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I’ll admit that I’ve never been one of the biggest fans of Lupin III (pronounced Lupin the Third), but I’ve always admired it’s humor, laid back charm, and awesome jazz music which anime fans will tell you was the inspiration for one of the greatest anime shows of all time, Cowboy Bebop. The famous (and infamous) gentleman thief has been entertaining fans in manga and anime form for decades, and he’s back in action in the fully CG animated film Lupin III: The First. Those who enjoy Lupin and fans of action and adventure will want to get stolen away by the fun here.
The story starts off near the end of World War II where a famous archaeologist named Bresson has discovered an alien artifact with immense power that must never be unleashed. So of course the Nazis are after it (much like the Indiana Jones movies) for their own purposes. Bresson locks away his diary containing all of his notes on it and hands it and one of the keys to his daughter, her husband, and their child daughter, Laetitia who soon drive away to escape with the book.
Not long after they leave, the Nazis kill off Bresson and hunt down his family, with the book being lost in the process. But a Nazi archeologist named Lambert soon finds out that Laetitia survived and decides to adopt her as his granddaughter. Fast forward a few years later and now the Bresson diary has been found and is being auctioned off, just in time for Lupin and his gang to steal it. But now an older Laetitia is also sent to steal it for Lambert, and it isn’t long before her and Lupin get tangled in a giant adventure as he has the other key to the diary.
To go into the film anymore would spoil all of the good and fun stuff contained within, but if you’re a fan of the classic Lupin series, you already know what to expect, crazy antics with plenty of action and adventure thrown in. Even with this making the leap to CG animation, the charm of the series and the characters shines through perfectly here. It was fun watching an anime where the main hero uses wit and his near superhuman agility to outmatch his foes, giving a sort of “old school” wholesome vibe to the movie.
Being a Blu-ray release, the visuals and audio are pretty great. It makes me wish I could see how it would fare with a proper 4K UHD with HDR release, but this disc is more than enough to keep your HDTV and home theater setup rocking. There’s also quite a few special features to go through once the adventure is over.
“English Cast Reunited” has the English dub actors going over the film as well as discussing other cool anecdotes. As with a few of the newer extras on home releases nowadays, you can tell this one was done recently as its clear it was done over an online chat services like Skype or Zoom. But it’s still a fun one to check out regardless. “CG Model Gallery” shows off some of the characters and other assets from the movie, “Animation Breakdown” is a original Japanese extra that goes into the making of the film as they show off storyboards and other behind the scenes processing of the CG and animation.
“Yellow Carpet Premiere” is another Japanese extra that gives a small look at the premiere held in Japan back in 2019, and rounding out the extras are interviews with the director and Japanese cast which is also another fun watch as they go into the film and their thoughts and feelings on it, and lastly there’s a slew of trailers from both the Japanese release of the movie and this US release.
Lupin III: The First is a fun and adventure-filled film that anyone can enjoy, making it a perfect movie for families and friends alike. Lupin and his friends are as funny and witty as ever, and their jump into the world of fully CG animation works out nicely. Even if you’re not totally familiar with the franchise, I recommend giving this one a look and letting it steal your heart away for a good time.