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« Submarine 707RWrapping up Lupin III part 2 »

Thursday, February 9, 2012

09:07:00 pm , 6753 words, 9589 views     Categories: Animation, TV, Lupin III

Lupin III Part 3

After finishing the second Lupin III series a while back, I dived right into the third TV series aired March 3, 1984 to November 6, 1985. Whereas the second series felt like a bit of a slog, the 50-episode third series ended way too soon and left me wanting to see much more.

I think it's probably the most unjustly overlooked and underappreciated outing in the Lupin III franchise. It was underappreciated both at the time of its airing - constantly delayed by baseball broadcasts, because of which people probably forgot it was even airing and it wound up not being nearly as long-lived as the second series - as well as in the aftermath, when fans shied away from the most visually uninhibited and playfully designed and animated outing in the franchise, and the clean and ruly look and more conventional atmosphere and storytelling of the first series became unofficial canon.

But the third and last Lupin III TV series is in fact an entertaining show with some of the most interesting animation in the entire franchise. Yuzo Aoki, the great animator who had been a central figure behind every Lupin III outing prior to then, acted as the animation supervisor, designing the characters in a way that brought them closer than they'd ever been to Monkey Punch's manga, through the lens of his own unique sensibility.

The drawings of the second series were different from the first, simpler and more cartoonish. But the drawings in the third series are so different from the second that they're a shock to the system at first. It's like the characters are made of rubber bands. Everything is wobbly. Their limbs bend in all sorts of weird configurations. The clothing is full of curves and ruffles. The face is elongated in that patent Monkey Punch style much more prominently, and the expressions on the faces are more exaggerated and playful than ever.

The best place to get a quick feeling for just how different the character animation is from every other Lupin III outing is the second opening.

The series had two openings, both set to the same song. (Apparently they couldn't get the rights to the classic Lupin III theme song, so they had to use a new song.) The first opening was decent, but it's the second opening that captures the essence of Aoki's drawings in the show. It starts with "Lupin" spelled out using actual Lupins (pictured above), and ends with Goemon slicing up a rocket. From the rubbery-limbed Zenigata running through the door at the beginning to the lanky, banana-headed Lupin in the last shot as the chassis of his car roars off without him... this is an opening that immediately tells the viewer: this a different beast.

The second series had its share of crazy drawings and stories, but nothing this extreme. This series is the high point in experimentation with the drawings in the Lupin III franchise. Once you get used to the style, though, it's hard to go back. The cleaner drawings of the rest of the franchise look boring to me now. In every episode, you can sense how much fun the animators are having drawing the characters, and that's a large part of why the show is fun to watch, as the stories can often be pretty repetitive and predictable.

Apart from the character animation, the tone of the show is rather unique, too. It strikes a kind of middle ground between the first series and the second series - still playful and silly, but not as over-the-top as the second series, grounded by a more adult sensibility and heist/intrigue stories that aren't merely excuses for 25 minutes of cartoonish antics. The quality is far more even than the second series, which had many episodes that could easily be skipped. The directing is consistent and the animation is... albeit not consistent, consistently interesting.

Which leads to another interesting facet of this series: The characters look drastically different from one episode to the next. Characters look different from episode to episode in all anime, of course, but on the continuum of the scale of drawing variation, Lupin III Part 3 lies at one extreme.

Apart from having laid down a basic framework in the form of a set of character designs, Yuzo Aoki appears to have given the various subcontracting studios who handled many of the show's episodes almost complete freedom when it comes to drawing the characters. Even within a single episode, the characters will often look different from shot to shot due to the different styles of the animators.

Of course, what this show is best known for is the pink jacket. This is the Pink Jacket series. The pink jacket seems to capture the ambivalence people feel towards this show, without even having given it a chance - it evokes vague terrors of cheesy 80s coloring and J-pop hijinx that are really quite unwarranted. The pink was supposedly a compromise suggested by Yuzo Aoki. He originally wanted white, but they thought that was too radical, so he suggested pink as a compromise between the white jacket and the red jacket. Lupin sometimes has an afro that feels a little embarrassing, but at other times is drawn in a totally different style. For the most part, the series doesn't feel dated. Its playful animation feels as fresh as when it was made. For good or ill, there were no precedents and no followers, so there's nothing else quite like this series out there, and it's still quite interesting to re-visit today.

Besides the unusual jacket color, most of the main characters look quite different, in a way that took me some getting used to. Jigen's eyes aren't covered by his hat most of the time, and his beard is long and scruffy. They play it fast and loose with the conventions of the show. It's telling that none of the later TV specials or movies ever used the pink jacket - always the red jacket or green jacket. The third series is the crazy uncle who you've heard rumors used to be in the Hell's Angels and snort cocaine and has illegitimate children he's never met in Algeria. He's the bad boy of the family.

If I had any disappointment with this series, it would be with the stories, which fall into a predictable pattern. It's always about stealing some kind of treasure that, when stolen, turns out to be a fake. Zenigata always turns up, only to turn out to have been Lupin in disguise. Fujiko always winds up betraying Lupin. If a guest character is introduced as a good guy, he always turns out to be the bad guy.

I don't mind some patterns in Lupin. It wouldn't be Lupin if Goemon didn't split things clean in half with Zantetsuken, if Fujiko wasn't a backstabbing cocktease, and if Zenigata didn't show up every episode shouting, "I'll get you this time!" Those aren't what bother me. What was disappointing is the writing of the stories. There was never a moment where the drama felt sophisticated or surprising, or where there was any complexity to a character or to an emotion. This series was clearly aiming for a more adult feeling, while still retaining the playfulness of the second series, but it feels like they missed both marks as a result. It's a terrible shame; it feels like they never really explored the potential inherent in Lupin III for more sophisticated and adult storytelling. If this remains a gripe, not a fatal flaw, it's thanks to the quality of the animation.

Finally, it's fascinating to note that this series did not have a director. At least, none is credited. This occurred before: Tokyo Movie's own Gyators did not have a director; only episode directors. And yet it maintains a uniform tone admirably. It holds together as a series just fine. Ironically, it has an animation supervisor, yet he did not use role to make the animation of the series more uniform, as is expected of a chief animation director - just the opposite.

The subcontracting studios that produced Lupin III Part 3

Studio Iruka's private sub

As I noted in my post on the second series, several subcontractors were actually involved in the production of the show, even though they are not credited. In Part 3, subcontractors played an even bigger role. I'd say that the majority of the episodes were produced by subcontractors. And the number of subcontractors is greater. It's easier to figure out who did what this time because the studios are actually credited.

Here is a breakdown of the studios that worked on Part 3. (See the bottom of this post for full episode credits.)

