They are by far the best anime! We counts down the best anime to come out all the time, including the likes of Gun-dou Musashi, Soul Buster, Tono to Issho: Ippunkan Gekijou, and more!
6: Gun-dou Musashi
English: Gun Samurai
Japanese: GUN道 MUSASHI
MAL Score: 5.67
The adventures of a whiny teenage Miyamoto Musashi, his electro-sword and demon-sealing revolvers, and his quest to win the love of the beautiful Kaguyahime.
First of all, 10/10 for me, I loved watching this show, even if the subtitles that I used were probably fake.
This show is basically about a dual-wield gunslinger samurai named Musashi who battles a group of monsters known as the Ayakashi. Well, we call him a samurai because he has a sword, but he never uses it.
To put it lightly, the art was terrible. Some of the sequences that took place outdoors were photos taken of forests, rather than drawn. The animation, was…subpar, with a fight sequence involving a guy shooting a monster while slowly falling to the ground from about 20 feet up.
The voice acting wasn’t bad, but what really gave it this score was probably the out-of-sync audio and the infamous opening song, GHOST BUSTERZ by ULTRA BRAiN, is a pure masterpiece featuring someone’s screams edited by Windows Movie Maker.
Five episodes and I still have no idea what our heroes are really trying to accomplish, so I can’t give an accurate assessment there, but judging from what I can tell from the show, they’re just messing around.
While this is clearly the worst anime I’ve ever seen and probably will ever see, it is undeniable that I enjoyed this anime through and through while watching the hilariously ridiculous fight scenes and horrible sound.
While this show is riddled with flaws everywhere, it can be safely said that these flaws are what give the show such great entertainment value. If you wish to see some quality Japanese animation, then good luck ever finding it, but if you want to see a new side to what Japan has to offer, then give this show a watch, once you can find someone who has subbed past episode 4 without buying the DVD set.
Story – 10/10
The story follows Miyamoto Musashi – if Miyamoto Musashi was a whiny shounen protagonist dedicated to winning the heart of a girl, instead of like he’s depicted in my current favorite manga, Vagabond. Now, normally I would get irritated because it shares the same name as the badass samurai, but that issue doesn’t bother me since they use dart guns. Plus, I can look at it this way: he grew out of his immaturity and into the badass we know him for today.
Art – 5/10
Ignoring the animation errors, the art style is just…mediocre. It’s just not a style that really appeals to me. It’s just a somewhat…plastic style. The color is alright, but that’s about it.
Sound – 10/10
This is where it starts to get hilarious – listen to the opening theme and then tell me that it isn’t hilarious. No seriously: “WE’RE GHOST BUSTERS OH OH OH!” How are those lines NOT comedy gold?
Character – 10/10
What character? No really, I don’t remember anything about the characters that wasn’t hilarious. Oh, Miyamoto is a whiny kid. Other than that, that’s all I remember.
Enjoyment – 10/10
This series made me burst out laughing when I first saw it. Watch it for yourself if you want a “so good it’s bad” show.
Overall – 10/10
There is one thing I’d like to note: I can only find subs up to episode 4, so you’re going to have to watch it raw afterwards…but it won’t matter, since this show is funny without the subs.
RIYL: …I actually don’t know what this show is similar to. No, seriously, I have no idea.
5: Soul Buster
English: Soul Buster
MAL Score: 5.79
The history books say that in the era of the Three Kingdoms, this land was a place of never-ending war. A young high school boy, Sonshin, who hates his city’s history, is troubled by a certain dream. When he wakes up from the dream, strange things begin to happen one after another, and without understanding what’s going on, he suddenly finds himself facing Gien, one of the generals from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, who’s trying to kill him! Just before Gien’s blade strikes home, a mysterious beautiful woman appears in front of Sonshin. What trials await Sonshin, as he witnesses this terrible battle between two generals of the Three Kingdoms?
Well, I really have nothing good to give it more than 7, so here goes:
Storywise, well the plot does have a direction, I give it that, but it kinda disgust me that all that plot can fit in just 2 episode, now I don’t know if this is deliberate or not , but given the political tension that Japan has with China , I probably won’t be surprise if the Japanese studio intentionally wants to keep Chinese manhua stay as manhua, and keep it off Japanese television, by deliberately making it a bad anime, but despite of it, it’s a fair 6 in my book.
Art, well, it was a poor 3 , base on the background, coloring , hues and the whole scape layout let’s face it, this is where Color Designer: Yoshimi Kawakami and art director, Toru Koga fucked up. then again character designer Tsutomu Miyazawa did a good job on the characters especially with the 2 eye candies Shū Yu, whom is the quintessential zettai ryoki/ samurai girl/ tsundere and Ryō Un who is the quintessential, top student, btw don’t expect any panty shots from either of the 2.
Sound, since I don’t have any comment on the opening , closing and the seiyuus who did the character’s voices, I’m just gonna gun for a mediocre 5.
Characters, I gave it a fair 6 on the ff grounds:
Son Shin, ok so as the main character, he’s chicken shit that turns me off, but on the other hand he’s this quintessential guy who has no other choice but to face the situation that he unknowingly got himself into. Turn off, he has a general who is seemly a bull head and he doesn’t even do anything to make her his obedient familiar.
Shū Yu, I would have wanted her to be this caring familiar, however her stubbornness is a turn off . Though, she one hot eye candy her character alone is leaves a bad after taste.
