Friday, May 11, 2012

Lupin III: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna - 06

[sage]_Lupin_the_Third_-_Mine_Fujiko_to_Iu_Onna_-_06_[720p][10bit][93CECE13].mkv_snapshot_03.52_[2012.05.10_20.34.13] [sage]_Lupin_the_Third_-_Mine_Fujiko_to_Iu_Onna_-_06_[720p][10bit][93CECE13].mkv_snapshot_14.14_[2012.05.10_20.44.52] [sage]_Lupin_the_Third_-_Mine_Fujiko_to_Iu_Onna_-_06_[720p][10bit][93CECE13].mkv_snapshot_20.20_[2012.05.10_20.50.58]

OK – who the heck thought that was a good idea?

I’m going to say my piece and get out of the way pretty quickly here, because nothing good can come of analyzing this ep too deeply.  I suspect this is the ep that’s going to divide those who've drunk the Okada Kool-aid and the rest of us, because I won’t sugarcoat it – I thought it was pretty awful.  I’m as far as you can get from being a Lupin purist, and even I was dismayed.  And you have to start with Kaji Yuuki, who at least proved he can stink up the joint playing either sex.  I’m not sure why Okada has such a fascination with emasculating her male characters, but her Oscar was already emasculated so this just felt like overkill.

Gosh…  Incredibly weak acting by Kaji-san, a forced and uninteresting plot, and to top it off it really made no sense.  Do we not even get an explanation for how Lupin was able to escape the gassed greenhouse?  This ep was off to a bad start building an ep around Oscar in the first place, but even I wasn’t expecting this kind of disaster.  It’s easy to see why Okada loves Kaji so much, though – his weak persona invites the kind of derision she loves to heap on her male characters, so her job is half-done before she ever writes a word.  But at least make an effort to give us some sort of interesting story, Okada-sensei – something to hold onto, anything.  That was as thin as the skin on a pudding.

I guess that about says it, really.  If you loved this, more power to you – but for me, this episode was a warning of everything that can go wrong when Okada has complete creative control.  She can be self-indulgent in the worst way, in that she’s clearly writing strictly for the purposes of indulging her own fetishes and indulging the fact that pissing people off for its own sake turns her on.  This series so far is everything that can be right about her as a writer, and everything that can be wrong – she can re-invigorate, be provocative in a good way and deliver excellent dialogue – but she can also fall in love with her own cleverness and destroy everything she creates in the process.  Unfortunately, everything with Okada has to be about Okada – be that something original, or a chestnut like Aquarion or Lupin.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, and this week’s Lupin, really, really didn’t work.

[sage]_Lupin_the_Third_-_Mine_Fujiko_to_Iu_Onna_-_06_[720p][10bit][93CECE13].mkv_snapshot_07.50_[2012.05.10_20.38.10] [sage]_Lupin_the_Third_-_Mine_Fujiko_to_Iu_Onna_-_06_[720p][10bit][93CECE13].mkv_snapshot_09.06_[2012.05.10_20.39.27] [sage]_Lupin_the_Third_-_Mine_Fujiko_to_Iu_Onna_-_06_[720p][10bit][93CECE13].mkv_snapshot_09.52_[2012.05.10_20.40.30]
[sage]_Lupin_the_Third_-_Mine_Fujiko_to_Iu_Onna_-_06_[720p][10bit][93CECE13].mkv_snapshot_09.59_[2012.05.10_20.40.37] [sage]_Lupin_the_Third_-_Mine_Fujiko_to_Iu_Onna_-_06_[720p][10bit][93CECE13].mkv_snapshot_12.45_[2012.05.10_20.43.23] [sage]_Lupin_the_Third_-_Mine_Fujiko_to_Iu_Onna_-_06_[720p][10bit][93CECE13].mkv_snapshot_15.36_[2012.05.10_20.46.14]
[sage]_Lupin_the_Third_-_Mine_Fujiko_to_Iu_Onna_-_06_[720p][10bit][93CECE13].mkv_snapshot_16.16_[2012.05.10_20.46.54] [sage]_Lupin_the_Third_-_Mine_Fujiko_to_Iu_Onna_-_06_[720p][10bit][93CECE13].mkv_snapshot_17.48_[2012.05.10_20.48.26] [sage]_Lupin_the_Third_-_Mine_Fujiko_to_Iu_Onna_-_06_[720p][10bit][93CECE13].mkv_snapshot_19.01_[2012.05.10_20.49.40]
[sage]_Lupin_the_Third_-_Mine_Fujiko_to_Iu_Onna_-_06_[720p][10bit][93CECE13].mkv_snapshot_19.26_[2012.05.10_20.50.04] [sage]_Lupin_the_Third_-_Mine_Fujiko_to_Iu_Onna_-_06_[720p][10bit][93CECE13].mkv_snapshot_20.50_[2012.05.10_20.51.28] [sage]_Lupin_the_Third_-_Mine_Fujiko_to_Iu_Onna_-_06_[720p][10bit][93CECE13].mkv_snapshot_21.24_[2012.05.10_20.52.02]