► Araki Production: 1, 7
Shingo Araki, Michi Himeno, Kenichi Araki, Satoshi Sasaki, Makoto Takahoko, Yuji Yamada
► Animation 501: 2, 9, 23 (14)
Hiroshi Ogawa, Isamu Utsugi, Joji Suzuki, Ikuko Ito, Taku Nakaya, Yoshiko Arai, Hiroshi Suzuki
► Ari Production: 3 (13, 17)
Heihachiro Tanaka, Yukiko Michishita, Sayuri Matsumoto, Mariko Saito
► Studio Iruka: 6, 10, 16, 19
Sachiko Kamimura, Jun Kawagoe, Junko Abe, Hinako Komatsu, Takahiko Ayame
► AIC: 8 (5, 13, 17)
Hiromitsu Ohta, Eiji Yamanaka, Nobuyuki Kanejima
► Kusama Art: 40 (5, 11, 18, 22, 26, 27, 30, 32, 33, 36, 47, 48, 50)
Tatsuo Ryuno, Shoji Furuta, Yukihiro Makino, Michitaka Kikuchi
► Studio Unicorn: 29 (35, 48)
Masaharu Morinaka, Yuji Hamano
► Oh Production: 31, 34, 39, 43 (11, 14, 18, 21, 41, 49, 50)
Hidetoshi Owashi, Tadashi Fukuda, Don Abe, Tsutomu Iida, Hirotsugu Kawasaki, Kitaro Kosaka, Hiroshi Shimizu
► Studio Gallop: 42, 46
Hatsuki Tsuji, Toshio Yamauchi, Taku Nakaya, Hideaki Matsuoka, Jiro Tanaka, Takaya Ono, Yoshitaka Nishijima, Yoko Konishi, Miyuki Umetsu

Numbers in parenthesis indicate uncredited episodes. In a lot of cases, the episodes are actually a mix of studios - you have one or two animators from one studio working alongside one or two animators from another studio. In these episodes, they didn't bother to credit the animators by their respective studio.

Uncredited studios

There was one studio or family of studios that played a big role in the series, but that didn't get any credit for some reason: Studio Z5 and Studio Number 1. They are part of a long, complicated continuity of studios founded by people who at one time worked under or were otherwise affiliated with Yoshinori Kanada in the late 70s/early 80s at his Studio Z. Other studios affiliated with this group include Studio Oz, One Pattern, Studio Tome, and Studio Nonmaruto. It's hard to determine exactly who was at which studio when in the case of this group, as membership was very fluid, but here is a rough breakdown of their involvement in Lupin III Part 3. For some reason or other, they are not credited as a studio.

► Studio No. 1: (4, 12, 15, 20, 24, 28, 32, 33, 38, 44, 45, 48)
Osamu Nabeshima (storyboard/director), Kyoko Matsubara (sakkan), Shigenobu Nagasaki, Yasuchika Nagaoka, Masakatsu Iijima, Kazuhiro Ochi
► Studio Z5: (15, 20, 24, 44)
Hajime Kamegaki (storyboard/director), Hideyuki Motohashi (sakkan), Fujiko Ito, Seiji Muta

The Studio Number 1/Z5 episodes are one of the few places in Part 3 where you can find Kanada school animation. I'm really not fond of this style in the Lupin III context, so although the episodes aren't badly done, they're not the ones I like. But it's true that they did a lot to support the quality of the show.

The remainder of the animators not listed above were presumably working from TMS's home studio, Tokyo Movie, which is never credited explicitly since doing so would be redundant. This presumably includes Yuzo Aoki, Toshiyuki Omori, Yumi Machida, Hitoshi Hasegawa, etc.

Oh Pro is obviously the one studio from the 2nd series that came back in the 3rd series, and perhaps unsurprisingly, they do some of the best work on the show. The Oh Pro animators are totally different, however.

People who returned from the second show

Considering the six year gap between part 2 and 3, it would be interesting to have seen more people who worked on the second show working on part 3, to see how they evolved over the intervening years. But there aren't many. It's mostly new faces. Yuzo Aoki is the biggest element of staff continuity. Aoki himself sadly didn't wind up drawing much on the show, except for a few stints as animation director, but the few spots he did are very reminiscent of his work on the second show in terms of the timing of the animation. Even amidst the crazy work done by a handful of the other animators, his work feels distinct. Of course, his template can be seen in the second opening, which he presumably animated by himself. The interesting thing is that not many animators drew the characters quite the way he did. It's like he allowed them to come up with their own interpretation of his designs, rather than forcing them to draw the characters the way he did. Which is smart, because that is probably largely why so much of the animation feels so good.

Sachiko Kamimura worked on the second series as a key animator under the name Sachiko Kodama because she had just married director Kenji Kodama. By the time of the third series, the two had started their own subcontracting studio, Studio Iruka, and Sachiko had reverted to using her maiden name when working under her husband. Studio Iruka's work is quite lively and pleasant to watch, although the drawings are somewhat sleeker and more conventional.

Seijun Suzuki, who supervised the latter half of the second series, wrote a single episode in Part 3: episode 13. There aren't many episodes that stand out in terms of the story in Part 3, but episode 13 is a true oddity, perhaps even the strangest Lupin III episode ever made thanks to Seijun Suzuki's script, with its erratic shifts in tone, non-sequitur of a plot, surreal scenes, and baffling ending. It seems like the closest he ever came to making an anime version of his cult classic Branded to Kill.

It's actually difficult to grasp what the title of this episode means, or how it relates to the episode in any way. 悪のり変装曲 Warunori Hensokyoku loosely translates as 'Variations on Getting Carried Away'. Warunori means getting caught up in whatever you're saying or doing and going too far with it without realizing it. The episode strikes me as a bizarre, dreamlike remembrance of all things Lupin III, a hallucinogenic vision in the vein of Branded to Kill. My theory/interpretation is that Seijun Suzuki was slyly poking fun at the Lupin III anime and its conventions, by creating a story that did not make any sense or adhere to any of those conventions.

Episode 13 was directed by Shigetsugu Yoshida, who directed several of the best episodes of the second series. Yoshida only directed one other episode in Part 3: episode 7. Right after doing episode 13, Shigetsugu Yoshida and Seijun Suzuki together set to the task of directing the Gold of Babylon movie that served as the cinematic companion piece to Part 3.

Hatsuki Tsuji, one of the most prolific animators in the second series, returned as the animation director of one episode, this time from the studio where he new found himself, Studio Gallop. It was nice to see Hatsuki again, as he was one of the best animators in the second show, but his animation wasn't particularly exciting this time around.

Yoshio Urasawa, who wrote several of the most entertaining episodes in the second series, here returned to write two episodes - 26 and 49 - but these unfortunately had almost none of the wit and loony unpredictability that made his earlier work so fun.

Tateo Kitahara, the character designer and main animation director of the second series, paid an honorary visit in episode 36 under the name Takumi Kitahara. I rarely enjoy the work of a sakkan, because I find the job to be fundamentally problematic (I want to see a good animator's work as close to the raw as possible), but there is no denying that a good sakkan is indispensable, especially if you are not blessed with good animators or schedule, and I know that a lot of the nice drawings in the second series (except the Telecom episodes) were of the hand of the hard-working Kitahara.

