Initially daily but now sporadic blog about anime and world animation with a specific focus on the artists behind the work. Written by Ben Ettinger.
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« Lupin III Part 3Seton Animal Chronicles: Bannertail, the Story of a Gray Squirrel »

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

06:48:00 am , 812 words, 9138 views     Categories: Lupin III, Studio: Tokyo Movie, Animator: Yuzo Aoki, 1970s

Wrapping up Lupin III part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



D.Z. [Visitor]

“Seijun Suzuki also co-directed the Babylon movie together with Shigetsugu Yoshida, which gives clear indication of his style.”

He also was involved with the pink jacket show. Supposedly, Pulp claimed Lupin was inspired after his movies.

01/27/12 @ 05:44
michelle [Visitor]

Hey, great blog!

Do you read the blog over on Manga UK? They post some really interesting articles and I think it may interest you!

01/31/12 @ 16:09
h_park [Member]

Hi Ben,
Two Lupin TV series is going to be released in the US as Green Jacket and Red Jacket series. The ones that you’re talking about is Red Jacket Series, right? Having not watched original Lupin TV series makes it difficult for me to understand your Lupin posts.

02/06/12 @ 02:46
Ben [Member]  

Yes, it’s the red jacket series. Sorry if all of this is wasted on folks who haven’t seen the show. But that’s the point - it’s a guide for what eps to look out for in case you haven’t seen it and don’t want to have to watch all 150 episodes. (which speaking from personal experience having done so was fun but the work was very uneven, and it was a lot of work)

02/08/12 @ 08:38
pete [Member]

very commendable effort Ben.
I struggle to watch 100+ episode series and even then they are to have an epic story. I remember I rented a DVD some years ago containing 10 episodes of the second season but I can not remember exactly which ones, based on your description.
I remember the episode where they visit Brazil and the one in the Middle East where they are in an Israeli airport, as well as the episode taking place in a cruiser.
they were certainly fun, but watching 150 episodes would be out of the question

Only 100+ series I watched were classics like GE999, Touch, Galactic Heroes and the shojo Candy.

02/08/12 @ 11:10
Ben [Member]  

I can’t think of many 100+ episode shows I would be able to stand watching in full at this point in my life (I don’t even have the patience to watch more than one episode of most shows made today, even the more decent ones), but the second Lupin series is one of them. I guess it helps if you’re a Lupin fan. I’d gladly subject myself to more if there were more. I’m kind of sad now that I’ve gone through all three of the TV series. At least there are more TV specials to go through.

02/10/12 @ 04:29
pete [Member]

Yes, I am not a Lupin fan, in fact I wadtched only Cagliostro. There was also an irrelevant anime movie called “Sherlock Holmes vs Arsen Lupin” I did watch in my childhood.

Generally series like Lupin or Cats Eyes never appealed to me.

But someone needs to make a presentation for them!

02/11/12 @ 10:58