, though they get better towards the end, reaching a peak in the two Miyazaki-directed episodes. If you liked Cagliostro and Plot of the Fuma Clan and are clamoring to see more Telecom goodness, this is the place you want to be.

Thought it might not seem apparent from the finished product, episode 72 was nothing short of a disaster in Yasuo Otsuka's book. But honestly, it doesn't look that bad. It's clearly rough around the edges and the movement is lacking and ill-developed, because for one the great animators hadn't arrived at Telecom yet, and Otsuka had his hands full bringing the drawings up to par. But this episode is nonetheless a delight to watch because most of the drawings are Otsuka's. Episode 72 features the most Otsuka drawings in the whole series. In other episodes Otsuka helped out with the mecha like the cars and guns, but in this episode he did actual drawing correction. The ineptness of the animators of this episode may have been a burden to Otsuka, but it leaves us with one more episode of Otsuka drawings to savor. Otsuka had just finished working on Conan, and a lot of this episode looks like it could have come straight out of Conan. The Colombo-styled kid detective even looks like Conan and is voiced by the same voice-actor, adding to the impression.

Episode 77 features the first animation in Lupin by Atsuko Tanaka. Tanaka didn't have much experience by the time she worked on the Telecom episodes of Lupin, and she didn't work on nearly as many episodes as Tomonaga did - she only worked on 77, 84, 99, 153 and 155. I suspect she did part where Goemon tries to slice Lupin up in the second half of episode 77. It's short but sweet. You can sense that whoever did it, if it was her, has an instinct for animated movement.

Episode 84 features some animation by Atsuko Tanaka, but it's not an exciting action scene. The scenes with Zenigata guarding the jewel and falling asleep in episode 84 have a lot of fun facial expressions presumably by Atsuko Tanaka. If they're not by her, I don't know who could have done them. Yoshinobu Michihata turned into a great animator, but I don't know if he was drawing this kind of thing back then.

Episode 99 is probably the best of the six early Telecom episodes, the ones done before Cagliostro. The reason is partly because it's storyboarded and directed by Shigetsugu Yoshida, who would be the assistant director of Cagliostro and direct two of the post-Cagliostro episodes. The highlight of the episode is the closing scene where Jigen runs around collecting and re-assembling the pieces of his magnum while being fired upon by the baddie. It's one of the most exciting sequences in the series thanks to the fast-paced animation, quick cutting and the way Jigen is carefully depicted assembling each piece of the magnum back together. This section may have been animated by Nobuo Tomizawa. It's got a great feeling of tensions as an action scene should have. The Luger the baddie is firing is realistically rendered with equally maniacal detail, down to the unique toggle-joint action of the Luger.

After then doing episode 105, the Telecom team set to work on Cagliostro. The first episode of the TV series they did after coming back was episode 143, which is a neglected minor masterpiece of slapstick Telecom comedy action. It's got a great combination of writer-storyboarder-director-animation the likes of which only came around once in the series. It's scripted by Yoshio Urasawa, storyboarded by Yuzo Aoki, directed by Shigetsugu Yoshida, and animated by Telecom. More gag action masterpieces might have been born if this team worked together a few more times. It's funny how in the late Telecom episodes Fujiko looks and behaves completely differently; she's not the sexy backstabber of the rest of the show, she's just another member of the gang.

Most of all, it just moves like crazy. The first half of the episode alone feels like it used more animation drawings than most TV episodes. The Telecom episodes typically used more than 7000 drawings per episode. This episode in particular feels like it's moving all the time, and the movement is all interesting. The opening scene at the bank is hilarious, with the way something breaks unexpectedly every once in a while. The underwater chase with Zenigata on the beach is full of lively movement. And the rumpus in the bank in the second half is full of crazy animation. As is typical with Yuzo Aoki's storyboards, you have a scene that makes great use of space, with the people flying around, giving the animator freedom to have fun and pack the scene with lots of silly antics.

Kazuhide Tomonaga is involved, but pretty much all of the animation in the episode is fun and lively. I think the credits in the late Telecom episodes are listed in the order, rather than as usual by the amount of animation drawn, because of the way Telecom assigned their animation - each person had a big chunk of 50 or so shots. So you have one big section by Nobuo Tomizawa, followed by a big section by Koichi Maruyama, etc. Accordingly, and judging by the style, Tomonaga probably did the part in the bank where the money flies all over the place. You can identify him from the wild drawings of the faces and the hands, which look like the fingers are growing straight out of the wrist.

Episode 151 is an exciting episode full of great Telecom car chases and fine attention to detail in the directing and the acting. This episode feels very different from all the Lupin episodes that came before because the characters do things not dictated by the story. For example the way Lupin walks over to the pickup truck while waiting for Jigen to get it started and idly pokes it. The directing is just more convincing, the characters feel more alive and real. Unlike before, all of the animation in the episode has a nice feeling, be in the acting or the staging, even the quiet scenes. All of the staff had clearly been invigorated and inspired by the experience of working under Miyazaki, most notably the storyboarder and director, Shigetsugu Yoshida.

Tomonaga's section in the episode is a real delight. After Tomonaga worked on Cagliostro on the opening car chase sequence where the car famously climbs the cliff, and he somehow manages to make it look almost plausible thanks to his incredible animation, in episode 151 Tomonaga drew a kind of encore to this sequence, with a Lupin driving full-bore through fields, a river, over cliffs, etc. Tomonaga had this weird habit of drawing the humans really big in comparison with the vehicles. He did the same in Cagliostro, but it's more extreme here. Jigen and Lupin look like they barely fit into the car. The sequence where the car leaps over the cliff in particular is pure genius and one of my favorite Tomonaga bits.

You can also see little Yasuo Otsuka touches in this episode here and there, notably the loving detail lavished on the vehicles like the Fiat that Lupin drives and the old pickup truck that Jigen picks up. Anyone else would have drawn some generic pickup, but Otsuka, historical car buff that he is, took it as an opportunity to draw one of his favorite cars, the Bedford QLT military tractor-trailer.

Looking different from the rest of the show is something that can be said about all of the Telecom episodes, especially the Miyazaki-influenced later ones. The reason is supposedly that Otsuka requested that the show's animation directors not touch the Telecom episodes. I've heard rumors that the TV station airing the show even refused a few of the Telecom episodes at first when they saw them due to how different they looked before finally relenting, though I'm not sure if that's true or not. Shots like this from episode 151 could have come straight out of Cagliostro:

Episode 153 is the last of the four Telecom Lupin episodes storyboarded and directed by Shigetsugu Yoshida (82, 99, 151, 153). Where episode 143 is slapstick comedy and episode 151 is action, episode 153 is a more drama-oriented episode. It's not dramatic in the sense of high-drama. It's just more leisurely and low-key, without a big action scene or wild antics. The acting style of the characters feels close to the feeling of Miyazaki's interpretation of Lupin.

Attention to detail is one thing about this episode that makes it enjoyable to watch despite the fact that it's actually a little slow and tedious compared with the other more action-packed Telecom episodes. The beautiful backgrounds and gentle pacing make it one of the most watchable Lupin episodes. There's the way the money is all realistically depicted as different currencies, the way when the armored car is lifted by the helicopter the wheels shift down subtly as the weight of the car is taken off the wheels. Then there's the little things the characters do that are unrelated to the story or script that make them seem like living people, and make the scene fun to watch by filling it various behavior at all moments. For example, the way Goemon swats a mosquito as he's waiting, or the way Lupin tosses back popcorn and then looks at the empty bag, blows it up and pops it while he's talking to Jigen.

If you noticed the way the highlights in Lupin's eyes swish around in a circle once while he's giving the faux inspirational speech about building a church, that was something that was invented around this time. It's come to be a stock action in a lot of anime when a character is experiencing strong emotions. Tetsuya Takeuchi took it to the extreme in his Honey and Clover episode where the highlights swirl around like a whirlpool.