The animator I most would have liked to see come back in Part 3 is Junzaburo Takahata, but it was not to be. Kazuhide Tomonaga, too, was obviously quite busy by this time working for Telecom. Most of the animators had moved on to very different places in the intervening 6 years.

Which studios/animators are worth seeking out?

The second series is long enough and uneven enough in quality that it's not worth watching the whole thing unless you REALLY like Lupin III. The third series, however, is worth watching from beginning to end. It's short enough and consistent enough that doing so isn't a chore, and there's good work here and there in every episode.

There aren't really any episodes in the third series that stand out as much as the Telecom episodes do in the second series, but there are a few animators and studios whose work is more worth checking out if your time is at a premium and you just want to sample the Pink Jacket series at its best.

Yuzo Aoki of course is the guiding spirit of Part 3, but ironically Part 3 doesn't seem to contain as much pure Aoki animation as the second series. It's other animators who wind up bathing in the spotlight.

Tatsuo Ryuno and Oh Production in my mind encapsulate the opposite ends of the stylistic spectrum of Lupin III Part 3: the one with more playful animation and heavily stylized drawings in the spirit of the Yuzo Aoki animation in the 2nd series, the other with more of a focus on exciting action animation in the spirit of the Telecom episodes of the 2nd series.

Tatsuo Ryuno

My favorite animator in the series is Tatsuo Ryuno, a person I'd never even heard of before watching the show. Ryuno is credited once alongside Shoji Furuta under a studio called Kusama Art, a mysterious studio about which I haven't been able to find any other information. He occupies the spot Yuzo Aoki occupied in the second series: He's the animator with the most deliciously idiosyncratic style in the show.

He has a very peculiar drawing style that can't be mistaken for anybody else. His style doesn't even resemble Yuzo Aoki's drawing style that much, but it's a perfect fit within the template Aoki laid down. I think he's the animator who best grasped and brought to life the direction Aoki was trying to go with this series.

He draws Lupin's face as a long curved arc in a way that reminds me of Monkey Punch's original. None of the other animators go nearly as far in drawing Lupin or the characters in this way, but that's exactly what I want to see in an anime adaptation of a Monkey Punch manga. Even Yuzo Aoki, who brought the drawings closer to Monkey Punch's original style, didn't go quite as far as Ryuno does.

Ryuno's drawings are full of creative poses. His animation is playful, sometimes excessively so. His characters become extremely deformed and exaggerated. He uses a lot of drawings. The animation is very active, and all of the poses in a movement are fun and interesting. Here are some examples of Tatsuo Ryuno sequences packed with lots of funny poses.

He often animates characters in distant shots like this, where the whole character's body is in the shot, so that there's less of a focus on the details of the features, allowing him to focus his energy on coming up with fun poses. There are lots of sequences like these where the characters react to things in a way that is so much more fun and full of playful drawings. He's a genius at packing a reaction shot with lots of comical poses - where most animators would probably have stopped at a single drawing, he puts in 10.

Ryuno's drawings feel effortless. I don't like animation that feels laborious. Despite moving so much, it feels like Ryuno is just pumping out the drawings without much pre-planning or agonizing. Sometimes they can be a little too rough around the edges and spontaneous, to the point that it feels out of control, but that's the kind of animator Ryuno is. His animation is controlled chaos.

Despite feeling very off-hand, the drawings are usually well stylized and laid out on the screen. He angles the limbs and bends the features just so in a way that feels great as a drawing. It's in that sense that he's the same kind of animator as Yuzo Aoki, and I can see why Ryuno was such an important figure under Aoki during this period.

I don't know of many other animators in the spirit of Yuzo Aoki, but Ryuno is one for sure. I wish there were more. There are lots of Kanada school animators who can draw characters in crazy poses, but what I like about Aoki and Ryuno is that they've got their own style totally uninfluenced by Yoshinori Kanada and his school. There are even animators who draw interesting drawings, but there aren't many like these two who seem to have an effortless command of body drawings. They draw the body in all these crazy poses so effortlessly. It's quintessentially Japanese in its focus on speed over cleanness and its disregard for model.

Oh Production

Oh Pro was one of the major studios behind the second series, and they return in the third to play an equally big part. Only this time, they occupy the space left empty by Telecom.

Oh Pro's episodes are the perfect contrast with Ryuno's episodes, just as Yuzo Aoki's episodes were with the Telecom episodes in the second series. Where Ryuno is all about wild drawings, the Oh Pro episodes are all about sleek, exciting action in the vein of Cagliostro. The weird thing is, Oh Pro is clearly emulating Telecom. The Telecom episodes in the second series are their model in terms of the drawings, the action, everything. They even have Lupin riding in a Fiat. The Oh Pro episodes are the only episodes in the third series that consistently depict Lupin riding in a Fiat. It sticks out that Oh Pro goes out of their way to draw Lupin in a Fiat when most of the other episodes don't care about the cars and draw him in whatever.

It's very peculiar, but the results are great. Oh Pro doesn't quite measure up to their model, but the amount of animation they pack into their episodes, and the glee with which they move their characters, is a delight to behold. And it's impressive that a completely different studio was able to create such a good simulacrum when even Telecom's recent Lupin III specials pale in comparison to the Oh Pro episodes.

The Oh Pro episodes are always storyboarded (using the pen name Kogaden) and sakkan'd by Hidetoshi Owashi and directed by Tsutomu Iida, with animation by four people: Tadashi Fukuda, Don Abe, Tsutomu Iida and Hirotsugu Kawasaki. People today may not realize who Tsutomu Iida is: It's the late Umanosuke Iida. Umanosuke Iida started out at Oh Pro concurrently animating and directing.

Hop onto the Oh! Pro express

I don't know who was responsible for the good action in the Oh Pro episodes, or even if it was just a single individual, but I suspect Hirotsugu Kawasaki to have been the main action animator in the Oh Pro episodes, because very soon after Part 3 he was involved in Laputa as the animator of the action scene on the raised railway, one of the best action scenes in the film, followed by the baby room scene in Akira. And of course, he went on to become the director of the action film Spriggan and the just-released Onigamiden. It's amazing how much talent the Oh Pro Express has sent out into the world.

My only disappointment with the Oh Pro episodes is that the story and storyboarding aren't up to the level of the animation. You sense that these animators have the potential to explode if they just had a talented storyboarder and director on the level of Miyazaki to guide them. As it stands, due to the somewhat lackluster directing and stories, the animation is fun to watch, but never quite gels into the cathartic action of the Telecom episodes.

The last two episodes

If you only watch two episodes, you could do worse than just watching the last two episodes, episodes 49 and 50. There is no continuing storyline, and the last two episodes don't tie anything up or ruin anything. They're standalone episode just like any of the others, with the added bonus of being the culmination of all of the experience of their respective animators on part 3.