31 comments:

  1. I thought you used to be an Okadabro, Enzo? :P

    I have to say, your post as well as Ben Ettinger's have pretty much summed up what I thought of this weeks episode, especially:

    ''This series so far is everything that can be right about her as a writer, and everything that can be wrong – she can re-invigorate, be provocative in a good way and deliver excellent dialogue – but she can also fall in love with her own cleverness and destroy everything she creates in the process.''

    ''If anything, what bothers me is that all of the characters seem sadistic for no good reason, and the script is weirdly eager to devise cruel turns of phrase, i.e. calling Fujiko a "spitpot". A spitpot? Huh? The writing is way overbaked. ''

    Also, Fujiko's past is starting to get away from intriguing and sad into pretty much repulsive and creepy territories. WTF

    I will say, I began taking the Okada-Kool Aid much sooner than a lot of you guys had (like, pre-HanaIroha days when I noticed she was starting to try and get off the rails onto a different set on the other side of the mountain) so I might be at the phase where I'm just more accepting of her shenanigans ... even if I think some of them are beyond idiotic (not all, but sometimes I can't help but facedesk) I can accept them much more easily nowadays.

    Also, Kakkou mentioned how this wasn't Kaji Yuuki's first female impersonation ... do check the other ones lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Okadabro? Have you read my HanaIro posts?

      She can be great (she wrote two of my top 5 2011 series) and she can be awful. The common denominator? When she's given free reign to go unchecked, her baser impulses take over and disaster ensures. When she's paired with a very strong director (AnoHana) or a very strong original story to adapt (Hourou Musuko) she can be great. But I feel the trend is in the wrong direction lately, and I think her fetishism and ego are spiraling out of control.

      Delete
    2. LOL, I was kidding man haha. (The smiley should've made that clear XD)

      I think we all reached that conclusion back on the AS fanclub, and you pretty much summed it up 2 months ago with us hearing how ''The Fonz rev the motorcycle, big time'' in regards to where she is going.

      And I don't think there is much hope of her being paired with someone like Nagai ever again. She went on record saying that the changes she was asked to make made her go into depression, and with her pairing up Kawamori and Yamamoto, the first who likes to call her a smelly wench (which undoubtedly turns her on) and the latter letting her have her way with whatever, as well as all the success she's going to have, she is clearly not going to tun back and rethink things.

      She is on one hell of a power trip, and no one is about to stop her ...

      Delete
    3. For the sake of the medium I hope someone does, because an unchecked Okada writing a half-dozen series a season to get her rocks off is a force for ill in the industry.

      Delete
    4. There's certainly more self indulgent material out there. You're just overreacting to something out of your preferential range. At least the creative team here is doing things their way and not letting self-righteous fans influence the creative outcome.

      Delete
    5. In other words, "You disagree with me so you're factually wrong."

