Rebooting and Reloading

There are soft reboots and hard reboots…and then the tough-to-categorise reboots…

I honestly haven’t followed Lupin III that long – I knew he existed because of his team ups with Detective Conan and a MAME game, but I didn’t really care about him until Part 4 came to Crunchyroll and even then I didn’t care about it enough to follow the show to the end.

So why do I, or rather why would I, care about Part 5 enough to stick with it? (Editing Aria: This is from 2018, but in 2019 the show is in the Paused section of my list. Just keep that in mind when you comment.)

Lupin III is one of those perennially-updated shows that will work in any time period (or will be cool when stuff happens anachronistically, like when Goemon cuts yet another worthless object). There aren’t that many premises that can withstand the test of time, especially when there’s so much anime coming out every season nowadays. There aren’t that many anime that even make it past one season, to put it bluntly…

Now that I’ve had my long segue, there are two kinds of reboots:

One is the soft reboot, a reboot with continuity throwbacks (see Boueibu Happy Kiss in relation to the original LOVE! series as an example). Soft reboots can imply a betrayal of the original or earlier generations when a reboot is first announced, especially if fans think there was a sufficient ending to the ended series in the first place. On the other hand, they ensure a name lives on in fans’ memory as being “current” if renewed quickly enough within a reasonable amount of time, up to and including dragging waves of new fans along with it. This generally tends to happen with anime, since they’re overall less of a time commitment for the staff.

Then there’s the hard reboot (see Megalobox in comparison to Ashita no Joe for one example), which severs all continuity from its predecessor or predecessors. Often anniversary works tend to go right from the beginning to not risk losing new fans but retain enough to bring back the hardcore fans, which fits them into this slot as well. The trick to these reboots is that of keeping the spirit of the original while making new content actually seem “new”, which sounds somewhat counterintuitive, but it’s a lot harder than it sounds). The purists are going to complain – heck, these reboots always get the “reboot vs. original” arguments going. However, the more problematic aspect of these sorts of reboots is that they have a higher chance of “failure by community” death, at least in the anime community based in the English-speaking world.

Some works go into the cracks between these two types of genres, depending on how much knowledge you need from the original series to continue with the new material. Just to bring back my spiel from earlier, this is where Lupin III falls, since it’s got enough callbacks to have its own standard “routine”, and yet Lupin and co. change their location. In that sense, continuity is hard to detect when you’re a newer fan to the franchise…if continuity even shows up at all.

So, that’s all from me. I want this to be more of a talking point rather than me arguing with myself or explaining things, so it’s over to you in the comments – which reboot is your favourite of the three? Is there really any point to categorising reboots?

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