Ryō Un, another eye candy, that I kinda like……..just a bit, now I like that she serves as Son Shi’s ally . But I just think that she could have done more than just be another card holder, I mean if this anime is done fairly without the geopolitics she could have some potential to be as powerful as Barin Yi.
Another reason for the rating was that most of the characters were introduced in an instantaneous manner, that we the audience were only left to tell who is good and who is bad, just like that, they come in and come out just like that.
Enjoyment, thought annoying since, like I’ve said the whole 12 episode anime could fit in a just 2, well, it was still a decent 4, enough to watch. In fact this is something that one should just let it accumulate and watch it in one go.
Overall, Studio Pierrot should have just done an OVA of this thing with just 2 episode, so yes, for it’s slow pace, simplistic plot and bad art layout it was a dreadful 2.
Son Shin has a bizarre dream containing all sorts of mythical and unnatural imagery only to awaken when he sees something extraordinary. He then comes across a card and suddenly comes under attack from his teacher who has some sort of warrior beside him wanting his card and will do anything he has to. Little does Son Shin know this is the first act in a series of escalating events.
A fairly simple set up for a card based series but I am a sucker for a card based series as long as it gets the basics right. Here that is the case for me. There is more to it than on the surface with a lot of world building, twists, new parties with their own goals and characters to come but it doesn’t get needlessly complex. The simplicity here works for the better as it allows greater focus on the characters and action which is what this show does best from Son Shins first battle with his teacher to his clashes with Hakuanshi.
We don’t really get that much background on Son Shin himself so can only go on his actions throughout. He isn’t stupid, quick on his feet, adapts to challenges quickly and will do almost anything for those who have protected him. A bit typical I suppose but I like that he isn’t afraid or constantly questions himself. Shuu Yu I liked a lot, she is a noble warrior but also has a softer side, being used in this game has took its toll on her and she hates losing master after master so seeing her change her tune somewhat after Son Shins efforts is nice to see.
Most side characters are interesting also. Quiet girl Ryou Un and her lord Shuu Sou know much more than Son Shin does and help him when he needs it whilst also providing an insight into this world. A few more pop up over time including a seemingly punk fighter kid Barin who is fun and Ryou Uns father. The villains are fairly generic (apart from their designs), trying to revive their master who wants to start a war but do bring a very real sense of danger and excitement. Other than that the lords themselves take centre stage with an array of designs, personalities and wants.
I like that because this is a Chinese co production the historical elements are based on The Romance of the Three Kingdoms. It’s refreshing to see a new batch of lords, what they’re like and their powers instead of the umpteenth version of Oda Nobunaga. They’re also quite interesting as they’ve been part of this game for a long time, have their own feelings and thoughts, losing master after master so their personalities have warped to reflect this to the point where stability can be key, they are not disposable cards as evidenced by the link to the user. Seeing them in the now modern world is also rather nice, a real contrast of ages.
The action scenes are frantic and exciting despite the visuals (I’ll get onto that). Scenes flow well as characters move naturally and smoothly. Sure it’s typical of these types of show with bombastic powers that fill the screen but when it’s enjoyable it’s enjoyable. More so when you have an array of powers on display from the usual sword wielders, archers who can unleash more than just an arrow, soul taking and a swathe of magical influences.
One of the problems I do have is the length of episodes. As a mid length series (with episodes 13 minutes long) it feels off. Multiple episodes follow the same battles or directly continue the story with nary a break. It feels like it would be better suited to a full length series as the constant stopping part way through a battle or particular story arc is too stop start. Episodes at this length are more suited to an episodic nature even if you are linking the story together such as Diabolik Lovers which is prime example of how to do it.
Visually is where most people will raise an eyebrow. The actual art is fine, depicting the lords with good detail and nice and varied designs from armour to battle garments to physiques. In shows like these focusing on historical elements that can usually be the case but nevertheless it’s nice to see varied designs or warriors from past Chinese history.
The issue here comes from a completely unnecessary filter or two. Over most scenes there is a filter which covers over half the screen at times which contains heavy almost pastel like line use, it’s hard to describe covers a large part of the screen. Then when actions scenes are taking place they make the bizarre choice to include a paint filter where whenever there are clashes or strong hits lashes of paint hit the screen obscuring the action even more.
Neither of these works particularly well. They obscure too much of the action and darken the visuals too much. The animation isn’t bad but actually decent so they wouldn’t have used this to hide the cheapness so I can only think it as an artistic choice which flails. The paint filter I think they were going for the blood effect to heighten the sense of danger but it falls short. Take it away and the series becomes more vibrant and colourful and you can see effects more clearly. I got used to it 3 or 4 episodes in but even then it became distracting when overused (which it will).
The soundtrack is rather indistinct; there is the feudal, oriental if you will sound effects you’d get in a lot of anime from these eras. The OP and ED stood out above this though with catchy J-Pop tunes from Ayane and Zwei. They’ve been on repeated listens for a bit now.
An enjoyable series marred by the visual choices which is a shame. The story doesn’t wrap up the full story since the source material is ongoing but finishes on a relatively good note. I hope there is more to come as it left a longing taste for more which is proof a series has done something right.
