Lupin the 3rd: Secret of Mamo -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: D+

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  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: C-
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 4 - Australia / South America
  • Released By: Madman Entertainment
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 102
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Lupin the 3rd

Lupin the 3rd: Secret of Mamo

By John Eriani     September 07, 2006
Release Date: August 16, 2006

Lupin the 3rd: Secret of Mamo
© Madman Entertainment

What They Say
The world's most wanted master thief, Lupin the Third is dead! Despite a coroner's report, Interpol Inspector Zenigata is skeptical and discovers that Lupin is actually alive and well and stealing! But who had set up Lupin's death and why? For now, questions are set aside, as Lupin, Jigen and Goemon immediately embark to Egypt to pilfer a stone artifact from a pyramid, with Zenigata in hot pursuit. Fujiko, lured by the promise of eternal youth and beauty by the sinister and enigmatic scientist known as Mamo, doublecrosses Lupin and steals the stone. Her betrayal causes a rift between Lupin and his cohorts, causing the trio to split up, but eventually leads Lupin to Mamo's hideaway, where he discovers the madman's dark secret and a fiendish scheme that threatens the entire planet! Now, it's up to Lupin to stop the insane Mamo-before he can complete his 10,000 year-old plans of world domination.

The Review!
Clones, Car chases and an ending that defies logic; the unofficial James bond of Japan has his second outing in region 4.

I watched the show in its original Japanese mono soundtrack and everything sounded fine without any hiss or distortion. I spot checked the 5.1 English dub and there was some good use of directionality in the chase scenes and the music came through a lot better then the mono mix. The English dub itself sounded pretty good as well and I could watch this in either language.

The transfer is presented in 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen but it is an NTSC to Pal transfer that brings in the normal interlacing problems that are associated with this type of conversion. It is most noticeable right off the bat with Zenigata running up stairs, the image really has a lot of ghosting. Otherwise the transfer looks really good with lots of clear colours and very little in the way of any other problems with the exception of some film grain. I was surprised how good the film looked despite its age.

I really liked the packaging for this release with lots of blues and reds its different kind of design but it works, even the OFLC rating goes well with the overall colour scheme. The front cover has the main cast coloured blue in various action poses with Fujiko barely clothed lying at the bottom while dashes of red and darker blue occupy the background and the white logo above it all. The back cover has two shots from the show and a rather in depth synopsis of what the show is about. Madman's standard technical grid is listed at the bottom and as always it tells you everything you would want to know.

The menu design is similar to the cover art and uses lots of red and a little bit of blue. The main menu has a static shot of all the main cast all in lots of red with blue outlines and the menu selections in front of them and some funky 70's chase music playing in the background. All other screens were just static images with no music. Everything was easy to access without any problems.

There is very little to the extras on this disc. It's basically about 27 slides of conceptual artwork and Madman trailers, the film is rather old so I wasn't expecting much in the way of extra's but maybe character profiles or something of that nature could give the casual viewer and idea of who Lupin and his friends are and why Fujiko is the way she is.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The second Lupin the Third release for region 4 is the first movie that was released in the Lupin franchise. For those who don't know Lupin the Third was originally created by Monkey Punch in 1967and started off as a manga. Lupin's your basic super thief with lots of gadgets and a knack for driving almost anything with superior skill. On all his exploits he is accompanied by his friend Jigen; who is just as skilled with firearms of any kind and never misses. Also showing up is Goemon Ishikawa XIII a samurai that helps out Lupin and Co. with his sword Zantetsu-Ken by cutting down "unworthy objects" and getting them out of tight situations. Rounding out the main cast is Fujiko Mine; Lupin's love interest and the main reason behind most of his troubles.

This film is reagrded as one of the anime that is closer to the original manga, with a lot more fan service and sexual references then most other Lupin anime. The story starts off with the unusual idea that Lupin the Third has died. Interpol Inspector Zenigata who has been after Lupin for years does not believe he is dead and the film opens up with him searching for Lupin, of course he finds him alive and well but is unable to catch him. Lupin has been hired to steal the philosopher's stone among other things by Fujiko, much to the annoyance of Jigen and Goemon. They don't trust her and know that Lupin is a sucker for her and she will probably get them all killed. Fujiko has her own reasons for getting Lupin involved and of course basically plays Lupin for a chump with the promise of sex.

After stealing the stone Lupin (and not giving it to Fujiko) is chased by people unknown who want the stone and this results in some fun chase sequences that are rather entertaining. Lupin thinks he has successfully gotten away but as soon as he starts to think he is safe the next part of the chase begins. This was the highlight of the film for me. Soon we come to find out that the person behind it all is a man called Mamo who resembles a small grey version of the Grinch with long white hair. He seems to be very powerful and can pretty much do anything in the world, which begs the question why would he need Lupin to steal anything for him when he has everything at his disposal.

The film had started out really well but when Mamo shows up on screen and the plot goes into who he is and what his plans are the film flops in every department. The Lupin that was killed at the beginning of the film is left to the wayside and when Lupin sneaks into Mamo's lair he meets a bunch of famous historical figures walking around but it's is never really established if they are clones or the real people and no one really seems to care. The stone that Mamo was after in the end is another plot point that doesn't really go anywhere. It's basically a lot of setup without any satisfactory resolution.

The animation and character design are what save the film from being a complete write off with the more elongated figures from the manga version of Lupin and co. with Fujiko coming off the best overall with lots of curves and skin tight outfits and it doesn't hurt that when we first see her she is taking a shower. The animation does a good job of portraying all the action with big explosions and chases, it's not as good as some of the newer Lupin stuff but it's still well done.

My main problem with the film is Mamo. I could accept that Mamo is 10,000 years old or he is a clone of the original and that's why he has amassed wealth because he has lived so long but when the real Mamo is revealed the whole idea becomes absurd beyond belief. For a film that is supposed to be based in reality the whole thing just insults the viewer for wasting their time watching the plans of a damn brain the size a small mountain. It's not sci-fi it's just stupid. I was really enjoying this movie and even with all the with my dislike of Mamo and his whole plot to destroy the world I was willing to enjoy the rest but after the real Mamo shows up I can only hate this movie.

In Summary:
Secret of Mamo isn't a very good Lupin the Third movie; in fact it's not a very good movie period. While it sticks more closely to the manga then some others and started out really well the ending has too many what the hell happened moments to save it from being a rather absurd idea. While there are fans of this movie I am sure; I am not one of them. Unfortunately there are only two Lupin movies release in region 4 territory at the moment and out of the two even though it isn't as close to the original Monkey Punch version of the characters the Castle of Cagliostro is much better. Get that instead.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language ,English Subtitles ,Conceptual Artwork

Review Equipment
LG 32LX2D 32" HD LCD TV, Sony DVP-NS50P Progressive scan region free DVD player, Monster component cable, Yamaha TSS-15 Home Theatre Sound System


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