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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 23 November 2019 at 6:05pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Let me throw another iron into the fire...

(I've had to research some of this and I've been involved in some Lupin III projects)

The ethnicity confusion stems from the somewhat unusual circumstances of the character's creation.

The grandson character was created at a time when Japan didn't respect anyone else's copyrights (mid-late 1960s).   Meant to be an 'edgy' manga update to the original French character -- think 'son of Batman, except he's an amoral lecherous arsehole' type of thing***.  Lupin the 3rd at this point was considered Japanese and virtually unknown outside of Japan for at least a decade, if not longer until the estate of the original character's creator (Maurice Leblanc) caught wind of the derivative character -- by then the Japanese had produced a slew of comics, two animated TV series, one animated film (with another in production) and a live action film (with a Japanese lead).   

This led to a legal tussle which was solved with the Japanese allowed to continue producting material with the grandson character in Japan (and acknowledging the mixed heritage of the character within the narrative).   Outside of Japan the Leblanc estate had control over the character and objected to the use of the original French name, so anyone distributing the Japanese material had to use alternative names such as the anglicized 'Wolf' or the phonetically pronounced 'Rupan'.   During this period the character was softened from the harder edged comic character into something a little more mainstream palatable.   In the last decade and a half, give or take, the name restrictions have been lifted and the character is pretty much known as 'Lupin the 3rd' everywhere.

Back to the ethnicity -- originally concieved as a Japanese comic character he would have been half French-half Japanese (French Father, Japanese Mother) and the grandson of famous thief Arsene Lupin (aka Lupin the 1st).   Once the Leblanc estate became involved the Japanese heritage was pushed further back along the family tree, possibly with the Grandfather having a child out of wedlock with a Japanese or mixed heritage woman (thus keeping the original Grandfather character French and diluting the ethnicity of the grandson).   Lately it seems they've pushed the Japanese ethnicity back even further and have stated some male ancestor in Edo period Japan (roughly 1700s) is the root of the Japanese ancestory and the Grandfather has partial Japanese heritage.

So the answer really boils down to whatever the current writers want it to be.  Confusing is an understatement!

The capper to all of this ersatz plagarism is that Maurice Leblanc himself used Doyle's Sherlock Holmes character without permission in his Arsene Lupin stories though they now skirt around this in reprintings calling him 'Herlock Sholmes'.   Apparently it's ok to steal a character from someone else, if it's a good character!

Ironically, a Leblanc Lupin I story (The Secret of 813) was adapted into animation by a rival Japanese studio (Tatsunoko).  As far as I know this was never translated into English or distributed outside of Japan.


***maybe not such a good comparison, it seems DC has created their own version of that kind of character, lol



Edited by Rob Ocelot on 24 November 2019 at 8:59am
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Bill Mimbu
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Posted: 23 November 2019 at 7:09pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

The capper to all of this ersatz plagarism is that Maurice Leblanc himself used Doyle's Sherlock Holmes character without permission in his Arsene Lupin stories

***

Well Rob, I guess that explains the gag in one (unrelated) manga, where a destitute "Runpin" living in a garbage dump, meets up with the rival of his youth:

"Sherlock Homeless"



Edited by Bill Mimbu on 23 November 2019 at 7:11pm
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Bill Mimbu
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Posted: 30 November 2019 at 2:17pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Another clip released, showcasing the typical routine that the Lupin Gang and Det. Zenigata goes through on every adventure:

Toho Cinemas Link
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Sean Sullivan
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Posted: 07 December 2019 at 5:22am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

The way the characters move reminds me of 'The Incredibles'.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 07 December 2019 at 6:45am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

So weird that after all these years, and so many advances, animators still can't seem to get ordinary cloth right. Jackets, coats. Something in the shoulders always seems off.

I wonder if it's anything of the mentality that causes so many younger comicbook artists to fail with the mundane. They're just bored with that stuff!

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Bill Mimbu
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Posted: 08 December 2019 at 12:04am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

The film debuted 2 days ago (Japan time) and the online reviews appear to be generally positive, with a lot of comparisons to the classic LUPIN III: CASTLE CAGLIOSTRO film directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

Edited by Bill Mimbu on 08 December 2019 at 12:05am
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 08 December 2019 at 10:10am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

 John Byrne wrote:
So weird that after all these years, and so many advances, animators still can't seem to get ordinary cloth right. Jackets, coats. Something in the shoulders always seems off.

I wonder if it's anything of the mentality that causes so many younger comicbook artists to fail with the mundane. They're just bored with that stuff!

"But.. but... learning how muscles and stuff look and work underneath the skin and clothing is boring and no one's ever going to see it anyway!   Anything I can't draw or don't like drawing I can always hide behind a pouch or a really big gun."   

From an animation standpoint getting cloth or clothing to look right is always a problem because you almost have to do two mental passes of the material -- once for the stuff moving underneath, then the clothing draped on top of it, and finally translate that into multiple angles!   I'm sure there are some who are able to do this in one swoop, just like some artists are able to 'see' negative space quickly and work with it while others have to wrap their brain around it first.   

For animation the problem is made worse by the realities of production whereby the bulk of the grunt work is done in places like Korea but the models and basic movement were determined elsewhere.   I'm sure every animation studio has multiple stories about things coming back from overseas looking and moving nothing like they envisioned.   The best one I've seen that never got fixed was "Beware The Grey Ghost" from Batman The Animated Series where the directorial edict of the 'batmobile hugging the road' literally was translated into the batmobile bending with the road.  Bruce Timm was pretty upset with that one (the episode was considered 'special' because they got Adam West to appear and Timm himself appears as a character too) but they had no time to get it redone.

You'd think getting stuff like clothing right would be better with computers since you can just go back into the computer and change it and not have to redraw pencils, repaint and refilm the cels with the backgrounds, but nope... it's worse.   As you point out, there's a whole slew of newer, younger people getting into the business who either don't have the patience to learn the basics from scratch or they plain just don't care and it's a job/paycheck to them.



Edited by Rob Ocelot on 08 December 2019 at 10:13am
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Bill Mimbu
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Posted: 13 December 2019 at 11:42am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

A movie review in English:

The Japan Times Link

Does confirm a nagging worry of mine with Director Yamazaki, with his tendency to rehash existing material, rather than to do his own spin on things (it showed with the 2010 live-action Space Battleship Yamato movie, where he admitted in an interview to have binge-watched the 2003 Battlestar Galactica TV remake prior to working on that film).

Nice to know this Lupin III adventure takes place in the 1960s, rather than updating it for present day.

Edited by Bill Mimbu on 13 December 2019 at 12:00pm
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