Plot-wise, it’s a really simple Fate stay night plotline of “evil masters wants to kill the main protagonists with their servants” and “main protagonists tries to defend and defeat them”…sure there’s character development but the plot seems more focused on their one-note fights than the character development themselves. Yeah, the main protagonists Shin Son, Yu Shuu and Un Ryou and Yi Barin do “get” what little character development they get but they shape more to their Fate stay night counterparts only in lesser detail.
*Shin Son = Emiya Shirou only MUCH worse
*Yu Shuu = Saber, only her development and backstory is rushed like hell, but it can be excusable due to it being an anime short.
*Un Ryou = Rin Tohsaka, but less tsundere more “The Ace”.
*Yi Barin = Probably the only character not taken from a Fate stay night archetype.
And yes because of that, their investment are quickly resolved through a battle and due to the length of the anime episodes (10 minutes each) or LA has NO investment to them and no, it’s not because of it being rushed, the characters are this bland and ripoff-ed LA just didn’t care. Plot-wise investments is even worse as the anime has little respite to it’s own characters (and thus the audience) in development and plot, it’s exposition is all over the place and cares more about it’s eyesore of battles Soul Buster entails.
The minor characters are MUCH worse as LA’s biggest problem is that there is one character by the name of Hakuanshi who is essentially the main antagonist of this anime short and he essentially brings nearly EVERY SINGLE HEAVY MOOK enemy towards the main heroes and yes, they are all servants, thus we don’t even get to know the enemies/Chinese famous figures besides what their “special powers” are, it gets even worse when we get to the even smaller minor characters like the School Nurse, who comes in for one or two episodes then disappears for the rest of the anime…WHAT WAS THE POINT OF ADDING HER!?!??!!.
Really it’s kinda troubling when you have an anime with LOTS of characters and you can’t even remember the main villains NAME.
The animation was LA’s biggest gripe in the anime, the animation is stock filled with MULTIPLE “stylistic choices” from colorful ink splots during battle scenes and mostly used when swords/ultimate attacks clash, shadows having this “woody” texture all throughout the anime, SHAKY CAM and dual to tri “shaky afterimages” outside and inside of battles…do you see the major problem with this setup?. The animation outside of all this is ok at best, however with these in place, makes the animation UNBEARABLE to watch, they put too much focus on these after-effects more than seeing the somewhat decent animation. Soul Buster really didn’t need to do this and if it’s for stylistic choice, they failed. It felt more or less they saw that SHAFT did these things, yet they utterly failed to realize that SHAFT used those in-tandem to it’s plot and symbolism, they are also not in your face with these animation flairs, Soul Buster however is ENTIRELY in your face saying “LOOK HOW COLORFUL AND ALL OVER THE PLACE, ALL IN YOUR FACE THE ANIMATION IS”. There’s a fine line between stylistic and annoying. No joke, by Episode 10, LA got a headache by the combination of all four stylistic effects in one big battle lasting almost 5 minutes. The animation is that misguided that it caused LA to get a headache!?!?!??!. LA thought Qualidea Code had inconsistent animation, but Studio Pierrot for this stunt of an eyesore is SOOO MUCH WORSE.
Soul Buster, plot-wise is just another Fate stay night story just substitute them with ancient Chinese figures than the global scale Fate stay night does, the plot follows many of the plot beats nearly plot for point even to their main characters. But what becomes to the worst aspect of Soul Buster and what COULD have been an “average” score instead being nearly “HORRIBLE” is the misguided and in your face animation.
The ending really never resolves itself due to how little the main heroes has done and yes LA gets it, it’s anime short, if they wanted to resolve the entire plot in a 10 minute x 13 episode timeframe it would be impossible, or rushed as hell, but still, the ending left completely open ended and worst yet, it felt like the main characters accomplished little to nothing by the end of it because of their rushed character development and coincidental incidents that leads them to the ending they got.
Soul Buster falls under the “the scenery is trying too hard to the point of being aggressively annoying more than the lackluster story” or “scenery chews the story more than the character themselves”.
Soul Buster your drunk, go sit on the worst animation of 2016 corner!
4: Tono to Issho: Ippunkan Gekijou
Japanese: 殿といっしょ 1分間劇場
MAL Score: 6.23
Comedy parodying famous samurai generals and historical events.
As per my review for this, it´s fun, enjoyable but not everyone understands this weird sense of humour so you may not like it. It’s an anime that briefly explains some of the most important historical characters from Shogun Era (Nobunaga, Masamune, Kenshin, etc.) in a very parodic style so don´t take it to heart, it´s just for the silly laughs.
3: Yoroiden Samurai Troopers
English: Ronin Warriors
MAL Score: 7.08
Thousands of years ago, the evil emperor Talpa attempted to conquer the Earth. Defeated, he was banished to the Nether Realm and his armor was divided into 9 separate suits. Now, he has returned to conquer Earth, having reclaimed 4 of the suits. The other 5 are in the possesion of those who are the only hope of stopping him: The Ronin Warriors.
Also honestly: I love all of those flaws so, so much. I grew up with Ronin Warriors. It’s one of the first anime I ever saw, and when I was 11, I was in love with it. Almost 10 years later, I have such a huge spot in my heart for it, I can’t do much else except keep loving it. It can be so silly, so strangely suggestive, and yet, so pure and innocent. You can laugh at it for being bad–I do. I very much do. But I also love it because it embraces everything it’s trying to be, and it does nothing halfway. If two characters are going to be the embodiment of mere helpless humans that the Ronin Warriors have to continually protect, then they’re going to be the most irritating things in the world. If a villain is going to have his heart set on engulfing Japan in darkness, then he’s going to cast a massive shadow over Shinjuku and laugh maniacally for a full minute. If a character decides he’s going to sacrifice himself for the good of mankind, then by god, his comrades are going to cry gratuitous shoujo-tears while dealing killing blows in an inexplicably naked fashion.
