Jan 31, 2011 Comments Off
It’s taken me a long time to get around to writing this review because of the opening scenes of the movie. You see they are too good. The opening credits are sandwiched between two of the best action sequences the franchise has seen in a while. And the most animated performance in ages from Goro Naya too.
The problem was I wasn’t convinced it could keep it up and so put off watching the rest. Turns out I was right, but it is still a strong outing for the gang. Playing out like something of a mix of earlier The Fuma Conspiracy OAV and a Da Vinci Code parody means that elements of the plot feel familiar, but at the same time it feels very much in the flavour of the TV version of Lupin III. Jet-setting, absurd interpretation of real historical events and fantastical treasures abound here.
While Zenigata doesn’t get the screen time you might want, due to Goro Naya’s age and health, there’s a good balance in what the gang get to do. I particularly liked how especially selfish Fujiko is here, quite distinct from the defanged version that so often gets used.
It’s been a long time since I did a Lupin III review so lets get back to the three questions that define how much I’ll love a given Lupin special.
How much do the characters look like the animators might have seen a Monkey Punch drawing at some point in their lives?
The gang’s character designs are strong here, but as usual a lot of the supporting cast is a little TMS generic. The henchmen though seem quite Monkey Punch-y and even faces on some characters look a little plain, most of the bodies seem to be proportioned like a Monkey Punch character (curvy women and men with rectangular bodies and gangly limbs). Of the unique characters in the film, the named villains come off the best, with some distinct over the top designs that call to mind Monkey Punch. Probably some of the best villains since Elusiveness of the Fog. They mention that one of them has a past with Jigen, anyone know if any are taken from earlier manga?
How ludicrous are the capers?
The story is about the secret treasure/doomsday weapon of a group of scientists who fled the Catholic church to found the Fuma ninja clan in Japan. I think that counts for a five star ludicrous caper before you add all the little set pieces and globe trotting.
How much is Goemon involved in the story, rather than just a third act deus ex machina?
Outside of a special where Goemon is the focus, this is probably as good as it gets for him. Involved from the get go, lots of action, lots of stoicism and little in the way of griping.