by Allen Divers,

Lupin III: Pursuit of Harimao's Treasure

DVD [Uncut]

Lupin III: Pursuit of Harimao's Treasure
If there's treasure involved, expect Lupin to be nearby! Harimao's treasure, worth over 8 billion dollars, is the latest bundle of loot to come under Lupin's gaze. Of course, it's only natural that Sir Archer, an aging Secret Agent, is also pursuing such a large treasure. With Jigen, Goemon and Fujiko behind him, Lupin must discover the whereabouts of 3 statues that hold the key to Harimao's treasure. And if Sir Archer wasn't enough, there's one other group after the legendary treasure!
FUNimation steals gold again with the second release of the Lupin the 3rd specials. The Pursuit of Harimao's Treasure is a 90-minute action filled adventure, with a few surprises and twists thrown in amongst the standard Lupin fare. While much of the plot follows standard spy clichés, Lupin remains at the top of his game as he gets wrapped up in yet another hunt for treasure.

Fitting amongst the standard pattern for a FUNimation release, the extras are a bit light featuring only a set of character profiles, dvd credits and trailers for other FUNimation releases. The character profiles include the English voice actor's name as well as the basic background of the character. Be warned, as a few of the profiles give away the big twist as far as the main villain goes. FUNimation would probably have been better off sticking to the profiles of the main Lupin characters, leaving the characters introduced in the movie out. Since Harimao's Treasure is their first appearance, plenty of character information is provided in the context of the movie.

Sticking to the roots of Lupin, the art and animation are all done along familiar lines. By today's standards, the animation seems a bit primitive, but definitely gets the job done. Despite being set in current times, the show's look and feel goes back to many of the old spy movies from the 60s that obviously inspired it. One major disappointment in the presentation of this special is the inclusion of the pan and scan version. The opening credits as well as many of the scenes indicate this special was original seen in a widescreen format. Whether this is due to the fact that FUNimation didn't have access to the original widescreen version or some other reason is not known.

The atmosphere created with the artwork is carried into the soundtrack as well. Both the English and Japanese soundtracks share the same music tracks and sound effects. The music seems to play homage to a variety of old spy movies, with the opening cords used in the menus seem to sing 007. The English Dub itself takes its cues from the Japanese track, with the occasional straying from the original Japanese script. Trying to hip things up a bit, contemporary references are thrown around a bit, but aren't really placed out of context. Most fit in with the original script and help add a bit more flavor to the dub. FUNimation did a good job by sticking with the same dub cast of their first release, with Sonny Strait doing double duty as Lupin and as the ADR Director. The one real miss with this dub are the thrown in European accents. While some fit, more than a few just don't feel right. In many instances, it would probably have been better to not try for this extra bit of flavor. One decent foreign accent exists with the villain, Goering, who comes out sounding like an upset Arnold Schwarzeneggar that fits this character perfectly.

The magic of the Lupin movies and specials lies in the full-tilt non-stop action and comedy that embody the spirit of the Lupin series. The movies and specials are often self-contained stories, which borrow plotlines from great spy movies. Harimao's Treasure really has nothing new as far as plot, but does justice to the clichés it borrows. Adding to the cliché is the inclusion of Sir Archer, the typical British secret agent. On top of that are a few Nazi's, and the audience has a special that's part James Bond, part Indiana Jones and part To Catch a Thief. The story slowly reveals itself as the characters move through the scenes without giving too much away all at once adding a level of suspense that is often missing in today's movies. The one minus with the amount of new characters introduced is that Jigen, Goemon, Fujiko and even Zenigata take a backseat serving mostly as comic relief.

Lupin the 3rd The Pursuit of Harimao's Treasure is a strong release with a solid storyline, well-written dialogue and everyone's favorite thief, Lupin. Harimao's Treasure has Lupin doing what he does best: stealing treasure, chasing girls and beating the bad guys in the end. The only shame was the rest of the main cast taking a bit of a backseat to focus on Sir Archer and his granddaughter. Still, Harimao's Treasure is a true escape into the world of Lupin as he does what only he can do.
Overall (dub) : B
Overall (sub) : B
Story : C
Animation : C
Art : C
Music : B

+ Lupin at his thieving, girl chasing best
The supporting cast takes a backseat serving mostly as comic relief

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Production Info:
Chief Director: Osamu Dezaki
Shinzō Fujita
Hiroshi Kashiwabara
Shoji Yonemura
Storyboard: Osamu Dezaki
Unit Director:
Kou Matsuzono
Masato Sato
Music: Yuji Ohno
Original Concept: Maurice Leblanc
Original creator: Monkey Punch
Character Design: Masatomo Sudō
Art Director: Yukihiro Shibutani
Chief Animation Director: Masatomo Sudō
Animation Director:
Yoshiharu Shimizu
Hirotoshi Takaya
Mechanical design: Hirotoshi Takaya
Director of Photography: Hajime Hasegawa
Toshio Nakatani
Yasumichi Ozaki

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Lupin III: The Pursuit of Harimao's Treasure (special)

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Lupin III: Pursuit of Harimao's Treasure (DVD)

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