Lupin the 3rd: Fuma Conspiracy - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Discotek
  • MSRP: 19.95
  • Running time: 73
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Lupin the 3rd

Lupin the 3rd: Fuma Conspiracy

By Luis Cruz     October 15, 2007
Release Date: October 30, 2007


Lupin the 3rd: Fuma Conspiracy
© Discotek


What They Say
Goemon is getting married! Well, he was until his bride, Murasaki, was kidnapped by an evil organization of ninja: the Fuma Clan. Their ransom is the Shuujoh Vase, the key to a legacy of untold wealth that has been hidden for hundreds of years. And where there's treasure, there's master thief Lupin the Third!

When word of Lupin's appearance reaches Inspector Zenigata, he comes out of retirement to put him behind bars once and for all! Can Lupin, Jigen, Goemon and Fujiko rescue Murasaki, unearth the secrets of the treasure, and evade Old Man Zenigata as they try to foil the fiendish plot of the Fuma Clan?

The Review!
The Fuma Conspiracy is a fun film that comes close to recapturing the magic of Castle of Cagliostro.

Audio:
I listened to the original Japanese stereo track for my primary viewing session. There were no noticeable drop-outs, distortions, or other issues; music, sound effects, and dialogue were sharp and well balanced. It will not give your speakers much of a work-out, but it does have some decent directional effects in spots.

Video:
Originally released in 1987, this release of Fuma benefits from the print remaster used in the recent Japanese DVDs. The digital transfer left the video problem free; there are no noticeable artifacts, jitter, or other noise. Where the video really benefits is in the brightness of the colors; the previous AnimEigo release was noticeably dark, especially noticeable in one scene with a sign subtitle. The remaster brings this and other items out in crisp, vivid detail. Having watched this title on numerous formats, this is the best I have seen it look in the US. My only niggle with the video is that some of the subtitles linger on screen longer than necessary. This does not happen often, but it is very noticeable when it occurs.

Packaging:
The front cover uses the Japanese theatrical poster artwork, a montage of the gang set against a crumbling castle. A banner across the top proclaims this the "20th Anniversary Edition", and the film's title is along the bottom. The back cover contains the requisite pictures, synopsis, and disc details.

Menu:
The main menu features a loop of the theme music, shot of the cast, a short clip from the film, and the menu items along the bottom. There are no transition delays switching between menus allowing you to get setup and into the content quickly. However, the language menu had two annoying issues; when you select an audio or subtitle track, there is no on-screen indication of your selection. Even more annoying was having my language selection disappear when moving to the extras section and then into the film. Also, the use of "English Slates" for the "signs only" subtitle track was a bit odd.

Extras:
Discotek provides a wealth of extras on the DVD; there is a commentary track by Lupin aficionado Reed Nelson. Also included are copious liner notes on the film and the Lupin series, a gallery of line artwork, and a photo gallery. Rounding out the extras are translated text interviews with some of the original Japanese staff and voice actors.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While the Lupin franchise has had innumerable TV episodes, specials, and films, only The Fuma Conspiracy has come close to capturing the whimsical fun that has made Castle of Cagliostro an enduring classic. Goemon is marrying his childhood sweetheart Murasaki; as a token of becoming part of the Suminawa clan, an ancient urn is to be bestowed to him during the ceremony. His wedded bliss is not meant to be; the Fuma clan seeks to take the urn and learn the location of the Suminawa's secret treasure. When they cannot take the urn, they kidnap Murasaki and demand the urn as her ransom. Lupin's motto is save the babe first and then track down the treasure. The race is on to save Murasaki and claim the Suminawa's legacy before the Fuma clan.

At just over an hour, Fuma manages to quickly setup an engaging story and keep the action going right to the end. There are no elaborate plans of world domination, no mystical elements to the treasure; this is a simple but immensely fun treasure hunt. The action sequences are the narrative, and they flow into each other fluidly. Lupin's Fiat makes a return and provides some Cagliostro style car chases through the crevices of a crowded city street, through the countryside, and even through the halls of a Japanese hot spring resort. A beautifully animated sword fight between Goemon and the Fuma boss ends the film on a spectacular note.

Another element that separates this title is Murasaki; she initially is the "damsel in distress"; but once freed, she refuses to stand idly by and becomes a helpful guide through the Suminawa catacombs. Along the way, she manages to flirt with Goemon much to his embarrassment. What could have been a cookie cutter ingénue was instead a fun, energetic character.

In Summary:
If you enjoyed Castle of Cagliostro, do not pass up this version of The Fuma Conspiracy. It is a simple, straightforward story but comes close to achieving the same brisk pacing, exciting action scenes, and fun-filled attitude that makes Cagliostro a classic. Add in the remastered video for the clearest, cleanest picture ever, and you have a must-buy title for action fans. Very highly recommended.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles, Background Music Audio Track, Full-Length Commentary by Reed Nelson, Original Trailer, Liner Notes

Review Equipment
Mitsubishi 27" TV, Panasonic RP-82, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Bose Acoustimass-6 speakers, generic S-Video and optical audio cable

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