And my love will abide.
Of course some major flaws and issues people will have is that the team doesn’t have an official back-story. Such as how and why they got their armors. In the Japanese version, some of the characters are descended from samurai which does give some indication that they were bounded by blood or destiny to become so. But I heard there are some manga material and drama cds that do give some elaboration to this.
Well, to some people the style may not really be unique, but to me when I was getting into anime, seeing the art alone was enough to tell me that I should watch this show. To me, the art was fresh, sharp, original, and distinctive. And for some reason, I still have some of those same impressions to this day though it’s not as strong as it was 13 years ago. Granted the multi-color scheme was very Power Rangers-ish for that time period, I just thought the designs of both the Ronin and Dynasty Warriors brought out a really retro and original approach to the style. I was truly frightened with what the bad guys’ armors looked like and the power it had. And even though the attacks relied on recycled footage, I just love how dramatic they were and how much detail they put into the movement and expressions. The fights at the time were very exciting and high octane for me because like I said, it was something new and it just pulled me in. But I did notice the use of hyper space backgrounds and ever since then as well as in other anime, they still bother me to this day. I want to say more but I’ll leave what I say in relation to this topic for my overall commentary.
OK, the English opening theme was cheesy, but I just loved the guitars. Granted it didn’t have a Japanese feel to it, but I thought it was still hypnotic. But I do appreciate that the dub still kept the original background music soundtrack. I always loved the guitar edition of the first ending theme, Far Away, and I thought it was always appropriately used and it always stuck out to me, as well as other background mixes of the other songs such as Stardust Eyes and Samurai Heart. But when you hear the actual theme songs, they have this certain Japanese authenticity to the show.
The dub may sound cheesy and lame to some people, but I personally still love it to this day. I think the dub is appropriately 90s and I think the accents for some of the characters truly reflected their personalities. I liked Cye’s or Shin’s or whoever you want to call him’s British accent. I think it perfectly brings out his gentle and happy nature. I also loved Jason Gray Stafford as Kento or Xiu. He brought out his party animal personality and I also enjoyed Matt Hill as Ryo or Raioh or whatever pronunciation you want to use. I recognized his voice as Captain N the first time I heard it and I just simply liked him for the role. And the dub voices of the Warlords were excellent and they just brought out the true evil in them. But I also think the Japanese version is also excellent in its own right. I truly enjoyed Kusao Takeshi’s Ryo as well and brought out his qualities in his own right as well as being passionate and commanding. And Wakamoto Norio, who voiced Cell in DBZ I thought was also great as Kaos or The Ancient One, and the English voice actor, Michael Dobson brought a great charisma to that role as well. I say watch both English and Japanese versions not to see which version is better, but to just overall enjoy it.
Well, as you can tell by this review, every time I watch and talk about this anime, the inner child inside me who first watched comes out and talks about his impressions after watching it the first time. I was officially watching anime for barely six months at that point and I thought it was unique to see anime on TV at the time. Keep in mind that shortly after, DBZ and Sailor Moon would soon follow, but would have yet find any mainstream success. The reason why I feel I can’t be outraged over what was changed and edited is not really over the legal circumstances, but I felt that despite whatever changes were made, I personally felt that this anime still had all of its qualities that made it likeable as an anime. I mean, it’s not like any direct Japanese references were cut out. I was captured by how the story wasn’t traditionally episodic as I grew up with American cartoons. I loved the art, the action, the development, the characters.
Since I have lately focused on largely forgotten anime that actually did air on American TV, I decided I really had to do Yoroiden Samurai Troopers AKA Ronin Warriors. This show aired on Toonami in the afternoon alongside DBZ, Gundam Wing, and Sailor Moon. What made this one stick out is that it is several years older than most of the anime from Toonami and really has that vintage 1980s look and feel to it. Although it certainly has some flaws, it is a cheesy fun experience that still commands a cult following in 2014. Actually, it was recently announced that this series is going to be re-released on blu-ray!
Plot and characters: 4/10
The plot is that an evil demon was defeated over 1,000 years ago and his mighty armor was divided into 9 separate suits, each having a different element and virtue that it represents. Of course this means that 5 suits end up being used by the good guys and 4 by bad guys because it is fucking MANDATORY for every anime and Sentai (NOT hentai you pervs) show in this genre to feature a 5 man team. It is also pretty much required for each member to have a different color and element, and to strike cool group poses all the time. Of course there is also an animal sidekick and chick to be the team’s cheerleader. Even the unconventional 4 man Ninja Turtles had to have April O’Neal. This show really used a cookie cutter 80s formula that will give modern viewers a good look at how pretty much all childrens’ action shows looked and felt at that time period. When the armors of fire, water, wind, earth, and void combine together, they summon Captain Planet! Wait! They summon the Inferno Armor! Inferno Armor is what I meant to say! One interesting thing the show did was that even the 4 “Dark Warlords” each had a virtue that they followed. This at least gave it a small bit of moral complexity and not just pure good vs. evil.
