FUNNY ANIMALS AND MORE
June 14, 2015 posted by

Streamline Pictures – Part 9

We continue the reviews of Streamline Pictures’ releases. These are being posted for the record, but we also feel they will be of interest to animation historians as they represent some of the earliest serious commentary about anime published back in the 1990s.

lensmanLensman

“I like it. It’s not as stunning as Akira, nor as thought provoking as Tombstone for Fireflies, but it’s good clean fun nevertheless. The draughtmanship’s up to the standard one expects of modern anime, though color is erratic; the opening vision of the farming world is vibrant and lively, but most of the remainder is a mix of blacks and blues.” “The story is pared to a minimum, basically a set of fast-paced set-pieces, but presented with such energy and enthusiasm that you don’t really care. The nicest surprise is the quality of the dub: for once, the dialogue is natural and unforced, and spoken as if the actors really mean it! All in all, Lensman is a […] very entertaining piece of animation, and a must for Star Wars fans.”

Andrew Osmond, Animato!, #29, Summer 1994, pg. 4


“If you are willing to ignore the fact that this film was supposed to be based on Smith’s Galactic Patrol and simply watch the film as a Star Wars-like science fantasy action adventure flick, you will probably enjoy it tremendous-y, because it is a solid action-adventure space fantasy from the word go.” “Lensman doesn’t capture the feel of space opera quite as well as Star Wars, but it is head and shoulders above all the Star Wars imitators. The animation is excellent — and the computer animation (done by a firm in New York, not by the Japanese) was on the cutting edge in 1985 and is still quite spectacular today.” “If you are looking for an art film, a good adaptation of Smith’s Galactic Patrol, or animated shower scenes with lots of nude women, don’t waste your time looking at Lensman. However, if you are looking for an exciting science fiction action-adventure film with good animation at a excellent price, consider running out and buying a copy of Lensman before they are all gone.”

Randall Stukey, Anime Dispatches, v.2 #1, January-February 1992, pg. 20-21


lensman-vhs-box

“The English-dubbed anime retelling of this classic SF saga comes to us from Streamline Pictures, under their VHS tape line of ‘Video Comics,'” “The drawing and motion quality are superb, notably in the special effects, and in the character renderings of the most famous Lensman, Kimball Kinnison; his future life’s partner Clarissa MacDougal; the wonderfully brutish Van Buskirk; and the soaring, dragon-like Worsel, himself a Lensman. Worsel is nicely realized as a non-humanoid alien, as are the henchmen of the Eddorian agent Helmuth.” “Though the normal cel and computer styles are radically different, the sequences of the starship Britannia, the Lens, and Kim’s battle with Helmuth are dynamic and stimulating. The traditional cel wins out, however, in an amazing chase through miles of machinery near the film’s end. The ships and other mecha hardware are meticulously designed and animated with what I can only assume was a fanatical love of giant levers, weapons, explosives, and energy blasts. The music is an interesting mix of rock, pop vocals, and inventive instrumentals. The opening titles are accompanied by a catchy rhythm and the sounds of crashing glass.” “One way or another, see this version for the story. The original is still an excellent example of the devotion to the anime craft, coming as it did in 1984, a time many of us consider the beginning of the big anime wave.”

Rick Sternbach, Animerica, v.1 #4, June 1993, pg. 61


“There’s some great animation to be had here, and the further you get into the disc, the more irresistible it becomes. The picture quality is good, the digital stereo sound, excellent.”

Roy Frumkes, Films In Review, September-October 1993, pg. 303


“A boy on a backwater planet dreams of joining an honorable rebel elite and taking on an evil galactic empire. Nope, it’s not STAR WARS but the enjoyable though slightly derivative LENSMAN, the anime adaptation of E. E. “Doc” Smith’s famous space opera novels. An often dazzling blend of conventional and computer animation, the film tells the tale of Kim, a space jockey eager to join the Galactic patrol in its fight against the evil domination of the cosmos by the Boskone Empire.” “… all the tried-and-true sci-fi staples occur (except for the cloying droid play), but the inclusion of diverting computer graphics (mainly in the numerous dog fights and the devilish Lord Helmuth’s appearances) are an unexpected plus.”

