Weekly Digest: 6/15/12 – Lupin III: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna, Accel World

[sage]_Lupin_the_Third_-_Mine_Fujiko_to_Iu_Onna_-_11_[720p][10bit][E1210509].mkv_snapshot_07.09_[2012.06.15_20.03.34] [Hadena] Accel World - 10 [720p][571A8929].mkv_snapshot_12.12_[2012.06.15_21.14.15]

These two shows appear to be headed in opposite directions…

Lupin III: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna – 11

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Regrettably, Lupin III wasn’t at its best this week, which leads me to wonder if we’re going to be finishing on a disappointing note.  It’s not really a surprise that the Okada-scripted eps should focus on Oscar, as he exemplifies so many of her fetishes.  But the issue for me is that he also exemplifies Okada letting those fetishes cloud her better judgment as a writer, which usually ends up looking like Okada writing something to please herself rather than writing something that’s consistent with the source material.

The last couple of Oscar eps have been among the worst in the series, and it certainly doesn’t help that this is exactly the sort of role Kaji Yuuki shouldn’t be allowed within a thousand miles of (he’s much better suited to the role he plays in the second show in this post).  I don’t think Oscar would work dramatically even if played by a good actor, but he certainly doesn’t in the vocal chords of someone as ham-handed with drama as Kaji-san.  We also have an episode that indulges the penchant for extreme silliness – even by “Lupin” standards – that’s often the problem when this generally quite good series goes off the rails.  The premise of this arc was sort of interesting when it focused on Fujiko’s childhood and Count Yermied – even if it was largely unintelligible, it was unintelligible in an interesting way.  But this business about Oscar impersonating Fujiko and turning into a psychopathic mass murderer felt like it was cobbled together so Okada could indulge herself, and the series suffers for it.

Well, hopefully Oscar is well and truly dead – that would at least free the series to finish up with the characters that showcase the otherwise excellent cast at its best.  Goemon taking in Fujiko is an interesting turn, and fits in much more naturally with the way the series has progressed up to this point.  As Fujiko is actually a MacGuffin posing as a main character, it only makes sense that everyone’s interests should converge around her at the end – Lupin and Goemon’s are obvious enough (the calling card on the thigh and true love, respectively) but I’ll be interested in seeing how Okada and Satou tie Jigen back into this at the end (assuming they do).

Accel World – 10

[Hadena] Accel World - 10 [720p][571A8929].mkv_snapshot_00.07_[2012.06.15_21.01.46] [Hadena] Accel World - 10 [720p][571A8929].mkv_snapshot_00.17_[2012.06.15_21.01.57] [Hadena] Accel World - 10 [720p][571A8929].mkv_snapshot_01.34_[2012.06.15_21.03.43]
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[Hadena] Accel World - 10 [720p][571A8929].mkv_snapshot_13.36_[2012.06.15_21.16.00] [Hadena] Accel World - 10 [720p][571A8929].mkv_snapshot_14.40_[2012.06.15_21.17.04] [Hadena] Accel World - 10 [720p][571A8929].mkv_snapshot_16.36_[2012.06.15_21.19.00]
[Hadena] Accel World - 10 [720p][571A8929].mkv_snapshot_17.08_[2012.06.15_21.53.29] [Hadena] Accel World - 10 [720p][571A8929].mkv_snapshot_17.10_[2012.06.15_21.53.31] [Hadena] Accel World - 10 [720p][571A8929].mkv_snapshot_17.45_[2012.06.15_21.20.08]
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Looks like Accel World is definitely clear of its funk, because the one week-delayed episode 10 continues the strong run the series has been one for a while.  I thought at first it was a little bit on the talky side – and let’s face it, this is one of the talkier shows out there anyway – but in the end it was all good since the talk led somewhere interesting.

As I said in my last post, Scarlet Rain has been a big part of the solution.  Yeah, she’s a trope, but a darn good example of how this one should be done.  I love the Jekyll/Hyde nature of her personality and facial expressions – she’s like a tsundere on speed – and more importantly, the dynamic when she’s around Haru and Kuoryukihime is considerably more interesting than when she isn’t.