The animation highlight is the acting of Zenigata in the first half after he's given the laxative. There are a lot of really great expressions there. The animators do a great job of capturing Zenigata's anguish. For example, when he gets a sudden urge to go while talking to his superior, he doesn't just turn around and walk out the door, he bolts for the door, first smashes flat into it out of excess eagerness to get through the door before he's finally able to unlatch the bolt, and then he flies out. Telecom's animators were great at making their characters act out their feelings like this in a way that is fun to watch as animation.

Episode 145 and episode 155 were the two episodes directed by Hayao Miyazaki. I recommend watching these after you've watched everything else, because otherwise you'll be disappointed with everything else. These episodes did indeed set a new gold standard for the quality of a TV episode, which was perhaps only met by Miyazaki's own episodes of Sherlock Hound a few years later.

I won't bother describing these, as they're the two episodes of the second Lupin TV series that everybody has seen, but I'll just point out which spots were done by two of the star animators, Atsuko Tanaka and Kazuhide Tomonaga.

Episode 145 begins with the memorable sequence of the Lupin gang peacefully eating some sukiyaki when they're rudely interrupted by a passing gunfight. After doing the spaghetti scene in Cagliostro, Miyazaki decided that Atsuko Tanaka was his animator for eating scenes. He had her animate the sukiyaki scene at the beginning of episode 145, though for some reason she isn't credited. A few years later in the Jarinko Chie movie Takahata used her to animate the scene were the okonomiyaki cook starts sobbing while he's cooking and winds up dripping snot all over the okonomiyaki, which his unwitting customer scarfs down with gusto. In the climactic last episode, 155, in contrast, Tanaka animated the scene where the Lupin gang faces down their imitators.

Tomonaga Kazuhide seems to have been the one who animated the mid-air battle and Fujiko's fight in episode 145, even though he, too, isn't credited. In episode 155 he animated the scene at the beginning of the episode where the tank goes on a rampage in the middle of town chasing down the flying contraption. Both are among Tomonaga's best. It's baffling why both Tanaka and Tomonaga weren't credited in 145 even though they contributed some of the episode's best animation. Masako Shinohara also supposedly did uncredited work in episode 145.

Lupin III Part 2 Yuzo Aoki episodes

EpisodeKey animators
#20: 追いつめられたルパン
Lupin cornered
Uncredited key animation?
#30: モロッコの風は熱く
The wind in Morocco is hot
Key animation (first half)
#35: ゴリラギャングを追っかけろ
Chase after the gorilla gang
Key animation (second half)
#45: 殺しはワインの匂い
Killing smells like wine
Storyboard
#50: 私が愛したルパン(前編)
The Lupin I loved (1/2)
Storyboard
#51: 私が愛したルパン(後編)
The Lupin I loved (2/2)
Storyboard
#57: コンピューターかルパンか
Lupin or the computer?
Storyboard
#69: とっつあんの惚れた女
The woman pops fell for
Key animation (second half)
#74: 恐怖のカメレオン人間
The terror of the chameleon people
Key animation (only a little)
#78: ロボットの瞳にダイヤが光る
When diamonds sparkle in the robot's eyes
Storyboard
#96 ルパンのお料理天国
Lupin's cooking heaven
Key animation (second half)
#106: 君はネコぼくはカツオ節
You're a cat, I'm a dried fish
Storyboard
#107: 結婚指輪は呪いの罠
The wedding ring is a cursed trap
Storyboard
#117: チューインガム変装作戦
Chewing gum disguise plan
Storyboard
#124: 1999年ポップコーンの旅 1999
A Popcorn Odyssey
Storyboard
#128: 老婆とルパンの泥棒合戦
Thieving contest between Lupin and the old lady
Storyboard
#129: 次元に男心の優しさを見た
Jigen has a kind heart
Storyboard
#134: ルパン逮捕頂上作戦
Plan to arrest Lupin at the summit
Storyboard
#138: ポンペイの秘宝と毒蛇
Bombay's hidden treasure and poisonous snake
Storyboard
#143: マイアミ銀行襲撃記念日
Miami bank heist memorial
Storyboard
#146: ルパン華麗なる敗北
Lupin's lovely defeat
Storyboard
#149: ベールをはいだメッカの秘宝
Unveiling Mecca's hidden treasure
Storyboard

Yuzo Aoki the animator

Yuzo Aoki stands out in stark contrast from the style of the Telecom episodes. Aoki's work is highly stylized, abstract and cartoonish compared with the fluid action and sleek dramaturgy of the Telecom episodes. He uses a minimum of drawings to achieve his impact, rather than relying on fluid animation like Telecom, creating sometimes jarringly spare animation. Aoki is at his best when creating bizarre angular poses. He creates an irresistible rhythm with his strange, stuttering timing. His physical forms are angular, full of straight lines and unexpected symmetries. His layouts are also quite appealing and formalistic rather than naturalistic. He's one of the great representatives of the A Pro school, obviously strongly influenced by his mentor Tsutomu Shibayama, who created the highly stylized designs of the characters in Ganso Tensai Bakabon. As it happens, in a telling coincidence, Ganso Tensai Bakabon just happens to have been the show that preceded the second Lupin III series, which took over in exactly the same time slot on the same TV station, NTV.

Here are some of the best Aoki episodes. He supposedly drew episode 30 all by himself, but I think he only did the first half. The first half has a lot of great drawings of the Gadaffi lookalike and his mercenaries. The car chase at beginning of second half of episode 35 has some great layouts. The scene in the barn in the second half of episode 69 is one of his best scenes in the show. Everything about it is great - the drawings, the timing, the way the story ties into the animation. Classic Aoki. He drew some of the funny poses of the Lupin gang pretending they drank the poisoned water in the second half of episode 74. And he drew a lot of fun drawings of the crazy banquetgoers who want to eat Lupin in the second half of episode 96, which ends with a pie fight straight out of the Three Stooges.

Aoki also appears to have done little bits of animation uncredited here and there to help fill in the gaps. For example, the part in episode 20 after Lupin fishes the wig off the Fuhrer character during his speech where the Fuhrer hides under his podium and the soldiers shoot down the helicopter feels very much like Aoki.

Yuzo Aoki the storyboarder

Those are all episodes where you can sample Aoki's drawings. But Aoki's work in the latter half of the show is mostly storyboards. He did draw some uncredited animation here and there, but for the most part it's not quite as easy to sniff out the Aoki character in these episodes. What they do have in common is that they usually provide for a lot of crazy animation making extensive use of lots of character animation and physical space.

The aforementioned episode 99 was a Yoshio Urazawa script; his scripts are usually totally outlandish. There are several other Aoki-Urasawa pairings (78, 106, 117, 124, 128, 138, 143), and they're mostly all crazy slapstick episodes like this. The best one is undoubtedly 78, which features animation by Yoshio Kabashima. One of the craziest is episode 124, which features an inventor who invents a popcorn machine that launches itself into orbit. The animation by Topcraft is very active and exuberant, if sloppy and not particularly exciting per se. My mouth was agape at the insanity of what I was seeing during the secenes where the popcorn machine went out of control and rocketed into the sky, and where the popcorn machine goes berserk at the end, filling the building with popcorn. The music in this episode is also unique. They abruptly stick in clips from famous classical pieces at certain spots in a way that does a great job of heightening the absurdity of the whole situation.

Aoki Yuzo also storyboarded, directed and animated the fourth opening, which is a good place to get a starting sense of how to identify his style, with the interesting timing and more stylized forms. It's a big contrast with the much more fluid and movemented animation in the previous opening where Lupin jumps into the car and the camera does a 360 around his head. Aoki's opening is all about interesting forms and colors. It's stylized rather than realistic, with retro colors and shapes and a playful atmosphere. The shape of Goemon's oni mask is deliciously Aoki, as is the very squared shape of his body. Aoki's characters often have a very squared, blocky or angular appearance. I love the extremely limited timing and flat form of the car bomb explosion at the beginning.

