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by Paul "Momotaro" Chapman

Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro


Castle of Cagliostro DVD
For those of you who don't already know (and love) him, Arsene Lupin III is a master thief, the grandson of the original gentleman thief Arsene Lupin from the 18th Century French novels. The movie kicks off with Lupin and his ex-yakuza partner Jigen knocking over a casino, only to dump their hard-earned score upon discovering that the money is merely counterfeit "Goat-bills." In flash of inspiration, Lupin III decides to track the funny-money to its source, somewhere in the mysterious European nation of Cagliostro. What follows is a light-hearted, romantic romp involving crazy car chases, a beautiful princess held captive against her will, an evil Count with a mysterious agenda, and a castle loaded with more hi-tech goodies and anti-thief security devices than the Bat-cave. To say more would be to take away from the pleasure of viewing this simple, fast-paced story. Suffice to say that nothing is truly as it seems, and the mix just keeps getting wilder as Lupin's friends and foes show up, including the determined Police Inspector Zenigata, the lovely lady-spy Fujiko, and the stone-faced swordsman Goemon.
This is a great looking DVD, especially considering the fact that the animation contained within is over twenty years old. Be warned: This is not your typical modern eye-candy anime; it does not have 64 frames per second smoothness or pulse-pounding 5.1 Dolby Digital sound. None the less the remaster is a top-notch job, as a result the colors are bright, the animation is smooth, clear and vibrant, and even the antique mono soundtrack rings out loud and clear every gasp, bonk, and slide-whistle effect of someone falling ala Wiley Coyote.

If you care to count cels more than you care to enjoy a true masterpiece of animation by one of our century's greatest artists, stay the heck away!

As mentioned earlier, there is an element of simplicity to the story that lends to Castle of Cagliostro a certain timelessness. The movie can be enjoyed by everyone in the family, from children to great-grandparents.

The packaging, however, leaves something to be desired; while Cagliostro comes in the standard plastic keepsake case, the artwork is decidedly inferior to the original Japanese VHS packaging. Nowhere on the cover does it state that the movie involves Lupin III, although it does give credit to Hiyao Miyazaki at the top. Still the dark navy blues could lead someone to believe this movie is altogether serious, when in fact their are plenty of moments of action and slapstick comedy to balance out the drama. Similarly, the insert is nothing special, merely listing chapter stops and showcasing a few neat screen-captures. The silkscreening of the disk itself is outright dull; nothing but pure black color and the title of the movie itself. Ugh.

+ Great story, great direction, great visuals, great anime!
Newer fans may be turned off by the older animation style. Packaging leaves something to be desired.

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Production Info:
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Hayao Miyazaki
Haruya Yamazaki
Storyboard: Hayao Miyazaki
Music: Yuji Ohno
Original Concept: Maurice Leblanc
Original creator: Monkey Punch
Original story: Hayao Miyazaki
Character Design:
Hayao Miyazaki
Yasuo Ōtsuka
Art Director: Shichirō Kobayashi
Animation Director: Yasuo Ōtsuka
Director of Photography: Hirokata Takahashi
Executive producer: Yutaka Fujioka
Producer: Tetsuo Katayama
Licensed by: Manga Entertainment

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Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro (movie)

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