Lupin The 3rd: The Castle of Cagliostro Review

Lupin The 3rd: The Castle of Cagliostro Review

Before Hayao Miyazaki scored it big time, he made this classic gem...
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When the name “Studio Ghibli” or Hayao Miyazaki comes up in conversation with anime fans, most fans have their top movies directed by Miyazaki which were impactful on their anime fandom or childhood. Miyazaki has made a household name for himself over the past 30 years in anime and has his opinions on the industry made known to the public. Most anime fans have a favorite Miyazaki film, even myself included. The only difference that separates me from the rest of the anime community is that my favorite Miyazaki film isn’t a Studio Ghibli title, but one of Miyazaki earliest directorial debuts under the Lupin the 3rd series.


Lupin the 3rd: The Castle of Cagliostro so far is one of my favorite movies by Miyazaki as of late, and for a first go as a film director in his early days of doing anime, Cagliostro is a well-done movie for the Lupin the 3rd series. Compared to the rest of the Lupin the 3rd series, Cagliostro is more family friendly to watch with anime and non-anime fans than most of the material for Lupin out there. Lupin character is a low-down dirty, sexist, lecherous thief that grabs more T&A than he does cash and jewels. But that’s the comedic effect of the series, which his actions get him into more trouble depending on whatever Lupin series you might be watching. If you could sum up Lupin as a whole, its taking in elements of James Bond, Charlies Angels, all mixed in with Scooby Doo sensibilities.

But Miyazaki took Lupin to be a thief with a heart of gold in Cagliostro, making him more chivalrous and honorable than his other versions, which turns this film into a great adventure film. Our hero goes out of his way for a princess locked up in a castle by a count who is forcing her hand in marriage for his own personal gain, and that is to control the wealth of the world. For Lupin, when money and especially women are involved, he can’t wait to get his scoundrelous hands into the mix. The gang is especially all here in the film with Jegan, Goemon, Fujiko and especially Inspector Zenigata.

This film recently was in select theaters for a period of a week back in September of this year, which I watched the film on the big screen in Greenville S.C. on a Thursday night, which is the first time the film has ever been commercially released in theaters other than its premiere 25 years earlier. The film has been released in America a couple of times, first when then the film was released by Streamline Pictures in 1992, which the English dub in this theatrical release came from that Streamline Pictures release. Since then it was released in 2000 on DVD by Manga Entertainment, and as of 2015 was re-released again from Discotek media, which the Bluray contains both dubs on the disk. While the film looked fantastic on the big screen, I noticed some instances of cropping from “scan and pan” shots, meaning scenes using one big background picture made the film looks like it was “skipping”, which is just issues with how the film was being displayed on a larger screen outside of its intended aspect ratio (film/AV nerds might know what I’m talking about). Aside from that minor technical hiccup, the film looked fantastic and engaging to see on the big screen, and all I could do was take in every second and enjoy the ride.

For its time, the technical aesthetics of animation used were ahead of its time and has made a major impact on animators in Walt Disney, Pixar and many other major animation studios to this day so many years later. Scenes from the film were even homage in other anime series, such as the climatic ending being redone in an episode of Here is Greenwood. I think any good animator out there today at least knows and has seen this film, and a great animator will acknowledge its technical style as something they want to try and mimic in their own work. The scenery is beautiful, the animation is fluid, and the quiet scenes can make a tense person come at ease before a high-pace car chase comes in moments later. Cagliostro deserves to be ranked high on any list of animated films, especially on an international market.

Even if you’ve been an anime fan for many years, have just started to watch anime, or don’t care too much about it, Castle of Cagliostro is a film to see at least once in your life. Aside from some minor swearing in the film dub, it’s a perfect film to let kids watch and enjoy, even to have for a family night one evening. People need to see this film, and this is why I rank this as my personal favorite Miyazaki movie.

Cover Image Credit: https://thedrunkenodyssey.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/lupin-3.jpg

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The Key To Ending Your First Draft Blues

Or at least getting through the next chapter with your hair intact
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Ah, the first draft. We’ve all been there as writers. The day we decide to turn a blank word document into a 70,000 word (or more) masterpiece. Or, at least, that’s always the aim. Often as first-time writers, we go into the experience blind, learning as we go, and never really knowing whether what we’re doing is right or wrong.

