Oddly this 1995 film is in Funimation’s second boxset, rather than the first, throwing out the chronology of the releases.
The first thing you notice is how much this theatrical feature benefits from Telecom weighing on the animation (with some Ghibli help apparently). Visually the film is a heck of a lot of fun and notches above the TV specials I’ve discussed so far. Where the last two have been dark and shadowy, this pops with colour and light. The grand destruction unleashed in the finale has a sense of scale that really makes it feel cinematic, not to mention possibly impossible to achieve in live action.
The story is some hokum about Nostradamus’s lost prophecies that is in the possession of a potential US Presidential candidate and is the target of both Lupin and a Nostradamus cult. It’s light and just there really to hang a series of set pieces to. Oddly it has three directors, including live action director Shunya Ito, despite that it doesn’t seem to suffer from it.
One quick note, before I get onto my arbitary criteria allow me to get all AnimeOnDVD (or whatever they are called nowadays). This is a letterboxed print, rather than anamorphic widescreen. Boo. And while it looks lighter than the previous two films I’ve reviewed, it could still look a hell of lot better. If I hadn’t paid so little for these sets I’d be more annoyed.
How much do the characters look like the animators might have seen a Monkey Punch drawing at some point in their lives?
Unsurprisingly they characters look pretty good, looking close to the classic second series designs. While far better animated than Dragon of Doom, they don’t quite play up the broad shouldered, gangly limbed Monkey Punch look in the way that film did. However the overall style is much more consistent throughout.
How ludicrous are the capers?
Oh this is pretty glorious. The credit sequence car chase has some great visual gags, then we get an archetypal Lupin prank on Zenigata, before a sequence on-board a plane that ends in Zenigata’s hilariously destructive bomb disposal techniques. All before we find ourselves in a sci-fi wonderland of a building for the plot proper. From there we are on island prisons, the Amazon, before returning to sci-fi tower for a finale that starts with the Brazilian football team being hypnotised to kick bombs hidden in footballs all over the building, and then gets more outlandish.
How much is Goemon involved in the story, rather than just a third act deus ex machina?
30 minutes in, Goemon has appeared for about 1 minute. He then meets the rest of the gang to help out, but outside of he and Jigen getting to be badass against the soldiers working for the Nostradamus Cult, he’s set dressing for much of this. They do avoid him showing up in the nick of time to save everyone else though.