Riffs - People of the Desert, Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro
When I was quickly reading through the new fan translation of Hayao Miyazaki's 1969 manga, People of the Desert, this panel quickly jumped out at me. I recognized the very same shot from the climax to Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro.
Upon reflection, a very interesting connection between these two. People of the Desert was Miyazaki's first published original work as a comics writer, his childhood ambition. Castle of Cagliostro, as we all know, was his first directorial feature film. Perhaps this is why he reached back to recreate this shot. He felt a connection of firsts.
I often wonder about all these riffs in the Miyazaki (and Takahata) canon. Just what is the motivation? Why do they always sneak in quick, blink-and-you'll-miss-it shots that refer to earlier work? Is it a Japanese thing, a trait of that generation of animators? Is it conscious? Does the inspiration suddenly strike? Is there a scrapbook of favorite poses and shots to whom the directors refer? I really don't know the answers. I feel like I'm the first person to ever really discover these things.
Heck, I still feel like I'm the only American who's actually seen everything in the Miyazaki/Takahata canon. When most people say they've seen "everything Miyazaki has done," you know they're referring only to the Ghibli films. Ask them about their favorite episode of Heidi or Future Boy Conan, and you'll get blank stares and puzzled faces. Very strange. We really need to work on that.