Lupin the 3rd: The Columbus Files -

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Mania Grade: B+

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 90
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Lupin the 3rd

Lupin the 3rd: The Columbus Files

By Chris Beveridge     November 29, 2005
Release Date: November 29, 2005

Lupin the 3rd: The Columbus Files
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.

What They Say
The Columbus Egg. It's a treasure that not only holds innumerable wealth, but also has an unimaginably deadly power.... control over the weather. Legend says that Columbus found it on his first voyage. But legends are just legends, right?!

Wrong. Fujiko gets her hands on the file that names the location of the coveted Columbus Egg. Data in hand, Lupin and crew spring into action. But when Fujiko destroys the file to stop the vicious Nazalloff from finding the egg and using it for evil, she destroys her memory as well. Now, all that's left of Fukiko are flashes of memory... and no recollection of Lupin, Jigen, or Goemon!

Follow Lupin, Jigen, and Goemon as they hunt down the egg, rescue Fujiko and attempt to restore the mind of their partner in crime.

The Review!
Fujiko's latest treasure hunt leaves her without a trace of her memory and Lupin must save the day.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The included stereo mix for the show is pretty decent but it's still fairly standard for what we've seen with past Lupin releases that haven't dipped into the mono area. There is a decent bit of forward directionality to it throughout the show but not too many really standout moments. We also listened to a good portion of the TV special in its 5.1 English language adaptation and that has a few additional sounds thrown to the rear during the big action sequences but the overall difference between the two comes down to a volume level difference. We had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback on either language track..

Originally released theatrically back in 1999, the transfer for this TV special is presented in its full frame aspect ratio. The transfer for this looks quite good overall even though it was done in 1999 and still maintains a lot of the feel of the older shows with its visuals. The print is pretty clean all told and the colors are solid and generally free of breakup and aliasing but a few areas of solids sometimes looked a bit shaky for a few seconds. Cross coloration is non-existent and overall this is a good looking transfer but one that doesn't really shine out in any particular way.

Using the original Japanese artwork but zooming in a bit and placing the standard borders over the top and bottom with the US release logos, this is a good looking piece of artwork that highlights the main characters of the film and lets the red jacketed Lupin stand out strongly in the foreground alongside a slightly scantily clad Fujiko who once again seems to change her basic appearance a bit. The back cover provides a few shots from the show and a good summary of the specials premise alongside the various logos. It's all done at a bent angle which is slightly awkward but no more so than some other releases. The discs features and technical information is easy to find though a touch small on the font. As is standard with FUNimation, no insert is included with this release.

The menus are nice and simple this time around with the right half of the screen doing a portion of the front cover that zooms in even more on Lupin and Fujiko while the left half is left black and has the film name and the very simple navigation section. Access times are nice and fast and the layout very easy to navigate. Due to the way that FUNimation sets up their discs technically, our player's language presets never work properly and we have to manually change them.

There aren't a lot of extras here but there is a bit of text to go through. The standards are here in the form of the character profiles that are weak and the photo gallery but what's new is several text pages worth of information on Columbus and the controversy surrounding him and his discoveries. It's pretty well balanced though and provides a bit more background to flesh out the main item of the special.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Every year since 1989 there's been a new TV special that airs for Lupin and in 1999 they put out this ninety minute special that was originally title "Ai no da cap ~ Fujiko's Unlucky Days~" which has been renamed to the Columbus Files for its US release. Part of the fun for me with the Lupin franchise is to see how they rename stuff, much like Bond films tend to have varying international names and working names, and this one goes for a very plain and obvious title that I can't fault them for. I do have to say that I like Fujiko's Unlucky Days more but then again, I like Fujiko more…

This special kicks off in a very saucy manner as Lupin has apparently gotten closer to wooing the lovely Fujiko once again and both are dressed to the nines and enjoying having just pulled off a great caper involving some Swiss banks and toy with their treasures. Fujiko has decided to give herself to Lupin this time which leads to some very sexy and sultry moments as her dress gets less and less but as always, she's got an ulterior motive. Within that big batch of treasure is something that leads to an even bigger treasure, a sheaf of papers that describes where to find the Columbus Egg. Fujiko and Lupin don't get to argue over it long before some helicopters arrive to whisk that information away but Fujiko causes it all to burn up before they can retrieve it and after she memorizes it.

This is a real save since it helps them escape the imminent threat but their attempts to get away go badly and Lupin loses Fujiko over a cliff. He's eventually able to catch up to her some time later after he gets the rest of the gang together and does some research on the Columbus Egg and its mysterious powers but for Fujiko she ends up in a more interesting situation. She turns up in the house of a treasure hunter named Rosaria but her memory is completely gone and she doesn't know her name or remember Lupin and the others. And she doesn't have any recollection of the Columbus Files but the potential is still there for her to remember. Rosaria, an attractive outgoing blonde woman with a dark past of her own, has some insight into the entire Columbus Egg tales and an odd little truce comes up among them as they start to figure out the clues to find it and what it really leads to.

The special plays out in fairly standard Lupin manner so in that regard there aren't any real surprises. The main difference to how this one plays out is that Fujiko is a much more central character than she usually is since she typically just swoops in for the start, shows up at key times and plays havoc at the end. She's far more visible throughout this which would be great for Fujiko fans but with her being an almost frightened and skittish version of herself with no memory she's not the same at all and that loses a good deal of the appeal – though it does allot for a lot more fan service. The contrast of how she is at the opening moments to when Lupin tries to seduce her when she's lost her memory just shows how different a character she's become and seeing her frightened of him just doesn't make the situation appealing at all.

The main problem that I kept coming back to with the special is the same that I've found with other ones as well and that's that the show is simply too long at times. Some of the things that the cast have to do at times feels like it's just padding to fill in the run time, since it takes away from more useful areas such as giving Rosaria more of a background early on that lets you connect with her more, or going more into detail on the operation that her father is working on. So many of the key elements are left for the last twenty minutes or so and they're mixed into the big finale action sequences that it all just comes across as very rushed. Rosaria's father certainly needed more sympathetic screen time earlier on in order to try and fake his sincerity at the end..

In Summary:
While the Columbus Files wasn't at the top of my list for favorite TV specials, it's one that's up there just because of the sheer amount of Fujiko fun even if she is not quite herself. The opening sequence alone made it worth the price of admission for this release and the show overall is a lot of fun with some good supporting characters and the show specific ones like Rosaria. The one character that makes out truly bad with this special and it's very unfortunate is Zenigata whose relegated to the background for most of it and hardly has any decent lines or real use in the show. He's truly tacked on for this one. Beyond that though, this is a good special and a lot of fun if a bit overlong.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,History of Columbus,Character Profiles,Photo Gallery

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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