Is Lupin in need of rennovation?

YES! I'm so sick of this, it's horrible nowadays.
1 (14.3%)
It could definitely use improvement.
3 (42.9%)
Maybe, I'm iffy either way.
2 (28.6%)
Nah, I like where the current specials are.
0 (0%)
NO! You'll only mess up the characters!
1 (14.3%)

Total Members Voted: 7

Voting closed: January 10, 2007, 12:30:35 am

Author Topic: Lupin: What's wrong with it?  (Read 5857 times)


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Lupin: What's wrong with it?
« on: January 10, 2007, 12:30:35 am »
As the first really in-depth thread since the forum's inception, I'd like to...uh. Say stuff. Anyway. I'd like to, before I start in, point out that I'm not ragging on LIII. I still love it as much as when I first got into it oh-so-many years ago, if not more. I still love the plots, the goofs, the characters. It's just, that...well, it's been on my mind for a while, and I'd like to see how it sounds to others.

We all know Lupin's not doing so hot, at least in America. But, then again, just how well is Lupin doing, as a franchise? May I be honest? It's begun to stagnate, if it hasn't already. Sure, we've got First Contact's kick in the pants several years back, and the yearlies have been treating us pretty well, all things considered, but is that enough? For characters that don't have backstories beyond First Contact, who's motives aren't really clear, who seem nowadays as more cardboard-cutouts than people... I think Lupin's in dire need of some animated ressucitation.

Consider this. What is Lupin's drive to continue stealing? I think, for anyone who's seen even a few episodes or specials, it's because he enjoys it. It's not about the money as it is the thrill. It's pretty safe to assume it as such.

But what about the other characters? Why does Jigen, friendship aside, keep going along with Lupin's schemes? Obviously he enjoys them too, but after a certain point, the drive wears out.

The other two of four aren't fairing nearly as well. Fujiko seems to...uh. Well. Moving right along, Goemon has become Mr Scissors, cutting through whatever's required then stepping aside.

The only good thing I've got to say is about Zenigata, who's probably the most well developed of the gang. He's obsessed with Lupin to the point of sacrificing life, limb, and personal health (both with others and his physical body) in his quest to catch this master thief. It seems he's even abandoned any hope for a personal life, going so far as to seemingly have little involvement with his daughter. Still, he's excellent at what he does, and considering Lupin's exceeding talent in all things stealable, that's some  talent for a cop. Others have tried and failed to catch Lupin, and not all of them have been on the right side of the law, but Zenigata seems to be in it (like Lupin himself, really) not for the ends, but the means. The money, or in Zenigata's case the catch, isn't what gets his rocks off, it's the in-between. Not the climax, but the foreplay.

That aside, our heroes (or is that anti-heroes?) don't have a lot of depth to them, and I think I've made that point pretty clear.

Next up is the plots. Okay, yeah, they're thieves, we get it. They steal stuff, it's what they do. But why does it always have to involve a girl, or a near-mystic treasure? Must Lupin free a country from an oppressive government regime almost every time? Whatever happened to the quick-witted dialogue of the manga, instead of the slapstick of the anime? While there isn't quite a formula for Lupin to the romance-novel level, they are fairly predictable. As much as I loathe the animation, Island of Assassins comes to mind as being exceptionally good overall in this sense.

Overall, I'm not saying Lupin III needs to be shelved. No, no, I'm not complaining there. There is a time and a place for ending it, and I don't see that as being right now. But really, I think LIII needs a rennovation. Some new blood, better writing,  less of this play-it-safe crap the Lupin III Production Committee's been pulling, and take a risk. I think it'd be beneficial for everyone involved, for a couple of reason:

New Fans - A new style and loss of formula would bring in some of the younger crowd, which means increase in revenue. This definitely appeals to the production companies, but moreover, it brings in a bigger fanbase, therefore increasing awareness, and a boosted interest for the foreseeable future.

Old Fans - Luring back those who have become disillusioned by boring storiesand questionable animation would also do well for everyone involved, for essentially the same reason.

So, how would this be achieved? Well, my best bet would be a feature film. It's the lowest risk, because it's not the long-term investment of another series, and it's got a bigger impact. If successful, it could lead to another TV series in a similiar vein (more long-arcs of story, character development, etc), and if not, it could be allowed to fade away while the TV specials made up for any loss in income.

Well, I've had my say. With that, I hand it over to you guys: The community. To use a metaphor I said to Reed, it's not that I don't like the stew, I just think it could use some carrots.


