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The “Golden Ani-Versary of Anime” is a collaborative effort among bloggers, fans, and experts of anime to celebrate the 30th anniversary of anime on television. Coordinated by one Geoff Tebbetts, the plan is to have one article per year from 1963 and the debut of Tetsuwan Atom all the way up to 2012. I’ve included below an excerpt from my entry on the year 1977.

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The year 1977 is something of a contradictory time in anime. Although the industry at this point was at the beginning of an animation boom and had been firmly established for over a decade, it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact level of experimentation vs. continuation of formulaic trends, simply because in many cases the individual works of 1977 featured both.

The ’70s were the golden age of giant robot anime, and with six super robot-themed anime debuting (as well as five holdovers from the previous year) 1977 was no exception to that trend. Somewhat unfortunately for the robot anime of that year, the legendary arrival of Mobile Suit Gundam in 1979 tends to overshadow them as a whole, but while nothing in 1977 broke the mold as Gundam would, there were a few series which pushed that mold to its very limits. These shows managed to convey new and interesting ideas while working well within established convention, an impressive feat in its own right.

Continue reading “1977: Conventions and Innovations”

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This post contains spoilers from Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Mine Fujiko

Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Mine Fujiko came and went, and I think it brought with it an intriguing sort of depth and character study that differentiates it from most anime out there.

The way in which the series explores the psychology of the character Fujiko really felt like women were in charge of this show, which they were. It had not only a female writer in Okada Mari, but also a female director in Yamamoto Sayo. I think I get this impression because while Fujiko is an unpredictable character of many mysteries, the way it’s portrayed doesn’t invoke “mysterious woman” as some kind of unsolvable rubik’s cube or distant creature like I think often happens when men write about exploring a female character’s psyche. There is less peeling back the layers and more starting from the assumption that the way thinking happens on the part of Fujiko is normal.

There’s an interesting twist which happens at the end of the series where up until that final episode we think we’re learning about Fujiko’s past and that finally we get to know what makes her tick, but it turns out that all of those memories have been falsely implanted in her. That false past shown is one of rape and sexual abuse, and it created this sense that Fujiko’s life of crime and hypersexual activity is in response to that. As I was watching, I wondered how this would transform the identity of the character of Fujiko, and even whether this extreme past would make it incompatible with the rest of the Lupin the Third franchise before it’s revealed to be false information.

If the circumstances were different, the fact that we were basically fed lies perhaps might have felt like a cop-out, but I don’t see it that way at all. By subverting it at the very end I feel like that whole train of thought, the very act of considering the consequences, became a meaningful thought exercise.

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