It can be frustrating at times, as most first drafts are a test of sanity. As somebody who had written ten first draft books (nearing eleven) in six years, I have had my fair share of ups and downs when it comes to first drafts.

My first book ever took me four years just to write it, I started at the age of sixteen and finished by the time I was twenty. A year later I had written another. I then wrote one in thirty days, and nowadays I write about three to four books a year.

My point is, there is no science to writing. It is all about learning how to do it, and finding the methods that suit you best. I just wish I could have had someone to tell me all of that when I started.

With that in mind, here are my five pieces of advice on how to write your first draft:

#5 Embrace the Terribleness

The first draft is always the worst version of any story. The sooner you accept it, the easier it is to move forward with your work. So you misspell a few words so bad that even Word can't help you. That shouldn't stop you from going with the flow. Your dialogue will feel hammier than a "Star Wars" film, but you'll clean it up the second time around. You're not expected to create a masterpiece on the first go, so just enjoy the ride.

#4 Suffer for your Art

Writing can be hard. I've said it enough times already, but it's true. You have to be prepared to suffer for it. The reason my first book took four years to write was because I didn't commit to it. The reason I wrote 80,000 words in thirty days was because I committed myself to write at least 1,000 words a day. Now I average 3,000 daily. Is it painful to force 3,000 words to the page every day? Yes, but that's what you have to do to get the draft finished.

#3 Take your Time

Now I know this goes against what I just said, but it's important that you go at the pace you want to. I was happier writing 1,000 words a day, but I was eighteen then. At twenty-three, I'll never get everything done going at 1,000 words a day. Commit yourself to writing every day, even if its only 200 words. Writing is a marathon, not a sprint. You'll get to the finishing line quicker if you jog a steady pace rather than adopting a sprint and rest mentality.

#2 Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Yes, it's important to remember what colour your character's hair is, which one is taller, and what weapon they are carrying. Although with that said, it is important to keep going forward. In my editing, I go over everything with a fine comb, often with a character profile at my side. Don't get bogged down giving every little detail the first time around, you'll have time for that later. The hardest thing is getting it down the first time.

#1 Keep the Story Going at All Costs

This kind of goes without saying, but it is by far the most important step for me. You have to keep moving forward. It doesn't matter if you have to use the biggest Deus ex machina to get your plot going again, you can always edit it away in the re-draft. I use a technique called automatic writing, which means that I don't plan every detail of a chapter. I simply write it as I go. This allows me to give my characters natural reactions as events often come as a surprise to me too.

Obviously it is good to have a rough idea of what is meant to happen, but as long as you can get your characters from A to B, then you are half way there. The other half will be polishing it to the point you can see your reflection.

Good luck, and happy writing.

Cover Image Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Writer%27s_Block_I.jpg

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4 Steps To Writing a Haiku

It's Fun I Promise
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You've probably had to write a haiku for English sometime in your school career. You most likely found it boring, or difficult, or just plain stupid. I am going to try and show you a more fun way to write a haiku.

1. The Basics: What You Should Know

In case you don't know, a haiku is a Japanese poem that is only three lines long. It is usually taught that the syllables in each line should go 5-7-5. But really, as long as there are 17 syllables or less in the three lines, it's a haiku.

2. Write to Get a Reaction

When you write a haiku, you are aiming to get one of three reactions: Aaaahhh, aha!, or ha ha! For example...

Aaahhh: Laying in bed/dog next to me under blanket/my furry heater

Aha!: Life is too short to love people/who do not deserve/your whole heart

Ha ha!: I'm on the toilet/and my stomach drops/the roll is empty

3. Create an Image

In your writing, you want to create a new image in your readers mind with each line. Take my first haiku for example. I first talk about laying in bed. Then, I say there is a dog next to me under the blanket, so you picture a lump under the covers. In my last line, I call him a furry heater so you imagine a heater covered in fur. The image you create is more important than the syllables.

4. Performing

Lastly, you need to think about performing your haiku. As always, when you're speaking in front of a room of people, you need to project so the whole room can hear you and you need to make eye contact. Another thing to remember is the tone of your voice while you are saying your poem. Dramatic pauses can keep people on the edge of their seat, waiting for what you're going to say next. You also have to remember to be confident! And if you're not confident, fake it till you make it!

Cover Image Credit: Imgur

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