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Lupin: What's wrong with it?
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2007, 11:32:11 am »
It may sounds Fanboy'ish, but "NO! You'll only mess up the characters!". Now, I have to admit, I've only seen stuff Dubbed at this point, meaning the most recent movie I've seen is the 2000 Special, Missed By A Dollar. So I cannot speak for the past 6 years. I do know about First Contact which apparentley is viewed as one of the greatest Lupin Movies of all time. But as far as up to 2000 goes, I'd say that characters are fine, one dimensional is how it's always been. That's kinda the charm, you don't have to overthink stuff, just enjoy what you're watching. OK, maybe the constant need for a girl gets annoying sometimes, I mean Lupin's risking his life for Fujiko & saying how he's in love & then air humping some new girl. I don't mind him saving people in the process, that's just his style.

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Lupin: What's wrong with it?
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2007, 12:03:05 am »
I chose "iffy either way".  I have no problem with most of the recent specials, but I do feel the franchise would benefit from a new series, as I mentioned in another thread.  Something along the lines of a 26-episode series like Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, or Big-O would be ideal.  There could be one main prize that Lupin is after, and one main villain that possesses it (or is after it or something).  Some episodes would show Lupin planning his heist, and moving his scheme along, but these would be interspersed by a number of stand-alone episodes in which he goes on little side-quests after the item-of-the-week and battles the villain-of-the-week.

A format like this would also cure another problem the TV specials have:  Goemon, Zenigata, Fujiko, and even Jigen wouldn't have to be in every single episode!  26 eps gives you plenty of time to focus on each character without trying to cram them all into the same story.  I understand the desire to put all five cast members into a story when there's only one per year, but I can't remember how many times I've watched a special and felt that certain characters (especially Goemon and Zenigata) just seem shoehorned in.  Look back at the original series and you'll see that all the characters weren't in every single episode.  Of course, the second series is really where that trend started, because there are many, many episodes there where Zenigata, for example, is shoved into a story he really has no need to be a part of just for the sake of having him in it.

Additionally, this would give us one more thing I think the Lupin franchise lacks:  A strong re-curring villain (or villains).  You can't really have such a character when you do one one-shot TV special a year.  But in a series, you can (and, I daresay should) have a good re-curring villain.  When you consider that over 30 years, Lupin has only had like three opponents appear in more than one episode/movie, that's kind of sad.  They could make someone up or, in what I think would be a better move, use an existing memorable foe like Pycal (my personal favorite choice), Mr. X, Count Cagliostro (he could've survived... somehow), or even Mamo (returned to Earth somehow... or re-cloned or whatever).

As far as motivation and backstories-- Well, I have a slightly different opinion there.  These characters have been who they are for so long that I think the fandom would find it hard to swallow if they were suddenly given elaborate histories.  I think the rare glimpses we've been afforded over the years should continue to be the way to go.  Only minor bits here and there.  At this point, I don't think we need "origin stories" for any of the gang.  Of course, if it was done well, I might change my mind, but that's how I feel right now.

So to sum it up, I think the characters are pretty much fine as they are, but I think the franchise would benefit from a change in concept.


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Lupin: What's wrong with it?
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2007, 01:00:47 am »
Quote from: "Fujiko Lover"
As far as motivation and backstories-- Well, I have a slightly different opinion there.  These characters have been who they are for so long that I think the fandom would find it hard to swallow if they were suddenly given elaborate histories.  I think the rare glimpses we've been afforded over the years should continue to be the way to go.  Only minor bits here and there.  At this point, I don't think we need "origin stories" for any of the gang.  Of course, if it was done well, I might change my mind, but that's how I feel right now.

So to sum it up, I think the characters are pretty much fine as they are, but I think the franchise would benefit from a change in concept.

While I (for the most part) agree with everything else in your post, this part is something I'm willing to go into about.

I'm not saying we should take Fujiko and have her parents hair, eyecolour, and family history together. But I do think the characters could do with chunks of personality, if not backstory. Why is Goemon following the code of the samurai? When, if ever, does Zenigata contact his family? I'm not saying they all individually need elaborate chronologies of their life up to the four-person team up, but rather some more touches of humanity.


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Lupin: What's wrong with it?
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2007, 02:36:21 am »
Hmmm, a series with a basic plot that follows through episode after episode. That would be ideal, even Monkey Punch himself said that the Anime started the trend of everyone always being together. It was not the case in the Manga, though if anything, the Manga did have Lupin & Jigen together alot. I would enjoy a plotted series greatly, though I just wanna see Lupin win in the end, lol.


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Lupin: What's wrong with it?
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2007, 01:57:11 pm »
Haven't voted yet, since I'm not ready to commit myself to a definite standpoint. But I must say that the one-dimensionality of the characters is part of the charm - you always know how they will react to certain things, and it's kept pretty consistent; almost impressively so. They are well-defined, and should not be altered. I love it when new snippets are revealed though, like why Jigen prefers a revolver as shown in "Return the Treasures". More of that kind of stuff would be most welcome - it doesn't change the characters, but gives them a little more depth.