Art and sound 4/10
Ronin Warriors featured the same “finisher moves” in every episode which each had the same few minutes of animation used over and over. This meant that an average episode would be 20 minutes with 10 minutes of new footage and 10 minutes of recycled animation used in all 39 episodes. Even shows with larger budgets like Sailor Moon used LOTS of recycled animation at this period, so this was simply accepted as the norm by anime fans. Today we are far more spoiled and would never simply accept a show being this fucking lazy and cheap. The soundtrack is allright, although if you are expecting cheesy 80s songs like Top Gun or Rocky 4 than you will be sadly disappointed.
I gave it an extra point for nostalgia and cheesyness. This isn’t a good show, but it was a fun little show back in the late 1990s when I was 10 years old. I’m sure if a kid today watched it, he or she would be like…”The fuck was that shit?!” However, it still holds a special place for me as a silly bit of my childhood.
2: Afro Samurai
English: Afro Samurai
MAL Score: 7.36
When he was a young boy, Afro witnessed his father be cut down in a duel at the hands of a man known only as Justice. After taking the life of Afro’s father, Justice cast aside his Number Two headband and took the Number One to claim its godly powers as his own.
Years later, having obtained the Number Two headband which grants him the right to challenge the Number One, Afro moves forward in his hunt for revenge on the man who murdered his father. There is just one thing that stands in his way—everyone else in the world! Though the Number One can only be challenged by the Number Two, the Number Two can be challenged by anyone. As his enemies gather to try and take the title of Number Two, Afro must fight through a myriad of foes and obstacles if he hopes to reach the Number One and claim vengeance once and for all.
The voice over cast list start off with Samuel L Jackson (pulp fiction, Starwars) and Kelly Hu (X2: Xmen United) two A list actors very famous for their action movies. And their voices get put through the test as they use their voices for multiple characters in the series. And the voices they portray are very believable in my opinion.
As in terms of animation value, one only needs too look at their hair and their tattered clothing flowing in the wind just like in a classic samurai showdown of the old days. Everything is very artistic and not to mention VERY gory (which is a plus for me).
As expected of a 5 episode series, the story is not very detailed on character backgrounds and side stories except the main character (their website more than explains each character). But, they do throw you in the mix right away. The main character “afro samurai” is the second samurai in the world. And he is on a mission to become the number one samurai in the world. And thats where the story starts, his journey to his headquarters.
the verdict? For those who want a quick pick me up action anime that you can finish in one sitting, by all means pick this up! but if youre looking for a super long anime, youre looking in the wrong place.
First of all, the story as a whole is VERY mediocre: boy loses father, boy gets revenge on fathers killer, etc. It’s like something from Daredevil. But the thing that really, REALLY pisses me of is this: he hardly ever fights humans. Seriously. He fights killer robots, humanoids and weird monks (one armed with a bazooka!), and finally a guy with 3 arms.
That is why this series comes off as poor.
However, this is saved by the excellent animation with unique styling and excellent sounds. The artwork is great, and the voice acting by Samuel L Jackson adds the extra bad-assery that the show needs.
The charaters were pretty bad. You know how I feel about the enemies, but even Afro-Samurai is badly portrayed. He’s a 2D character, and the writers thought that if loads of bad stuff happened to someone, I’ll automaticly feel sorry for him and be on his side. No, it doesn’t work like that.
Overall, not a series worth avoiding, but only because it’s so short. There are plently of better anime to watch in the mean time.
I really had high expectations for this anime, and they were crushed for how bad the story is presented and yeah, Samuel L. Jackson is here but, that doesn’t make the anime good, the story and the characters should, not a big movie star.
The story is mediocre at best, the story follows a vengeful, full of hatred man named Afro, who saw his father the bearer of the n.1 headband being killed by the bearer of the n.2 headband named Justice just for the sole reason of becoming a god (don’t know how a headband will grant you that but…ok) and he tells Afro if he wants revenge he’ll be waiting, that’s where the 5 eps. anime starts with one problem, nonsensical bulls**t, what happened to the earth? why is technology only used by a group of old guys? why people can only kill the n.2 so they can kill n.1 and not directly? why those headbands are important anyway? or why those thing aren’t explained? don’t know and i couldn’t care less now, it was boring, the only thing they were focused on was the past, in every eps. 15 min. of his past and 3 of action but they forgot the present and the unexplained.
Art & Animation
It wasn’t bad but i didn’t like it, it’s a combination of western cartoons and anime (like Tokyo Tribe), it was ok.
The music was fine, the sound effects were bad, the voice acting was ok because only Jinno and Ninja Ninja (the one with white afro) had good voice acting and Afro (Samuel L. J.) didn’t talk much and when he did it was ok.
Mediocre characters, not appealing for me, i felt Jinno more than Afro, other than that, the characters were rushed, needed more eps. to be really good.
It was boring, i didn’t get why this is liked and popular maybe just because of Samuel L. J. and that’s it, i was going to watch the movie but only if i liked this so no movie for me, mediocre enjoyment.
1: Lupin the Third: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna
English: Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine
Japanese: LUPIN the Third ～峰不二子という女～
MAL Score: 7.78
Many people are falling prey to a suspicious new religion. Lupin III infiltrates this group, hoping to steal the treasure their leader keeps hidden. There he lays eyes on the beautiful, bewitching woman who has the leader enthralled. This is the story of how fashionable female thief Fujiko Mine first met Lupin III, the greatest thief of his generation.
