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Shelf Life - Lupin III: The Legend of the Gold of Babylon




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Ggultra2764
Collector ExtraordinaireCollector Extraordinaire


Joined: 21 Jan 2004
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2018 11:05 am Reply with quote
Many Lupin III fans I've come across think of Legend of the Gold of Babylon as the "black sheep" of the many movies, TV specials and OVAs that were spawned of the franchise, and I can certainly see where that reception came into play when I bought an old VHS copy of the film released by Animeigo years ago. The visuals and movement for the film are way more cartoony than any other film within the franchise and the plot for it is way out of there with the target of Lupin's theft and where he locates it. Seems comparable to an extended episode of the Lupin III Part 3 anime that was out earlier in the decade.
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belvadeer



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2018 11:26 am Reply with quote
I just recently got Hells and Gold of Babylon in the mail not too long ago, so I've got something to look forward to this weekend since Toonami will be airing a Super marathon for the entire block. Really, I'm just glad to hear more of Tony Oliver and the rest in their Lupin roles. They're all such a natural fit that it would be wrong not to hear them.

That said, I wasn't aware of the storied history to this particular Lupin movie. I guess I'll see for myself on Saturday what kind of a final product it all culminated into.
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FLCLGainax



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2018 11:32 am Reply with quote
I may be in the minority, but I enjoyed the Lupin Babylon movie in a so-bad-it's-good way. Probably because it's so out there and wacked out in the same vein as the director, Seijun Suzuki's, live-action movies. The same guy who directed Branded to Kill, an arty black-and-white noir film where a yakuza with cheek implants has an obsession with eating rice and keeps being haunted by a mysterious lady (WTF?). It's been hailed as an absurdist masterpiece in some circles.

It's interesting the reviewer mentioned Oshii once was attached to the project. Considering it was around the same time as Urusei Yatsura: Beautiful Dreamer, I wonder if he would have done a cerebral Lupin movie. Then again, I don't think we need a repeat of Ataru's harem fantasy with Lupin in the same role. Laughing


Last edited by FLCLGainax on Mon Dec 17, 2018 12:21 pm; edited 6 times in total
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Kicksville



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2018 11:50 am Reply with quote
Gold Babylon seems like it's gotten quite the resuscitation over the years - it's gone from being maybe a bit underrated to arguably overrated, and getting a dubbed Blu-ray release sure feels like some kind of culmination. Not that I mean to complain that it exists, that's pretty cool. It really does feel like Part III: The Movie proper though, as just like the series, it has weak plotting you won't remember but the various giddy, creatively animated chase and action sequences will stay with you.
FLCLGainax wrote:
It's interesting the reviewer mentioned Oshii once was attached to the project. Considering it was around the same time as Urusei Yatsura: Beautiful Dreamer, I wonder if he would have done a cerebral Lupin movie. Then again, I don't think we need a repeat of Ataru's harem fantasy with Lupin in the same role. Laughing

The word going around all this time is that would've involved Lupin being lost in life because there's nothing left to steal, so...yeah, something like that, probably.

Also, I cannot tell you how much it warms my heart to see Xabungle, greatest television program of all time, make it over here. There's nothing quite like it, so I hope between that and it being on Hidive, plenty of people discover it.
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GeorgeC



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2018 12:10 pm Reply with quote
I really want to see Lupin III: Fuma Conspiracy get re-licensed and released on Blu ray someday. That would be the crown jewel Lupin movie for me to get on Blu ray!

As far as Legend of the Gold of Babylon goes --

Story issues aside, and frankly there are a LOT of crazy Lupin storylines in many Lupin projects (but it's STILL more consistent and less wandering than Doctor Who for instance!), I think it gets knocked for the visual resemblance to Lupin III Part 3. I didn't like Part 3 myself and I'm NOT a huge fan of this pseudo-European cartooning. It ends up NOT looking much like the Lupin III most people are familiar but actually isn't THAT far off from the way Lupin III manga has been drawn in the past. The animation is average but far from the worst I've seen in anime. I have definitely seen better-animated Lupin movies with design styles I like better. Most of the 1990s and 2000s special had more aesthetically pleasing design styles and I definitely prefer Lupin III Part 2 and 4 to the look of Part 3 and Babylon.

Anyway, the dub helps you to enjoy the film a bit more. I DO like the Pioneer cast and they did a fine job again! I hope it does sell more copies of this film. It's far from the worst Lupin III project and gets more knocks than it deserves. There are some great action sequences and NO, this is NOT "The Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls" of the Lupin features! It still fits in well with a series that has "Secret of Mamo" and "Castle of Nausicaa" as part of the franchise.

(And no, "Castle of Nausicaa" wasn't a typo. "Cagliostro" feels more like a predecessor to "Nausicaa" than a true Lupin III feature. Seriously, Fujiko looked more like Nausicaa's big sister than a Monkey Punch character!)

If you want BAD Lupin III, watch the last Lupin live-action feature they made a few years back. It was utterly generic. About the only thing it had in common with the manga besides a beautiful Fujiko (played by the same actress who portrayed Yuki Mori in the live-action Space Battleship Yamato feature film), is that Lupin and Jigen smoke otherwise it is a bore-fest and lacks the style associated with Lupin III anime.