Yuzo Aoki's roots with Lupin go deep. He was the animator of the very first scene in the first Lupin III series, the racing scene. At the age of 19 he was called a genius by Yasuo Otsuka, who remarks that Aoki was the only person other than himself able to draw Lupin's car in the show, the Mercedes Benz SSK. Prior to the second TV series Aoki was an animation director of the Mamo film alongside Yoshio Kabashima, helping to give that film its unique look with his lanky character drawings. Aoki went on to be heavily involved in the third Lupin III TV series aired 1984-1985. He set the tone for the show by bringing the characters closer to the original Monkey Punch designs than they'd ever been or ever would be again. He was also the character designer, animation director and storyboarder of the Babylon film produced as a companion-piece to the third TV series. He's one of the few people who were deeply involved in every one of the canonical early Lupin III productions.

Here's a selection of images from these episodes to give a sense of Aoki's visual style.


Lupin III Part 2 full key animator listing

Color codes: Oh Pro, Telecom, Yuzo Aoki


1横山広実
Hiromi Yokoyama
児玉兼嗣
Kenji Kodama
丸山晃一
Koichi Maruyama
高畑順三郎
Junzaburo Takahata
2田中享
Atsushi[?] Tanaka



3山崎猛
Takeshi Yamazaki
大宅幸男
Yukio Ohyake
一川孝久
Takahisa Ichikawa

4米川功真
Koshin Yonekawa
岡本健一
Kenichi Okamoto
友永和秀
Kazuhide Tomonaga

5児玉兼嗣
Kenji Kodama
小田仁
Hitoshi Oda
丸山晃一
Koichi Maruyama

6横山広実
Hiromi Yokoyama
高畑順三郎
Junzaburo Takahata


7朝倉隆
Takashi Asakura
伊藤誠
Makoto Ito


8米川功真
Koshin Yonekawa
岡本健一
Kenichi Okamoto
友永和秀
Kazuhide Tomonaga

9朝倉隆
Takashi Asakura
伊藤誠
Makoto Ito


10山崎猛
Takeshi Yamazaki
大宅幸男
Yukio Ohyake
一川孝久
Takahisa Ichikawa

11児玉兼嗣
Kenji Kodama
小田仁
Hitoshi Oda
丸山晃一
Koichi Maruyama

12横山広実
Hiromi Yokoyama
高畑順三郎
Junzaburo Takahata


13丹内司
Tsukasa Tannai



14友永和秀
Kazuhide Tomonaga



15佐々木正広
Masahiro Sasaki
辻初樹
Hatsuki Tsuji


16丹内司
Tsukasa Tannai



17横山広実
Hiromi Yokoyama
高畑順三郎
Junzaburo Takahata
小田仁
Hitoshi Oda
丸山晃一
Koichi Maruyama
18野沢和夫
Kazuo Nozawa
雨宮英雄
Hideo Amemiya
春山行雄
Yukio Haruyama

19佐々木正広
Masahiro Sasaki
辻初樹
Hatsuki Tsuji


20友永和秀
Kazuhide Tomonaga
岡本健一
Kenichi Okamoto


21山崎猛
Takeshi Yamazaki



22横山広実
Hiromi Yokoyama
高畑順三郎
Junzaburo Takahata
小田仁
Hitoshi Oda
丸山晃一
Koichi Maruyama
23佐々木正広
Masahiro Sasaki
辻初樹
Hatsuki Tsuji


24小林一幸
Kazuyuki Kobayashi
河田章子
Shoko Kawada


25友永和秀
Kazuhide Tomonaga
岡本健一
Kenichi Okamoto


26横山広実
Hiromi Yokoyama
高畑順三郎
Junzaburo Takahata
小田仁
Hitoshi Oda

27佐々木正広
Masahiro Sasaki
辻初樹
Hatsuki Tsuji


28井口忠一
Chuichi Iguchi
田辺由憲
Yoshinori Tanabe


29小林一幸
Kazuyuki Kobayashi
吉田正広
Masahiro Yoshida


30青木悠三
Yuzo Aoki
31友永和秀
Kazuhide Tomonaga
丹内司
Tsukasa Tannai
岡本健一
Kenichi Okamoto

32横山広実
Hiromi Yokoyama
高畑順三郎
Junzaburo Takahata
小田仁
Hitoshi Oda
丸山晃一
Koichi Maruyama
33佐々木正広
Masahiro Sasaki
辻初樹
Hatsuki Tsuji


34小林一幸
Kazuyuki Kobayashi
野田作樹
Saki Noda
横山準一
Junichi Yokoyama

35青木悠三
Yuzo Aoki
田辺由憲
Yoshinori Tanabe


36横山広実
Hiromi Yokoyama
高畑順三郎
Junzaburo Takahata
小田仁
Hitoshi Oda
丸山晃一
Koichi Maruyama
37丹内司
Tsukasa Tannai
岡本健一
Kenichi Okamoto
沼尻東
Numajiri Higashi

38辻初樹
Hatsuki Tsuji
佐々木正広
Masahiro Sasaki
木下ゆうき
Yuuki Kinoshita

39正延宏三
Kozo Masanobu
野田作樹
Saki Noda


40横山広実
Hiromi Yokoyama
高畑順三郎
Junzaburo Takahata
小田仁
Hitoshi Oda
丸山晃一
Koichi Maruyama
41丹内司
Tsukasa Tannai
岡本健一
Kenichi Okamoto
沼尻東
Numajiri Higashi

42辻初樹
Hatsuki Tsuji
佐々木正広
Masahiro Sasaki
木下ゆうき
Yuuki Kinoshita

43坂井文雄
Fumio Sakai



44正延宏三
Kozo Masanobu
野田作樹
Saki Noda


45丹内司
Tsukasa Tannai
岡本健一
Kenichi Okamoto
沼尻東
Numajiri Higashi

46横山広実
Hiromi Yokoyama
高畑順三郎
Junzaburo Takahata
小田仁
Hitoshi Oda
丸山晃一
Koichi Maruyama
47辻初樹
Hatsuki Tsuji
佐々木正広
Masahiro Sasaki
木下ゆうき
Yuuki Kinoshita

48横山広実
Hiromi Yokoyama
小田仁
Hitoshi Oda
鈴木寿美
Sumi Suzuki
荒井政良志
Masayoshi Arai
49野田作樹
Saki Noda
高倉健夫
Takeo Takakura


50丹内司
Tsukasa Tannai
高畑順三郎
Junzaburo Takahata
小田仁
Hitoshi Oda
丸山晃一
Koichi Maruyama
51辻初樹
Hatsuki Tsuji
佐々木正広
Masahiro Sasaki
木下ゆうき
Yuuki Kinoshita

52横山広実
Hiromi Yokoyama
高畑順三郎
Junzaburo Takahata
松田重治
Shigeharu Matsuda

53横山広実
Hiromi Yokoyama
小田仁
Hitoshi Oda
荒井政良志
Masayoshi Arai

54若原真吾
Shingo Wakahara
池上栄一
Eiichi Ikegami
林弘
Hiroshi Hayashi

55丹内司
Tsukasa Tannai
沼尻東
Numajiri Higashi
岡本健一
Kenichi Okamoto

56辻初樹
Hatsuki Tsuji
佐々木正広
Masahiro Sasaki
木下ゆうき
Yuuki Kinoshita

57若原真吾
Shingo Wakahara
池上栄一
Eiichi Ikegami
林弘
Hiroshi Hayashi

58藤岡正宣
Masanobu Fujioka
沼尻東
Numajiri Higashi


59横山広実
Hiromi Yokoyama
鈴木寿美
Sumi Suzuki
荒井政良志
Masayoshi Arai

60尾形重夫
Shigeo Ogata
児玉幸子
Sachiko Kodama
江村豊秋
Toyoaki Emura

61辻初樹
Hatsuki Tsuji
佐々木正広
Masahiro Sasaki
木下ゆうき
Yuuki Kinoshita

62若原真吾
Shingo Wakahara
池上栄一
Eiichi Ikegami
林弘
Hiroshi Hayashi

63丹内司
Tsukasa Tannai
友永和秀
Kazuhide Tomonaga
沼尻東
Numajiri Higashi
山内昇寿郎
Toshio Yamauchi
岡本健一
Kenichi Okamoto
64高畑順三郎
Junzaburo Takahata
尾形重夫
Shigeo Ogata
荒井政良志
Masayoshi Arai
児玉幸子
Sachiko Kodama
65辻初樹
Hatsuki Tsuji
江村豊秋
Toyoaki Emura
坂巻貞彦
Sadahiko Sakamaki