Todd French, Imagi-Movies, v.2 #4, Spring 1995, pg. 35


“The story borrows heavily from the Star Wars films, but its lively animation prevents the viewer from boredom even though it all feels like it’s been done before. The animation comes out perfectly in this transfer and the picture is sharp.”

unsigned, Laser Picks, February 1994, pg. ?


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click to enlarge

“In this animated adventure film from Japan (with dialogue in English), based on thirties science-fiction tales by E. E. “Doc” Smith, young Kimball Kinnison is plucked by destiny from his quiet agricultural planet and thrust into the brutal struggle between the freedom-fighting Galactic Patrol and evil Bosconian warlords […] If it sounds a lot like Star Wars, well, it is — George Lucas has read Smith, too. An entertaining, even inspiring, swashbuckler.”

Natalie Nichols, Los Angeles Reader, October 5, 1990, pg. 28


“An excellent example of the genre, ‘Lensman’ will delight the growing ranks of Japanese cartoon fans in the United States. The storytelling and character development are minimal by Western standards, but superior to the recent ‘Akira’; and the film offers the requisite array of jazzy effects, including explosions, ray gun battles, weird-looking aliens, rapid-fire editing and computer-generated imagery.”

Charles Solomon, Los Angeles Times, September 27, 1990, pg. F9


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click to enlarge

“The myriad of resemblances Lensman bears to Star Wars are so shameless and carefree that they’re not worth complaining about — after all, George Lucas lifted his story from Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress.” “The animation (overseen by directors Yoshiaki Kawajiri and Kazuyuki Hirokawa) is fine, the characters and scenery are appealingly designed, and the computer-generated spaceship battles meld fluently with the ink-drawn people.”

F. X. Feeney, L.A. Weekly, v.16 #9, January 28-February 3, 1994, pg. 56


“Combining then-cutting edge (LENSMAN was created in 1982) computer animation with cel animation, this anime bears a greater resemblance to STAR WARS than the original LENSMAN books. It is superbly animated and the epic story is quite captivating.” “A must for classic sci-fi fans.”

Emru Townsend & Claude J. Pelletier, Protoculture Addicts, #18, July-August 1992, pg. 23


“Lensman has charms and thrills aplenty, and it’s suitable for children.” “The main attractions are the action (state-of-the-art rescues and dizzying, brilliantly detailed chase scenes), the Dolby soundtrasck and the infrequent but effective use of computer animation in the outer space sequences.”

Glenn Kenny, Pulse!, #107, August 1992, pg. 78


Hollywood Reporter review - click to enarge

Hollywood Reporter review – click to enarge

“American anime fans have been watching grainy multi-generational videotape copies of Lensman for years, but only recently has the movie been made available theatrically in English.” “To be perfectly honest, Lensman is the least challenging of Streamline’s properties to date.” “On the plus side, Lensman — however simplistic by today’s standards — is a likable space opera, eschewing Disneyesque musical numbers and sweetness on one hand, Bakshi-derived crudity and cynicism on the other. Besides, it’s historically significant on two counts: as the progenitor of space opera, and the first marriage of computer and cel animation. Best of all, though, it looks terrific on the big screen. Those accustomed to viewing anime exclusively on TV owe it to both themselves and the future of anime in this country to attend a screening of this film.”

Steven Feldman, The Rose, v.5 #28, July 1991, pg. 11


“Antic, animated ‘Lensman’ is slick escapism.” “It’s a wild, colorful, comic-book ride through outer space shoot-’em-ups that’s fun all the way through.” “The story itself is enormous matinee-hero fun, with Kimmie Kinnison and von [sic.] Buskirk and Worsel the flying lizard teaming up to do battle with the evil Boskone in an attempt to save the Galactic Patrol from destruction. There are good guys in space fighters looking remarkably like those flown by Luke Skywalker, bad guys in space ships that look like growths you’d want to see a good surgeon about, big bright splashes of primary color and odd but amusing unearthly creatures dancing to disco music.”

