Lupin the 3rd: Dragon of Doom -

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Mania Grade: A-

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: C
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
  • MSRP: 29.95
  • 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: Dragon of Doom

By Chris Beveridge     February 14, 2003
Release Date: February 11, 2003

Lupin the 3rd: Dragon of Doom
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.

What They Say
The Dragon of Doom has kept its secret inside the sunken Titanic for over eighty years. But when there’s a treasure of immeasurable value at stake, some people just can’t let the past lie still!

While taking a breather in Tokyo, Lupin and Jigen are carefully tracked by Hong Kong’s nastiest gangster kingpin. And after Goemon’s peaceful night at the theater is turned into a ninja battleground, the guys find themselves thrown into an international race to find the dragon!

But a shadow from Goemon’s past stirs up his thoughts of destiny. He knows he must protect the Dragon of Doom, even if it means ending the lives of his friends in the process.

From Tokyo to Paris to the deepest fathoms of the Atlantic Ocean, join Goemon, Jigen, Fujiko, and Lupin as they rush for the treasure and dodge the bad guys… Only this time their friends might just be enemies, too!

The Review!
Providing one of the slickest looking Lupin movies yet, Dragon of Doom is a great little romp that contains all the magic that is a Lupin adventure.

Lupin is not Lupin unless it’s in Japanese, so that’s the track we watched this on during our primary viewing session. We also listened to the English track while writing the review and with both tracks encountered no problems with the. Dialogue is very much center channel based though the music and effects make very good use of the stereo channels.

Presented in its original full frame format, the transfer here looks top notch with nary a problem. Colors are spot on throughout, aliasing is nonexistent and only a few very minor areas of aliasing during some panning sequences. There was some slight pixellation in a few background areas that were overly complex in their line work that broke up during a pan, but otherwise this is a sit back and enjoy it transfer.

The style of past Lupin movies continues here with the bars along the top and bottom and in the center the main image, which this time is masterfully split between Goemon and Lupin with Goemon’s sword doing the split. Dead center in it all is the Dragon that’s at the center of this caper. It’s a good looking cover, thought maybe more appealing to Lupin fans than the casual fan. The back cover has a few animation shots of the various characters and a couple of small paragraphs of plot summary. The insert provides another shot of the front cover while the reverse side is just advertisements. As with most Funimation discs, it can be difficult telling exactly what language options you have, since they often just say dual language.

The menus are much simpler this time around than prior releases, with the main menu being a simple static screen with a shadow outline of a gun and the menu selections. Submenus load quickly with no transitional animations and everything has solid access times on our decks.

The only extra included on this release is the character profiles which they continue to beautifully alternate with the English voice actors. I wish they provided the Japanese actors with this as well, even if it is just their name and a brief list of other performances.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As more and more Lupin material comes out, the happier I get with each instance of it and getting to see all these new adventures of the gang. Having been kept to just a small number of them for so long, it’s definitely a breath of fresh air and excitement to see these. Dragon of Doom proved to be no exception and has quickly gone up the list of my favorites so far.

Dragon of Doom is a Goemon-centric film to some extent, as it opens up with him attending a kabuki performance about his family history from four hundred years prior and some of the important going-ons of the time. Goemon’s moved to tears as he watches the history, only to have it all suddenly interrupted with the arrival of a gang of ninjas, a gang who moved very quickly to go after Goemon and try to kill him. This sequence of events, which shifts up through the opening credits, has some of the most fluid looking ninja sequences I’ve seen in some time. With Goemon keeping ahead of the band of ninjas only to have Lupin and Jigen tag along, it’s one of those great opening sequences that you’ll simply remember for quite some time.

The opening is just the set up of course, and there’s plenty of things to launch off of there from. Jigen and Lupin head off to Hong Kong and Paris for a breather but also to let the next phase go forward, where they meet up with someone whose been looking for them. This rather disturbing man, Chin-Chin, is a master gangster lord who has something that he wants Lupin’s help in getting. Apparently, sometime back, Lupin’s grandfather was going to steal a dragon statue but was unable to do so, the only item he was never able to get.

Lupin’s curiosity is piqued, since it’s something of family history and something that his grandfather couldn’t pull of. Chin-chin explains further about the dragon statue and how it was making a journey across the Atlantic ocean back in 1912, but the ship hit an iceberg and… yep, you guessed it. Lupin takes on the Titanic. Lupin of course has no interest in working for the gangster, so through his own usual cunning, the trio escapes easily and head off to begin the adventure of finding the dragon, only to find out that Goemon’s tied to it.

The dragon statue is apparently a piece of his family history, something that was lost some time ago and holds certain secrets. Goemon’s set to go on his own journey to find it, but ends up with more than he bargained for when a gorgeous young woman named Kikyo shows up. We get to know some of Goemon’s past here and learn that she used to live in the same area as Goemon and the two were quite close when they were younger, though Goemon was always the older of the two, and Kikyo’s harbored a love for him for ages. This brings in some more competition for Lupin since the two don’t exactly see eye to eye on this.

The caper goes in varying directions as all the forces that are arrayed to capture the dragon statue converge, and it’s pretty typical action/adventure in the Lupin style. While there are certainly enough similarities between all the Lupin shows, they manage to never really detract from the individual show itself. The movie here plays out beautifully with lots of great action sequences, some fun thieving moments and the usual banter between the main group when they’re all together.

This movie in particular has some really good animation to it, and even upon listening to the dub I found myself really getting into the casts performances. The Lupin movies just have some certain kind of nostalgia and flair that keeps me interested in them, almost the same kind of thing that I find in being able to watch forty years worth of Bond movies. This particular Lupin adventure is a lot of fun, and though it runs into some small troubles with its plot being tied to the Titanic (though being done before the big budget Hollywood movie), you can’t help but to merge instances of the two together at times.

Dragon of Doom was a great movie to watch and provided me with an excellent evening of solid action, adventure and laughter. Plus some really nice Fujiko scenes, and you can’t go wrong with those. This is probably the best Lupin movie yet from Funimation.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Character Profiles

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.


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