      There's plenty of self-indulgent anime out there, yes - everything by Isin Nisio leaps to mind. As a rule, I try to avoid it. With Okada, there's always a chance she'll restrain herself so you can't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

      Delete
    6. I certainly feel you've done so with this episode when you say "nothing good can come of analyzing this ep too deeply". But really I think you just struggled to connect because of your natural bias towards Okada's whims & perhaps Kaji-san? This was one of the most divergent episodes in terms of giving us subtler insight into the characters.

      There's plenty worth looking at in this episode, a good majority here seem to think so.

      Delete
    7. Majority vote doesn't equal quality, certainly not in anime.

      Ultimately this all comes down to personal taste, and I've clearly stated mine. Others will feel what they feel. When I mostly praised the first five eps of this series and put two Okada shows in my top 4 of 2011, I don't think the evidence suggests I have some sort of universal bias against Okada. I'm just calling it as I see it.

      Delete
    8. That wasn't what I was insinuating.

      That's all fine. I'd say more or less your insights into anime are justified and have a lot of weight to them. I'm just calling you out this time, since I feel you completely missed the mark on this occasion.

      Delete
  2. I actually loved this episode, honestly.

    Strangely enough, I loved it for the exact same reason you hated it: the portrayal of Oscar's character.

    Yes, he's very effeminate, but he's shown to be a very competent and dangerous schemer in this episode. Hell, it took BOTH Lupin and Fujiko to beat him. Zenigata hasn't even done as well against these characters as Oscar did here.

    Similarly, I love how he was defeated: His obsession with Zenigata. That's an excellent way for him to lose. Since the episode already established his intelligence, his defeat is better coming from that very prevalent weakness, which we've already seen from him in this anime.

    As far as the actual thievery story, it's not as strong as last episode's. However, I think I actually liked this episode more because of the battle that took place.

    Not to mention the fact that Fujiko's dream sequence was amazing and did well in showing us a creative glimpse of her past.

    ReplyDelete
  3. While I'm not watching this, and I don't have a particularly strong bias for-or-against Okada Mari (I like some of her stuff, don't like others, haven't watched others, etc), it would be nice if you could apply some of this gender outrage to the truly atrocious treatment of female characters in Gundam AGE.

    You know, just a thought.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's not even a question of that - it's a question of bad writing, period. It's a question of her ego out of control and her worst impulses running wild, and trying to turn everything into a reflection of her fetishes no matter how established the property.

      You try and turn everything back to the same topic, and it just doesn't work that way.

      Delete
    2. As you say below, everyone can't like everything, but you are making a number of judgements about Okada that I don't really think are warranted. While I'm sure some of her personal fetishes (whatever they may be) work their way into her writing (isn't that half the point of being a witer?), you have made some very, very sweeping judgements of her.

      While I can't speak for this character particularly, you made the same statements regarding the male lead of Hanasaku Iroha, and while I was hardly a fan of Kou, I never found him to be "emasculated". Yes, he was...how shall we say, "overshadowed" by Ohana, but thats not emasculation, thats just...not being a particularly assertive, forthright, go-for-the-goal person. And there is nothing wrong with that. Thats not emasculation, thats showing that not all guys are going to be the dominant member of a relationship, and whats so wrong with that?

      Congratulations. You made me fucking defend Kou. I hope you feel happy.

      Delete
    3. As I recall I mostly defended Kou (certainly liked him better than the idiot cook) and you mostly ripped him to shreds. So given that and the fact that you're arguing over a show you admit you didn't even watch, it's hard to escape the idea that you're simply picking a fight because you like to fight.

      Delete
  4. I have to comment, since your reaction to this episode perplexes me. Frankly, I don't think I've drunk the Okada cool-aid, since I didn't even remember that she wrote this. (I don't always pay attention to the production staff.) You claim Okada has a fascination with emasculating her male characters. Did she emasculate Jigen? Did she heap derision on Lupin? I don't see it. I suspect that Oscar is at least partially a gender-bent play off of Oscar in the Rose of Versailles. He's a male who can pass himself off as a female and yet he's also an allusion to a female who can pass herself off as a male. That's so interesting. Also, I don't really get the sense that this Oscar is being emasculated at all. He's clearly comfortable in the clothes of either gender. Making him less masculine isn't really going to hurt his self-esteem. He's being outsmarted and frustrated by Fujiko, but that's something else. He obviously envies her sexual power. But how does that fact make the story bad? (I guess I don't understand the concept of emasculation on a gut level. After all, one of my favourite male characters in anime or manga is Kuranosuke in Kuragehime.)

