Lupin III – Mine Fujiko to lu Onna has an effective but underwhelming finale. (some spoilers here …)
Two reasons for this. The first was the big mystery itself. Instead of getting what we expected, we get additional characters and a story even more convoluted. It was great to look at; I loved the elaborate typewriter thing that Aisha used, and there’s something to be said that Fujiko’s past isn’t what Almeida made it out to be, that she was already an adult and a thief when she was abducted. To know Fujiko’s past is to lessen it. Let it be a mystery. On the other hand it was too many revelations, too many new characters, in too short a time, and once we learn the truth I’m not sure it added up to much. While I’m sort of glad we don’t really get Fujiko’s backstory, the answers we get diminish the story given us. It’s just one more adventure in Fujiko’s life.
The second lies in the characters and what we expected from them. This is the finale; you’re supposed to unleash the big action scenes, the twists and doublecrosses. We want to see our four (or five) heroes doing what they do best. But the only one who lives up to their legend is Lupin. He gets through to Fujiko when she’s about to lose it in front of Almeida. He unmasks not only Almeida, but the other owl, and practically leads Fujiko up to the tower for the final confrontation. Jigen and Goemon inhale the drug and thus think the other enemies. We only get bits of their gun vs sword battle, not enough, and all they do is cancel each other out for the episode. Zenigata is stuck with mad Oscar the entire time, and I’m not sure what Oscar was going on about the whole time, and who cares, really? As for Fujiko, the main character, she is saved by Lupin, led upstairs by Lupin, and gets the whole story, such as it is, because of Lupin. It’s only at the end, as they make their escape with Aisha, that she’s allowed to be herself, and while it’s fun to watch, it’s nowhere near as fun as it would have been had she become more assertive earlier.
Oh, well, it’s too bad the show ended as it did, but it doesn’t distract much from the series as a whole. It was fun, witty, exciting, and stylish almost the entire way through. This incarnation of Lupin, Fujiko, Jigen, Goemon and Zenigata were the same ones that made this franchise so entertaining for so long. And now that they’ve shown that you can have an R-rated Lupin series and carry it off with style, I hope we’ll see more of them.
Haiyore! Nyaruko-San‘s finale had a first half that was about as bad as I had expected. Mahiro, after telling the others to get lost, wakes up to find himself completely alone. We get the wandering around scenes where he shouts out one name or another, the visiting the scenes of old escapades bits, complete with flashbacks. What he doesn’t seem to notice is that NO ONE’S around. No humans at all. Yet, for some reason, there are shows on TV. Mahiro is too busy being depressed about his friends that he doesn’t seem to care. Happily, when the storyline finally appears it’s all good. Heroic rescues, silly lines, an evil alien with a stupid motive (adult video games) that makes no sense, before a happy finish. I know shows have to switch the mood now and then, but like here, these attempts at sentimentality rarely work. We’re here for the inanity, not the bathos. And this show excelled at it. Overall the show was uneven, but when it got its combo of weird characters, dumb conflicts, fast dialogue, puns, Lovecraft riffs, and crazy action together, Nyaruko-san was a hell of a lot of fun to watch. I’d watch another season.
They promised us a big battle in Shining Hearts – Shiawase no Pan 11, but it can’t be so easy for this show. Things have to be done first, namely getting Rick to be the island’s warrior, thus endangering his present, preferred status as a baker. Apparently he can’t be a baker who battles, or vice versa. What finally seems to turn him is not the threat to the island, but the fact that he’s forgotten how to bake (or rather, bake well), so, he figures, it’s time to be a warrior instead. Meanwhile everyone, meaning me, the other characters, even his harem, waited for him to make the right decision so that he can engage the enemy fleet, which, we are told, is always coming closer but never actually does. Meanwhile, aboard the enemy fleet, they’ve taken Kaguya prisoner in spite of saying she’s useless without the stone. That’s okay, Rick is bringing it. It turns him into an angel-like being, and now we got a battle, i.e., Rick swings his sword and ships blow up. Not much of a battle, really. Next week, the hopefully battle and bread-filled conclusion, and we can finally say goodbye to this thing.