(Update: This video has since been removed from Youtube. Sorry.)
Continuing with our Lupin III festival, it's time for episode 3 - "Farewell, My Beloved Witch." In this episode, Lupin encounters a mysterious hippie girl, and a secret island held by a criminal syndicate. A scientist is being held against his will, forced to make explosives, and where do these flowers come into play? And what part does the mystery girl play?
For me, this third episode is where I finally became hooked on the show. The first two episodes were good, but a little rough and unsettled. I think by this point the show's creators had begun to settle comfortably into the series they wanted to create. They are still relying heavily upon the original Monkey Punch comic, but as we will soon see, the Lupin series will develop its own style and approach.
And one other thing. It's really, really great to see all this gratuitous violence. How many bodies are gunned down during the 30 minutes running time? Quite a few. This must have been shocking for Japanese audiences in 1971? It's still a bit shocking today. I'll put this up against any of the lame-brained anime shows on Adult Swim. None of those cartoons fit the "adult" bill. But Lupin does.
Episode 3 introduces a new level of nuance, and more of the romantic rivalry between Lupin and Fujiko is explored. Theirs is a complicated relationship. They're both lovers and rivals, and they are perfectly willing to betray one another for the sake of the heist. But they really do have feelings for one another, and the difficulty to become open and truly intimate remains the thorn in their side. It's an interesting little dance they share, these two.
I want to write a couple words about one of my favorite aspects to Green Jacket Lupin III, and that's the music. Charlie Kosei wrote and performed all the music for this series, and it's remarkably unique. Definitely a product of its era, with a post-Woodstock rock groove and rhythmic chanting. A lot of it is unintentionally funny, in that same way you laugh at photos of your parents as teenagers. I can't believe you wore that! What possessed you to wear that hairstyle? Hah hah...it's all good fun, because it serves as such an effective time stamp. It happens to everyone.
Maybe I'm just more nostalgic for the early '70s, the days of Black Sabbath and Stevie Wonder, of funk and Shaft and Sesame Street and crazy colorful street fashions. I'm not a fan of the late '70s, with its disco sheen. I much prefer the gritty street vibe of 1971. That authenticity isn't present in our digitized, plastic world of the 2000's. Everything's so damned fake, lost in denial and repression and the looming idiocracy.
So, yeah, Lupin III reminds me of all these things. Charlie Kosei really reminds me of them. I really dig the music for the opening and closing credits. It just sounds real, not like a cartoon show, but something gritty, genuine. This was anime's age of discovery. Horus blazed the trail, and in its wake lie a whole new future...Lupin III, Heidi, Conan...yadda yadda. You know the score.
As always, embedding has been disabled by the person who uploaded these videos to YouTube, so you'll just have to follow the links. Enjoy the show! Part four is coming next!