Episode 49 is by Oh Pro and episode 50 features work by Tatsuo Ryuno and Yuzo Aoki. Episode 49 is definitely Oh Pro's best episode. You sense that they pulled out all the stops on this one. The directing and story are still underwhelming, but it's downright moving how much effort the animators are putting into the animation. The regular team of four this time is supplemented by no less than Kitaro Kosaka and Hiroshi Shimizu, which no doubt helps push this episode to the next level. You have in this episode animation where a story is depicted as unfolding by means of actions performed by the characters, not by a script, as was the case in the Miyazaki Lupin III episodes.

Episode 50 is actually a fairly interesting story as far as Part 3 goes. The Lupin gang steals a nuclear submarine from the Soviets, and a scramble ensues with various spy agencies from around the world trying to out-compete and out-bid one another in purchasing the sub from Lupin et al on the sly. It's got the sort of geopolitical sting and topicality and serious edge to the story that I wish more of the stories in this series had. The stories are too often ludicrous and silly. On top of this, the animation is tremendously fun, the ultimate (literally) example of what Yuzo Aoki set out to achieve with his radical but ultimately doomed re-visioning of the visuals of Lupin III. Ryuno animated the entire first half of the episode, so it's obvious in what regard Aoki held Ryuno. This episode is a good place to start to get a sense of his style. Aoki himself did some animation in the second half.

Odds and ends

In addition to all the regulars, a few unexpected names pop up once in a while. Masahito Yamashita, best known as one of the earliest Yoshinori Kanada followers to make a name for himself in the early 80s for his strange and exciting animation full of odd, improbable posing and lushly animated angular effects, makes an appearance in two episodes: 20 and 27. In both episodes, there's no missing his work, which is in exactly the style for which he is known, with no concessions made to the show whatsoever. It's saying a lot when your work sticks out on a show as permissive of animator freedom as Lupin III Part 3.

Masahito Yamashita's unmistakable drawings

Satoru Utsunomiya made an early appearance in episode 48, many years before he became known for his own unique brand of animation. The work here isn't as identifiable as his later work, but it's still distinguishable from its very different sense of timing, and even some of the drawings that have a more rounded and solid feeling to them than the others in the show.

Studio Iruka stopped working on the show rather quickly, appearing only in the first half, but one Iruka animator remained on through the rest of the show: Shobu Takahiko. I'm not positive, but I suspect that many of the parts I most enjoyed in the show were drawn by this animator. After considerable effort to figure out who did the parts I enjoyed, I've been unable to conclusively narrow it down to him, but he's my best guess going by the circumstantial evidence of his having been such a recurring face. He was even brought on in the last episode, with its small but strong cast of animators. The scene I'm most wondering about is the chase that starts in the park near the end of episode 44. The drawings and timing of the movement there are so good and unlike that of any other animator in the show. The part where Zenigata drives his car vertically through a two-foot-wide alleyway is totally insane and awesome.

Looking at the inbetween credits, you will find latter-day director Akitoshi Yokoyama in episode 46. Yokoyama started out as an animator, and this must have been one of his earliest gigs. Norimoto Tokura is an inbetweener in episode 4.

One of my favorite writers in the series is Hiroshi Kashiwabara, who wrote episodes 32, 34, 44 and 50. His scripts were more witty and believable than many of the others. I can't think of many other writers on the show who stood out to me as being particularly good. His script for episode 50 was supposedly based on a story idea that had originally been submitted as a replacement idea for the Lupin III movie that Mamoru Oshii had dropped out on. Perhaps that's what makes that episode feel a cut above the rest with its clever satirical tone.

Gold of Babylon

A movie version was in planning around the time the third series began airing. It would have been the third movie. Hayao Miyazaki had recommended Mamoru Oshii for the role of director, but Oshii submitted a story idea that was so outlandish and bizarre that it scared off the producers and got him fired. The shards of ideas I've heard include a strange figure reminiscent of the girl in Angel's Egg holed up in a tower, and Lupin having lost his purpose in life because there is nothing left in the world to steal, which brings to mind the strange vision of a depopulated world in Beautiful Dreamer.

Shigetsugu Yoshida was quickly hired as a replacement, assisted by Seijun Suzuki, and Yoshio Urasawa was hired to write the script. This happened while Part 3 was airing, and many of the staff who were working on Part 3 had to leave to work on the film. This is why there seems to be something of a dip in quality around the middle of Part 3, where it feels like they are scrabbling to find the people to make the episodes. Yuzo Aoki is conspicuously absent around the middle of the show.

Released on July 13, 1985, near the end of the unusually extended broadcast run of Part 3, the Gold of Babylon movie is the craziest and most unpredictable and unhinged of the Lupin III movies, both in terms of its animation and its story. Yuzo Aoki is the head of animation, and the animation is close in spirit to Part 3, with Lupin wearing a pink jacket, although all of the main characters other than Lupin are designed in a way that is more of a throwback to the second series. The film had to be produced in a short schedule due to the debacle with Oshii dropping out, and consequently it's rough around the edges in terms of the animation, and the story is half baked, but it's still a memorable film and a great companion piece to Part 3. It's one of the few places where you can find more animation in the spirit of Part 3.

Alice

Despite having technically nothing to do with Lupin III, this obscure OVA released in 1991 adapting an old one-shot manga by Monkey Punch is very close in spirit to Part 3 due to the fact that it was directed by Yuzo Aoki and features Tatsuo Ryuno as the animator/animation director. Although much ill has been said about this bizarre, disjointed and in some ways deliberately ugly piece of animation, it has an abrasive power like no other anime. It's the only anime I've ever seen that felt like a faithful adaptation of Monkey Punch in all of his psychosexual, violent, anarchic glory.

The story is so crazy that it's worth describing. A mad scientist was in love with a girl named Alice, but Alice runs off with another guy, so the mad scientist shoots the both of them up with a machine gun as they're trying to drive off together. To take revenge on Alice for not being faithful to him (since killing her was not enough), the mad scientist proceeds to create a cyborg version of Alice who will be his faithful sexual slave. But as fate has it, the lovemaking kills him. When his son, a mafioso boss, hears news that his pop has been killed by a girl named Alice who was great in the sack, he sends out a call to all the Alices he can find and holds an audition to find the one who's best in the sack so he can kill her and exact his revenge. After nearly wearing off his implement auditioning every conceivable species of Alice including a Martian Alice, a lesbian Alice, and a giant Alice, he finally finds his sex goddess, but right when he attempts to blow her brains out with his dad's gun, the cyborg Alice steps in and saves the girl. After his various attempts to off Alice fail because of her superhuman strength, he clones himself and modifies his clone into an ultra-powerful cyborg capable of taking on Alice. Just as the cyborg is about to defeat Alice and rape her, the Don steps in and saves Alice, realizing he has fallen in love with her. Unable to accept his conflicting emotions, he departs, vowing one day to exact his revenge on his love, Alice.

Don't try to understand it. It's not meant to be understood. It's meant to be experienced.

