Lupin III: The First Review
Our contributor Vinni Todd shares his Lupin III: The First Review which is coming soon in local cinemas.
Lupin The Third has been a staple in anime culture for more than 50 years. The success of the character, Arsène Lupin III, grandson of Maurice Leblanc’s Arsène Lupin, has been spread far and wide past Japan since the manga was first released in 1967, written and illustrated by the recently deceased Kazuhiko Katō, but more popularly known as Monkey Punch. Lupin III has seen great success here in the Philippines for a generation, when GMA-7 broadcasted the 1977 anime from 1999 to 2000 with a Filipino Dub cast.
Lupin III: The First is the next installment in the Lupin III franchise. But is also the first CG-animated film in the long-running series. Set within its own continuity, Lupin III: The First centers around the theft and secrets of the Bresson Diary, an item that Arsène Lupin I failed to capture, which can discover and unlock an ancient artefact that can provide unlimited energy but also catastrophe to humanity. The film is written and directed by Takashi Yamazaki. Starring the voices of Kanichi Kurita as Lupin III, Kiyoshi Kobayashi as Jigen, Daisuke Namikawa as Goemon, Miyuki Sawashiro as Fujiko, Koichi Yamadera as Insp. Zenigata, and Suzu Hirose as Laetitia. Music is composed and performed by series mainstay Yuji Ohno and the Explosion Band.
The film starts with a prologue set in France during WWII. The French archaelogist, Bresson, is killed by Nazis for refusing to give up the book’s secrets. Afterwards, the story picks up some twenty years later, in the 1960’s. After a crossing of paths, the hero Arsène Lupin III, teams up with a young aspiring archaeologist, Laetitia, who has made it her life’s work to find and unlock the Bresson Diary. As they go along the way, they are assisted by Lupin’s motley crew consisting of the sharpshooter Daisuke Jigen, the samurai Goemon Ishikawa XIII, the femme fatale and occassional lover Fujiko Mine, and Lupin’s frenemy ICPO Inspector Koichi Zenigata. Together, they race to unlock the secrets of the Bresson Diary before a society of Nazi revivalists get to them.
Lupin III The First Trailer:
The film’s intention is clear: get the most iconic aspects of the Lupin III franchise and create something new and refreshing, both for old fans and newcomers. Since the tone aims to be family friendly, the feel of the film has more in common with Hayao Miyazaki’s 1979 film The Castle of Cagliostro than it does with the rest of the Seinen anime series. Miyazaki’s vision of a chilvarous and charming Lupin is echoed in this film, especially in his interactions with the adventurous romantic Laetitia. The 1960’s setting, despite being a departure from recent entries that sees Lupin evolve with the times, was a bold move but did-away with the complexities of a contemporary digital age crime caper. The film wastes no time in introducing established characters, showing them in action rather than simply telling. Some moments can be predictable due to the franchise’s long history of tropes and quirks, but seeing them portrayed in a new light is what makes the experience refreshing. Yuji Ohno, who has been scoring Lupin’s animated adventures since 1977, has composed another great Jazz soundtrack with new arrangements to classic themes and leitmotifs. Lastly, the CG-animation is top-notch, even matching up to recent Hollywood CG animated films, with its level of detail and fluidity that’s best watched in the cinema.
The end result is a heartwarming and feelgood film with so much nostalgia that might just spawn a new generation of fans. I give Lupin III: The First, an 8.5/10. PS: fans who were disappointed by the 2014 live action film will definitely have a better time watching this.
The end result is a heartwarming and feelgood film with so much nostalgia that might just spawn a new generation of fans. It’s almost like the outcome when you put together Indiana Jones and The Castle of Gagliostro. I give Lupin III: The First, an 8.5/10. PS: fans who were disappointed by the 2014 live action film will definitely have a better time watching this.
Catch it cinemas starting January 29, 2020, released locally by Pioneer Films and Viewers Choice Philippines.
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