Lupin the 3rd TV Vol. #03: Family Jewels (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Saturday, July 26, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, July 08, 2003



What They Say
Lupin and his pals run afoul of fake gems, cursed jewels and rare stones in their latest capers! Fujiko nearly gets married, zombies come out to play and just for a switch, someone’s impersonating Lupin! From San Francisco to Jamaica, Inspector Zenigata is determined to capture Lupin, whether he committed the crimes or not!

The Review!
Lupin returns for another round of fun adventures, spending some amusing time in America as well.

Audio:
For our primary review, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. Considering its age, it’s a very well kept piece that’s done up essentially in mono, though enough of the sounds are played through both stereo speakers. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and there weren’t any noticeable dropouts. These tracks aren’t going to be real high usage for directionality compared to today’s new releases, but this is definitely prime material from its time, which is what I want.

Video:
The transfer for these episodes continues much like we’ve seen previously, which means that they look surprisingly good for their age and have only some minor issues. The only thing that I can bring myself to complain about with the actual transfer is that some of the scenes are a bit grainy at times, but that’s normal. Colors are solid without being over saturated, though there are brightness shifts inherent in older shows. Cross coloration is non-existent and aliasing is extremely low. This volume in particular tends to show a bit more of the animation problems itself, such as poorly painted areas and a few extra nicks and scratches, but overall looks decent.

Packaging:
Continuing to ignore the logo that’s losing what tiny amount of appeal it had, the cover here provides another good look at the Lupin style with an image of him and Fujiko sitting astride a sizeable diamond and other jewels and cash while getting Jigen to show up in the background. The back cover provides several animation shots from the show as well as a brief paragraph describing the premise. The episode titles are listed as well as the discs features and production credits. The insert has the same image as the front cover while the reverse side uses some of the opening sequence footage as a background for the chapter listings.

On the downside, there’s no volume numbering listed here nor are episode numbers provided. While the show is definitely very episodic, I still think it’s a mistake to not include at least the volume numbering somewhere. With retailers not being as bad about it as they used to be, as other companies are releasing shows with volumes in the ten to twenty plus range, that argument doesn’t carry as much weight as it used to.

Menu:
I continue to be extremely happy that Nightjar got the gig for the menus here, because they’ve done them up in a very neat retro style way that fits perfectly with the show. While selections are able to be done throughout the entire piece of animation playing, the animation itself is just character names flashing across the screen while black silhouetted versions of the characters jump in and out against a red background as the music plays. It’s just very simple but also very neatly done and in tune with the show. Access times are nice and fast and with little here beyond the episodes, getting around is nice and easy.

Extras:
The extras included in this volume are about nine pieces of conceptual artwork that shows off character designs from the episodes included. There’s also an original Japanese version of the shows ending included, letting you take in more Fujiko goodness.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Mixing in between other TV episodes and the movies, this continues to be a great time overall to be a Lupin fan. There’s just so much material coming out right now that you can almost get giddy over it. And with watching these for the first time, I’m continuing to see more and more homage’s and parodies of these works in other newer shows, which only adds to the overall enjoyment.

With another five episodes here, there’s some great fun to be had. One of my favorites came right off at the start as the show initially has Lupin and Jigen trying to steal some microfilm from NASA that contains instructions on how to create diamonds out of coal easily as well as one sizeable prototype. Since the advancement of such a project would cause the value of diamonds to dwindle, thereby depriving Lupin of something to steal as well as the value of his own collection, they set off to swipe it an destroy it. Unfortunately, someone got to it first.

This leads them to San Francisco where they’re hunting down the man who has it. Also appearing in San Francisco is everybody’s favorite Zenigata. He’s getting lonely and longing for home, staring out across the bay and dreaming of Japan. His time spent chasing Lupin is really getting to him that he’s seeing ghost image of Lupin all over the place, something that the real Lupin has a lot of fun toying with as they eventually meet up. Zenigata’s time in San Francisco is just great, from his hotel room to the way he tries to get cured by dealing with the rather strange doctor who wants to cure an entire country of its social ills.

The other episode that really got me was the amusingly titled “Sheik-down”. Sending Lupin off to a Middle Eastern country, he’s intent on stealing one hundred million dollars. Having discovered that the government there is being blackmailed and that the government is going to give in to them, he sets the stage to swipe the money in the middle and make out like he deserves. Things don’t work out too well though as the legend of Lawrence of Arabia’s grandson being involved comes into play and there’s a fun amount of double crossing that causes sides to change quickly.

What really made this episode shine, especially in my devotion to all things Fujiko, is her eventual capture by the bad guys as they travel through the desert with the money. She initially plays herself up as a belly dancer to get close to them and then later basically throws herself onto the leader of the group. The way they have her character play these scenes out is great fun, watching the quick goofy looks on the guys and the alluring look coming from Fujiko as she uses her assets to get what she wants.

This volume was a lot of fun all around, with lots of action and humor mixed into a wide range of locations around the world. The non-static setting is one of the greatest appealing aspects of a series like this, especially compared to so many shows today that barely leave one or two locations and carries the entire thing there. At this point, it feels like there’s no such thing as bad Lupin. I can’t wait to get more.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Line Art Gallery,Original Japanese Closing

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.




Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: A-
Extras Rating: B-
Age Rating: 3 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
MSRP: 24.98
Running time: 125
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Lupin the 3rd