The combo of Aoki and Ryuno proved that they were the team who understood Monkey Punch best of all the people who have worked on the franchise over the years first in Part 3 and then in Alice. Alice is as a far-removed encore to Part 3 and an upping of the ante. This time it is no holds barred: the OVA format allows them to draw imagery that does justice to the story's nonstop parade of crazy but hilarious sex and violence. The animation is rough around the edges but very lively and fun, the drawings full of wild poses and expressions. The real Monkey Punch in his full glory was too much for the air waves, much less the silver screen. Only in the OVA format was it possible to go as far as was necessary in depicting sex to be faithful to Monkey Punch.

The sexual aspect that played such a large part in the Lupin III manga in defining Lupin's character, with Lupin screwing and/or shooting broads in his patented insanely over-the-top drawings, was completely played down in the anime - to say nothing of the Miyazaki version. Alice, for all the ill you can say about it, is one of the few anime adaptations that did not dumb down the crazed sexuality that was the essence of Monkey Punch. I for one found the story quite entertaining in its wildness. It's a little too episodic, and the story a little too crazy to be able to take seriously, but it wouldn't be Monkey Punch if that weren't the case. It's a rare glimpse into the darkness of what could have been if Lupin III had been made for a more adult audience.

Lupin III Part 3 full episode credits

StoryboardDirectorSakkanKey Animators
1金塊はルパンを呼ぶ
The gold bullion calls to Lupin
荒木プロダクション
姫野美智 荒木賢一 高鉾誠 山田雄二
Araki Production
Michi Himeno, Kenichi Araki, Makoto Takahoko, Yuji Yamada
青木悠三
Yuzo Aoki
荒木伸吾
Shingo Araki
2大いなる罠を暴け
Break through the big trap
アニメーション501
宇都木勇 鈴木丈司 伊藤郁子
Animation 501
Isamu Utsugi, Joji Suzuki, Ikuko Ito
こだま兼嗣
Kenji Kodama
小川博司
Hiroshi Ogawa
3こんにちは地獄の天使
Hello, angel from hell
アリプロダクション
道下有希子 松本小百合 斉藤真理子
Ari Production
Yukiko Michishita, Sayuri Matsumoto, Mariko Saito
青木悠三
Yuzo Aoki
橋本三郎
Saburo Hashimoto
田中平八郎
Heihachiro Tanaka
4テレパシーは愛のシグナル
Telepathy is love's signal
鍋島修 松原京子 飯島正勝 長岡康史 伊藤富士子
Osamu Nabeshima, Kyoko Matsubara, Masakatsu Iijima, Yasuchika Nagaoka, Fujiko Ito
鍋島修
Osamu Nabeshima
松原京子
Kyoko Matsubara
5五右ェ門無双
Goemon the invincible
古田詔治 太田博光 鈴木秀司 山中英治 牧野行洋
Shoji Furuta, Hiromitsu Outa, Hideshi Suzuki, Hideji Nakayama, Yukihiro Makino
中村亮之介
Ryonosuke Nakamura
板倉則子
Noriko Itakura
高田三郎、柳野龍男
Saburo Takada, Tatsuo Ryuno
6ルパンが戦車でやってきた
Lupan arrived in a tank
スタジオイルカ
川越ジュン あべじゅん子 小松ひな子 菖蒲隆彦
Studio Iruka
Jun Kawagoe, Junko Abe, Hinako Komatsu, Takahiko Ayame
こだま兼嗣
Kenji Kodama
神村幸子
Sachiko Kamimura
7死神ガーブと呼ばれた男
The man called Garb the God of Death
荒木プロダクション
姫野美智 荒木賢一 佐々木聡 高鉾誠
Araki Production
Michi Himeno, Kenichi Araki, Satoshi Sasaki, Makoto Takahoko
吉田しげつぐ
Shigetsugu Yoshida
荒木伸吾
Shingo Araki
8聖母マリヤの脱出作戦
Plan to free Holy Mary
AIC
太田博光 山中英治 兼島信幸
AIC
Hiromitsu Outa, Eiji Yamanaka, Nobuyuki Kanejima
奥脇雅晴
Masaharu Okuwaki
高田三郎
Saburo Takada
9コピー人間は高くつく
Copied people are expensive
アニメーション501
小川博司 宇都木勇 鈴木大司
Animation 501
Hiroshi Ogawa, Isamu Utsugi, Hiroshi Suzuki
橋本三郎
Saburo Hashimoto
小川博司
Hiroshi Ogawa
10秘宝は陰謀の匂い
Hidden treasure smells of conspiracy
スタジオイルカ
川越ジュン あべじゅん子 小松ひな子 菖蒲隆彦
Studio Iruka
Jun Kawagoe, Junko Abe, Hinako Komatsu, Takahiko Ayame
こだま兼嗣
Kenji Kodama
神村幸子
Sachiko Kamimura
11ルビーは血の汗を流す
The ruby sweats blood
牧野行洋 ふくだ忠 古田詔治 あべどん 青村悦子 飯田つとむ
Yukihiro Makino, Tadashi Fukuda, Shoji Furuta, Don Abe, Etsuko Aomura, Tsutomu Iida
板倉則子
Noriko Itakura
柳野龍男、尾鷲英俊
Tatsuo Ryuno, Hidetoshi Owashi
12バルタン館のとりこ
Prisoner of Baltan House
飯島正勝 長岡康史 伊藤富士子 長崎重信 松原京子
Masakatsu Iijima, Yasuchika Nagaoka, Fujiko Ito, Shigenobu Nagasaki, Kyoko Matsubara
鍋島修
Osamu Nabeshima
松原京子
Kyoko Matsubara
13悪のり変装曲
