Lupin the 3rd TV Vol. #06: Lupin the Target (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Tuesday, March 16, 2004
Release Date: Tuesday, April 13, 2004



What They Say
While Lupin and his gang aim to steal money from every bank in Paris, a beautiful detective vows to take revenge on Lupin for her grandfather. And Fujiko betrays Lupin again to get information on a piece of ?floating equipment? that Lupin invented, but what she doesn?t know is that the scheme was a trap concocted by the police and a mafia boss. Lupin is kidnapped by a terrorist group and forced to fight with them. Lupin succeeds in his escape by teaming up with least expected person ? Zenigata! Lupin challenges to steal the secret of a treasure hidden on the back of beautiful Scandinavian twin sisters which appear only during certain times of the midnight sun. Lastly, Lupin is targeted by an assassin and plans his own funeral! Will the Lupin series end here? Of course not!

The Review!
Lupin returns for five more episodes, though these are some of the more unbalanced episodes as of late, providing some good laughs but not quite as much as previous volumes.

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.

Packaging:
As we continue to ignore the logo that has little appeal, Lupin himself takes up the bulk of the cover with a simple darkened shot of his face set against a bright light. It's not the most attractive cover out there to be sure and probably not one of the best ones used for the series so far. 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 just several pieces of conceptual artwork that shows off character designs from the episodes included on this volume as well as the Japanese version of the new opening sequence and a clean version of it as well.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As the Lupin series continues on, this release goes into another round of five episodes that stand alone. This style makes it really easy to either sit down and do a mini festival almost or just take them in one at a time over the course of a few days in case you overdose on the show otherwise. Since I like to watch a lot of Lupin at once, we took everything in during one sitting, but I'll admit it all starts to blur after the first hour and a half.

The volume has some good episodes but a few pretty weak ones as well. The opening episode is one of the best of the batch where Lupin sends in a note to the French police that he's going to rob all of the banks in Paris. And there's a heck of a lot of banks in Paris. So with Zenigata coming to help, he gets set to make plans with the commissioner on how to protect things. But a change of plans comes up with the granddaughter of the man who went head to head with Lupin's grandfather in the past. Detective Melon is pretty homely looking but her goals are simple, to avenge her grandfather and use the tools he created to capture the thief that's shamed the family. Their plan is fairly amusing in that they have all the banks bring the money to the police headquarters, something Lupin wants. They attempt to capture him there when he overextends his reach, but he's cagey enough to put on a chase that leads to some more amusing chase scenes, both with vehicles and sex. While the series goes over the top plenty of times, this one hits that mark just a bit too often but still provides some really fun moments.

One of the stranger episodes has Lupin apparently having control over some sort of levitation device. This gets to be so problematic that Zenigata actually ends up working with a mafia group to take him down with the help of Fujiko and her mysterious compatriot X 8. There's a plan to turn X 8 so against Lupin by using look-alikes to torture him that he'll pursue Lupin for all time. So Lupin and the others work to defuse him and deal with the situation itself while keeping the secret of levitation to themselves. This is an episode that really felt more like some of the manga series stories where there's just a feeling of parts of it missing and we just get some of it.

One area where Lupin usually excels is when they force Lupin and Zenigata to work together. Their relationship is comical enough as it is but when they have to both deal with escaping from something or dealing with something, it has an extra bit of zest to it. The episode that places them in Morocco and through minimal circumstances has both of them captured by a local warlord of sorts that's planning a revolution does just this and the two of them find themselves trying to get free of the warlord and back to civilization. Of course, Lupin's methods don't work well with Zenigata, such as stealing clothes or horses to make their escape. But there continues to be that bit of honor and nobility about each of them in how they regard each other when things really get tough, which is one of the best core things to the Lupin series.

In Summary:
Overall, this volume definitely felt weaker on the whole but it didn't seem as bad when looked at in smaller chunks. These episodes are definitely a mixed bag depending on what you like though and most of them seem to be missing that extra something, something that makes the capers really seem like capers. The basic Lupin elements are there but about half the episodes just lack that zing to make them extra enjoyable.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Conceptual drawings,Textless opening,Original Japanese opening animation

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.



Mania Grade: C
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: C+
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: A-
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 & 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