The result was to change Lupin from a cartoony comedy to a gritty Film Noir and to have the main character not be Lupin but Fujiko Mine and with a great team behind this as well, it had alot going for it but did it pay off or was Lupin just grandpa anime? This answer is most certainly Yes, this thief still get some tricks up his sleeves. They took something goofy and fun and made it something far deeper than that.
Analysis of The Themes and Ideas:
Lupin The 3rd has always been a rebellious anime but it was more literal in the sense that it’s about a thief stealing and making fools out of the police but here it’s more metaphorical. Everything about this show is contradictory to the norms of what we think anime should be like.
It’s was made in 2012 but feels like the 70s, it’s a Japanese product that has a very western look and feel to it, most anime fans are use to serial shows while this is mostly episodic, Fujiko Mine herself is a different main character than you would expect to see in an anime, you just don’t see many femme fatales as the lead in anime but the show isn’t just different for the sake of it, it all fits into the story. You might ask why don’t they modernize Lupin the 3rd and make the characters look more modern but that would be missing the point entirely, they’re not characters of our time, that’s just not who they are.
The whole show is about social outcasts and people’s idea of how you should or shouldn’t act. It’s essentially a “Be yourself” kinda story but done in the least cliche way possible.
Lupin is completely care free, he steals whatever he wants, acts however he wants, whatever Lupin does you can trust him to be him and he’s completely at peace with himself in that regard with no regrets. He’s the embodiment of what a part of the characters aspire to be: free.
Jigen’s the kinda man who probably would’ve been better off in 1940s New York/Chicago or in the wild west with his gun skills, taking sides of gangs not knowing who or what he should be fighting for if for anything.
Goemon in this anime is not just here because samurai are cool and every action anime set in modern day has to have a samurai like how he use to be, he’s a man with a code from a long line of samurai who lives in a time where nobody appreciate his kind anymore
Fujiko herself is someone trying to be free of a past, a past forced upon her by others who want her in their image. She tries to repeal that by showering herself with treasures.
The antagonists represents the societal norms in some way. Either being part of the authority or being controlled by one. Zenigata who was originally the goofy clumsy grump from the other animes has turned into a much more hard-boiled tough guy, he’s definitely different from what was done before, he’s not always likable but hearing what he says later on in the series, it comes across like maybe he use to be that grump that we all know and love but somewhere along the way, because he wanted to get to the top and be respected so much that he lost his soul and honor to get there. Oscar is completely obedient to Zenigata and is closer to what you would think an anime main character to be like: He’s young, androgynous, good looking guy and he’s gay which is even better for female anime fans but the only downside really is that he’s kinda off his bonkers. The main villains here that are the owl people are all about control, they all dress alike, talk alike and want people to dress, act, and think how they want them to, everything about them is very orderly, they are everything our main characters hate
Much like Cowboy Bebop, this is an episodic series with an overarching story-line and much like Cowboy Bebop, the stand alone episodes play into the themes of the overarching story-line. Almost every episode is about someone trying to control the fate of others or someone trying to break free and stand up for what they want. I also love that there’s not a whole lot of action, there’s action certainly but there’s only action when there needs to be. It’s a show that relies on good storytelling and amazing atmosphere to keep you hooked than cheap thrills. Not every episode is a homerun but the overall package is fantastic.
Like I’ve said the show is done in a much more Film Noir way than in as other Lupin animes (that were more like Oceans 11 meets Spy vs Spy) with lots of deep blacks, people falling in and out of love, death, corruption, and of course the classic Femme Fatale, it’s all great stuff. Frank Miller wishes he could do a Film Noir about sexuality and visuals as good as this
Some have complained about alot of the nudity in this show and that is something to keep in mind when you watch this, I don’t mind because that’s just part of Fujiko’s character. She uses sex as a weapon and really she seems to feel more alive and like her true self when she’s nude than when she’s in clothes which again that would play a big part of the idea of not being what other people think you should be. You might think that I’m looking for excuses to defend fanservice but consider that the writer and director of this anime are both women, I think it’s safe to say that there’s more to it than that especially since the director Sayo Yamamoto is the same woman who gave us Michiko To Hatchin, it’s clear from that alone that she knows how to do female characters (she is a woman after all).
If there was one complaint I would have with the story (and it’s a minor one) is that it does become a little hard to fellow towards the ending, there’s alot of explaining going on and it can be hard to keep track of especially if you’re watching it with subtitles but aside from that I have no real problems with the story and I do love the atmosphere and feel of the last 3 or so episodes, it has a very Pierrot Le Fou from Cowboy Bebop vibe to the whole thing.
Visuals and Animation: 10
The animation I will admit isn’t always the best. Sometimes it looks great but there are moments where it can be pretty stiff but to me, you can forgive alot in the animation department (which isn’t even that bad anyway) if you have the art to back it up and man that’s where the visuals truly stand out. One thing I think makes Sayo Yamamoto stand out is that unlike other anime directors that have made western style animes, she doesn’t seem to take her inspirations from much American source material where as alot of western style anime have a very American feel to them. She doesn’t do that, Michiko To Hatchin had a very City of God brazialian feel to it and A Woman Called Fujiko Mine has much more European feel than American.