(I've got the first Lupin III live-action feature but haven't watched it. By reputation, I gather it's a better film than the recent live-action film but is more campy and supposedly typical of Japanese films in the early 1970s. Can't say I've watched a lot of Japanese live-action, period, even though I've got a backlog of live-action titles mainly from Criterion. I have bought a LOT of samurai cinema features and a few horror titles along the way...)

Oh, and the "guest director" of Legend of the Gold of Babylon, Seijun Suzuki, infamously directed "Tokyo Drifter" which promptly got him fired AND blacklisted from live-action direction for a decade-plus. He worked on various anime in the meantime until he was "forgiven" and allowed to work in live-action again.
"Tokyo Drifter" is out on Blu ray in the US courtesy of the Criterion Collection. I actually picked up the film during their most recent half-off sale at Barnes & Noble! It's ironic that I got this within a week of getting my copy of "Legend of Gold of Babylon" in the mail!
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FLCLGainax



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2018 12:40 pm Reply with quote
GeorgeC wrote:
(I've got the first Lupin III live-action feature but haven't watched it. By reputation, I gather it's a better film than the recent live-action film but is more campy and supposedly typical of Japanese films in the early 1970s. Can't say I've watched a lot of Japanese live-action, period, even though I've got a backlog of live-action titles mainly from Criterion. I have bought a LOT of samurai cinema features and a few horror titles along the way...)

I've watched it and it's definately campy. Kind of like if Lupin was an Austin Powers-type character with humor similar to the Peter Sellers' Pink Panther movies. Jigen and Fujiko are well cast. Zenigata's a bit too much like Jackie Gleason (and has no hat). The plot involves Lupin robbing a vault, like something out of the Part I TV series .
Quote:

Oh, and the "guest director" of Legend of the Gold of Babylon, Seijun Suzuki, infamously directed "Tokyo Drifter" which promptly got him fired AND blacklisted from live-action direction for a decade-plus. He worked on various anime in the meantime until he was "forgiven" and allowed to work in live-action again.
I think you're getting it confused with the film he made after that, Branded To Kill, which got him blacklisted for a while.
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LegitPancake



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2018 1:04 pm Reply with quote
Hope Aniplex will stream the March Comes in like a Lion S2 dub sometime.
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Ushio



Joined: 31 Jul 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:14 pm Reply with quote
Legend of the Gold of Babylon I remember that damn I rented it on VHS a western connection release in the UK I recall.

Along with Fuma Conspiracy, Castle of Cagliostro, The Mystery of Mamo and Bye Bye, Lady Liberty the Lupin series was one of the more inconsistent between releases of any anime I had ever watched in the VHS, pre-internet era of my life.
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Gina Szanboti



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2018 5:59 pm Reply with quote
Are there really enough people willing to spend $520 to own 44 episodes of March Comes in Like a Lion to make it profitable for Aniplex? oO It's a very good series, but I don't recall it having a huge following or super devoted fans who'd spend that much to have it. I'd have to think long and hard to pay prices like that even for Monster or Rakugo.
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GeorgeC



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:35 pm Reply with quote
FLCLGainax wrote:

Quote:

Oh, and the "guest director" of Legend of the Gold of Babylon, Seijun Suzuki, infamously directed "Tokyo Drifter" which promptly got him fired AND blacklisted from live-action direction for a decade-plus. He worked on various anime in the meantime until he was "forgiven" and allowed to work in live-action again.
I think you're getting it confused with the film he made after that, Branded To Kill, which got him blacklisted for a while.


Yeah, I might be mistaken about some details.
There was a bit about Suzuki's "history" on the Babylon Blu ray from Discotek. I don't know if you have it and it's been about a week since I saw it. I just skimmed through it and the gist of it was that Suzuki's INFAMY was attached to the film to promote it BUT the actual director was another animation veteran.
Going to Wiki's Tokyo Drifter entry, Suzuki did two more films before he was dismissed but the beginning of his end WAS Tokyo Drifter which I thankfully got on sale for $20+ tax! No film Blu ray is really worth $40... It's outrageously overpriced otherwise. The only time I buy Criterion titles is during the 50% off sales (twice a year at B&N) or if a title comes in at a good price.
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LegitPancake



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:22 am Reply with quote
Gina Szanboti wrote:
Are there really enough people willing to spend $520 to own 44 episodes of March Comes in Like a Lion to make it profitable for Aniplex? oO It's a very good series, but I don't recall it having a huge following or super devoted fans who'd spend that much to have it. I'd have to think long and hard to pay prices like that even for Monster or Rakugo.

It's Aniplex of America, so they don't really have much say in the prices, as their mother branch in Japan has that authority.
While March was in my top 5 anime for the years it ran, I couldn't afford it either. My best advice would be to import from the UK, where you can get the first season's 2 collector's editions (no standard releases as of right now) for a little under $100 from Amazon UK. They'll probably start releasing season 2 next year sometime. Fair warning that you'll either need a UK bluray player or an all-region one.
http://amzn.eu/d/cAw9wEv
http://amzn.eu/d/iTpgXNv
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BadNewsBlues



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:49 am Reply with quote
GeorgeC wrote:


If you want BAD Lupin III, watch the last Lupin live-action feature they made a few years back.