66横山広実
Hiromi Yokoyama



67丹内司
Tsukasa Tannai
沼尻東
Numajiri Higashi
岡本健一
Kenichi Okamoto
山内昇寿郎
Toshio Yamauchi
68高畑順三郎
Junzaburo Takahata
尾形重夫
Shigeo Ogata
荒井政良志
Masayoshi Arai
児玉幸子
Sachiko Kodama
69青木悠三
Yuzo Aoki
江村豊秋
Toyoaki Emura
坂巻貞彦
Sadahiko Sakamaki

70辻初樹
Hatsuki Tsuji



71丹内司
Tsukasa Tannai
沼尻東
Numajiri Higashi
岡本健一
Kenichi Okamoto
山内昇寿郎
Toshio Yamauchi
72佐伯洋子
Yoko Saeki
高木美和子
Miwako Takagi
尾崎真佐美
Masami Ozaki
島津佳子
Keiko Shimazu
田辺厚子
Atsuko Tanabe
柴田春美
Harumi Shibata
73高畑順三郎
Junzaburo Takahata
児玉幸子
Sachiko Kodama
荒井政良志
Masayoshi Arai
江村豊秋
Toyoaki Emura
74横山広実
Hiromi Yokoyama
尾形重夫
Shigeo Ogata
坂井文雄
Fumio Sakai
青木悠三
Yuzo Aoki
75藤岡正宣
Masanobu Fujioka
佐久間信和
Nobukazu Sakuma
飯山嘉昌
Yoshiaki Iiyama

76辻初樹
Hatsuki Tsuji




77丸山晃一
Koichi Maruyama
田中敦子
Atsuko Tanaka
原恵子
Keiko Hara
塚田洋子
Yoko Tsukada
道籏義宣
Yoshinobu Michihata
78椛島義夫
Yoshio Kabashima
山崎タケル
Takeru Yamazaki
小野隆哉
Takaya Ono
大武正枝
Masae Ohtake
79高畑順三郎
Junzaburo Takahata
児玉幸子
Sachiko Kodama
荒井政良志
Masayoshi Arai
江村豊秋
Toyoaki Emura
80横山広実
Hiromi Yokoyama
尾形重夫
Shigeo Ogata
坂巻貞彦
Sadahiko Sakamaki
大島聡
Satoshi Ohjima
81山内昇寿郎
Toshio Yamauchi
沼尻東
Numajiri Higashi
岡本健一
Kenichi Okamoto

82丹内司
Tsukasa Tannai
丸山晃一
Koichi Maruyama
原恵子
Keiko Hara
道籏義宣
Yoshinobu Michihata
比留間敏之
Toshiyuki Biruma
83辻初樹
Hatsuki Tsuji



84富沢信雄
Nobuo Tomizawa
田中敦子
Atsuko Tanaka
塚田洋子
Yoko Tsukada
志田欣弘
Yoshihiro Shida
高木美和子
Miwako Takagi
85高畑順三郎
Junzaburo Takahata
児玉幸子
Sachiko Kodama
荒井政良志
Masayoshi Arai
江村豊秋
Toyoaki Emura
鈴木寿美
Sumi Suzuki
86山内昇寿郎
Toshio Yamauchi
沼尻東
Numajiri Higashi
岡本健一
Kenichi Okamoto

87横山広実
Hiromi Yokoyama
尾形重夫
Shigeo Ogata
小田仁
Hitoshi Oda
大島聡
Satoshi Ohjima
坂巻貞彦
Sadayoshi Sakamaki
88辻初樹
Hatsuki Tsuji



89高畑順三郎
Junzaburo Takahata
児玉幸子
Sachiko Kodama
荒井政良志
Masayoshi Arai
江村豊秋
Toyoaki Emura
鈴木寿美
Sumi Suzuki
90横山広実
Hiromi Yokoyama
尾形重夫
Shigeo Ogata
小田仁
Hitoshi Oda
大島聡
Satoshi Ohjima
坂巻貞彦
Sadayoshi Sakamaki
91山崎猛
Takeshi Yamazaki
小野隆哉
Takaya Ono
大竹正枝
Masae Ohtake
宮林英子
92山内昇寿郎
Toshio Yamauchi
沼尻東
Numajiri Higashi
岡本健一
Kenichi Okamoto
友永和秀
Kazuhide Tomonaga
真鍋譲二
Joji Manabe
93藤岡正宣
Masanobu Fujioka
佐久間信和
Nobukazu Sakuma
飯山嘉昌
Yoshiaki Iiyama

94辻初樹
Hatsuki Tsuji
野崎温子
Atsuko Nozaki


95高畑順三郎
Junzaburo Takahata
児玉幸子
Sachiko Kodama
荒井政良志
Masayoshi Arai
江村豊秋
Toyoaki Emura
鈴木寿美
Sumi Suzuki
96青木悠三
Yuzo Aoki
坂巻貞彦
Sadahiko Sakamaki


97横山広実
Hiromi Yokoyama
尾形重夫
Shigeo Ogata
小田仁
Hitoshi Oda
大島聡
Satoshi Ohjima
98山内昇寿郎
Toshio Yamauchi
沼尻東
Numajiri Higashi
岡本健一
Kenichi Okamoto
友永和秀
Kazuhide Tomonaga
真鍋譲二
Joji Manabe
99富沢信雄
Nobuo Tomizawa
丸山晃一
Koichi Maruyama
田中敦子
Atsuko Tanaka
原恵子
Keiko Hara
塚田洋子
Yoko Tsukada
道籏義宣
Yoshinobu Michihata
100辻初樹
Hatsuki Tsuji



101高畑順三郎
Junzaburo Takahata



102横山広実
Hiromi Yokoyama



103辻初樹
Hatsuki Tsuji



104若原真吾
Shingo Wakahara
池上栄一
Eiichi Ikegami
林弘
Hiroshi Hayashi
坂巻貞彦
Sadahiko Sakamaki
105道籏義宣
Yoshinobu Michihata
塚田洋子
Yoko Tsukada
比留間敏之
Toshiyuki Biruma
青木康直
Yasunao Aoki
小林弥生
Yayoi Kobayashi
106高畑順三郎
Junzaburo Takahata
児玉幸子
Sachiko Kodama
荒井政良志
Masayoshi Arai
江村豊秋
Toyoaki Emura
鈴木寿美
Sumi Suzuki
107辻初樹
Hatsuki Tsuji
野崎温子
Atsuko Nozaki


108横山広美
Hiromi Yokoyama
尾形重夫
Shigeo Ogata
小田仁
Hitoshi Oda
大島聡
Satoshi Ohjima
109小林一幸
Kazuyuki Kobayashi
窪秀己
Hidemi Kubo
佐々木よし子
Yoshiko Sasaki
吉田正広
Masahiro Yoshida
110高畑順三郎
Junzaburo Takahata
鈴木寿美
Sumi Suzuki
児玉幸子
Sachiko Kodama
江村豊秋
Toyoaki Emura
寺司重幸
Shigeyuki Teratsuka
荒井政良志
Masashi Arai
111坂巻貞彦
Sadahiko Sakamaki
川筋豊
Toyoda Kawasuji


112藤岡正宣
Masanobu Fujioka
佐久間信和
Nobukazu Sakuma
杉山京子
Kyoko Sugiyama
石山しげ子
Shigeko Ishiyama
113辻初樹
Hatsuki Tsuji
野崎温子
Atsuko Nozaki


114小林一幸
Kazuyuki Kobayashi
吉田正広
Masahiro Yoshida
坂田筆男
Fudeo Sakata
金子紀男
Norio Kaneko
115横山広美
Hiromi Yokoyama
小田仁
Hitoshi Oda
大島聡
Satoshi Ohjima

116高畑順三郎
Junzaburo Takahata
児玉幸子
Sachiko Kodama
荒井政良志
Masayoshi Arai
江村豊秋
Toyoaki Emura
鈴木寿美
Sumi Suzuki
117辻初樹
Hatsuki Tsuji
野崎温子
Atsuko Nozaki


