LUPIN THE IIIRD: Chikemuri no Ishikawa Goemon is the second of the new Lupin III theatrical movies directed by Takeshi Koike. It premiered on February 4 at Shinjuku Wald 9 (for four weeks only) and theaters nationwide. The first movie of the series, ‘Jigen’s Gravestone’, features Jigen and depicts how he ended up becoming Lupin’s buddy. It’s praised for its hardcore and dandy cinematography. This second movie features Goemon and depicts his encounter with Lupin and the gang, and his battle with his formidable enemy, Hawk. The story evolves into Goemon’s setback and recovery.
Director Koike, who is a big fan of Lupin himself, was the character designer for the TV series LUPIN THE IIIRD: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, and has extensive experience in the anime industry, such as producing edgy anime like Redline and directing animated sections in live-action movies. I asked him about his version of Goemon and his personal attachment to Lupin.
[Interview and Composition: Ayaka Kawamata]
‘LUPIN THE IIIRD: Goemon Ishikawa’s Spray of Blood’
Nationwide Premiere from February 4 and at Shinjuku Walt 9 (for 4 weeks only)
Must-watch bloody sword battle scene of 50 kills.
── You were character designer and animation director for the previous TV anime, The Woman Called Fujiko Mine. I noticed the characters in LUPIN THE IIIRD series are more like those from the original manga by Monkey Punch. I also felt the same energy and vibe in Redline and Party 7.
‘In my past works up to Redline, the influence of American comics was evident, such as the use of solid black shadows for shading. I was trying to create cutting-edge anime at the time. For the series of LUPIN THE IIIRD, I tried to create the Lupin the Third anime that everyone can recognize. My intentions differed between the two shows.
── What was the role of the creative adviser, Katsuhiko Ishii?
‘You could say that his role was as an image adviser or a concept adviser. He gave me advice on the character image of Hawk, the archenemy of Goemon. He also advised me on ways of depicting Goemon, who cries and becomes bewildered in this movie, showing his emotional ups and downs. Hawk grabbing Goemon’s sword with his bare hands, and the scenes of Goemon being defeated completely, then dragging himself from rock bottom, are all his ideas.’
── I see. He was involved in the fundamental parts of the movie. I feel that your depiction of Goemon dragging himself up shows his true character. It’s a stark contrast from the previous movie in which Jigen overcomes difficulties with the support of his buddy, Lupin.
‘The relationship between Goemon and Lupin was hostile, basically. They had never worked together. Rather, he was planning to kill Lupin. Therefore, the only thing Lupin could do is just observe him and not give him a helping hand like he did with Jigen.’
── There are subtle differences in the nuances of characters between the original manga and TV anime series. Which one do you think your movie is leaning towards?
‘Actually, the scene where Goemon appears first in the first season of the TV series is rather similar to the original manga regarding the situation and the setting of characters. They are rather cheeky and arrogant. I used Goemon from the fifth episode of the first season as a reference for Goemon in this movie.’
── As the LUPIN THE IIIRD series is for an adult audience, I find that not only the story, but also the images are created with an adult audience in mind, for example the wounds show muscle and bone underneath.
‘I tried to show a painful scene that is utterly agonizing in order to create a sense of tension. I wanted to show they are risking their lives when they battle. The scene of the cross-section of wounds was necessary to depict the speed of Goemon’s swordplay and the sharpness of his sword.’
[Next Page: The works of Monkey Punch]