Or Return The Magician, some episodes of part 2 and 3, or the english dub of part 2
Razz
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GeorgeC



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 1:27 am Reply with quote
LegitPancake wrote:
Gina Szanboti wrote:
Are there really enough people willing to spend $520 to own 44 episodes of March Comes in Like a Lion to make it profitable for Aniplex? oO It's a very good series, but I don't recall it having a huge following or super devoted fans who'd spend that much to have it. I'd have to think long and hard to pay prices like that even for Monster or Rakugo.

It's Aniplex of America, so they don't really have much say in the prices, as their mother branch in Japan has that authority.
While March was in my top 5 anime for the years it ran, I couldn't afford it either. My best advice would be to import from the UK, where you can get the first season's 2 collector's editions (no standard releases as of right now) for a little under $100 from Amazon UK. They'll probably start releasing season 2 next year sometime. Fair warning that you'll either need a UK bluray player or an all-region one.
http://amzn.eu/d/cAw9wEv
http://amzn.eu/d/iTpgXNv


Your other option, IF you have a PC (or Mac) that can support a Blu ray drive, get an internal Blu ray optical drive and set it to Region B. That's the cheapest option for watching Region B Blu ray's. You can definitely get a Blu ray drive (burner; best choice is an M drive that burns "stone discs") for under $100. You'll be stuck using Cyberlink PowerDVD to watch the discs but oh well there's really not much choice for PC or Mac (IF Cyberlink even supports the Mac platform). Most decent Blu ray drives come with the player software bundled with the unit. Be sure you know what size drive fits into your computer's case because some PC cases like the Dell XPS 8900 series are sized to fit laptop optical drives and NOT the bigger 5.25 drives most people are familiar with. It's a size issue and the physically smaller drives are typically more expensive.
(I had an issue with a Blu ray drive I migrated from a PC I retired. I had to get an external case for the old BD drive because the perfectly good drive would NOT fit in the optical drive bay of my new computer!)
Note that with any PC drive, unless you CRACK the drive software, you're limited in the number of region resets you can do with the drive unless you find software to bypass the Region Zone issue.
Oh, and they HAVE done things to frustrate people with Blu ray. Part of the reason it's more expensive than DVD is the evolving software protection built into the format.
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FLCLGainax



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 11:08 am Reply with quote
GeorgeC wrote:

Yeah, I might be mistaken about some details.
There was a bit about Suzuki's "history" on the Babylon Blu ray from Discotek. I don't know if you have it and it's been about a week since I saw it. I just skimmed through it and the gist of it was that Suzuki's INFAMY was attached to the film to promote it BUT the actual director was another animation veteran.
Going to Wiki's Tokyo Drifter entry, Suzuki did two more films before he was dismissed but the beginning of his end WAS Tokyo Drifter which I thankfully got on sale for $20+ tax! No film Blu ray is really worth $40... It's outrageously overpriced otherwise. The only time I buy Criterion titles is during the 50% off sales (twice a year at B&N) or if a title comes in at a good price.
That's interesting about Suzuki not being the actual director behind Babylon.
Regarding Suzuki's fallout over Tokyo Drifter, it seemed like a lot of his films didn't sit well with the execs at the studio he worked at in the '60s (Nikkatsu). They didn't get his avant-garde visual style at the time and his films made no money. I've seen a few of his films made before Drifter, like Youth of the Beast, and they're quite similarly incoherenct. He didn't gain a reputation until a few decades later.
Criterion's prices are usually expensive. Their discs are more for the collector's market, but the transfers and supplemental content are very high quality. I usually look for sales.
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GeorgeC



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2018 8:08 am Reply with quote
Yep!

I don't buy Criterion discs at full price, either!
I get 'em two times a year during the B&N sales.

Akira was a title Criterion had the license to a LONG time ago...
It was released on laserdisc and had a lot of material on it that wasn't on any other home video edition that I'm aware. It had animation tests, the first issue of the Marvel Comics edition of Akira in it, and for years was the only way you could listen to the Japanese audio for the film but I'm pretty sure it DIDN'T have subtitles.
There was quite a bit of artwork on that LD release. A lot of it was from Carl Macek's personal art collection. He had a LOT of animation cels and production drawings from many anime. He used to own and operate an animation gallery in the LA area before he became involved with Harmony Gold.

Now, why no subtitles on the Akira LD? 1) When it was released very few TV sets in the US had closed caption capability
2) Criterion would have to pay more for a feature most people wouldn't be able to appreciate unless they bought a closed caption decoder box!

The Criterion laserdisc wasn't mastered from a "master print." Streamline Pictures (which handled the art house exhibition of Akira in US theaters in the late 1980s and early 1990s) lent Criterion a 35mm release print of the film so it had all the wear and tear of a used circulation print!
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