John Orr, San Jose Mercury News, October 20, 1990, pg. 3E


“Derivative but lively, ‘Lensman’ is high-adventure Japanese animation, in the same vein as ‘Laputa’ and ‘Akira.'” “The backgrounds are lovingly and imaginatively detailed. The computer animation is dizzying and sinister. The colors are comic book-gothic come to life.” “The plot is pure cartoon-warrior scraping through the Underworld, with all the requisite mythic echoes and nothing unusual added. The script is rather sentimental, although it manages to throw in some light humor. The action moves so fast, it may induce motion sickness. Some of the horrors — the way the drug addicts attack their living prey when they’re hungry — are good creepy fun. And there are some genuinely eerie moments: When Kimball is caught in an illusory maze filled with menacing abstract objects, the computer animation is put to effective use. The Boskones’ spaceships are striking, too. They look like floating medulla oblongatas decorated with glitter.”

Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times, August 31, 1990, pg. 27


“Based on the influential stories of Edward E. (Doc) Smith, ‘Lensman’ will impress sci-fi buffs with its computer graphic animation. Much like ‘Star Wars,’ whose plot and characters may derive from Smith, this pic ultimately goes on too long, as one high-tech chase scene follows another.” […] “Some of the dialog is hokey, but there are also witty lines. […] The voices are well-suited to the characters, ranging from idealized heroes in slick spacecraft to the grotesque Bosconians in blob-like vessels.” […] “…anyone who loves futuristic fiction will eat it up. Once they tire of the action, animation buffs can admire the painstaking work. The music may be out of date, but visually this overblown cartoon outclasses anything found on Saturday morning tv.”

Stev., Daily Variety, April 6, 1991, pg. 69


“While the Star Wars-styled storyline may be little more than amiably serviceable, the pyrotechnic animation carries the day.”

unsigned, The Phantom of the Movies’ VideoScope, v.1 #3, May-June 1993, pg. 12


L.A. Daily News review - Click To Enlarge

L.A. Daily News review – Click To Enlarge


“‘Lensman’ is to animated features what Sam Raimi’s ‘Darkman’ is to horror thrillers: a return to older traditions via new technologies.” “Based on the 1930s pulp writing of E. E. ‘Doc’ Smith, the film is an amalgam of sci-fi cliches; ironically, Smith actually established many of them in the ’30s when he conceived his 25th Century Galactic Patrol adventures. Like ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Lensman’ jumps onto a narrative escalator, a serial effect in which crucial events have taken place before the first frame and consequences will be felt in the inevitable sequels.” “It would have cost more than ‘Heaven’s Gate’ and ‘Days of Thunder’ together for a live-action simulation of Smith’s universe, but animation provided a $5 million out. Unfortunately, the makers of ‘Lensman’ chose to mix high-tech computer-graphic animation with more traditional animation, and the results are equally mixed.” “While Kinnison and his cohorts manage to stay one frame ahead of disaster, the filmmakers drag out assorted chase sequences and overly repeat sunburst yellow and rocket red pyrotechnics.” “Unlike the cyber-punk energy of the comics-based ‘Akira,’ […] ‘Lensman’ plays like the old-fashioned pulp story it’s rooted in.”

Richard Harrington, Washington Post, August 31, 1990, pg. D6


“Lensman is a full-length picture that shows strength in its story and character development, as well as in its animation (some of which is computer-generated).” “Adapted from the best-selling science-fiction novels of E. E. “Doc” Smith, Lensman is not as good as some of Streamline’s other feature releases, namely Akira and Vampire Hunter D. However, Lensman’s lack of graphic violence makes it accessible to a larger, more deserving audience.”

