Lupin the 3rd: Pursuit of Harimao's Treasure -

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Mania Grade: B+

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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: 24.95
  • 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: Pursuit of Harimao's Treasure

By Chris Beveridge     October 01, 2002
Release Date: September 24, 2002

Lupin the 3rd: Pursuit of Harimao's Treasure
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.

What They Say
Harimao’s treasure. It’s worth over 8 billion dollars, and it seems like everyone is looking for it! But nothing’s going to keep Lupin from the treasure this time!

With his faithful companions Jigen, Goemon, and Fujiko - Lupin travels the globe, dodging bullets and Inspector Zenigata, to find the three statues that make up the key to the treasure!

But soon enough, a greater threat emerges… The Neo-Himmel! And Lupin must join forces with his chief adversary, aging Secret Agent Sir Archer. Along with Archer’s beautiful granddaughter, these unlikely partners set forth on an adventure that is dangerous, funny, and filled with surprises!

The Review!
One of the numerous TV specials, Pursuit of Harimao’s Treasure gives a distinctly western air to it with the inclusion of the Lord Archer character.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The stereo mix is pretty decent here, though like almost all Lupin material, it’s pretty sparse and basic with what it’s trying to do. Dialogue is nice and clear and the action and music makes use of some very light directionality.

Originally released in 1995, I can’t get over how good this transfer looks. Outside of some soft backgrounds which have a little grain to them, this is a great looking piece that manages to keep the style and color palette of the Lupin series while still managing to actually look new and not like it was done twenty or thirty years ago. Colors are solid throughout, cross coloration is non-existent and there’s only some minimal aliasing during camera panning sequences.

Similar to the menu layout, the cover is broken up into a widescreen lookalike, with white stripes along the top and bottom and all the artwork in the center. This actually works very well with this cover, drawing your eyes in to the center of the image where Lupin is and then letting you gaze at what’s around him. The back cover provides a few animation shots and a good summary of what to expect. The discs features are very minimal and don’t match up to other studios. The listing of dual language doesn’t exactly indicate what two languages are there for the casual viewer. The insert provides another shot of the cover while the reverse side is just boxart advertisements.

The menus are nicely done up in an almost widescreen way, with animation playing through a center strip while there are white bars at the top and bottom. The top has the features name while the bottom has all the selections you can make. Going to submenus has the center strip slide back and forth to new pieces of animation. There only thing that still bugs me just a bit is the language selection menu, but that’s just because it’s so non-standard to what every other company does.

The only extras included in this release is the character profiles, which nicely lets you alternate between the character and the English voice actor for pictures and credits. I still wish this could be done with the Japanese actors as well.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The story of Harimao’s Treasure is a rather enjoyable romp, one we certainly enjoyed much more than the Secret of Twilight Gemini. While both do have quite a number of sequences that have been done time and time again, Harimao’s Treasure manages to add enough twists and tweaks to it to make it far more enjoyable.

The story is pretty straightforward. Lupin acquires a small prized statue at the beginning of the film and we watch him perform a fun and exciting escape sequence with the help of Jigen. This is just the beginning of things though, as apparently there are three statutes required. Once all these statues are together at a certain location, they’ll lead to the treasure left behind by a long dead south asian warrior named Harimao. Lupin is of course ahead of the game, and has set things in motion to get more.

This is where Fujiko comes in, as she’s now an assistant to the Englishman named Lord Archer. Archer, a graying man in his 70’s, is apparently the former British spy upon whom James Bond was based (within the Lupin worlds continuity). As he shows her around the mansion, we see all sorts of things that are similar to what shows up in the Bond movies, and Archer himself is easily seen as being the basis for the character. Archer’s also had some dealings with Harimao in the far past, which is what brings Fujiko here.

What sets the search in motion for him is the destruction of a section of the Eurotunnel between France and England, where Archer is the sole insurance name holder. That means that even after liquidating all his goods, he’s still $7 billion in the hole. But he knows of Harimao’s treasure, and convinces the slimy and obviously evil and corrupt lawyer at Lloyds that he can pay him the $7 billion and still come away with a profit. So with the help of Fujiko and his granddaughter Diana, they all head off to find more of the statues, all while Lupin and gang go their own way to get more of them as well.

The villain for the movie, a rather cold looking woman in Nazi clothing, isn’t all that directly tied to events until the final third of the movie where she and her band of evildoers start to interfere directly with those getting the statues. Their goal is pretty obvious (get treasure), but the need to make them nazi’s is boggling at times. It’s true they’re the classic villain at this point, but for some reason I just can’t imagine that they could get that many “good’ ones that easily. And by good, I mean the kind that actually obey orders, wear the gear properly and do what’s required of them. I can’t help but think there’d be more punk types than anything else.

The style for this particular Lupin adventure (the red-jacketed version no less), is quite good. As mentioned before, the animation is very good, keeping the same character designs but making them a bit more stickish in nature as well as some hints of the western Batman animated series with the triangle shaped bodies and the wide spread apart legs at their joints and all. There’s also a very good framerate during the action sequences, giving this a really fluid feel at times. The visual aspect of the show, which takes place in more traditional places rather than exotic locales for the most part, also works well.

When it comes to revisiting Lupin adventures over the years, Pursuit of Harimao’s Treasure is one I can easily see myself queuing up again and again. The Bond references are great, the light hearted nature of Lupin works well and the villain’s aren’t “ew, creepy” scary, just evil.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Character/Actor Bios

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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