Variations on a bad joke
道下有希子 高田三郎 松本小百合 太田博光 斉藤真理子
Yukiko Michishita, Saburo Takada, Sayuri Matsumoto, Hiromitsu Outa, Mariko Saito
吉田しげつぐ
Shigetsugu Yoshida
田中平八郎、高田三郎
Heihachiro Tanaka, Saburo Takada
14誘拐ゲームはお好き
Let's play the kidnapping game
小川博司 川崎博嗣 宇都木勇 阿部どん 鈴木大司 飯田つとむ
Hiroshi Ogawa, Hirotsugu Kawasaki, Isamu Utsuki, Don Abe, Hiroshi Suzuki, Tsutomu Iida
橋本三郎
Saburo Hashimoto
小川博司、尾鷲英俊
Hiroshi Ogawa, Hidetoshi Owashi
15殺しが静かにやってくる
Death comes quietly
飯島正勝 長岡康史 伊藤富士子 長崎重信 道下有希子 高田三郎
Masakatsu Iijima, Yasuchika Nagaoka, Fujiko Ito, Shigenobu Nagasaki, Yukiko Michishita, Saburo Takada
亀垣一
Hajime Kamegaki
16黄金のリンゴには毒がある
Golden apples are poisonous
スタジオイルカ
神村幸子 川越ジュン あべじゅん子 菖蒲隆彦
Studio Iruka
Sachiko Kamimura, Jun Kawagoe, Junko Abe, Takahiko Ayame
こだま兼嗣
Kenji Kodama
神村幸子
Sachiko Kamimura
17結婚するって本当ですか
Are you really getting married?
田中平八郎 高田三郎 松本小百合 太田博光 斎藤真理子
Heihachiro Tanaka, Saburo Takada, Sayuri Matsumoto, Hiromitsu Outa, Mariko Saito
曽我部孝
Takashi Sogabe
田中平八郎、高田三郎
Heihachiro Tanaka, Saburo Takada
18ショータイムは死の香り
Showtime smells like death
古田詔治 川崎博嗣 青海房子 あべどん 菊池通隆 ふくだ忠
Shoji Furuta, Hirotsugu Kawasaki, Fusako Oume, Don Abe, Michitaka Kikuchi, Tadashi Fukuda
青木悠三
Yuzo Aoki
柳野龍男、尾鷲英俊
Tatsuo Ryuno, Hidetoshi Owashi
19裏切りの荒野を走れ
Run across the wasteland of betrayal
スタジオイルカ
神村幸子 川越ジュン あべじゅん子 菖蒲隆彦
Studio Iruka
Sachiko Kamimura, Jun Kawagoe, Junko Abe, Takahiko Ayame
こだま兼嗣
Kenji Kodama
神村幸子
Sachiko Kamimura
20過去を消した男
The man with no past
長岡康史 長崎重信 伊藤富士子 越智一裕 道下有希子 山下将仁
Yasuchika Nagaoka, Shigenobu Nagasaki, Fujiko Ito, Kazuhiro Ochi, Yukiko Michishita, Masahito Yamashita
鍋島修
Osamu Nabeshima
飯島正勝
Masakatsu Iijima
松原京子、本橋秀之
Kyoko Matsubara, Hideyuki Motohashi
21さらば黄金伝説
Farewell, legendary gold
ふくだ忠 阿部どん 飯田つとむ 川崎博嗣 北川美樹 佐藤真人
Tadashi Fukuda, Don Abe, Tsutomu Iida, Hirotsugu Kawasaki, Miki Kitagawa, Masato Sato
甲賀電
Kogaden
荻原亨
Ryo Ogiwara
尾鷲英俊
Hidetoshi Owashi
22ダイヤに炎は似合わない
Flames don't suit diamonds
飯島正勝 牧野行洋 道下有希子 古田詔治 北川美樹 佐藤真人
Masakatsu Iijima, Yukihiro Makino, Yukiko Michishita, Shoji Furuta, Miki Kitagawa, Masato Sato
曽我部孝
Takashi Sogabe
柳野龍男
Tatsuo Ryuno
23ベイルート移動銀行強奪作戦
Beirut moving bank heist plan
アニメーション501
鈴木大司 宇都木勇 中矢卓 新井淑子
Hiroshi Suzuki, Isamu Utsuki, Taku Nakaya, Yoshiko Arai
小川博司
Hiroshi Ogawa
24友よ深く眠れ
Sleep deeply, my friend
長岡康史 伊藤富士子 飯島正勝 道下有希子 北川美樹 佐藤真人
Yasuchika Nagaoka, Fujiko Ito, Masakatsu Iijima, Yukiko Michishita, Miki Kitagawa, Masato Sato
亀垣一
Hajime Kamegaki
本橋秀之
Hideyuki Motohashi
25俺たちは天使じゃない
We ain't no angels
OHプロダクション
ふくだ忠 阿部どん 飯田つとむ 川崎博嗣
Oh Production
Tadashi Fukuda, Don Abe, Tsutomu Iida, Hirotsugu Kawasaki
甲賀電
Kogaden
荻原亨
Ryo Ogiwara
尾鷲英俊
Hidetoshi Owashi
26ニューヨークの幽霊
Ghost of New York
柳野龍男 佐藤真人 青海房子 北川美樹
Tatsuo Ryuno, Masato Sato, Fusako Oume, Miki Kitagawa
青木悠三
Yuzo Aoki
青木悠三、柳野龍男
Yuzo Aoki, Tatsuo Ryuno
27暗号名はアラスカの星
Codeword: Alaskan star
山下将仁 柳野龍男 道下有希子 北川美樹 青梅房子 佐藤真
Masahito Yamashita, Tatsuo Ryuno, Yukiko Michishita, Miki Kitagawa, Fusako Oume, Makoto Sato
ケン・タロウ
Taro Ken
荻原露光
Roko Ogiwara
青木悠三
Yuzo Aoki
28アラスカの星は地獄への報酬
Alaska's stars are payment from hell
道下有希子 飯島正勝 佐藤真人 細谷満 北川美樹 三浦嘉友
Yukiko Michishita, Masakatsu Iijima, Masato Sato, Mitsuru Hosotani, Miki Kitagawa, Yoshitomo Miura
荻原露光
Roko Ogiwara
浪花京子
Kyoko Naniwa
29月へハネムーンに行こう
Let's go on a honeymoon to the moon
スタジオユニコーン
森中正春 浜野裕治
Studio Unicorn
Masaharu Morinaka, Yuji Hamano
荻原露光
Roko Ogiwara
森中正春
Masaharu Morinaka
30カクテルの名は復讐
The name of the cocktail is revenge
山崎理 柳野龍男 曽我部孝 青梅房子 蒲木伸男 佐久間清明
Osamu Yamasaki, Tatsuo Ryuno, Takashi Sogabe, Fusako Oume, Nobuo Kamaki, Kiyoaki Sakuma
曽我部孝
Takashi Sogabe
青木悠三、柳野龍男
Yuzo Aoki, Tatsuo Ryuno
31逆転 逆転 また逆転
One turn of events after another
OHプロダクション
ふくだ忠 阿部どん 飯田つとむ 川崎博嗣
OH Production
Tadashi Fukuda, Don Abe, Tsutomu Iida, Hirotsugu Kawasaki
甲賀電
Kogaden
飯田つとむ
Tsutomu Iida
尾鷲英俊
Hidetoshi Owashi
321000万ドルの鍵
The $10-million key
