Mania Grade: A
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- Audio Rating: A
- 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 Luis Cruz
November 16, 2002
Release Date: September 24, 2002
For my primary viewing, I listened to the Japanese audio track. The action is primarily concentrated in the center channel. Dialogue, sound effects, and music were all sharp and balanced very well.
The english dub track received a token listen to hear how each of the characters came to life. Lupin still sounds a bit too much like Krillin from DBZ but is very close to nailing the characterization found in Streamline's dub of Cagliostro
. The rest of the cast is adequate but just do not capture the feel of the characters for my tastes.Video:
The show is presented in its original 4:3 aspect ratio. The colors were crisp and bright with no noticeable defects present in the transfer. Subtitles were white but were large enough to be easily read yet small enough to not get in the way of the film. There were some misspellings and grammatical mistakes in the subtitles, but they were few and only slightly distracting.
My one complaint with the transfer of this disc is the fact that the video is encoded in such a way that my DVD player does not give a running time while the movie is playing. This is the same behavior as the Gemini
DVD; this is not a big complaint, but it would be nice to know how much time has elapsed and how much time is remaining.Packaging:
Meager... This best sums up the packaging. The front cover contains a collage of images from the film along with the now familiar golden Lupin banner. The back cover contains the usual boilerplate text about the film wrapped around images of the film. Inside, we have a one-page insert; this insert consists of the image from the front of the DVD on one side and an advert for other Funimation titles on the reverse side.Menus:
Funimation has improved their menus from the release of the Gemini
DVD. The transition animations between menu screens are brief and less intrusive. The language menu still could use a bit of work though; a short header above the audio tracks might make it clearer that by choosing the subtitle track you are also choosing the audio track.Extras:
Once again, the extras consist of bios for the characters along with bios for the dub voice actors. Added on to the bonus section are trailers for other Funimation titles.Content: (possible spoilers)
The film opens with the obligatory chase scene as Lupin makes off with the figurine of a bear from an Alaskan museum. Jigen gives him a lift to their getaway plane where Goemon awaits their arrival. Goemon is along for the ride as he seeks the path to enlightenment. Unfortunately, the path to enlightenment is expensive, so Goemon has signed on as a part-time worker for a salary of 980¥ per hour.
Some quick swordplay by Goemon eliminates the police chasing Lupin. The gang takes off in their plane to seek out the person who knows where to find the falcon and monkey figurines. The falcon, monkey, and bear figurines are the keys to unlocking the treasure of Harimao, a World War II bandit that terrorized British and Japanese troops in Malaysia. Harimao managed to amass a fortune that totaled around $800 billion dollars. Lupin's plane is
passed dangerously close by a plane piloted by a gorgeous woman.
This woman turns out to be Diana, the archeologist granddaughter of Lord Archer. Lord Archer is a former British intelligence agent whose exploits are the basis for the James Bond stories. Lord Archer must have also been the model for Bond's love of the fairer sex as he has hired Fujiko as his secretary.
Meanwhile, Zenigata is train hopping his way from Paris to London via the Euroexpress train that travels via the Chunnel. He has lost his ICPO traveling expense account but has gained an obsession for instant ramen bowls (he likes the red label bowls the best). An explosion rocks the Chunnel, and Zenigata's train is flooded.
Lord Archer is the sole insurer of the Chunnel and must pay Lloyd's of London for the damages. Unfortunately, Lord Archer does not have enough funds to cover the cost. So, he reveals that he knows how to find the remaining figurines and retrieve Harimao's treasure. Thus, the chase begins as Lupin and Lord Archer both want the treasure.
The final piece to the story comes in Amsterdam during the retrieval of the falcon figurine. The Neo-Himmel group is also after Harimao's treasure. Neo-Himmel is a Nazi off-shoot cult led by a cross-dressing man who loathes women (especially their touch). With this new threat to both of them, Lord Archer and Lupin agree to a partnership to retrieve the treasure.
I had heard mixed reviews about this particular Lupin title, but I really enjoyed it. There are a lot of silly gags and sight jokes in it causing me to laugh out loud numerous times; I haven't laughed this much during a Lupin film since I first watched Fuma Conspiracy
. The plot is straight forward with very few surprises but manages to maintain a fun and action-packed pace during the entire film. Lord Archer and his granddaughter were caricatures of James Bond and Indiana Jones, but their characterization was subtle and not distracting.
I would have liked Funimation to include liner notes with this particular title. There were a few references in the film, such as the mention of a Japanese author, which could have benefited from an explanation. Despite this, the film is quite the fun popcorn film and is a good chapter in the Lupin saga.
Mitsubishi 27" TV, Pioneer DVL-919, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Bose Acoustimass-6 speakers