Castle of Cagliostro -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: NA

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  • Audio Rating: N/A
  • Video Rating: N/A
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: N/A
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Manga Entertainment
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 109
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Lupin the 3rd

Castle of Cagliostro

By Roman Martel     February 07, 2002
Release Date: April 25, 2000

The Review!
Overall Rating: 4.4
(on a scale of 1-5)

Picture - 5
Sound - 5
Menu - 3
Presentation - 3
Extras - 3
Overall - 4.6

Animation - 4
Sound - 4
Plot - 5
Acting - 4
Music - 4
Overall - 4.2

This is one of those movies that I was always going back and forth on. I'd heard so many good things about it, but I had never seen any Lupin adventures before. I wasn't sure if this was gonna be my cup of tea. Even when I heard that it was directed by Miyazaki, I was still wavering. Well a gift certificate changed all that. I mean how could I lose if someone else paid for it. I'm happy to say that I didn't lose at all.

Manga didn't do a bad job with this disc. But I think I'm a little spoiled by the work they did on Perfect Blue and Ghost in the Shell. The picture and sound are both great, especially for a movie that is this old. The menu is kinda plain, but it works great. The strange breaking glass between menus threw me for a loop but hey, it's kinds cool in a cheesy way. The keepcase has most of the information except region coding. The cover is a bad choice of art. But this may have been all Manga had at the time. It's a shame, because the movie deserves something a bit better than that cover. There are typical extras in the form of trailers. I was hoping for some text interviews or something but hey you can't win them all right?

The best way to describe this movie is a fun filled adventure that just starts and doesn't let up till the end. It's as close to Raiders of the Lost Ark as I've seen in anime form. It's got more humor than Raiders (I guess it's more like Last Crusade), but the pacing and adventure stylings are there. This is an old fashioned fun film. And the great thing is, almost anyone can watch it and enjoy it. This might be one of those movies you could hook your friends into anime with!

The plot revolves around master thief Lupin and his partner Jigen when they end up (via misadventure) in the tiny European duchy of Cagliostro. Well it seems that Lupin has been here before and very quickly intrigue appears in the form of a girl trying to escape some dastardly men. Lupin to the rescue. Of course now that he has stuck his nose into someone else's business, they want him out of the way. Now it's up to Lupin and a whole cast of crazy characters to find out the secret of the castle of Cagliostro, before they all end up dead. Yeah I know it's a lame summery, but I don't want to give away all the twists that happen and the crazy stunts Lupin and his crew pull off.

The animation is a bit dated and it took me a minute to get used to the look. Lots of the characters have the typical Miyazaki look. So if you've seen Kiki or Mononoke or any of his other work you will be familiar with the character design. The animation is fluid and detailed, but it does lack the polish of more recent movies. So some newer fans might be turned off by that. But I think the plot and action scenes will keep most people interested, even if the look of the animation is a bit old-fashioned. But like I said earlier this is an old-fashioned-style movie, so it kinda works in that way too.

The sound matched the visuals perfectly. Again it lacked some of the polish or glitz we are used to now with some of our new-fangled anime. The wind rushing over the castle roof, the machinegun fire and of course the sound of the clock work great to create the mood for the film and support the action well enough.

The plot and direction are where this film really stands out. It's a skillfully concocted story that keeps you wondering just what Lupin is gonna come up with next, and if he can possibly get out of the predicament he got himself into. The heroes are likable scoundrels and the villains are just plain nasty. Add in the heroic princes and a grenade tossing, motorcycle riding babe and you've got high adventure! The pacing is crucial and in all the chase scenes it works fine. None of them go on too long (like in the more recent Bond movies), but you have to wonder how Lupin's car remains operational. And true to form there are scenes including aerial action (it wouldn't be a Miyazaki movie without someone flying through the air). The perfect mix of the plot and action make this an entertaining film.

I heard some complaints about this dub, but quite honestly I think it turned out rather well. Everyone seems to be having a good time and getting into character. I recognized some voice talent form Bebop for sure and I know they can do a good job. I didn't want to change to Japanese once so I say go for the dub, especially with new anime watchers around.

The music is typical scoring for theatrical adventures. It's not quite as epic sounding as the work on Princess Mononoke, this score works for the film. But it didn't quite pop out at me. I'm not sure if the same composer who worked on Mononoke and Nausicaa worked on this film.

Well I was pleasantly surprised by this film (can you tell?). I'd say it's worth picking up and watching at least once. But it's got high rewatchability. Not only that try showing this one to fans of Indy or Bond. The style is close enough that I think they'd have a blast... and who knows, you might have a new convert on your hands after that.

Roman J. Martel
Tell me what you think! E-mail me at...

Review Equipment
General Electric Performance Plus (25 Inch), Sony Playstation 2


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