Drew Stepek, Wild Cartoon Kingdom, #4, 1994, pg. 68


Lily-C.A.T.

“Finally an old anime flick (1987 theatrical release in Japan) that’s legally available (and dubbed), thanks to American anime guru Carl Macek. An almost blatant rip-off of Alien (blue collar spacers screwed over by both the company that hired them and a slimy beastie with wicked teeth), Lily C.A.T. still churns up a few good scares.”

Aaron Vanek, Sci-Fi Universe, #5, February/March 1995, pg. 75


10969699_oriLupin III: Tales of the Wolf
Lupin III’s Greatest Capers

[#1] “Devotees of Hayao Miyazaki will want to see this Lupin III television episode, one of two which he wrote and directed after the movie [The] Castle of Cagliostro. In this dubbed Streamline release, Miyazaki has combined his passion for vintage aircraft with the outrageous trademark Lupin humor.” “The video and sound quality are fine, and the dubbing is at least on a par with the Cagliostro feature in that it might have required a modicum of exaggeration.”

Rick Sternbach, Animerica, v.2 #3, March 1994, pg. 56


“ALBATROSS is the first of two 1977 second season LUPIN segs directed by Miyazaki (under the alias of ‘Tsutomo Teruki’) now available from Streamline.” “Based on the characters created by Monkey Punch, ALBATROSS is exciting, fun, and filled with copious bits of inventive action. Miyazaki, who has crafted any number of heart-in-the-mouth Sopwith Camel histrionics, makes the final battle between Lupin and Lonebach genuinely suspenseful and amusing (Lupin and Jigen are forced to battle it out…in their undies), while some tame nudity via Fujiko spices up the proceedings. Though animation is dated by today’s standards, the situations are well-crafted, and Streamline’s dubbing and sound assists are fine.” “…Streamline’s release of the Miyazaki-directed capper of the second LUPIN III TV series (1977-1980), is full-throttle fun.” “Anime fans will of course be quick to note that the episode’s ‘Lambda Robot’ is the precursor and dead-ringer for the one in Miyazaki’s later ’86 work, LAPUTA, but this will hardly diminish the thrills of ALOHA, which features Miyazaki’s topical issues of condemnation of those who abuse power along with Nippon fears of rampant militarism. Lupin fans may also get a jolt out of seeing a ‘what if?’ scenario, with the Lupin gang stripped (until truly taking the scene in the last third) of their rough chivalry and presented as a gang of cold-blooded, remorseless felons. Good technical credits, with fine Streamline job on the dubbing and stereo sound.”

Todd French, Imagi-Movies, v.2 #4, Summer 1995, pgs. 40-41


Aloha

[#1] “One of the multiple LUPIN THE III OVAs, WINGS OF DEATH has the qualities of being the best of all OVAs and being done by none other than Hayao Miyazaki, the master of animation.” “The animation, as with all Miyazaki productions, is very slick and detailed, the quality of this OVA being just a notch under ‘Cagliostro Castle’. The characters are, of course, spectacularly well done and funny.” “Have Fun! The dubbing by Streamline is flawless (just as with ‘Cagliostro Castle’) and shows this company’s concern about good dubbing.”

[N.b.: The Lupin III: Tales of the Wolf videos originally appeared in Japan as episodes of a half-hour TV series, not as OVAs.]
Martin Ouellette, Protoculture Addicts, #27, March-April 1994, pgs 35-36

[#1] “…highly entertaining…” “…the situations are lively and the characters (based on the comic strip by Monkey Punch) provide good company.” “…the English dubbing […] is exceptionally well-done, managing to be both witty and topical, and features some unexpected stereo effects that add to the fun.”

Tim Lucas, Video Watchdog, #22, March-April 1994, pg. 26

[#2] “With an animation that approached CAGLIOSTRO CASTLE in its quality and dynamism, cool character designs (even if Maki is a near perfect clone of Nausicaa and the robot a reproduction of the ones in ‘LAPUTA’), and a fun story, ALOHA LUPIN is a good buy for any Lupin or Miyazaki fan. The dub is done very well […] ALOHA LUPIN is a good buy.”

