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August 3, 2012 / Bradley


It’s Friday-Friday-Friday, and is there any better way to spend it than arguing on the Internet? Yeah, probably.

Below are three sincere opinions about why one cartoon is better some other cartoon people like. You can disagree (AND BE TERRIBLY WRONG) in the comments below. If you do, you are required to write in ALL CAPS and HAVE FUN. Please avoid spoilers for any delicate readers out there, including myself. 


Super Dimensional Fortress Macross > SDFM: Do You Remember Love?

Here’s the dirty secret about one of mecha anime’s sacred cows: Do You Remember Love? is a bog-standard franchise movie. It’s just a much prettier take on the same story, and the story suffers for it. Macross plays with some interesting ideas about the power of culture that are worth taking seriously, and in Do You Remember Love?, those ideas become watered-down into something laughable because of time constraints. The emotional core of the series also suffers, since the love triangle doesn’t get the development the TV series gave it. The movie makes it look like Hikaru will just flick from one woman to the next, while the TV series not only gives the triangle a more nuanced development, but also makes it clear that Hikaru’s choice was part of him entering adulthood. On top of that, the first eleven episodes of Macross makes for one of the most majestic, tense serials ever written, as everything that can go wrong for our heroes does and then gets even worse. The only real advantage the movie offers is a shorter time commitment, but honestly, any fan worth their salt should be willing to make the time investment to experience one of the greatest anime ever.

The Tower of Druaga > The Vision of Escaflowne

Folks who know me know I’m a bit sore that The Vision of Escaflowne is still, somehow, a sacred and beloved series for much of anime fandom. I don’t think Escaflowne is bad, per se, as just mediocre. It was the series that did a Gonzo ending before Gonzo made Gonzo endings. Pretty great for the first half, and then it all devolves into a poorly animated mess because the series wouldn’t last as long as Sunrise planned. So they unleashed the Kawamori. You know how lovably crazy EVOL is? That’s kind of what the second half of Escaflowne is like, except it takes itself seriously and is meshed with a much better paced first half. It makes for a series that seemed promising, but comes out feeling half-baked. If you want a well paced fantasy story, consider The Tower of Druaga, one of the few exceptions to the Gonzo ending. Sure, it’s a video game adaptation based on an old school game and a then-current MMORPG, but it does two things really well- develop a simple fantasy story and its characters, and be really funny about it. Druaga also has a brutal mid-point twist guaranteed to kick your heart into the gutter, putting many of the forced, boring cliffhangers in Escaflowne to shame.

Plus, no gold-blooded cat girls. Who the hell is going to defend that?

Lupin III: The Secret of Mamo > Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro

You can also read this as: The Secret of Mamo is the best Lupin movie. Castle of Cagliostro is a fantastic movie, sure, but The Secret of Mamo is weirder and more ambitious. And while everyone who has helmed a Lupin movie, series or special has put their own twist on the characters, Miyazaki’s take feels the least Lupin of them, meaning it’s basically just a Miyazaki movie and not another Lupin movie. Plus, it underutilized a lot of the Lupin crew, especially Goemon, who is simply a third act dues ex machina. The Secret of Mamo does a better job with the characters, even Fujiko, and on top of that, has a trippy story with a crazed, memorable villain. I enjoyed Cagliostro, but Mamo was an experience, and I had to watch it twice to make sure I didn’t dream up some of its odder bits.


Leave a Comment
  1. Scamp / Aug 6 2012 11:46 am


    Honestly, I never got the whole hooplah around Escaflowne. Gave up 6-7 episodes in. It seems most newer anime fans really don’t care much for Escaflowne though, so I’ve never made much of a fuss about it. Haven’t seen Druaga though, so can’t really comment.

    I get your argument why you prefer Mamo, but Mamo is also a total mess with barely a concept of pacing and flow, which is exactly what Miyazaki gets right in Cagliostro

  2. schneider / Aug 14 2012 2:45 pm

    I think the reason why DYRL is highly-regarded by anime fans is because it looks so good. If you want to rein in new people into anime, this is one of your best bets. The Haruhiko Mikimoto character designs really shone through the movie’s budget. ‘Course, the story is less coherent but I still adore the set piece battle in the end. Macross TV is certainly the better show in all other aspects.

    I only watched Escaflowne in full this year, and while it had a strong start, it quickly lost steam around the time the catgirls showed up. I didn’t grow up to it so I don’t have much love for the show compared to others. I’ll admit that the robots are incredible-looking, though. I want to defend it so much but it’s so flawed.

    Druaga’s an average show but it manages to be extremely fun, and I got a ton of mileage out of it. It also has one genuinely-surprising twist at the end of the first season.

    • Bradley / Aug 14 2012 3:37 pm

      I believe this post can be summed up as, “You’re so right.” Yay! More Internet points for me!

    • Tsunami3k / Sep 3 2012 3:36 pm

      Wow, this is the first time I’ve ever witnessed any DYRL dissent. I saw Macross and DYRL within a few months of one another and, while I was largely led to believe otherwise, DYRL struck me as a marginally atypical compilation movie/mash-up. Nothing of the complexity of Hikaru’s relationships or growth throughout them is retained. Do You Remember Love? No, I remember being annoyed at seeing a whole and functional work rendered trite and myopic.

      I’ve watched Escaflowne twice. I like it but I don’t love it. Given your throw-down, I’m really, really curious about ToD now.

      Regarding Lupin, I think given the numerous renditions of him over the years, that which makes Lupin “Lupin” is highly subjective, no doubt largely swayed by the variant a given person is first exposed to. I do find that I like the kinder, gentler renditions of him (think scruffy-looking nerf-herder) rather than the full-on scoundrel that he is in some variants; I just can’t bring myself root for self-centered and/or villainous characters. I haven’t seen Mamo but I hope Lupin has some redeemable points in it.

      In any case I’m not any kind of expert on Lupin. Rather, as far as episodic, quasi-comedic, edge-of-the-law type shows go, my throwdown would be City Hunter > Lupin. Both are absurd and have their own pool of tropes they draw from but whereas with Lupin I can only watch in brief bursts, I find that I can watch mini-marathons of CH with ease.

      • Bradley / Sep 3 2012 3:43 pm

        I personally prefer the scruffy, mischievous Lupin of the first and second season. Mamo has some aspects of that, but mostly, it’s just a trippy film.

        City Hunter is a worthy rival! I haven’t seen much of it. Should do that one of these days.

  3. predederva / Jan 20 2013 9:08 am

    Best Lupin III movie is easily Dead or Alive . It was directed by Monkey Punch! Sure he says he doesn’t deserve much credit for it, but I think he was just being modest. To me it feels the most Lupin-y of the movies, but I haven’t seen Mamo yet. Even if Monkey Punch didn’t do much, whoever did knew exactly what they were doing. Because that movie is excellent. But we all know the best part of the franchise is without a doubt the second series. To say otherwise is heresy.


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