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Tuesday, January 16, 2024 

Some disturbing info about Lupin the Third's 5th TV miniseries

Those who're into anime may be familiar with Lupin the Third, Kazuhiko Katō (Monkey Punch)'s slapstick adventures about the Japanese-French grandson of Maurice le Blanc's gentleman thief creation, who was first created in the late 1960s, and went on since 1969 to appear in plenty of cartoons continuing to this day. But at least 6 years ago, there began to appear disturbing directions in the productions, and in the 5th official TV miniseries from 2018, some political propaganda that's very hurtful. First, let's take a look at what this woke review on Anime News Network says about the 8th episode:
...let's talk a little about Albert and Tickey. It's always a tricky conversation when it comes to gay villains, since there's a long cinematic history of using queer-coded villains to make LGBT identities seem deviant. Unfortunately, approaching this issue without nuance can make it seem like writers aren't allowed to write gay characters as villains or even morally complicated at all. So I think it's worth pointing out when shows do the "gay villain" thing right, and most of it has to do with framing: is a character's sexuality depicted as part of their villainy, or is it seen as a neutral or even positive character trait? How are their relationships and sexuality depicted relative to heterosexual ones? This is where I think Lupin III avoids "gay villain" clichés with Albert, because his rendezvous with Tickey is depicted the same way as the heterosexual relationships Lupin has manipulated in the past. If anything, Albert and Tickey seem to be in a pretty solid relationship. Beyond that, Lupin only mentions Tickey's "same taste in men" in the same way he would mock an old foe's predictable taste in the same types of women. Part 5 isn't out of the woods yet with this character, but so far so good.
Let's see, we're being lectured that LGBT ideology isn't a deviation in any way (and I guess they despise the original 1972-74 Gatchaman series' use of a villain like Berg Katse, who's certainly close to a transsexual). Got it. So I guess stuffing little kids with puberty blockers in order to qualify them for transsexuality isn't unhealthy either, huh? This reeks of leftist "cultural sensitivity", and it's not amusing. But also disturbing is what they say about episode 9, and this is where it really becomes alarming:
Then there's the other big elephant in the room this week: the political overtones. Albert and José turn out to be staging a coup to take over the French government, with the help of an actual presidential candidate, Mr. Calvess. It would be easy for Lupin III to present him as a generic corrupt politician without mentioning his actual positions, but this episode specifically mentions him leading a far-right party with anti-immigration rhetoric, while his opponents are closer to the political left or center. Calvess also capitalizes on terrorist activities in order to further his campaign, stirring up people's fear of outsiders to present himself as the best man for the job. So this makes it all the more troubling that he's the one behind these terrorist attacks.

This has a lot of political resonance given recent events both in France (which closely avoided electing a far-right president, Marine Le Pen, in 2017) and where it was created, Japan (which has seen a more general rise in far-right political activity in recent years). I can't imagine that this is coincidental on the show's part, when it goes out of its way to frame anti-immigration rhetoric as a kind of evil that profits on violence and misery. This probably won't be the last we hear of this conflict, since it ties back to the mysterious black notebook in some way. The notebook's disappearance makes Calvess and José more hesitant to carry out their plan for a coup, so it must include some information they don't want getting out to the public. Additionally, this ideological turn causes Albert to go rogue, linking up with Lupin for the time being.

Sure, we don't know the exact reason that Albert strays off on his own, and it doesn't exactly seem like his intentions are altruistic. It's likely that he thought he would play a bigger role in this takeover than their plan indicates. (Or as he puts it: "France is mine, I'm not going to let them take it.") Albert's whole storyline raises lots of questions: Why does Albert want to take over France so badly—enough to turn down the "Lupin" title for not being ambitious enough? Does he just want power, or does he have some political plan of his own? And if so, how does it differ from what Calvess has in mind?
I'd like to think this edition was just the victim of woke "translation" by far-left activists, but I've got a bad feeling that's not the case, and besides, it'd be foolish to think Japanese writers are incapable of doing something terrible. This storyline came just 3 years after the Islamic jihadist horror story at the Bataclan nightclub in Paris, and instead of showing the guts to confront a serious issue, even metaphorically, they minimize the seriousness of the issue by taking the "inside job" route, making it look like whoever's committing terrorism was the stooge of right-wing activists? Now that's abominable, and it was unacceptable when 911 Truthers did it in 2001 too. And all these SJWs are worried about is "far-right" politicians, even Japan's. Since creator Monkey Punch was still alive at the time this 5th official series was produced, did he approve? If he did, he really put a huge stain on his reputation as much as the animators did. But then, maybe we shouldn't expect too much from somebody who made a chillingly atrocious comment about what he'd rather have Lupin do in Castle of Cagliostro.

Lupin III may be one of the most famous manga/anime franchises in history. But if the 5th series is any suggestion, it's that whatever made it work in the first place is deteriorating now. And maybe, based on that, it's time to retire it. What the producers did was a horrible disservice to the many innocent people who were murdered in France by jihadists in 2015. One must wonder what anybody in France struck by the tragedy thinks of what Lupin III's fifth TV program stooped to, at their expense? Seriously, studio TMS Entertainment owes an apology for where they took things.

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