Lupin the 3rd
reviewed 2003

I love Japanese culture, I like cartoons, I dig frittering my precious time away. I have never held a fondness towards anime, though. Anytime I discover a friend to be an anime freak, I'm quick to launch into a Grasshopper-esque "Oh teach me, wise one, about the joys of anime" lament.

They'll proceed to expound on their favorite series, and I file it away for a chance encounter in a hipster video store. When the moment of truth arrives, I am invariably disheartened. It LOOKS kinda cool, but never serves to endear itself to my heart. It's not like I have to like EVERY available geek fetish, right???

So admittedly throughout my viewing of a Lupin the 3rd episode, my mind often wandered back to any possible psychology behind Speedwagon's plot to make me watch it. Does he know of my complete disinterest in anime? Has he occasionally watched Lupin on Cartoon Network and wanted to share the pain? Or perhaps I've been thrown a serious curveball, and he's waiting to pummel me in a darkened corridor the moment I give his new favorite TV show anything below a 6?

Mind games be damned, I watched the show as objectively as possible. Previously familiar with Lupin only from Dusty Groove carrying Japanese import compilations w/ the likes of Towa Tei appearing on them, I did some quick research. Lupin is a mastermind thief with a Chicago scenesster haircut (long sideburns with short hair and serious bangs) who seems to only go after the big scores, accompanied by the cynical Jigan and skillful Goemon.

Continually chased by a fumbling detective Zenigata, apparently they go around the world and steal loot, all the while endearing themselves to the Japanese consuming public. The franchise has been around since the late 60s (??), and there's a ton o' movies, comics, storylines, and TV episodes around, so leave it to me to make a rash judgement call with just watching one edited half-hour episode.

This time around, we find Lupin and crew approaching some castle which they discover is ruled entirely by big-breasted women (presumably men-haters) who are protecting some unnamed treasure. I'd be curious to find out when this episode was created. 2002? 1972? ANYWHERE in between? Even dating it via the music, a particular skill of mine, proved utterly useless.

The music on the official site was pure drop-the-needle '78 Aaron Spelling fodder that, leave it to the Japanese, was probably newly composed and recorded last week.

Anyway, Lupin turns out to be a walking hard-on, and he and that detective character end up getting drunk/drugged and gently whore it up inside. Lupin comes to while while overhearing a conversation about the women being ordered to attack his friends, who are waiting outside.

Meanwhile, he also comes across long-time object of his desire, Fujiko, another character throughout the series. Fujiko's in a coma or something. Oh yeah, and there's this drug the women have that, if inhaled, will instantly age you. Lupin uses that to his advantage later as he sobers up, finds a hidden vault with the treasure, and fools his captors into believing that he's aged.

He escapes with a giant chest that actually contains Fujiko and the "treasure," which turns out to be some incredibly addictive drug, and which he pours out at the end of the show. In the meantime, he's set a bomb inside the castle, which proceeds to go off, turning all the busty blondes into olden (olden?) shells of their former selves.

Fortunately, bumbling detective Zenigata found a gas mask or something, and was wearing it around 'cause he wanted to look like a monster? Is this right?

Did I mention the entire time, we're treated to what would be classic anime: herky-jerky animation, quickly overdubbed English with excessive gasps, huge friggin knockers on the women with nary a nipple in sight. Do Comic Book Guy-types actually masturbate to this stuff? I would prefer saucy Lupin-Fujiko styled erotic fan fiction, myself.

I feel a warmed-over sense of wishy-washiness by giving this a blank stare, but it's the most accurate assessment I can give. Maybe this IS good, classic anime? Ultimately I could see myself watching the show over time if I start to develop some serious sleeping disorder, or determine that sex with either of my hands is all I'll need for the rest of my adult life.

blank stare

Loud Bassoon rating scale

Review by Bradley A. Milton