柳野龍男 曽我部孝 青梅房子 佐藤真人 道下有希子 北川美樹
Tatsuo Ryuno, Takashi Sogabe, Fusako Oume, Masato Sato, Yukiko Michishita, Miki Kitagawa
鍋島修
Osamu Nabeshima
飯田つとむ
Tsutomu Iida
松原京子
Kyoko Matsubara
33天才少年の危険な遊び
Dangerous games of a boy genius
柳野龍男 佐藤真人 青梅房子 道下有希子 北川美樹 飯島正勝
Tatsuo Ryuno, Masato Sato, Fusako Oume, Yukiko Michishita, Miki Kitagawa, Masakatsu Iijima
荻原露光
Roko Ogiwara
柳野龍男、曽我部孝
Tatsuo Ryuno, Takashi Sogabe
34マンハッタン・クライシス
Manhattan Crisis
OHプロダクション
ふくだ忠 阿部どん 飯田つとむ 川崎博嗣
OH Production
Tadashi Fukuda, Don Abe, Tsutomu Iida, Hirotsugu Kawasaki
甲賀電
Kogaden
飯田つとむ
Tsutomu Iida
尾鷲英俊
Hidetoshi Owashi
35ターゲットは白銀の果てに
The target at the far edge of the snow
森中正春 曽我部孝 浜野裕治 佐藤真人 道下有希子 北川美樹
Masaharu Morinaka, Takashi Sogabe, Yuji Hamano, Masato Sato, Yukiko Michishita, Miki Kitagawa
曽我部孝
Takashi Sogabe
森中正春、青木悠三
Masaharu Morinaka, Yuzo Aoki
36鷲の舞い降りる時
When the eagle descends
柳野龍男 大森利之 古田詔治 長谷川仁 町田由美 斉藤弘行
Tatsuo Ryuno, Toshiyuki Omori, Shoji Furukawa, Hitoshi Hasegawa, Yumi Machida, Hiroyuki Saito
中野一
Hajime Nakano
荻原露光
Roko Ogawara
北原匠、柳野龍男
Takumi Kitahara, Tatsuo Ryuno
37父っつあん大いに怒る
Pops gets really mad
丸山政次 佐藤真人 山岸宏 道下有希子 北川美樹 菖蒲隆彦
Masatsugu Maruyama, Masato Sato, Hiroshi Yamagishi, Yukiko Michishita, Miki Kitagawa, Takahiko Ayame
荻原露光
Roko Ogawara
小林勝利、曽我部孝
Masatoshi Kobayashi, Takashi Sogabe
38俺を愛したレティシア
Leticia who loved me
大森利之 佐藤真人 長谷川仁 道下有希子 町田由美 菖蒲隆彦
Toshiyuki Omori, Masato Sato, Hitoshi Hasegawa, Yukiko Michishita, Yumi Machida, Takahiko Ayame
鍋島修
Osamu Nabeshima
飯島正勝
Masakatsu Iijima
北原匠、青木悠三
Takumi Kitagawa, Yuzo Aoki
39ライバルに黄金を
Gold to the rival
OHプロダクション
ふくだ忠 阿部どん 飯田つとむ 川崎博嗣
OH Production
Tadashi Fukuda, Don Abe, Tsutomu Iida, Hirotsugu Kawasaki
甲賀電
Kogaden
飯田つとむ
Tsutomu Iida
尾鷲英俊
Hidetoshi Owashi
40一枚のお宝で大混戦
Free-for-all over a single piece of treasure
草間アート
柳野龍男 古田詔治
Kusama Art
Tatsuo Ryuno, Shoji Yoshida
曽我部孝
Takashi Sogabe
柳野龍男
Tatsuo Ryuno
41戒厳令の夜
Night of martial order
長谷川仁 町田由美 牟田清司 道下有希子 菖蒲隆彦 佐藤真人
Hitoshi Hasegawa, Yumi Machida, Seiji Muta, Yukiko Michishita, Takahiko Ayame, Masato Sato
荻原露光
Roko Ogiwara
尾鷲英俊
Hidetoshi Owashi
42ピラミッドの保険金を奪え
Grab the pyramid insurance money
スタジオぎゃろっぷ
山内昇寿郎 中矢卓 松岡秀明 田中二郎
Studio Gallop
Toshio Yamauchi, Taku Nakaya, Hideaki Matsuoka, Jiro Tanaka
飯島正勝
Masakatsu Iijima
戯家六夫
Mutuso Giga
関町北三
Kitami Sekimachi
43さらばシンデレラ
Farewell to Cinderella
OHプロダクション
ふくだ忠 阿部どん 飯田つとむ 川崎博嗣
OH Production
Tadashi Fukuda, Don Abe, Tsutomu Iida, Hirotsugu Kawasaki
甲賀電
Kogaden
飯田つとむ
Tsutomu Iida
尾鷲英俊
Hidetoshi Owashi
44ボクたちのパパは泥棒
Our dad's a thief
大森利之 道下有希子 長谷川仁 佐藤真人 町田由美 菖蒲隆彦
Toshiyuki Omori, Yukiko Michishita, Hitoshi Hasegawa, Masato Sato, Yumi Machida, Takahiko Ayame
亀垣一
Hajime Kamegaki
飯島正勝
Masakatsu Iijima
井上昭子
Shoko Inoue
45コンゲームに乾杯
Salud to the con game
佐藤真人 佐藤雪絵 道下有希子 井上昭子 菖蒲隆彦 長岡康史
Masato Sato, Yukie Sato, Yukiko Michishita, Shoko Inoue, Takahiko Ayame, Yasuchika Nagaoka
飯島正勝
Masakatsu Iijima
井上昭子
Shoko Inoue
46俺の翼はスクラップ
My wings are scrap
スタジオぎゃろっぷ
小野隆哉 西島義隆 小西洋子 梅津美幸
Studio Gallop
Takaya Ono, Yoshitaka Nishijima, Yoko Konishi, Miyuki Umetsu
高本宣弘
Nobuhiro Takagi
辻初樹
Hatsuki Tsuji
47一枚の迷画
A famous painting
兵頭敬 柳野龍男 高橋明信 古田詔治 須貝美佳
Takashi Hyodo, Tatsuo Ryuno, Akinobu Takahashi, Shoji Furuta, Mika Sugai
河島三郎
Saburo Kawashima
柳野龍男
Tatsuo Ryuno
48ハディスの涙
Hadis's tears
菖蒲隆彦 柳野龍男 宇都宮智 長岡康史 道下有希子 飯島正勝
Takahiko Ayame, Tatsuo Ryuno, Satoru Utsunomiya, Yasuchika Nagaoka, Yukiko Michishita, Masakatsu Iijima
奥脇雅晴
Masaharu Okuwaki
青木悠三
Yuzo Aoki
49父っつあんが養子になった日
The day pops was adopted
川崎博嗣 福田忠 あべどん 飯田つとむ 高坂希太郎 清水洋
Hirotsugu Kawasaki, Tadashi Fukuda, Don Abe, Tsutomu Iida, Kitaro Kosaka, Hiroshi Shimizu
甲賀電
Kogaden
飯田つとむ
Tsutomu Iida
尾鷲英俊
Hidetoshi Owashi
50原潜イワノフの抹殺指令
Order to destroy nuclear submarine Ivanov
柳野龍男 青木悠三 菖蒲隆彦 柳田勤 高坂希太郎 尾鷲英俊
Tatsuo Ryuno, Yuzo Aoki, Takahiko Ayame, Tsutomu Yagita, Kitaro Kosaka, Hidetoshi Owashi
青木悠三
Yuzo Aoki
荻原露光
Roko Ogiwara
青木悠三
Yuzo Aoki