    And I loved Kaji's acting. It was soft, velvety, expressive, and jumped between the masculine and feminine registers beautifully.

    As for how Lupin escaped from the greenhouse... Fujiko must have let him out of course. He helped her escape. She helped him likewise.

    I agree with Nyangoro. The dream sequence was mesmerizing. The whole thing reminds me of some scene out of an Angela Carter story. Beautiful, stylized, evocative. I loved it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. To each his own - that's fine. I found it soul-crushingly awful, and that includes Kaji-san's usual tone-deaf attempts at conveying actual human emotion. There just wasn't a single plot element I found interesting or compelling in any way, and for the first time, I felt this was so openly contemptuous of the original Lupin mythos that it even bothered me - a very casual fan - a little.

    But that's fine - not everyone has to agree about everything. Seirei no Moribito couldn't even average 3K DVDs but that isn't going to make me love it any less.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh wow, Mari Okada's bad writing and Kaji's acting added with your dislike of him clearly set you off, huh Enzo?

    Even if I don't watch this or any other Lupin series, I keep up with some of the discussions to see how it went, and I can see why people will be angry with this. I have always get the impression that Fujiko is a woman who used her sexuality as a weapon because she's confident,not insecurity caused due to child abuse. Giving her an abuse backstory, well, seems just to create unnecessary drama in the story. From what I know the Lupin series was supposed to be a light-heart adventures of Lupin and the gang.

    But looks like I will continue to keep away from Mari Okada's works. I only watched AnoHana and while it's good writing, it's just proven that drama is certainly not my genre. But then Mari Okada now is just like Yuki Kaji, she's involved in many popular works that you can't ignore her anymore.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, as Arabesque said, Okada was so dismayed that her excesses were cut out from AnoHana (thank you, Nagai-dono) that she pretty much disowned the series.

      Delete
  7. No idea what all the fuss is about. I quite enjoyed this ep.
    Then again, I was stoned.

    ..and Enzo, I think this series' main aim was to do a 360 on the original Lupin mythos in the first place (where else would you see a character like Zenigata getting most of the "action"?). I agree that it's not everyone's cuppa, but I personally like the way it doesn't try to justify itself.

    I don't think I'm being biased either (with regards to your kool-aid reference), since I don't really follow anime writers or voice actors. Heck, the only names I actually follow are Kon and Watanabe.... and that old legendary Ghibli dude (sorry, his names escapes me currently).

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow, I am surprised by all the negative responses to this episode. I liked it. I enjoyed the game of wits between Oscar and Fujiko. I totally didn't expect Oscar to impersonate Isolde (Kaji totally fooled me with his feminine voice).
    I don't see this emasculation of character that you speak of, since Oscar was not much of a man to begin with. He is clearly gay and in love with Zenigata.
    As for how Lupin escaped the greenhouse, you just have to accept it. Even in the old series, they rarely explained Lupin's tricks.
    Remember the first episode? He managed to escape from a prison AND replace himself with a puppet. Now THAT was even more unbelievable! In the context of this episode at least we know that he knows that Isolde is Oscar (having previously freed Fujiko) and he could have prepared some escape route in advance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with all, except Lupin escaped with Fujiko's help, since they were working together from the start this time. Something Oscar was not expecting.

      Delete
  9. Did not watch this but even if Okada can write some good stuff (and she can) she is seriously overused recently. Are there no other writers out there?

    Honestly I almost lose enthusiasm when I know she is the head script writer. Again not because she can't write something great but because I want to hear a different voice.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Can you name one author that hasn't been in love with his or her own cleverness?