Martin Ouellette, Protoculture Addicts, #33, March-April 1995, pg. 41

[#2] “Lupin III was one of the most popular prime-time TV cartoons in Japanese history, in the tradition of such American counterparts as Get Smart, The A Team or Mission: Impossible.” “When the series ended after over three years, the animation studio brought in one of Japan’s top theatrical cartoon directors for a spectacular finale. It’s also a tribute to one of the best-known Fleischer Superman cartoons, The Mechanical Monsters. […] A criminal is using a giant flying robot to commit robberies all over Tokyo, and is framing Lupin as the mastermind behind the scheme. As Groucho Marx would have put it, ‘You realize, of course, this means war?’ Lupin III rates as a fast-paced, action-packed, witty delight.”

Walt James, The Phantom of the Movies’ VideoScope, v.2 no.11, Sept. 15-November 15, 1994, pg. 17

[Capers] “These stylish, timeless and immensely entertaining stories are the epitome of animated wit and sophistication. Adding substance to the over-all success of this collection is the work of accomplished anime director Hayao Miyazaki, recognized as one of the most talented animation artists in the world.
In “ALBATROSS: WINGS OF DEATH” Lupin matches wits with a madman with a passion for vintage airplanes and nuclear warheads. This high-flying farce is a true anime classic. In “ALOHA, LUPIN”, […] the fun comes in trying to tell the good guys from the bad guys. Originally broadcast as the final episode of the second LUPIN III Series, the studio gave the director carte blanche in order to let the series go out with a bang. The result is arguably the finest ani-mation ever produced for series television.”

Michael Swanigan, Toon Magazine, #6, Winter 1995, pg. 5


lupin-mamoLupin III: The Mystery of Mamo

“Although CASTLE OF CAGLIOSTRO is better in the way of both technique and story, THE MYSTERY OF MAMO has one element that somehow lacked in CAGLIOSTRO and that is inherent to Lupin III: the action never stops! You cannot take a breather, even for five minutes. Basically, the movie is one long chase scene and keeps you on the edge of your seat for the whole time, wondering how the devil Lupin and his pals will haul their butts out of this one.” “The animation itself is pretty well done, especially for something that old. The characters are always as endearing and, although the Fujiko in the animations that were done by Hayao Miyazaki was pretty cool, she sure was not as sexy and devious as the Fujiko in this movie. Some of the things she does to Lupin are just too wicked to describe, but he somehow deserves them for letting himself be motivated by his hyperactive hormones.” “The dubbing is excellent and the voices fit the characters perfectly, the only (small) problem would be some inequalities in the volume of some of the tracks, so that you have to play with your volume control to hear what is being said and not be deafened by the explosions and other strong sounds. A minor annoyance, nothing more. All and all, this is a good movie and if you like a lot of action, well, this one is definitely for you. **** (Excellent)”

Martin Ouellette, Protoculture Addicts #35, July-August 1995, pg. 43

“This was the first Lupin III theatrical feature and is arguably still the best. It’s furiously fast-paced and funny. Lupin III is the world’s greatest thief and most inept Lothario. He’s always chasing after sexy rival thief Fujiko. When Fujiko is hired by a mysterious billionaire to steal the ingredients for an immortality formula, Lupin just laughs. But Mamo has awfully convincing evidence that he’s already thousands of years old. ” “The movie starts off with a hang-glider escape from Count Dracula’s castle in Transylvania and constantly tries to top each scene with something even wilder. Samurai vs. attack helicopter. Sopwith Camel vs. SCUD missile. Also, as befits a movie about the world’s greatest art and jewel thief, Mamo is packed with ‘tributes’ to art and pop culture. See how many famous paintings by Renoir, Dali, Escher and others you can find in the background. See which visual references to Steven Spielberg and Brian De Palma films you can spot. What may be most impressive is that all this zaniness is tied together with a solid plot and a genuinely cliffhanging payoff. Bootleg videos of Mamo helped create the cult popularity of anime in America in the early 80s. With this new professional-quality English dub, Mamo rates as one of the best on the anime market.”

