MP (militarypenguin) wrote,

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Just finished watching Jigen Daisuke's Gravestone!

I was pretty hyped for this movie, even more hyped when I learned it was a continuation of the Woman Called Fujiko Mine-verse. Unfortunately, it was kind of a letdown in that regard.

Visually, it's gorgeous and stylish in every conceivable way. Having a film budget under its belt, it's far, far more animated than the Fujiko series was, so it's a delight to see the same style employed with a higher budget.

Story-wise, most of the suspense and intrigue can be found in just reading a summary of the film. The film feels surprisingly empty once you're done with it, and you can see the conclusion coming a mile away if you've sunk your teeth into enough Lupin stuff--Jigen isn't really dead, Lupin and Jigen came up with some sort of amazing plan, Jigen is amazing, Lupin is amazing, etc etc. Basically, if you're a Jigen fan hoping for something that'll delve further into his character the way the Fujiko series did with that respective character, you're out of luck.

I did enjoy that it still followed the footsteps of the Fujiko series in having the Lupin-Jigen friendship still be something of a work in progress; still at the begrudging (on Jigen's end) partnership stage, and just inches away from settling comfortably into becoming chums. This, along with the Fujiko series, is probably the most involving take on their friendship. Unfortunately, it kind of falls short when we learn that Jigen's "death" was set up and Lupin's reaction was entirely staged. There's a chance that some of Lupin's acting may have very well come from a genuine place in him, but that idea is never entertained. It may be for the best, because, as Lupin says at the end of the film, they're not heroes, and it's believable that the shades of grey in his relationship with Fujiko in this universe would extend to his relationship with Jigen. Being a very style-over-substance film, however, it doesn't really invite that kind of thought.

I'm a big Fujiko fan and I was pretty disappointed by her extremely minimal role in this film, especially riding on the coattails of her series. I understand it isn't the same director at the reigns, and doesn't intend to go for the same angle her series did, but it was a serious letdown to see all these teases of Fujiko in the ads released, only for her longest scene to be of her naked, helpless, and about to be impaled by (wait for it) robot dick. And, honestly, I was intrigued by the setup of it at first--the design and the movements of the robot's were nicely eerie and uncanny, and I was interested in the story behind the snuff club. And hey, maybe Fujiko had some incredible plan behind this? Alas, it's entirely pointless and predictable. The only thing that saves it is the fact that Fujiko planned for Lupin to save her for her theft to become successful, and she makes the impossible escape in the end. I was glad she ended up one-upping Lupin by the very end of the film, too.

I was spoiled for Mamo's appearance but yeah, I'm excited for more Mamo. Will the TV series be some sort of prequel to Mystery of Mamo? It'd definitely serve as a nice bridge between the gap of Zenigata's characterization in this universe and his usual characterization in the general franchise (plus, Zenigata in Mamo wanted to kill Lupin with the same intensity that his Fujiko-verse incarnation did, so I think it'd work really well; or it'd be interesting to see unfold, at the very least).

In short, not bad, but nowhere near as ambitious or daring as the Fujiko series, which is a damn shame, and I really, really hope the TV series isn't going to follow the example this film set.
Tags: lupin iii
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