118藤岡正宣
Masanobu Fujioka
佐久間信和
Nobukazu Sakuma
杉山京子
Kyoko Sugiyama
石山しげ子
Shigeko Ishiyama
119窪秀己
Hidemi Kubo
小原秀一
Hidekazu Ohara
佐々木よし子
Yoshiko Sasaki
細谷満
Mitsuru Hosotani
120横山広美
Hiromi Yokoyama
小田仁
Hitoshi Oda
大島聡
Satoshi Ohjima
寺司重幸
Satoshi Ohjima
121高畑順三郎
Junzaburo Takahata
児玉幸子
Sachiko Kodama
荒井政良志
Masayoshi Arai
江村豊秋
Toyoaki Emura
鈴木寿美
122小林一幸
Kazuyuki Kobayashi
吉田正広
Masahiro Yoshida
坂田筆男
Fudeo Sakata
金子紀男
Norio Kaneko
123辻初樹
Hatsuki Tsuji
野崎温子
Atsuko Nozaki


124窪秀巳
Hidemi Kubo
吉田忠勝
Tadakatsu Yoshida
小原秀一
Hidekazu Ohara
細谷満
Mitsuru Hosotani
125横山広美
Hiromi Yokoyama
小田仁
Hitoshi Oda
大島聡
Satoshi Ohjima
寺司重幸
Satoshi Ohjima
126高畑順三郎
Junzaburo Takahata
児玉幸子
Sachiko Kodama
荒井政良志
Masayoshi Arai
江村豊秋
Toyoaki Emura
鈴木寿美
Sumi Suzuki
127辻初樹
Hatsuki Tsuji
野崎温子
Atsuko Nozaki


128小林一幸
Kazuyuki Kobayashi
吉田正広
Masahiro Yoshida
金子紀男
Norio Kaneko

129坂巻貞彦
Sadahiko Sakamaki
山内昇寿郎
Toshio Yamauchi
岡本健一
Kenichi Okamoto

130辻初樹
Hatsuki Tsuji
野崎温子
Atsuko Nozaki


131窪秀己
Hidemi Kubo
小原秀一
Hidekazu Ohara
細谷満
Mitsuru Hosotani
佐々木よし子
Yoshiko Sasaki
132横山広美
Hiromi Yokoyama
小田仁
Hitoshi Oda
大島聡
Satoshi Ohjima
寺司重幸
Satoshi Ohjima
133高畑順三郎
Junzaburo Takahata
児玉幸子
Sachiko Kodama
荒井政良志
Masayoshi Arai
江村豊秋
Toyoaki Emura
鈴木寿美
Sumi Suzuki
134小林一幸
Kazuyuki Kobayashi
吉田正宏
Masahiro Yoshida
坂田筆雄
Fudeo Sakata
金子紀男
Norio Kaneko
135藤岡正宣
Masanobu Fujioka
佐久間信計
Nobukazu Sakuma
秋本進
Susumu Akimoto
石山しげ子
Shigeko Ishiyama
136窪秀己
Hidemi Kubo
佐々木よし子
Yoshiko Sasaki
小原秀一
Hidekazu Ohara
細谷満
Mitsuru Hosotani
137辻初樹
Hatsuki Tsuji
野崎温子
Atsuko Nozaki
138横山広美
Hiromi Yokoyama
小田仁
Hitoshi Oda
大島聡
Satoshi Ohjima
寺司重幸
Satoshi Ohjima
139高畑順三郎
Junzaburo Takahata
鈴木寿美
Sumi Suzuki
児玉幸子
Sachiko Kodama
江村豊秋
Toyoaki Emura
140小林一幸
Kazuyuki Kobayashi
吉田正宏
Masahiro Yoshida
坂田筆雄
Fudeo Sakata
金子紀男
Norio Kaneko
141辻初樹
Hatsuki Tsuji
窪秀己
Hidemi Kubo
142藤岡正宣
Masanobu Fujioka
佐久間信計
Nobukazu Sakuma
秋本進
Susumu Akimoto

143富沢信雄
Nobuo Tomizawa
丸山晃一
Koichi Maruyama
友永和秀
Kazuhide Tomonaga
小林弥生
Yayoi Kobayashi
144辻初樹
Hatsuki Tsuji
野本温子
Atsuko Nomoto


145富沢信雄
Nobuo Tomizawa
丸山晃一
Koichi Maruyama
原恵子
Keiko Hara
堤純子
Junko Tsutsumi
小林弥生
Yayoi Kobayashi
146横山広美
Hiromi Yokoyama
小田仁
Hitoshi Oda
大島聡
Satoshi Ohjima
寺司重幸
Satoshi Ohjima
147高畑順三郎
Junzaburo Takahata
鈴木寿美
Sumi Suzuki
児玉幸子
Sachiko Kodama
坂巻貞彦
Sadahiko Sakamaki
148辻初樹
Hatsuki Tsuji
野崎温子
Atsuko Nozaki


149高畑順三郎
Junzaburo Takahata
鈴木寿美
Sumi Suzuki
児玉幸子
Sachiko Kodama
坂巻貞彦
Sadahiko Sakamaki
150横山広美
Hiromi Yokoyama
小田仁
Hitoshi Oda
大島聡
Satoshi Ohjima

151友永和秀
Kazuhide Tomonaga
道籏義宣
Yoshinobu Michihata
原恵子
Keiko Hara
柏田涼子
Ryoko Kashiwada
152知笛愛弓
Ayumi Tomobue
杉山京子
Kyoko Sugiyama
斉藤明美
Akemi Saito
門上洋子
Yoko Kadogami
153富沢信雄
Nobuo Tomizawa
田中敦子
Atsuko Tanaka
篠原征子
Masako Shinohara
堤純子
Junko Tsutsumi
154辻初樹
Hatsuki Tsuji
野崎温子
Atsuko Nozaki


155友永和秀
Kazuhide Tomonaga
山内昇寿郎
Toshio Yamauchi
道籏義宣
Yoshinobu Michihata
篠原征子
Masako Shinohara
田中敦子
Atsuko Tanaka
柏田涼子
Ryoko Kashiwada

Permalink

33 comments

AzureNimbus
AzureNimbus [Member]

Speechless.

11/02/11 @ 23:03
ialda
ialda [Member]

I’m currently in the process of rewatching the first 52 episodes of Shin Lupin before digging into the italian DVD boxes for the remainder of the series for the first time ever (apart for those two episodes you pointed out, of course), and this is exactly the post I wished to read at this point of time.
Thanks you.

And I never knew Topcraft worked on the series, too. It’s fascinating too watch how the same names keep on turning up together.

11/03/11 @ 03:02
Régis
Régis [Visitor]

Last year here in LA, a local channel (18 in the southbay, UTB) broadcast the whole series, subtitled, including all the episodes you talked about. It was the first time I saw those post Cagliostro eps that Telecom and TMS did, and I was just in awe of the quality of the animation, direction, and just fun that these shows had (not including the famous Miyazaki eps.) I really wish someone could license these for streaming somewhere… a lot of old shows have been licensed and are still out there legally available to watch, so it’s a pity that Lupin doesn’t get a second chance, but I digress.

To me the epitome of all the post Cagliostro eps has to be eps 145 - Albatross - every once in a while I watch it again and I try to figure out how there is so much action and excitement in ~30min of animation.

Thanks so much Ben, this is some really great research work!

11/03/11 @ 09:34
neshru
neshru [Member]

This post was such a great idea, Ben. All the recent articles about Lupin really made me want to watch the series again, and now I even know what to look for :)

11/03/11 @ 18:07
aaron_long
aaron_long [Member]

Excellent post, Ben. Your knowledge of this stuff is amazing, thank you so much for sharing it with us. This mega-post was almost overwhelming in its depth and volume (in a good way!). I had to read it twice to make sure I got everything. Now I need to go re-watch some of these episodes.

Regarding the final episode– I agree that visually it’s a highlight, and I certainly appreciate the attempt at doing something other than the usual heist or “stop the villain” plots, but as a conclusion of the series I feel it’s a bit weak, mainly because the real Lupin barely appears in it.