    You read way too much into this episode. The plot hole involving Lupin's escape from the garden is weird, but he's Lupin. His resourcefulness and luck in his past airings is incredibly convenient to begin with. Oscar's plan to dress up as a woman was a huge plot twist that may make some people feel uncomfortable, but it was not surprising as to why he would go through such lengths given his sexuality, and his hate obsession with Mine Fujiko. Knowing your perception of Okada, which is way more developed than mine, does not change my opinion of the episode. It was entertaining and I don't care if the people in charge have a fetish.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's not the right question. The question is, is Okada too much in love with hers? You need only look at her own words to find the answer.

      The bottom line for me is, I didn't find the ep remotely entertaining - and it's not a bias, as I liked the first five quite a bit. For me, this sucked on its own merits.

      Delete
  11. this episode was great; although my favorite episode is still the last one, i still feel that this ep stood on its on merits. I dont understand why people hate change so much; so what if the lupin series has taken a different direction, thats kind of the point. And i didnt find Kaji yuuki to be that bad in his role of oscar. As far as im concerned, Kaji is good at playing those characters that are annoying, wimpy, and meant to be disliked. That's as far as his range can go. While i agree with you enzo that he is not the best voice actor, he can still make me dislike a character vehemently, and dats good enough for me. I think youare being a lil too harsh on the ep though...ka moooooooooonnnnnnn, it's Lupin III hahahaha...give the ep another chance

    ReplyDelete
  12. I don't think I've come across many Okada conjured series, perhaps I've been missing out.

    I was worried for this series during episode 3 & 4 which seemed lacking in passion. This episode finally focused more on character and was nothing short of tantalizing. Dat dream sequence. They must be setting up Oscar as the primary antagonist since he's the obvious antithesis of Fujiko. He's really quite a complex fellow.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Now obviously we're gonna have to agree to disagree on the entertainment value of this episode so I won't really go into it,rather there's a few things I think are getting blown out of proportion.

    Okada said she was disappointed when she learned that she had to do major rewrites to Ano Hana but I'm not sure she mentionned anything about being depressed much less disown the thing.

    I also don't feel she's having complete creative control of Aquarion or Lupin

    Aquarion is still Kawamari's show and he gets the final word,it just so happens that his antics can get as crazy if not more than Okada's. (Okada already said that one of the most "wtf" episodes wasn't her idea)

    Same with Yamamoto,she likes provocation and shares a few of Okada's fetishes (if you told me Michiko to hatchin was written by Okada I'd believe you) so I don't think she has complete creative control,she's just sharing the creative control with someone like her.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And I think maybe she's better if she shares creative control with someone totally different from her, like Nagai...

      Delete
    2. Sure,I've got no issues with you thinking that.

      Now I do drink plenty of Okada kool aid,I'd be foolish to deny that,however I still think that saying " I suspect this is the ep that’s going to divide those who've drunk the Okada Kool-aid and the rest of us" is just oversimplifying things because I've seen people that I don't think have drunk the cool aid come out and say they liked the episode.For example Duckroll on animesuki is really not someone I'd call an Okada fanatic,yet that was one of his favorite episodes.

      Delete
  14. Hmm, I only came across this right now, but I sort of laughed because I had made a post about Hanairo symbolizing the best and worst of Okada's writing. She just LOVES to accentuate the negative in her characters and settings, but as of late she's lacked balance. Sometimes it's funny and tongue and cheek, but occasionally it gets offensive. And this... is definitely a lolkada episode which I didn't hate because it felt like such a trashy exploitation thing that it almost felt appropriate. Which is obviously why they got her on it.

    Still, even for Lupin, this was ridiculous and not the show's best moment. The author appeal in the writing is very blatant and I'm afraid we have a pretty talented writer that will crash and burn if this keeps happening.

    And at least it's sorta amusing. I can't say the same for Aquarion which I still am not willing to touch.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Okada's flame-out is tragically easy to predict. Ego out of control, no one in the indystry standing up to her, overwork and overexposure. We're only seeing the beginnings of the breakdown now, but it's going to be ugly. And it's a shame, because she has real talent.

      Delete