A selection of random images from the series:

Permalink

11 comments

Huw M
Huw M [Visitor]

Some amazing looking drawings here. I definitely want to check these out. It’s great that you can just keep digging and digging into the history of commercially produced animation and still keep unearthing all these wonderfully personal contributions…

02/09/12 @ 22:59
aaron_long
aaron_long [Member]

I really love these gargantuan all-encompassing series posts you do. And this one is something I’m really interested in, since I can’t get enough of Yuzo Aoki’s work. Episode 50 in particular is something I’m very interested in seeing now.

Tatsuo Ryono is probably the one who animated a lot of the scenes in the Gold of Babylon movie that I attributed to Aoki in my post on it a while back. They fit your descriptions of his style perfectly.

I’m also very surprised to see Masahito Yamashita’s name pop up; I’ve been watching a lot of Urusei Yatsura recently and I wouldn’t have thought he’d have time to work on other shows concurrently. Then again I’ve mostly been watching the Mamoru Oshii years of Urusei, from 1981-84. It’s possible that he left around that point to go work on this.

It sounds like Monkey Punch appreciated Aoki and Ryuno’s faithfulness to his spirit if he collaborated with them again on Alice. I have got to see that sometime, it sounds very interesting.

BTW Ben, on the subject of Urusei Yatsura, I’ve got a quick question for you regarding one episode which I did a post about recently:

http://aalong64.blogspot.com/2012/02/urusei-yatsura-is-so-good.html

It’s got a crazy drawing style unlike any of the other episodes, and I was wondering if you might recognize who was responsible for it. If not it’s fine, but I thought you’d be the person to ask.

02/10/12 @ 06:15
Jim
Jim [Visitor]

I’m a third through the second series and eventually I planned on watching the third but it was never a priority. I had a lot of misconceptions about Part 3 that you listed but now I’m looking forward to it thanks to this post.

02/10/12 @ 06:59
Ben [Member]  

Huw M:

I find that a lot of the more peculiarly drawn and ‘personal’ feeling animation has actually been overlooked in favor of the more typically anime looking things, which is perhaps why it’s not too hard to unearth interesting looking anime… For example, I think most people prior to now probably wrote off Ryuno Tatsuo as too weird and ‘badly drawn’… but to my eyes, his animation is very interesting.

Jim:

Thanks, glad it helped.

Aaron:

Thanks. I’m curious to hear what you think when you finally get to watch the third series. It’s so different from the second series, but I think you’ll like it. It’s really the ultimate expression of Aoki’s approach to Lupin.

That’s possible about Ryuno having done those parts, but both Ryuno and Aoki were animation directors (along with Hidetoshi Owashi of Oh Pro), so I’m not sure… I’ll need to re-watch the whole movie sometime to figure it out. I’d like to write a proper post about it.

I was surprised at how clearly Yamashita’s part was identifiable in Part 3… it felt like something straight out of Urusei Yatsura or Birth. I think this is near the end of the period of Yamashita’s early work that really stands out. Soon enough his work starts looking way less weird and crazy (which is what made is so nice).

You make me want to check out Urusei Yatsura in more detail. That was one of the shows I watched a lot of 20 years ago when I was just getting into anime… because of AnimEigo’s famous releases. I haven’t really re-visited it since then. There was certainly a lot of fun animation work in that show. Early Oshii was so different from his more recent stuff.

Anyway, about episode 83… I looked into it, and speak of the devil, it was Masahito Yamashita. Not too surprising, I guess. I don’t know of many other animators in Urusei Yatsura who were doing interesting animation, at least nothing on Yamashita’s level. Also, the episode was written and storyboarded by Mamoru Oshii, which no doubt helped. Oshii + Yamashita was a killer combination. The animation director was Takafumi Hayashi, but I suspect the ‘crazy drawing style’ you’re wondering about was Yamashita’s part. For reference, if you wanted to check his other episodes to see if it was his work that caught your attention, Takafumi Hayashi was also animation director of 96, 102, 110, 117, 138, 143, 146, 151, 158, 161, 164, 169. I just took a cursory glance at the episode, and I’m pretty sure Yamashita handled only the very beginning…

02/11/12 @ 08:42
aaron_long
aaron_long [Member]

Thanks a lot Ben, very thorough answer. I’ll check the other episodes of UY you listed to see if they contain the same things I liked about this one. I’m also hoping to watch some of the Pink Jacket Lupin series as soon as possible. From the brief clips I’ve seen of it, it looks great.

02/12/12 @ 06:09
Ben [Member]  

NP. :) By the way, while I’m at it, here’s a list of all the UY episodes Masahito Yamashita worked on, since I suspect it’s his work that really impressed you in that episode: 14a, 18a, 22a, 29, 32, 37, 50, 89, 74, 79, 81, 83, 86, 93, 100, 103, 104. It looks like production switched from Pierrot to Dean around the 100 mark, and Yamashita and Oshii were no longer involved after that, and the other staff changed too. Probably the good stuff ends there(?).

02/12/12 @ 10:33
aaron_long
aaron_long [Member]

Yeah, after the switch from Oshii to Yamazaki as chief director of the series, it does seem to get less interesting not only animation-wise, but in the writing and direction as well. It’s still very good, but a bit of a let-down from what came before.

If the whole production company changed when Oshii left in 1984, then it makes sense that Yamashita would have then been able to work on Lupin III Part 3 in ‘85. Non-mystery solved.

Anyway, sorry to hijack this comments thread with UY, especially since I really am very interested in this Lupin series. I believe some of it’s available in subbed form online, so I’ll have a look around for it.

02/12/12 @ 20:00
William Massie
William Massie [Visitor]

Long time no text Ben,

Nice Lupin posts. Admittedly I was always kinda leery about the Pink Jacket series. One because of my beloved Fujiko was drawn (too small) and because of the Pink Jacket itself.

But after reading this post, I’m tempted to go seek it out especially because there are so few shows I watch from season to season now.

The posing in the animation looks awesome! Real different than stuff they usually put out from the time period.

02/15/12 @ 08:40
Ben [Member]  

Hi Will,

Fujiko can be nice to look at in Pink Jacket, too, though her proportions can be a little odd. I was also quite attached to her style in the second show. I might still prefer her in the second show, but there are a few drawings of her here that are quite interesting and appropriately ’sexy’, albeit in a different way. But yes, if you watch as little new anime as I do, I heartily recommend giving it a shot… I almost never watch a 50+ episode show now, but I went through this one in a matter of weeks it was so enjoyable.

02/17/12 @ 11:09
Fronzel
Fronzel [Visitor]  

I guess I just appreciate animated works much differently from you; I’m surprised to read you say that EVERY story is boring almost as an afterthought. I’m inclined to call that a fatal problem. I started Lupin series 3 a little while ago and I’m not enjoying it very much for exactly that reason.

12/01/13 @ 18:46
SODA
SODA [Visitor]

Wow! Thanks for introducing me to the pink jacket series!

Someone needs to put together a clip showcase of Tatsuo Ryuno’s animation. It’s criminal that this guy is virtually unknown.

03/29/14 @ 23:34