11/04/11 @ 08:47
Cameron Koller
Cameron Koller [Visitor]

I don’t think the last episode should be regarded so much in the context of the show as much as in the context of Miyazaki’s work. After all, he already directed a more satisfying “character” conclusion with the first show, I’d think it rather boring of him to do the same thing again.

Of course, I think the last episode is one of the greatest pieces of television ever, so…

11/04/11 @ 12:59
Ben [Member]  

Azurenimbus:

:)

Ialda:

That’s perfect. I was creating the post exactly for people like you who might be working their way through the show or thinking of doing so. And yes, I was surprised to find that Topcraft was one of the rotation studios. Nobody ever mentions that when they talk about this series. It’s only in looking at the names of the key animators that I realized it. I’ve only looked at one or two of their episodes so far, but one of them very much looked like their work. The drawings have the flavor of the work they were doing around this time - Lord of the Rings, The Last Unicorn. One character in a crowd scene looked just like Frodo.

Regis:

Thanks! Glad to hear you got to see the whole series. That’s impressive that they would broadcast the entire show like that. It’s so long. I didn’t even know there was a subtitled version. I myself saw those non-Miyazaki Telecom episodes for the first time in writing this post, and it was a blast finally getting to see them. I was quite exciting finding such great hidden gems from one of my favorite studios when they were at the height of their powers.

neshru:

Nice to hear that! That’s just what I was hoping the post would do. I hope you enjoy it. It’s a pretty uneven show. I didn’t talk about that in the post, but the stories can be pretty dumb a lot of the time, and the animation quite bad in the non-good episodes. But even in its less stellar moments there’s something about the show that nonetheless makes it enjoyable to watch.

Aaron Long:

Thanks! That’s great to hear. I tried to squeeze in as much information as possible so this post could be used as a reference for going through the series. I should thank you, you’re the one who got me on this Lupin binge. I would never have thought to go through the second series unless I hadn’t ran across your post and realized, hmm, there are probably a lot of other nice episodes in the show worth discovering. I hope this post will help you find more stuff and figure out maybe who the staff were behind some of the other episodes you liked.

11/04/11 @ 15:23
Cameron Koller
Cameron Koller [Visitor]

I’m curious what your thoughts on the pink coat episodes are. The fact that Aoki seems to be credited as series director intrigues me, but the third series seems to be mostly ignored compared to the other two.

11/04/11 @ 15:58
Ben [Member]  

I think you’re right, it’s been pretty much ignored by fans (including myself) because it looks so different. I used to think it looked ugly, to be honest, but now I’m quite intrigued by the style, at least judging by the openings I watched while writing this post. I’ve heard they had quite a lot of freedom with the drawings, more than ever before. I’ve never seen any episodes, but now I’m curious to watch it.

11/04/11 @ 16:51
Cameron Koller
Cameron Koller [Visitor]

Having watched a few episodes of the pink coat episodes, I’d say they’re absolutely worth a look.

Episode 20 I recommend especially for its dojo fight by Masahito Yamashita, and episode 27 features a whole opening by Yamashita. Episode 48’s pretty terrific too, very Telecom, but more stylized than their red coat stuff. Episode 49’s pretty much classic TMS Lupin, and I’m certain Tomonaga worked on it. Oddly, I jumped to these later episodes after episode 1, and was shocked at how different they looked in comparison. The opening alone for episode 1 and that toward the end of the show are such polar opposites.

I’m curious to go through other episodes and see what surprises await. It’s bizarre to see such wildly different styles in one show.

11/05/11 @ 23:20
Ben [Member]  

Hey wow, Masahito Yamashita is in the show? And even Telecom? That’s great. Thanks for pointing all this out. Now I’m really eager to watch the whole thing. What you say jibes with what I’ve heard about it - the drawings vary wildly from episode to episode. They gave the animators just as much if not more freedom as the second series. Problem is, I’d like to go through the second series first… might take a while to get to pink coat Lupin.

11/06/11 @ 10:49
drmecha
drmecha [Visitor]

Yes. In Lupin III (but the THIRD series) episodes are animated by Studio OZ (Yamashita and co.). While in the second series Lupin III episodes are animated by Artland. The famous Haruhiko Mikimoto is wirking in some of these episodes. The classic mangaka Joji Manabe (Outlanders, Capricorn) also worked in the second series. Unfortunately Mikimotos work is discredited in this series. I can estimate which worked to see the other members of Artland. Mikimoto is probably inbetweener because in Tetsuwan Atom 1980 (the next Artlandjob in TV) is Inbetweener in the early episodes and key animator in the last episodes.

11/06/11 @ 13:01
Cameron Koller
Cameron Koller [Visitor]

Not being able to read Japanese very well, I can’t say for certain those bits were done by Telecom, but I’ll bet money that 49 at least is a Telecom piece, and if Tomonaga didn’t do some of the vehicle stuff then it’s a DAMN good impersonation.

Speaking of TMS, I’m quite frustrated by the lack of credits in American shows they’ve animated. I just watched Feat of Clay part II from Batman, and was astonished by some of the work on that episode, but was unable to find an animator list. I’ve always wondered if someone’s ever tried charting TMS’s outsourcing ventures, down to specific animators.

11/07/11 @ 01:04
Ben [Member]  

Cameron:

I’ll try to do a writeup on the third Lupin series as soon as I have a chance, but for now I’ll just point out that the episodes you’re thinking are done by Telecom are probably the Oh Pro episodes. Oh Pro appears to have handled episodes 11, 14, 18, 21, 31, 34, 39, 43, and 49. Hidetoshi Owashi was always the sakkan for the Oh Pro episodes. Owashi was an animator in episode 50 alongside fellow Oh Pro animator Kitaro Kosaka, though this episode looks like it wasn’t pure Oh Pro like the other episodes.

So far all I know about Feat of Clay is that the part where Clayface transforms into various different people was animated by Yoshinobu Michihata, one of my favorite Telecom animators. He’s less famous than Tomonaga or Tanaka but also really good. (Most recently he did a lot of fun work in Secret of Cerulean Sand, which I mentioned in my post on Topcraft.) I’ve been able to identify little bits here and there, but never have tried to thoroughly go through and map out their co-production work. That would definitely be worth doing sometime. There’s a lot of good work buried in there. Those WB productions didn’t have as many restrictions on the number of drawings as Japanese productions, so the Telecom animators could really let loose with the movement.

11/07/11 @ 17:47
Cameron Koller
Cameron Koller [Visitor]

The design for Lupin seems to be what got me that mindset. Seemed more like Telecom’s episodes. Ah well, I’ll have to watch more episodes to get a feel for how the thing works as a whole.

Supposedly, TMS never gave the names of their animators to Warner Brothers. Seems they were scared that WB would steal their best people for themselves.

11/07/11 @ 22:48
D.Z.
D.Z. [Visitor]

Ben: They actually didn’t broadcast the entire show, since the parodies of superheroes were not aired. Plus, content was edited for network tv standards. And the Geneon stuff is subtitled, but everything else was improvised. For example, the “President” is ID’ed as Obama, even though the ep takes place in 1980.

As for credit, I’m wondering why TMS was not listed for Giant Robo, when it’s pretty damned clear it’s the same team which worked on Batman TAS.

11/14/11 @ 06:26
Roberto M.
Roberto M. [Visitor]

Sorry for my bad english.
According to my information, Tomonaga also animated the second ending of the series (a remake of the previos ending, animated by Hiromi Yokoyama and Hitoshi Ono).
Junzaburo Takahata did a fine work as key animator and uncredited layout artist, but he didn’t even approximate the quality of the Telecom animators.
Apart from the animation side, I’d like to mention Yasumi Mikamoto as my favourite director / storyboard artist of the series, not counting Miyazaki (episode 148 is a good example of Mikamoto expressive directing) and Kiyoshi Miyata as my favourite writer.

As for “Lupin III Part 3″, it’s definitely underrated. Yes, some episodes are mediocre, but others are pretty good.
Anyway, Aoki is not credited as series director, but he gets a “sakuga kanshu” ("drawing supervision") credit which means that he’s the person responsible for the overall tone of the series.