There was an almost philosophical bent to some of the material this week, and not for the first time.  I think the fundamental question of whether Snow Black is right in wanting to bust up the safe mediocrity of the Level Nine linkers is at the heart of what AW is (I happen to believe she is right) and it was fascinating to hear Haru and Niko discuss the topic.  I think Kawahara-sensei makes his own position pretty clear here, both through Niko’s grudging admiration of Snow Black and through Haru’s speech about how most MMORPGs end not with a bang, but a whimper.  Yes, there’s risk – as Niko says, nobody is really sure what’s going to happen when someone reaches Level 10 – but I think the covenant of the game requires the players to at least try and get there, if they want to be true to the founder’s wishes.  For now, the other leaders are merely protecting their own addiction to the Accel World.

Apparently the real Chrome Disaster is a little kid just like Scarlet Rain, and he likes to do his hunting in Ikebukuro (just like countless otome) which leads Kuroyukihime, Niko and Taku to finally show Haru the “real” Accel World – the world of the unlimited burst.  It exists alongside RL, and offers no time limits – theoretically a Linker could stay in there indefinitely, their mind aging even as their RL body didn’t.  Most interestingly for me, it also acts as a kind of reverse-demilitarized zone.  It’s the one place where the non-aggression treaty doesn’t exist and high-level Linkers are free to hunt and fight each other, gaining valuable points in the process.  And this appears to have been crucial to the plan of Yellow Radio, King of the Yellow Legion – using Chrome Disaster to lure the others into the Unlimited Burst world and kill them.  It makes sense if you consider it – after all, level nine Linkers would surely be very reluctant to enter the U.B. world under normal circumstances and put themselves at risk.

There were some other seeds planted here too, like the fact that Snow Black’s Guardian is now her moral enemy, and the possibility of Chiyuri becoming a Linker herself.  All in all I’m more interested in what happens next in this show than I have been in quite a while, which is a very good sign for a two-cour series.

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9 comments

  1. I

    I tried an experiment today. Since I dropped all the shows I used to watch on Friday, I decided to watch a random episode of AW.

    And good lord, I liked it. I think my initial problem with Haruyuki seems to be solved as he seems to have overcome his sever lack of confidence and with Scarlet Rain quickly becoming my favourite person in the cast, I may pick it back up.

    I never thought I'd be this wrong about a show, but Kudos to Sunrise for it.

  2. A

    "But the issue for me is that he also exemplifies Okada letting those fetishes cloud her better judgment as a writer, which usually ends up looking like Okada writing something to please herself rather than writing something that’s consistent with the source material."

    Perhaps if you were intimately familiar with the original series this opinion might have some credibility. As it is, you seem to be one of those people who argue about what is and isn't cannon even though they have no real experience of said cannon. Dress it up as much as you like, at the end of the day it's just writer bashing.

  3. t

    You don't need to be an Lupin fanatic to know the Oscar is an original character that's never been in the series beforehand.

  4. A

    Agreed Anon,
    I also hate how Enzo presumes to know what's good and bad for a franchise just because some writer's expressions don't suit him. I think we all came in expecting something vastly different from the previous lupin III incarnations and I think Oscar marries well to this series' intent of telling their Mine Fujiko story. Nothing wrong with emphasizing an effeminate male antagonist to rival the femme fatale fujiko. And I certainly have no qualms with this Kaji Yuuki guy's voice acting ability. You don't like him GE? Get over it.

    "We also have an episode that indulges the penchant for extreme silliness – even by “Lupin” standards"
    How about Goemon dicing up two missiles atop a plane in ep 7?

  5. I didn't see any cannons in this ep. Perhaps you were thinking of Jormungand?

  6. e

    @Enzo: re:canNon ohoh, nice one *toasts*

  7. E

    Quick question!
    Do I need to watch Lupin I & II to watch Lupin III?
    Thanks!
    (I have difficulties writing in english [I'm spanish], so please, forgive me for this really short comment xD)

  8. There's only Lupin III, as that's the character name. But I think you could pretty much watch the series in any order, though a hardcore Lupin fan might have a more authoritative opinion than mine.

  9. B

    I thought this episode of Lupin was fine. Not the best of the season by far but pretty good. I don't have prejudices against Okada though, frankly I have no opinion on her at all since I don't usually keep track of who writes and directs shows, and I prefer to keep it that way so that I can just each show fairly. Yes, Kaji is a… let me diplomatic… LIMITED voice actor, and his character specifically really won't be missed, but the episode itself I thought was interesting enough.

    As for Accel World, it was great this week. I hope they are teasing us with this "Chiyu as a Burst Linker" business for nothing, I'd really like to see it happen. Right now she's pretty much the only main character who isn't one so she is to removed from the rest of the cast, would like to see her take on a more prominent role. Can't wait for the next ep to see how things shake out with the yellow king.

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