Walt James, The Phantom of the Movies’ VideoScope, v.3 #16, Fall 1995, pg. 27

Next week: Yet more reviews

5 Comments

  • “Lensman” was recognized by most reviewers as being ostensibly based on E. E. “Doc” Smith’s classic s-f series of the 1930s & ‘40s, but actually licensed from Berkley Books (which had reprinted the books in the 1960s in paperback and had the rights) to enable the producers to make a “Star Wars” rip-off without legal danger. Doc Smith (a veteran Worldcon attendee dressed as Kimball Kinnison, even though he was decades too old for the part) was long dead by then, but his daughter Verna put on a fire-breathing campaign denouncing the movie as being what it was: a “Star Wars” imitation and not the “Lensman” saga at all. I always felt that she missed a great opportunity to promote the movie as great fun, and if you like it, be sure to read Doc Smith’s novels to see what you’re missing; and to get the out-of-print paperbacks reissued. But Verna Smith railed against the Japanese producers and didn’t pay any attention to Streamline Pictures.

    “Lily-C.A.T.” was also an obvious imitation, of the movie “Alien”. I liked it, and felt that it was unfairly ignored by the anime fans.

    Streamline intended to license more than just the two Miyazaki episodes of “Lupin III”. The TV series lasted three years and 155 half-hour episodes. But when we tried to license a third, TMS said (paraphrasing): “Wait a minute! There are 155 episodes in that series. We want to sell the whole series to the Americans, not let you cherry-pick the best episodes and leave us the rest.” Streamline couldn’t afford the whole 155, so we gave up at that point.

    We used Mark Merlino’s unofficial title of “The Mystery of Mamo” for the first “Lupin III” theatrical movie. It was already well-known in anime fandom by that title; we liked it better (more alliterative) than TMS’ recommended “The Secret of Mamo” (or Mamoux, according to TMS’ script); and both Streamline and all the fans felt that “Lupin versus the Clone” gave away the mystery. I see that when Streamline’s license expired, TMS re-sold it as “The Secret of Mamo”.

    Streamline’s “Lupin III: The Mystery of Mamo” video cover was an original watercolor painting of Lupin and Fujiko that Monkey Punch had painted for the Nippon Columbia l.p. album cover of the jazz movie music by Yuji Ono. I had bought it from Monkey Punch; and I provided it from my large s-f/anime/furry art collection.

    • “Lensman” was recognized by most reviewers as being ostensibly based on E. E. “Doc” Smith’s classic s-f series of the 1930s & ‘40s, but actually licensed from Berkley Books (which had reprinted the books in the 1960s in paperback and had the rights) to enable the producers to make a “Star Wars” rip-off without legal danger. Doc Smith (a veteran Worldcon attendee dressed as Kimball Kinnison, even though he was decades too old for the part) was long dead by then, but his daughter Verna put on a fire-breathing campaign denouncing the movie as being what it was: a “Star Wars” imitation and not the “Lensman” saga at all. I always felt that she missed a great opportunity to promote the movie as great fun, and if you like it, be sure to read Doc Smith’s novels to see what you’re missing; and to get the out-of-print paperbacks reissued. But Verna Smith railed against the Japanese producers and didn’t pay any attention to Streamline Pictures.

      Well I’m glad she didn’t go after you guys with this. I would say I enjoyed every minute of Lensman myself despite not having read the books at all. I call it a “no-brainer” film personally. It didn’t have to do anything than what it promised to deliver. Glad I still have it on laserdisc!