11/17/11 @ 12:39
Ben [Member]  

Roberto M.:

Thanks for this input. I haven’t noticed too much difference between the storyboarders/directors and screenwriters, so it’s nice to know someone has some preferences. I’ll keep an eye out for these guys’ work. I’ve been going through the show one episode a time over the last few weeks and just saw an episode written by Kiyoshi Miyata, episode 34. It’s got some crazy ideas in there - the whole premise of Jesus having a twin sister who was a vampire who survived for 2000 years in an airtight coffin? Whoah. Blew my mind. I noticed Yasumi Mikamoto directed a lot of episodes without storyboarding them, so I was wondering why you though his work stood out, since normally it’s the storyboard that would define an episode, not the director, especially if a different person did both. Then I noticed the same person storyboarded most of his episodes, and realized it must be his own pen name. He used his own name for the storyboard up until episode 52, but then for some reason started using the pen name Yasuzo Ishihara for the storyboard credit and his own name for the directing credit starting with episode 55. This sort of thing is common in anime, and it’s needlessly confusing. Wish people wouldn’t do that.

Eps written by Kiyoshi Miyata: 24, 34, 37, 41, 70, 72, 77, 86, 105, 114, 116, 120, 134, 151
Eps storyboarded and directed by Yasumi Mikamoto: 40, 42, 46, 49, 52, 55, 56, 61, 65, 69, 71, 79, 80, 86, 89, 97, 100, 103, 110, 113, 116, 121, 130, 132, 137, 144, 148

11/29/11 @ 18:52
Roberto M.
Roberto M. [Visitor]

Yes, Yasuzo Ishihara is Yasumi Mikamoto’s pen name.
If you are watching the episodes in chronological order, you probably won’t be impressed by Miyamaoto earlier episodes, but his latter ones are definitely better.

About pen names in Lupin III: the “Seiji Miyamoto” who storyboarded some episodes actually is Kenji Kodama, who is credited under is real name as key animator and animation director (to make things more confusing, another person named Seiji Miyamoto worked as background artist and/or art director in many productions, including several of Osamu Tezuka’s tv specials). Kodama’s wife Sachiko Kamimura, who is credited under her maiden name in most of her works, is called “Sachiko Kodama” in Lupin III’s credits.
And according to some sources Yoshiyuki Tomino worked on Lupin III under a pen name, but I can’t tell this for sure.

12/01/11 @ 10:24
Roberto M.
Roberto M. [Visitor]

Obviously, “Miyamaoto” should be “Mikamoto’s".

12/01/11 @ 10:27
Ben [Member]  

Actually the early Yasumi Mikamoto eps stand out plenty. So far, each time I felt the directing was particularly good and looked up the director, it’s been him. You just have to compare the quick cutting and tight pacing of episode 46 with the others around the same point to see his work stands out. Looking forward to seeing his style develop on the show. Didn’t know this director at all.

I knew about Kenji Kodama’s pen name and his wife’s complicated name saga partly because I’ve researched the credits for the third series in which the two of them show up together, and realized they were also in the second.

Incidentally, so far I’ve found that I also enjoy the episodes with Hatsuki Tsuji. He wound up doing a lot of work in the third series.

12/02/11 @ 22:04
Ben [Member]  

Maybe I’ll just update here with my findings as I go through the show. Really enjoyed episode 58 about the defector ballet diva because it starred Jigen and had a nice story by Yutaka Kaneko. Animation nothing great. Turns out it was storyboarded/directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino under the pen name Yaki Ishikura, under which pen name he also storyboarded 63 and 94 and storyboarded/directed 75/93. Episode 59 was one of the most entertaining yet. Drawings looked very different, movement lively, and most of all crazy story with non-stop developments. Written by Noboru Sugimura (69, 87, 95, 109, 125, 126, 144, 152).

12/06/11 @ 18:54
Ben [Member]  

65 was entertaining - one crazy gag after another. A bird-shaped helicopter that captures the princess in its beak. Huge piles of curry rice. Lupin attacked by a girl rolling up a giant red carpet. The pacing is strong and maintains a good flow. A lot of the gags feel improvised. Either the director improvised on the script or the animators improvised on the storyboard. I think it’s around this point that the second series starts becoming so over-the-top it’s almost nonsensical. Storyboarded/directed by Yasumi Mikamoto. Nice drawings from Hatsuki Tsuji et al.

Just noticed episode 21 was written by Salad Oil.

12/08/11 @ 07:33
Ben [Member]  

66 was a pretty nice show of force from Hiromi Yokoyama doing a solo episode. Not particularly interesting animation, but it moves a lot, considering. 67 was an Oh Pro episode without Tomonaga. Story typically silly and ludicrous - they re-enact Saiyuki and get chased by giant robots in the form of a red and blue oni. Nothing super-exciting in the animation but there was some lively acting from Zenigata. Toshio Yamauchi? This is his second appearance after 63.

12/09/11 @ 10:43
Ben [Member]  

71 was an Oh Pro ep with some nice animation by whom I suspect to be Toshio Yamauchi.

73 was F’ING BRILLIANT. Hands down the best episode I’ve seen so far apart from the Telecom episodes, from every perspective - animation, directing and story. I don’t know what happened. Junzaburo Takahata heads the animators. It’s clear now that it’s the arrival of Seijun Suzuki as the supervisor that changed the tone of the series around this point to a more nonsensical cartoony world in which logic and physics have no place.

12/14/11 @ 21:01
Ben [Member]  

Around this point almost all the episodes start to be interesting.

76 had one of the most dramatic and sophisticated scripts so far, about a revolution in Africa and a western state pretending to support it but in fact secretly plotting against it.

I re-watched 78 and liked it even more. Really brilliant script by Yoshio Urasawa full of witty humor and unexpected twists and turns. And magnificent animation from Yoshio Kabashima in the first half. This time around it was obvious - he did the first half.

12/15/11 @ 19:43
Ben [Member]  

79 had nice animation from Junzaburo Takahata at the beginning. It’s weird, all of a sudden from episode 73 Takahata’s animation stands out in a major and VERY good way. From this point on all of his episodes are worth checking out. He’s got a great loose and active style.

81 had weak-ish animation for an Oh Pro ep, but a nice story.

82 was a nice Telecom episode. Good story too. Not up to the level of the best but still a great feeling overall thanks to the director Shigetsugu Yoshida and probably animator Tsukasa Tannai.

83 was a nicely done solo ep by Hatsuki Tsuji. Fun episode with nice touches in the acting. He did the most solo eps in Lupin - 6.

84 was another nice Telecom episodes, one of the better early ones. The bit in the alley at the beginning was very nice with a great Telecom feeling in the timing - Atsuko Tanaka? I like the shot at the end where Lupin is on the phone. Lots of fun stuff packed into the shot. Nobuo Tomizawa?

85 was another late Oh Pro episode and decent.

88 was another Tsuji Hatsuki solo episode but not as good as the earlier one, and ridiculous story about transporting penguins to the north pole.

89 had some great animation from Junzaburo Takahata. It also looks like Yuzo Aoki did uncredited work at the end. Quite a bit, actually. The two are both great but have a distinct style. Takahata uses more drawings and has a lankier more Monkey Punch look, Aoki uses just a few drawings and his own more angular drawings.

12/19/11 @ 16:21
Ben [Member]  

Nothing much interesting around the 90-100 mark except the obvious ones like the Telecom episodes and the Aoki episodes.

107 was a good episode, very fun to watch. Storyboarded by Yuzo Aoki, written by Mitsuo Aimono, with near-solo or half-ep animation by Hatsuki Tsuji. The episode was filled with playfulness in the directing and the animation.

108 wasn’t bad, with interesting directing, though the animation wasn’t anything special.

112 was unusually hardcore with Goemon getting tortured. Script by Yutaka Kaneko and storyboard/directing by Noboru Ishiguro.

116 had some nice animation from Junzaburo Takahata and a pretty well directed by Mikamoto Yasumi.

