"Lupin the III — a Woman called Fujiko Mine" looks more like Monkey Punch's original manga than any other iteration of the franchise we have ever seen. The art may even be described as a manga-in-motion which includes all the hallmarks of manga art such as thick lines, speed lines, cross-hatching shading, and many other techniques that make it feel more a moving graphic than a traditional anime series. As this, it's exciting to watch.
Starring Fujiko rather than Lupin, the series is set before the femme fatale was part of the gang, and showcases her adventures on her own before any of the more familiar Lupin tales take place. That said, this series is definitely not for the kiddies! Fujiko uses her 'charms' to get what she wants, which means often ending up naked or at least topless in nearly every episode. And she's not shy about it, she's well aware that she's awesomely beautiful, desired by every man on earth, and even many other women!
And of course, sooner or later our esteemed gorgeous thief will cross paths (one at a time) with a particular dead-shot Chicago-style gangster (Daisuke Jigen), a very humble but completely over-the-top samurai who can shred clothing right off of people without leaving a scratch (Ishikawa Goemon XIII), and the grandson of famous French thief Arsene Lupin, who would like to partner with her in more ways than one. However, she considers Lupin to be a rival.
If you're a Lupin fan, the series is a must for the animation styling alone which is VASTLY different from what you would expect from anime, it's literally done to look like the manga. If you're not a fan yet, we recommend Castle Cagliostro to get you started, as this series may be too much of a shock for anyone not familiar with the entire Lupin backstory, although it is interesting to see all the characters before they became Lupin's "gang".
Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, October 2013
Lupin III: Strange Psychokinetic Strategy
Japanese Cinema Review
If you're a fan of the campy 60's BATMAN TV series, or the hijinks of the Pink Panther Movies, or Lupin III in general, then guess what, you get all three in this live-action romp across the Lupin Universe, created *between* the first and second animated TV series', which puts it somewhere squarely in the mid-70's (gee and Lupin is dressed as Saturday Night Fever's John Travolta)...
It starts out with Lupin meeting a cute girl (Fujiko), who's on her way to being locked up. Lupin busts her out, only to be knocked out before he gets to knock her up. He then is introduced to Daisuke Jigen, who desperately wants Lupin to rebuild the "Lupin Empire" (started by Lupin II). But Fujiko has her eyes on a jewelry heist, and requires Lupin's services in exchange for hers.
He must do this (if he wants Fujiko) while avoiding being killed, and while deciding if he really wants to take over the Lupin empire. Zenigata and his bumbling associates, meanwhile, want to arrest Lupin on anything they think they can make stick.
They are so busy establishing the characters that they don't get to the title's "plot" until the film is nearly over, but it's all OK as the comedy keeps up the action and the action advances the comedy.
There's a lot going on in the film that you might miss due to cultural references, but Discotek Media's DVD includes a handy fold-out explaining a great deal. Overall, this is a worthy addition to one of the most durable and endlessly entertaining franchises in anime history.
Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, October 2011
Lupin the 3rd Movie Pack:
Anime DVD Review
I wasn't aware that Funimation had acquired Lupin, but I guess when they absorbed ADV, which had absorbed Geneon, which had been Pioneer, which had the rights at the time... well, it gets complicated...
And complicated is what you get in this incredible and awesome Lupin movie pack. Not so much machine guns and explosions, Lupin is more for those of us that like the old-style "James Bond: 007" movies with cold-war era cat-and-mouse antics. It's more about Lupin using his brain to outwit his enemies and make off with the cash before anyone is wiser.
Trust us, its good stuff, Lupin is an enduring (and endearing) franchise, and we can't get enough -- and this pack is a good start -- with over 450 minutes of action, First Haul contains five feature-length Lupin the 3rd movies: Voyage to Danger, Dragon of Doom, The Pursuit of Harimao's Treasure, Dead or Alive and The Secret of Twilight Gemini.
If you've only seen the TV series, treat yourself to this package, then go out and buy Castle Cagliostro and marvel at what Miyazaki did with Lupin in 1980, to create one of the best films ever made!
Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, April 2010
Lupin III : Island of Assassins
Anime DVD Review
What if John Woo directed a Lupin anime feature? That's essentially the premise of Lupin III: Island of Assassins, as there's plenty of gunplay, martial arts, thrown knives, and edge-of-your-seat action that never lets up in a darker, more "extreme" version of Lupin that defies the usual expectations of the Lupin franchise yet doesn't stray far from what makes Lupin (overall) great.
Lupin's out for revenge this time around, as it seems that someone has made use of his gun to try and kill Inspector Zenigata. Although the basic plot sounds like it could have easily fit into a standard episode of the TV series, this 90 minute feature fills out nicely, as there's enough action going on to keep anyone entertained.
The character designs are a little more "sharp" here, not nearly as rounded as usual, but, it's a nice look that meshes with the darker theme and more intense action.
Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, September 2008
Lupin the 3rd -
The World's Most Wanted
(TV Series, Vol. 1)
Anime DVD Review
If you don't know about Lupin the Third, shame on you! It is without a doubt, one of the most popular anime/manga franchises of all time, spawning 228 television episodes, 14 TV movies, and 6 theatrical films (the second being 'Castle of Cagliostro' previously reviewed here). Based on the manga by Monkeypunch, it's the wild saga of the grandson of the French jewel thief Arsene Lupin. He and his 'gang' (a Chicago gunslinger and a Japanese samurai, (and sometimes-partner Fujiko) go through one madcap caper after another, with their javert, the indestructible Inspector Zenigata, close on their heels.
Older anime fans know all of this all ready. But they should also know that they can now throw out their moldy, fifth generation, extra long/6 hour speed videocassette copies of Lupin III. Pioneer has brought the show to DVD, and they've done a brilliant job with it. The ADR writers at Pioneer are having a field day making sure that the English interpretation keeps to the fun (and funny) spirit of the series. The incredibly clever and witty dialogue is extremely well done — it's actually hysterical! American voice actors serve the characterizations well - comedy is timing, and they do a good job delivering funny lines. The DVD is packed with a whopping six episodes (plus some cool extras) and the crystal-clear transfer is so sharp you can see the dust on the cels. We were very impressed by what we've seen so far and can't wait for more to come out. Lupin rocks!
Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, February 2003
Castle Cagliostro (1979)
Anime DVD Review
Steven Spielberg considers this to be one of his favorite films. So do we. This may be one of the greatest action-adventure comedy-romances ever made, animated or otherwise. Directed by Hayao Miyazaki (Laputa, Totoro, Mononoke) it's guaranteed to please everyone who watches it. That action starts five seconds into the film and never lets go, culminating in a fantastic battle that Disney shamelessly ripped off in "The Great Mouse Detective".
Considering the film is over 20 years old, the animation is still amazing even by today's standards consider the scenes where Lupin drives his Fiat 500 straight up a wall (in the best car chase we've ever seen), or later, where he's scaling the roof of the castle and everything is moving in the frame perfectly it is just to die for. All this topped with Yuji Ono's inspired soundtrack make this one of the most perfectly crafted and executed films of all time. Absolutely not to be missed.
Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, June 2002
Lupin the 3rd -
The Mystery of Mamo
Anime DVD Review
If you read our first two Lupin reviews you can see how much we enjoy this franchise and it's great to see that Pioneer is bringing it to US audiences. Here's the first-ever Lupin theatrical film, and one of the most bizarre and certainly the truest to the original Monkeypunch manga, both in terms of the treatment of Lupin and the gang as well as the obtuse-ness of the plot in this twisted tale.
Lupin is pronounced dead by execution and he wants to find out who did it. The object of Lupin's affection, Fujiko, has a new employer Mamo, a powerful man with a lot of resources at his disposal who has her using Lupin to steal some rather arcane objects. Lupin is out to find out who Mano is, why he is using Fujiko and what is his master plan. But in doing so he might lose his friends Goeman, Jigan as well as Fujiko — not to mention his own life.
This is a timless anime classic. While the animation is "vintage" the story more than makes up for it. The movie ran a bit long but it was funny and worth our time. The great story, the funny animation and Fujiko's topless scenes make this a must see.
Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, November 2003