Lupin the 3rd: Crisis in Tokyo -

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Mania Grade: A-

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: TV PG
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 95
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Lupin the 3rd

Lupin the 3rd: Crisis in Tokyo

By Chris Beveridge     August 30, 2005
Release Date: August 30, 2005

Lupin the 3rd: Crisis in Tokyo
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.

What They Say
When a strange set of photographic plates makes its way into the hands of a famous art dealer in Tokyo, it’s up to Lupin to steal them. But this time, it seems that he may have to do it alone. Or will he? Goemon and Fujiko team up and put a deal on the table that Lupin may be forced to take.

Following Lupin every step of the way is Inspector Zenigata. He is so focused on his target that he tends to forget his department’s deal to allow a journalist named Maria to tag along with him. However, there may be more to her and the photographic plates than anyone knows… or even begin to fathom.

The Review!
The 1998 TV Special Tokyo Crisis gets a slight rewording and a sweet release for the region one audience.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this special in its original language of Japanese. The included mix is a mono mix which is, once again, strange because the Japanese release of this title is listed as being in stereo. But similar to the past releases, this doesn't sound bad and certainly works well with the material. I just wish the discrepancy would be cleared up so we could know whether we're getting the right materials or not. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Originally airing back in 1998, the transfer for this show looks good with much more updated animation than we've seen in some of the movies and specials brought over. This is released in its original full frame aspect ratio and is done in the traditional animation style so there are a few issues throughout it that are relatively minor but is mostly found in the aliasing that's going on with some of the really tight line work. Buildings and some of the night scenes get a bit shaky in this regard but it's something that's almost been a constant in Lupin shows for decades so it's not really a showstopper by any stretch. Colors look good and mostly maintain a solid feel without bleeding or looking over saturated.

Using the same artwork as the Japanese release but with some color correction and the usual letterbox style, we get a really nice looking piece that lets the main cast of characters stand out nicely together while the villain's face takes up a good chunk of real estate. The artwork is really nice here and while it's really just a character display it's appealing enough and it's the original artwork that I like. The back cover does up a few shots from the show and uses various colored filters to showcase them while the summary breaks down the premise of the show nicely. The discs features and technical information is all easy to find and read. No insert was included with this release.

The menu layout is a simple static piece that has some character artwork of the lead characters of the show in full color while the background is a blue hued piece of the important watch in the show as well as the basic villain while a brief clip of some of the snappy music plays along. There's a lot of empty space on this menu that just looks kind of odd. Access times are nice and fast and as we continue to say with every FUNimation release, use the menu to setup your audio and subtitle selections. The player presets never work properly and you need to use the menu to ensure the right angles play as well.

The extras are minimal as expected with a round of character profiles and a series of images in a gallery format.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With more and more of the Lupin releases coming out from the film/OVA/special realm being features that haven't been released before, I'm enjoying getting all this new material to see and continuing to expand my Lupin love. Crisis in Tokyo, originally titled Honou no Kioku ~Tokyo Crisis~ is the latest of these and it has Lupin running around Japan for a bit and for a lot of it either working with Zenigata or by himself as the rest of the gang are doing their own thing.

The premise of the plot at first this time around is in regards to a very long sought after treasure call the Tatsumi and Inui of Yoshinobu. These are two glass etchings that were done at the end of the Tokugawa regime and supposedly having both of them will unlock the location of the massive amounts of hidden wealth by the Bakufu that they wanted to keep from the new government. Both of the etchings have been lost over time but one very wealthy man has a number of people looking for them. Michael Suzuki has finally acquired the Tatsumi one with the help of Zenigata delivering it while foiling Lupin along the way. All that's left is to find and deliver the Inui and Suzuki is in business.

Zenigata finds himself being shadowed somewhat by a young woman named Maria who works for the magazine Tokyo Life. A lot is going on in Japan these days as it's less than a week until the opening of Aquapolis, the massive historical and theme park that Suzuki has put together in order to remind the citizens of their rich and varied history. Under the direction of her chief, Fujiko Mine, Maria is doing a piece on Zenigata as he handles delivering valuables and doing other services for the park before its grand opening. There's also a bit of a flash of interest in him romantically by this very attractive young woman which makes Zenigata all the more fun to watch during all of this.

Lupin for his part is obviously interested in acquiring the two pieces and has set his sights on doing just that. Unfortunately for him he's unable to get in contact with Fujiko and Goemon is apparently off somewhere else. When he goes to bring Jigen into things, he's rebuffed since the hard core criminal has decided to take a break from things until he can get his cavity fixed. Lupin does his best on his own which means he plays up the Zenigata connection and does his tricks such as pretending to be him to pilfer through his desk or following him when the convoy goes to deliver things to Aquapolis and sneaking in his own truck into the convoy. One of the best scenes is when the two meet up while both look like Zenigata and Maria is there. One of her special abilities is apparently precognition as she sees a number of times where Zenigata is going to get hurt in his chase of Lupin. You really want her to go with Lupin and join the team when he tries to charm her into doing so, but at the same time it's great to see someone that's interested in following and helping Zenigata.

The plot starts to turn when Lupin starts to get closer to things and Zenigata gets suspended for being such an embarrassment after losing one of the items and it also brings the other characters slowly into play to help out as well. There's a deeper plot about what Michael Suzuki is really after as we see him and his group of very stealthy thieves set to cause mischief. Once the Aquapolis park opens and people flow into it, the show moves into really high gear as it provides a number of very exciting and comical chase sequences as well as the revelations about what Suzuki is really after. There is almost a throwaway moment about the entire genetics thing involving Lupin that gets touched on briefly at the end that's just priceless though.

What surprised me with this show was just how well Maria fit into the entire scheme of things in terms of interacting with the other characters. It really does say a lot for the franchise in general that in its what, thirty plus years of being out there that they've never really added anyone new to the main cast of characters? There have been those that made some nice moments here and there but none seemed like they fit as well as she did for being a part of either side of the equation. Another area that was fun here was that while I hate to see regulars reduced to near sideshow status, the roles that Goemon and Jigen took on was well worth it. Goemon's frenetic nature about retrieving his sword worked nicely since it was stolen in order to be put on display while Jigen's continual whining about his cavity – and its very amusing resolution – was just the right amount without being too much.

In Summary:
This is a great special that was one of the pieces that started dealing with the change in technology and nature of the world. Zenigata's phobia of cell phones it given a nod as those were in very high use back then in Japan as well as a few other areas. The animation looks just as good as ever but with some more refined techniques that were scene at the end of the traditional age. I love these older pieces but I really want to see some of the newer productions to see how they look in comparison. Crisis in Tokyo though is a real winner and was a ninety-minute feature that simply had me smiling, laughing and loving the action as it all rolled out before me. Great stuff and very recommended, particularly since it is a standalone feature.

Japanese 1.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Character Profiles,Art 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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