      Streamline intended to license more than just the two Miyazaki episodes of “Lupin III”. The TV series lasted three years and 155 half-hour episodes. But when we tried to license a third, TMS said (paraphrasing): “Wait a minute! There are 155 episodes in that series. We want to sell the whole series to the Americans, not let you cherry-pick the best episodes and leave us the rest.” Streamline couldn’t afford the whole 155, so we gave up at that point.

      I’m sure TMS had it’s reasons. Even if it did take longer for anymore episodes to come our way.

      We used Mark Merlino’s unofficial title of “The Mystery of Mamo” for the first “Lupin III” theatrical movie. It was already well-known in anime fandom by that title; we liked it better (more alliterative) than TMS’ recommended “The Secret of Mamo” (or Mamoux, according to TMS’ script); and both Streamline and all the fans felt that “Lupin versus the Clone” gave away the mystery. I see that when Streamline’s license expired, TMS re-sold it as “The Secret of Mamo”.

      Persistent, aren’t they? It’s there way or the high way!

      Streamline’s “Lupin III: The Mystery of Mamo” video cover was an original watercolor painting of Lupin and Fujiko that Monkey Punch had painted for the Nippon Columbia l.p. album cover of the jazz movie music by Yuji Ono. I had bought it from Monkey Punch; and I provided it from my large s-f/anime/furry art collection.

      Excellent choice for the cover. Discotek’s cover isn’t that bad either.

    • When I began reading s-f in depth in my teens in the 1950s, I kept seeing references to E. E. “Doc” Smith’s classic Lensman novels: “Triplanetary” (1934), “First Lensman”, “Galactic Patrol”, “Gray Lensman”, “Second Stage Lensman”, and “Children of the Lens” (1947-48). But they weren’t available! The original s-f magazines of the 1930s & ‘40s were long-gone, and they were only reprinted in attractive hardcovers from a tiny s-f specialty publisher, Fantasy Press, that the Los Angeles Public Library ignored. It wasn’t until I went to UCLA (1959-1963) that I found copies to read. Pyramid Books (which was later absorbed by Berkley Books, which was how Berkley got the rights to sell an anime movie version) reprinted the whole series in paperback in 1965-’66, and they became generally available. Smith knew the paperbacks were coming, but he died in 1965 (75 years old), so he never saw them or the public’s reaction to them.

      “Doc” Smith would be the first to admit they were terribly dated by the 1960s, and strictly for adolescent lovers of space opera with heroic space policemen/secret agents and wars between galaxies. (S-f critics pointed out the similarity between the Lens and the Gestapo’s silver identity shields that gave them power over the German general public.) But they were, and still are, rousing good fun, and very popular in Japanese editions before the anime movie. Reportedly Randall Garrett wrote a parody, “Backstage Lensman”, that he read aloud at the 1949 Worldcon that had Smith rolling on the floor with laughter. Smith never outgrew his devotion to what adolescents wanted. It was too bad that his daughter lacked his sense of humor and put him and the Lensman series on a shrine.

      George Lucas admitted being a “Lensman” fan in his teens, which was a major reason that “Star Wars” was so derivative. Reportedly Ron Howard pitched a serious “Lensman” movie to Universal Pictures in 2008, but Universal felt that it would look too much like a “Star Wars” rip-off.

      I don’t know how available the books are today, but if you liked the Japanese movie, you’ll like Smith’s books better. If you can find them.

  • I always objected to the American fan translation of the title of the final episode (#155) of this “Lupin III” TV series as “Farewell, Lovely Lupin”. The Japanese title can be translated several ways, but what is meant is the close of a letter to a friend: “Farewell, with love; Lupin”. Carl Macek said that since it was well-known by all anime fans that this second TV series wasn’t Lupin’s final farewell — he reappeared in a third TV series a couple of years later — a better title would be “Aloha, Lupin”, since the Hawaiian “aloha” means both farewell and hello.

    • That was a more fitting title I thought. I think those two episodes Streamline did are still up on Hulu as we speak. It was cool TMS or whoever provided those to them to use alongside the other 50 episodes or so Pioneer/Geneon did.

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