That’s the best way I can describe to you the imagery of this show without just plain showing you because my god this is seriously one of the most beautiful looking animes I’ve ever seen. I’ve said Film Noir alot but even that doesn’t quite sum up up how this show looks, you can take a snap shot of almost any scene in this anime display it in an art museum, it’s just that great to look it, it’s very abstract. If the music in Cowboy Bebop is considered a character in that show than that same would have to go with the art of this show. Much like the show itself, the art style feels very familiar but is very fresh at the same time.
I’ve dived into what these characters are about but how are their personalities themselves? It’s Lupin The 3rd, in other words I love these characters just like I’ve always have.
Lupin is as funny, clever, and is as much of a jack ass as he always is and I love him for it.
Jigen is just as bad ass as ever if not more so here and continues to be my favorite character of the entire franchise.
Goemon is done best here than I’ve ever seen him done before, like I said before there wasn’t much to him in other entries of the franchise outside of just being a bad ass samurai, here there’s alot more to him than that.
Fujiko makes a good anti hero, she’s certainly not boring and thankfully she never does that “woe is me, feel sorry for me” crap. She never becomes a flat out good person but there’s a tiny part of her that thinks maybe she could but it just never works out that way, I like characters like that.
This Zenigata like I said certainly an interesting take on the character, I do miss the old one because he was funny and I felt sorry for him but that Zenigata wouldn’t have worked here in this gritty stylized crime anime and Oscar… Oscar’s just a creep, sure there’s an episode where they get into his back story but the conclusion to all that makes me pity him more than feel sorry for him.
Other than Oscar, they’re classic Lupin characters with a twist. There’s a reason why these characters have been around for so long and why people continue to cosplay as them to this day cause they’re just so damn likeable and cool
It seems to me that any anime with an western flare to it is gonna sound better in English (Anything Shinchiro Watanabe, Trigun, Baccano!, Black Lagoon, Panty and Stocking, Hellsing Ultimate) and here is no exception because while the Japanese version is good. The funimation dub is fantastic and everyone is cast perfected (Also watching it dubbed makes the ending easier to fellow). Ever since the Pioneer dub of Lupin iii Part 2 Michelle Ruff has proven to me that she is Fujiko and while I miss Tony Oliver especially when Fujiko and Lupin were talking, Sonny Strait plays a great Lupin in his own right. Christopher Sabat when he did Jigen in the past I felt sounded too forced with his tough guy voice but he had finally perfected the character, he gives a smoothness to the role while still sounding like a bad ass and Mike McFarland does a good job as Goemon, keeping his voice stoic without being a bore. Richard Epcar does a great job with giving just the right tone with making Zenigata sound tough, he really does sound like he could stand up to guys like Humphrey Bogart or Robert Mitchum (although I found it so weird that Richard has played Jigen, Goemon, and now Zenigata. How odd is that to have played have of the Lupin The Third cast now?)
The music was produced by Shinichiro Watanabe and composed by Naruyoshi Kikuchi and while not quite as memorable as Yuji Ohno’s music. It certainly does sound cool and it gets the job done, makes you feel like you’re watching a slick but gritty crime movie. One of my favorite pieces isn’t really music, it plays during a flashback of Fujiko’s child hood and it’s these weird electronic sounds, it’s very unsettling
It’s been a while since I’ve seen not only an anime with hard boiled film noir elements but it’s been a while since I’ve seen anything Lupin this good since Episode 0: First Contact and the 2nd Tv series of Lupin The 3rd. This was exactly what the series needed. It’s quite ironic that a reboot (for lack of a better word) of such an old franchise is one of the freshest animes I’ve seen in a long time. Sure, I’ve mentioned some problems here and there but they’re so minor that who cares anyway and yeah this certainly isn’t going to appeal to everyone (Hell, it even took me a little while for this anime to grown on me) but that just makes it more special to me. I don’t want something to appeal to everyone, you try doing that and you appeal to nobody. You gotta have you mind set and tell the story you wanna tell and that’s exactly what they did here. I can’t give this more than the overall rating I’m about to give it
While the first half of this series is standard Lupin III fare, while more prominently focused on Fujiko, the highlight for the series for me comes in the form of its second half which features a more linear storyline when said mysterious organization comes into play. The group have their identities concealed in bird masks and apparently have some type of mysterious past connection with Fujiko. This particular story element is quite effective in messing with one’s perceptions of what you assume is going on with Lupin and his group, especially as more details on the organization’s illicit activities come to light and come to learn that not all is what it would seem on the surface. I won’t spoil the major elements of this plot, but all I will say is that the ending comes across as quite the surprising shocker yet makes sense once you put together the elements of the organization revealed from earlier episodes. The only rough element to this new storyline was the unclear resolution of the fates of Zenigata and Oscar when they become entangled in the mess involving the organization.
The animation style to The Woman Called Fujiko Mine sticks out quite a bit as well compared to past Lupin III works. Anyone who seen Redline may notice similarities in the drawing styles used for scenery and character designs here in this series. This isn’t a coincidence as two of the major figures behind making Redline, Sayo Yamamoto and Takeshi Koike, contribute their talents in the unique animation style used for The Woman Called Fujiko Mine. Scenery and character designs are drawn with a pastel-like feel as color tones are quite subdued and there is frequent use of pattern-like designs used to blend in with a number of scenery and character designs. The character designs are well-detailed and the memorable designs of Lupin characters are retained here, all the way down to Lupin’s green dress coat worn during the original first series from the early 1970s. Action scenes are well-animated featuring fluid movement in many instances and have great choreography coming from gunplay and even the swordplay used by Goemon.
