6.11.12

The Castle of Cagliostro

I remember Harold Bloom said somewhere that the object of Don Quixote's quest is ultimately unanswerable, that he endures his many humiliations because the reader demands it of him. I was reminded of this at the end of The Castle of Cagliostro (Hayao Miazaki's first film), when Clarisse asks Lupin to stay with her, and Lupin physically pulls himself away from the proposition. He can't settle down. Why? Unanswerable by the film itself, it's because the readers of the manga and the watchers of the anime series demand that Lupin stay the same adventurer-thief. Telling that such a finale does not feel like a cynical move to ensure the viability of further sequels, but rather suggests comparisons with Cervantes. Fact is, in that moment, I believed that Lupin is genuinely torn up at the prospect of love and serenity at the cost of abandoning his true self and forgoing a life of danger and excitement. Whatever essential qualities the character embodies (and I knew nothing about Lupin III before watching this film) Miazaki did a fine job of encapsulating them, and demonstrating just how essential they are.

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