Mania Grade: A-
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: B
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: B
- Age Rating: TV PG
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
- MSRP: 29.98
- Running time: 460
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Lupin the 3rd
Lupin the 3rd Movie Pack (6-10)
By Mark Thomas
September 25, 2007
Release Date: December 19, 2006
What They Say
Get ready to watch a legardary thief in action: Lupin the 3rd. This slippery thief is a master of disguise. He's usually seen carrying his signature Walther P-38, wearing a colorful tie and a mischievous grin. He may be found with a tall, leggy woman named Fujiko, a samurai named Goemon or a quiet fellow named Jigen.
Contains the following Lupin movies:
Farewell to Nostradamus
Island of Assassins
Crisis in Tokyo
The Columbus Files
Missed by a DollarThe Review!
The Japanese James Bond returns for this collection of five feature length pieces that show off some of the best Lupin the Third has to offer.Audio:
For all five of the releases, I listened to the English 5.1 track. The English dub is also offered in 2.0, which seems to be the default track, and a Japanese 2.0 track is also given. The English dub is particularly well done, with some really nice work throughout for the principle characters by Sonny Strait, Christopher Sabat, Meredith McCoy, Philip Wilburn, and Mike McFarland, not to mention good performances for the secondary characters. There are also some nice sound effects throughout, especially during action scenes. However, despite having both a surround and stereo track, the technology is never really used to its full extent, as directionality seems to be fairly lacking. There is a little bit with sound effects, but that's about it. Another small problem, vaguely related to the audio track, is that there is only one set of English subtitles, which means that for any notes or signs that are written in Japanese, you need to turn on all of the subtitles to get an English translation.Video: Farewell to Nostradamus
is offered in its original 16:9 anamorphic aspect ratio, while the other four are presented in their original full frame ratio. For somewhat older titles, the DVD transfer came off fairly well. Most of the colors are bright, with no blurring or bleeding. There were some instances where the transfer did not come off as well, particularly with the darker scenes. At times, all of the dark shades tended to clash with both one another and with the art lines, creating a rough effect. This was fairly minor, however, and did not detract much from the overall productPackaging:
The packaging for this set is fairly basic, but is pretty stylish all the same. The front of the box has a silhouette of Lupin's Walther P-38 handgun being fired, with images of the five main characters set inside the silhouette. Interestingly, Fujiko's rarer blonde version is used here rather than her more common brunette style, even though the blonde version only shows up once in this set. The back of the box gives us the titles of the five features along with a brief synopsis of the entire Lupin the Third series and some screenshots. The five discs are housed in three thinpak cases, with each side of each case having screenshots and character images from one of the movies. The whole set "box, cases, and discs "is set to a solid beige background. Again, not much to it, but fairly nice to look at.Menu:
The menus for these movies are fairly basic and easy to navigate as well. The main page for each disc has a screenshot from the movie on that disc, with the menu selections placed in an easy to see and use location. Each disc comes with the same options to choose from: Play, Chapters, Audio, and Extras, and each submenu is just as easy to traverse. For each of these discs, it appears that the English 2.0 track is set for the default rather than either the 5.1 or player default. Not that big of a deal, but something to keep in mind when popping a disc in.Extras:
Each disc in this release has a number of extras. Every movie comes with profiles for each character involved in that particular production, and most come with an image gallery of shots also from the feature. The Columbus Files
and Missed by a Dollar
each come with a short episode of Mr. Stain in Junk Alley, an award-winning series of computer animated shorts fairly common on Funimation releases. The most interesting extras given, though, are on Farewell to Nostradamus
and The Columbus Files
. Both movies provide short, informative Q&As on Nostradamus and Christopher Columbus respectively.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Lupin the Third: Final Haul is the second collection of Lupin movies that Funimation has put together. This particular set contains the features Farewell to Nostradamus
, Island of Assassins
, Crisis in Tokyo
, The Columbus Files
, and Missed by a Dollar
Arsene Lupin the Third is an internationally renowned thief and womanizer always looking for that next big heist. Forever at his side is his best friend, and trusted side-kick, Jigen, whose main purpose many times is to bring the violence that Lupin tries to avoid when possible. Lupin also frequently teams up with Goemon, a modern-day sword expert living by the samurai code, and Fujiko, the beautiful, buxom con artist and thief who continually tries to rip Lupin off, despite being on friendly terms with him. Finally we have Inspector Zenigata: the somewhat inept INTERPOL agent who has made it his life's work to bring Lupin to justice, only to be continually thwarted by him.