Backstories are unimportant in this show/series, since almost all attemps at those have contradicted another. Like in the manga, it's unlikely that all the stories take place in the same universe. I'd say the characters are the basis of the concept, and their objectives second-hand.

That said, the objectives could certainly be more varied! Better writing is the main thing lacking in my opinion, and some clich?s are REALLY getting tiresome. Seriously, I don't want to see another bad guy with one swordsman for Goemon to battle and one gunman to duel Jigen.
Also, the motivations of the antagonists are all too often glossed over. In too many cases, they're just there to provide some adversity. Predictable and boring.

My favorite special is the aforementioned "Return the Treasures". Putting stuff back was a new spin, and I love the personality of "Rats", the main villain. In some ways a cut-out, yes, but with conflicting emotions and a very grand (though low-key) finale. Great stuff.
Sure, part of the movie drags a bit and there are a couple of really glaring coincidences - but hey, it's Lupin after all. It's not like we haven't seen worse.

So here's my wish list for upcoming specials or even a series:
1. Better stories, preferably without magic, cults or mysterious organisations.
2. Villains who take a more active part in the proceedings and use their henchmen less.
3. No Fujiko-dropping. Either leave her out completely or give her a decent part. See "Angel Tactics" for a prime example of what NOT to do.
This also goes for Goemon, even if it happens a little less frequently. And Zenigata, come to think of it. He's actually the one who's suffered the most from this.
4. Lupin is no idiot (though a big-time clown), so don't let him get fooled TOO easily by anyone except Fujiko. That's so second series.
5. A little less Jigen could be an interesting change. I love him as much as anyone, but having him at Lupin's side 90% of the time gets tiresome. He could be away on personal business or something or have a sidestory completely separated from Lupin's. Just for a change.

That's all I can think of straight away. I'm sure there are many other things that could be improved, but these are my main observations. Would be nice to hear if you agree/disagree with them!


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« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2007, 08:37:17 pm »
I have about 5,000 more words to say on this topic, but I'll keep my post short for now.

What I don't like about Lupin as it stands is its predictability. The people who are against change like this characteristic--they can guess how the stories will play out. Like how James Bond always gets laid and blows stuff up and there's frequently Russians involved.

I feel that the original premise of the manga was its reliance and success with unpredictability. This was its strength. It did not rely on building a formula initially, so much as it did character chemistry, particularly Lupin+Zenigata's.

As it progressed, of course the stories became slightly more formulaic and the anime (by the end of Series 2) had it down almost to an art form. Formula has its place, but it grows stale. "But I never get tired of seeing x do y!" Sorry, but everyone does sometime. One reason we put up with it is because it's only released once a year. It may be freshly packed, but the contents are decades old. Sometimes they add a little spice (oh, Episode Zero has some good fight scenes!) but it's still the same thing (not only was Episode Zero very non-committal
(click to show/hide)
, but also didn't really reveal any character depth or insights whatsoever).

Well, to cut to the chase, to make the show less predictable, we need to deviate basically as far from the cliches as possible and give the characters some depth and motivation. Not to mention something different to do. Hints of romance. Stuff like that.

And for character interactions--what's Goemon good for? "Hey, I'm a Jigen clone but I cut things and I'm more Japanese." He has almost no chemistry with anyone. He almost never gets any interesting dialogue, he almost never interacts with Fujiko or Zenigata, and his interaction with Jigen is occasional at best. He's mostly just a stoic foil for Lupin's wackiness. Monkey Punch himself said Goemon was added to the mix to balance out the distinctly Western "feel" of the manga. But he doesn't do anything! Well except, as Loire put it, as a convenient deus ex machina for the anime writers.

Also, the twists aren't really that good anymore. Sometimes the manga twists aren't that big but they were usually at least somewhat entertaining or eye-opening. They're just too darn predictable or about characters that have no real impact on the lead cast. It's just lost its touch on so many levels with what made it great on other occasions.

Sorry, I'm done. I have deeper analysis I could bring forth that some of my other friends and I have discussed in detail, but it's just too much to dump into one post.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2007, 03:58:19 am by Lupin the Third »
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Lupin: What's wrong with it?
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2007, 07:56:04 am »
This sounds pretty obvious, which makes me wonder why I didn't think of it before, but why don't they get the other Nabeshin(Bebop, not Excel) to direct a special?! It's funny, because when I mentioned the title to MP, he asked me if I was referring to Bebop High School. :lol:(It's in the Anime Encyclopedia.) I'm actually wondering if he's aware of any new shows out there, but he probably doesn't have time to keep up at his age. So yeah, why not get the guy who managed to re-invent Lupin for modern audiences for a future installment? [Well technically, all he did was remake Lupin VIII, but still... :roll: ]