117 was one of the best episodes in the show - Aoki storyboard, Yoshio Urasawa script, most animation by Hatsuki Tsuji. Though I wonder if Aoki didn’t do some uncredited animation work. All-out slapstick comedy and very fun to watch. Great companion piece to the other Aoki-storyboarded gag episodes written by Yoshio Urasawa - 78 with Yoshio Kabashima’s animation and 106 with Junzaburo Takahata.

118 was surprisingly good even though I don’t know the names of the animators. Directed by Noboru Ishiguro. Some crazy ideas in here - a guy catching an atomic bomb in a butterfly net from a Zero fighter. The animation was really wild, maybe a little too wild - had an 80s flavor in the silly over-the-top deformation very different from anything else on the show.

01/12/12 @ 18:38
Ben [Member]  

119 and 120 had ridiculous storylines. 119 had a helicopter transforming into a tunnelling machine straight out of Scooby Doo and an android that somehow can spontaneously replicate itself into two copies. 120 somehow managed to cross Frankenstein, the Philosopher’s Stone and the Nazis into a bizarre and silly concoction. These are the episodes where the craziness really goes too far into the realm of ridiculousness. It might be OK if it had some good animation, but the directing and animation aren’t good enough to save these episodes. The nice thing about this show is that even the bad episodes like this are still kind of fun to watch. The bit at the end in 120 where Frankenstein gets engulfed in flames was kind of nice though. For some reason 120 had some wolves straight out of Horus, Prince of the Sun.

01/13/12 @ 19:17
Ben [Member]  

121 had a little bit of nice animation by Junzaburo Takahata at the end, but not his best work in the show.

123 was a decent Tsuji Hatsuki episode, but not his best.

126 had some animation by Junzaburo Takahata at the end again.

127 was a pretty good Tsuji Hatsuki episode storyboarded by Shigetsugu Yoshida and directed by Mikamoto Yasumi.

128 was a fun but silly Aoki episode, not one of his best, probably because the animation by Topcraft wasn’t that great.

129 was another Aoki episode, but much better than the previous one. Probably one of his best ’serious’ episodes (as opposed to the gag style of his episodes with Urasawa like 128). Good strong story and directing with Jigen in the lead. Aoki clearly did some uncredited animation of the battle right before the halfway mark, around where the girl gets shot in the leg. I love the timing of the animation where Jigen pulls out his magnum in the shot right before the girl gets shot in the leg. Classic Aoki.

01/15/12 @ 11:31
Ben [Member]  

130 was an episode about a Dali lookalike who tries to bake Lupin into a wind vane. It was a Tsuji episode, but not one of his best. The directing and story were disappointing. They should have made the episode itself surrealistic, but didn’t do anything really interesting with the directing, so it felt like a waste.

131 was about a Goemon imitator - just average, not particularly good animation or story or directing. Kyosuke Mikuriya storyboard/director & Topcraft animation.

132 was about a cult leader secretly heading a gang of thieves. Nothing special. Yasumi Mikamoto storyboard/director.

133 was a Junzaburo Takahata episode, but not one of his best. You could identify his work a bit, but he didn’t have any standout scenes.

134 was an Aoki episode, but not one of his best. Topcraft animation was OK. Clever idea of using Night on Bald Mountain for the soundtrack in the second half.

135 was about Lucretia Borgia’s hidden treasure. Enjoyable but not particularly noteworthy.

136 was about a rare butterfly that leads to a gold deposit. Decent but nothing special. Topcraft animation.

137 was ‘tighter’ than the usual episode thanks to Mikamoto Yasumi’s directing, as usual, but the story was a little predictable and didn’t have enough surprise twists like they usually do. Everything went smoothly and Lupin got the diamond in the end, happily ever after. That’s not how it’s supposed to be! They’re supposed to lose it at the last minute for some silly reason. Nice Tsuji episode though.

138 was a good Aoki/Urasawa gag episode, the second-to-last. As usual, Aoki did some uncredited animation around the middle. It seems like he did uncredited animation in almost all of his episodes. Which is great. There’s always a little extra surprise in each episode with some great Aoki drawings.

01/17/12 @ 19:51
Ben [Member]  

139 was a Takahata episode about Lupin switching bodies with an old man. Decent ep. Not one of Takahata’s best.

140 was about a crazed foodie who steals diamonds. Nice script by Ko Takanashi. Decent animation by Topcraft.

141 was a nice ep about stealing a diamond chandelier from the Kremlin. Another witty script by Ko Takanashi and good animation by Hatsuki Tsuji.

142 - now this is interesting. This episode is suddenly heavily influenced by Cagliostro, and it’s not even a Telecom episode. It’s storyboarded by Noboru Ishiguro and animated by Tokyo Movie. It’s got a count who looks exactly like Count Cagliostro, and even Lupin looks and has expressions like the Lupin of Cagliostro. Clearly this was done in a nod to Cagliostro. This must have something to do with the fact that the very next episode is the first Telecom since their return after working on Cagliostro, and there’s suddenly a burst of 5 Telecom episodes in the lead-in to the end of the series.

01/19/12 @ 09:22
Ben [Member]  

143 is the first ‘return’ Telecom episode, the Miami bank robbery episode I already wrote about. I’ll skip the remaining Telecom episodes.

144 was about an old thief duo who try to trap Lupin using Fujiko as bait. It was decent, with nice animation by Tsuji.

146 wasn’t storyboarded by Aoki, but it did contain some nice uncredited Aoki animation near the end - the chase with the helicopter. Otherwise not a great episode. About a kid genius who challenges Lupin. It’s especially hard coming down from the heights of Albatross, Wings of Death in episod 145 to a below-average Lupin episode like this.

147 was a Takahata episode but nothing really amazing. Story was so outlandish it was ridiculous. Goemon grabs onto the propeller on the front of a train sliding down a mountain and spins around on it with his sword, cutting a path in the ice. Just so over the top it’s not funny anymore because it’s totally not believable. In Aoki’s hands the craziness works, but in other hands it doesn’t, and the Aoki approach and the Telecom approach don’t sit well side by side. The contrast with the Telecom episode, esp the just-aired Miyazaki ep, isn’t very good. They’re two completely different approaches to filmmaking. The cartoonish late Lupin episodes are nothing like the more logical and believable (hence even more exciting) Telecom eps.

148 is a decent Tsuji/Mikamoto episode about Lupin stealing diamonds from an observation tower with Jigen’s sharpshooting help. There was an intersting shot after the initial scene where Lupin and Fujiko scout out the observation tower dressed up as Zenigata and that old lady. After they get out of there and Zenigata and the old lady turn up hogtied in the cannister, there’s a single shot of Lupin and Fujiko riding away laughing, waving their arms in the air as they ride off in their Benz SSK. It’s such a fun, carefree, refreshing shot, like nothing else done in the series up to now, different in tone somehow, like something out of Breathless - like two teens who just did something really crazy and naughty and got away with it.

149 - I couldn’t watch this one in the original Japanese, it was dubbed in Italian, so I don’t understand what was going on. It was something to do with Mecca and oil. It was the last Aoki storyboard and had Takahata animation. As usual, there was uncredited Aoki animation in the first half. The Takahata animation wasn’t identifiable.

150 - Throwaway episode about stealing a piano with sub-par directing and animation. They’re really calling it in on this episode, like that shot early on where Lupin drives his car into the hay and Zenigata, following right behind him, doesn’t even notice. It’s like they’re not even bothering anymore after seeing what the Telecom team was capable of. Would have been fine in the middle of the show but how bad it is stands out surrounded as it is by a bunch of great Telecom episodes.

152 - Another throwaway episode, though the story about Jigen needing his hat to shoot straight was pretty interesting. Jigen was riding a Fiat in this episode. Usually it’s just the Telecom episodes where the Lupin gang rides a Fiat. Lupin’s drawings were also Telecom-influenced.

154 - Lupin was riding a Mini Cooper this time. Good Tsuji episode, sadly his last in the second series! But he returns in the third with many more, which I look forward to seeing. He was a great match with Lupin. Even in this episode he did his own thing without being influenced by Telecom and it had a very nice feeling. He was one of the big supports of this series. Also last Mikamoto episode. They made a good team.

01/23/12 @ 17:37