Overall, The Woman Called Fujiko Mine made for perhaps the best offering I’ve seen from the Lupin III franchise thus far. It still retains the basic elements of the franchise’s premise and characters while creating a more mature series in its prominent focus on Fujiko’s exploits and its dark, mind-bending second half when focusing on Fujiko’s connections with the mentioned organization. The series certainly won’t be for everyone if they are expecting the typical comical antics of the Lupin III franchise. But if you are looking for something different with the franchise, The Woman Named Fujiko Mine should be a worthwhile gem for you.
On the other hand, it has a messy and pretentious story that kinda killed the “mystique appeal” of Fujiko Mine, added some unnecessary characters and is cluttered with bad writing by one of the biggest hacks in anime (And yes, i’m talking about Mari Okada).
The story of this Lupin III series is all about Fujiko Mine, and how she became to be that one hot chick you see in every Lupin III anime from the past 4 decades. You also see her trying to rob things and steal stuff but who cares.
It’s basically Lupin III meets “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego” with a sprinkle of Black Rock Shooter.
The story is quite a mess. The first 5 episodes have that sense of humour of the typical Lupin III story. And that’s fine.
But then, they just have to add that fucking annoying and unnecessary “DEEP” crap and turn Fujiko into an Asuka clone. And i’m not talking of making Fujiko a tsundere. I’m talking about them turning Fujiko into a post-mental breakdown suffering of a woman. And yes, i hated that part. Why?
Because it’s unnecessary and pretty killed the character for me. Fujiko was made to be a mysterious figure of lust and envy, and to add something that’s the opposite of the two pretty much killed that. I don’t want to know about her past. I want to see her as the sex bomb figure of tension that she is.
Also, the worst thing about the story are the flashbacks of Fujiko’s childhood. It’s messy and gives away nothing that would make understand her. It’s just padding at its worst and i hated that.
I understand the need to go dark. Hell, i loved Casino Royale and Batman Begins for offering a gritty take on their respective franchises. But you don’t make it to a point where you kill the appeal of the character. It’s one reason the Star Wars Prequels don’t work. You don’t try and be edgy to the point of butchering what makes the characters likable.
And all of these can pretty much be blamed on Mari Okada. You can tell that all the “Deep & Dark” flashback trauma crap is handled by her. Hell, episode 11 has her shit all over it. And i fucking hated it. It reminds me of everything i hated about Black Rock Shooter. Who gave this woman more work? We kicked Shyamalan hard for butchering The Last Airbender and Akiva Goldman got cockpunched for Batman & Robin, and yet she’s getting away with this?
And besides Fujiko III, you see the return of the well-loved Arsene Lupin, the samurai wonder Goemon, the sharp-eyed Jugem and the bumbling Interpol agent Zenigata. And they added another main character named Oscar who’s Zenigata’s assistant and obviously gay for the Inspector. And to me, he’s pretty pointless because he brings nothing to the story, and he makes me ask “Is this franchise really desperate of a new following that they need to add a character made for a fujoshi fanbse?” Seriously, he’s just there for the fabulous.
But those are the bad parts, so now, here’s the good parts!
The art is excellent.It feels like moving palettes rather than animation and has an excellent colour scheme of sorts. It’s clearly influenced by Western animation and it’s more colourful than the other stories in Lupin III, which is a contrast to the dark storyline.
The sound’s nice. In terms of music, it’s clearly the jazzy orchestra type of music you’d expect from a Shinichi Watanabe production. It’s nice and i enjoyed the score as it reminds me of music by Anton Karas. I’m surprised that the score wasn’t composed by Yoko Kanno, because it feels like one. And thus, i think the composer did an excellent creating a score influenced by Yoko Kanno.
And the voice acting’s pretty nice as you have the original seiyuus for Lupin and Jigen(Kanichi Kurita and Kiyoshi Kobayashi), whereas Fujiko is now voiced by the talented Miyuki Sawashiro while Goemon is voiced by the excellent Daisuke Namikawa. The legendary Kouichi Yamadera now voices Zenigata and Oscar is voiced by Yuki Kaji. All of them provides excellent voice acting and i’m impressed the most by Sawashiro as she is able to weigh in and sound as good as her predecessor, Eiko Masuyama.
All of these good points provide a counter-balance to the ridiculously terrible storyline. You have all of these elements of music and animation that brings more to the anime than the story itself. And surprisingly, the Lupin and Jigen scenes managed to be more enjoyable than the Fujiko scene and that is also a good point about this series.
Overall, Lupin the Third: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna is a conflicted series with a flawed story, but makes up for it with the music, animation and giving space to Lupin, Jigen and Goemon. If you’re a Lupin III fan and its core, then you will like this. But if you haven’t seen any of the Lupin III series before, then go watch the original series alongside Castle of Cagliostro and maybe one of the other OVAs like Fujiko’s Unlucky Days which is also similar to this anime.
And to end this review, here’s Tom Jones singing It’s not Unusual, because i really love Tom Jones:
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Lupin the Third: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna
2. Afro Samurai
3. Yoroiden Samurai Troopers
4. Tono to Issho: Ippunkan Gekijou
5. Soul Buster
6. Gun-dou Musashi