No heist is too big for the skills of Lupin, but unfortunately it seems every time he picks one, he gets caught up in some game of international intrigue and has to set about saving the world, all the while trying to get his hands on the loot and stay one step ahead of the law, usually to hilarious results. Naturally, Lupin manages to bring down the evil and stay out of Zenigata's clutches, but the loot always seems to just get away from him. Farewell to Nostradamus
sees Lupin trying to get his hands on the lost pages of the prophecies of Nostradamus while going up against a cult dedicated to those same pages. Island of Assassins
has Lupin getting inducted into an international assassin ring in an effort to get his hands on their treasure, not to mention exact some revenge for an event in his past. In Crisis in Tokyo
, Lupin is trying to get his hands on some old pictures that tells the location of buried treasure. The Columbus Files
deals with the search for the Columbus Egg, an artifact with the ability to control the weather, while at the same time protecting Fujiko who has lost her memory. Lastly, Missed by a Dollar
is about the search for a brooch that is told to have the power to allow its wearer to control the world, all this while Lupin has to bring down the corrupt Bank of the World whose owner is trying to find the brooch for her own nefarious purposes.
Lupin the Third is one of those shows that move a mile-a-minute. Each of the movies in this set average about ninety minutes or so in length, and they never seem to stop once. It's hard to turn away even for a second without missing something important, funny, or importantly funny. And even those moments when the show does slow down are very brief. Usually they are just long enough to reinforce the idea that Lupin has a high set of morals and trustworthiness, despite his profession as the most notorious crook in the world, before roaring off again.
Interestingly enough, despite a great main cast of characters, it is the secondary cast that sometimes makes a Lupin movie really interesting to watch. Lupin, Jigan, Goemon, Fujiko, and Zenigata are the only characters that show up in each installment; every other person comes around once and is generally never seen again. Yet, it is these people, and the way they interact with Lupin and his crew that carries the show, because many times these interactions give the efforts of Lupin's gang a greater purpose. For example, in Island of Assassins
, Lupin comes across Elen, a young, female assassin who has no real love for her work. As the movie progresses, and we learn more of her past, a rich round character comes fully into focus who gives a greater emphasis to Lupin's attempt to destroy the assassin's guild.
If there is anything to complain about with Lupin the Third, it is that it has fairly cookie cutter plotlines. Lupin breaks into (a), attempting to steal (b), runs into a group of thugs with who also want (b), and spends the rest of the time bringing down said group of thugs and attempting to get (b) for himself. Sprinkle in liberal doses of his side kicks, attempted romantics with Fujiko, run-ins with Zenigata, and most likely an attractive-woman-in-trouble or two. That's essentially the basics of any Lupin plot. Lupin never even gets to any point where it looks like he is going to lose.
However, all of that is a major part of what makes Lupin so fun to watch. Instead of focusing on if he is going to accomplish his mission, instead we focus on how he accomplishes it, and what ridiculous methods he uses to get to the end. In this way, watching a Lupin movie is like watching a James Bond movie: you know Lupin will stay committed to his goals, you know he will have a smartass answer to everything the bad-guys say, and you know he will win just about every encounter no matter how much the odds are stacked against him. Sometimes, the only thing you can do while watching it is sit back and enjoy the ride.In Summary:
The movies in this set showcase some of the best that Lupin has to offer, though considering that they follow a tried and true formula, and that I have yet to watch a Lupin show or movie I did not enjoy, that might not be saying much. The rich characters, the zany situations, and the fast pacing make Lupin a joy to watch. I won't pretend that watching Lupin is a life altering event, but it is a highly enjoyable romp. The non-stop nature of the show probably is not for everybody, but if you are a fan of Lupin the Third, then this is a set you need to get.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Character Profiles,Image Galleries
Phillips Magnavox TP3285 C129 32" TV, Samsung DVD-V5650 Progressive Scan DVD w/ DD/DTS, Durabrand HT3916 5.1 Surround Sound System