Lupin the 3rd TV Vol. #02: Love Heist - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: A-
  • Extras Rating: C
  • Age Rating: 3 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 24.98
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Lupin the 3rd

Lupin the 3rd TV Vol. #02: Love Heist

By Chris Beveridge     May 08, 2003
Release Date: April 08, 2003


Lupin the 3rd TV Vol. #02: Love Heist
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
The adventures get wilder, the scenery more exotic and the disguises more Zenigata-like! Lupin and pals criss-cross the globe as they outwit a psychotic horse-racer, help a master escape artist fulfill his legacy and spend Christmas with a priceless bottle of wine! And just about everyone gets to impersonate Zenigata!

The Review!
Getting more Lupin in my hands and I’m suddenly like a little kid on Christmas with something I’ve been wanting all year.

Audio:
For our primary review, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. Considering its age, it’s a very well kept piece that’s done up essentially in mono, though enough of the sounds are played through both stereo speakers. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and there weren’t any noticeable dropouts. These tracks aren’t going to be real high usage for directionality compared to today’s new releases, but this is definitely prime material from its time, which is what I want.

Video:
The transfer for these episodes continues much like we’ve seen previously, which means that they look surprisingly good for their age and have only some minor issues. The only thing that I can bring myself to complain about with the actual transfer is that some of the scenes are a bit grainy at times, but that’s normal. Colors are solid without being over saturated, though there are brightness shifts inherent in older shows. Cross coloration is non-existent and aliasing is extremely low. This volume in particular tends to show a bit more of the animation problems itself, such as poorly painted areas and a few extra nicks and scratches, but overall looks decent.

Packaging:
Ignoring the logo here, the cover here provides another good look at the Lupin style with an image of him against a safe while Fujiko loses her clothes all while Jigen’s in the background. The back cover provides several animation shots from the show as well as a brief paragraph describing the premise. The episode titles are listed as well as the discs features and production credits. The insert has the same image as the front cover while the reverse side uses some of the opening sequence footage as a background for the chapter listings. .

On the downside, there’s no volume numbering listed here nor are episode numbers provided. While the show is definitely very episodic, I still think it’s a mistake to not include at least the volume numbering somewhere. With retailers not being as bad about it as they used to be, as other companies are releasing shows with volumes in the ten to twenty plus range, that argument doesn’t carry as much weight as it used to.

Menu:
I was truly surprised and extremely happy to see that Nightjar got the gig for the menus here, because they’ve done them up in a very neat retro style way that fits perfectly with the show. While selections are able to be done throughout the entire piece of animation playing, the animation itself is just character names flashing across the screen while black silhouetted versions of the characters jump in and out against a red background as the music plays. It’s just very simple but also very neatly done and in tune with the show. Access times are nice and fast and with little here beyond the episodes, getting around is nice and easy.

Extras:
The extras for this installment are slim but good, as we get the original opening sequence in all its glory with the original logo and all. There’s also a fourteen page image gallery that shows off some black and white conceptual artwork.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Once again, the silly grin grows on my face the minute that happy plucky little opening song kicks off with it’s simple lyrics. With the second volume, there’s another five episodes of near-campy goodness with what is one of my favorite anime characters of all time.

The five episodes here are a lot of fun, each of them nice and tightly self-contained and nowhere near as raunchy as the manga is. The opening episode was a very amusing one as it has an Italian man who has made a life of stealing and acquiring priceless works of art and financing more through his prize winning race horse leaving the country as the authorities are finally catching on to his schemes. Of course, Zenigata’s in town as well, having been clued in to Lupin being there. As all the goods are being taken out of the country via train, Lupin’s got a great caper in mind where he and Fujiko are going to unhook the last car in the middle of a tunnel, and then Jigen will take the huge 18-wheeler that they have and just roll right onto the tracks and attach to it and haul away the goods. Of course, it goes nowhere near to plan once things actually set into motion, but the results are hilarious.

My favorite episode on the disc deals with the Japanese art form of Ukiyo-e. On a flight into the U.S., Lupin ends up sitting next to an elderly man whom he ends up helping all the way home due to the illness the man has. In his apartment, the walls are filled with what Lupin thinks are replicas of the famous Sharaku Ukiyo-e paintings. When Fujiko suddenly enters the door, it’s quickly revealed that Sharaku is actually Sharaku the Third and he’s spent his life making exact replicas of his families Ukiyo-e paintings and replacing them with his as a test of his skill. But Sharaku is dying now, and he’s only got one more to replace, and he’d been hoping that Lupin would do the job for him. With that kind of request and Fujiko promising her entire body to him to do it, Lupin is in. While this is a job being done for free, it’s a great caper as he tries to swap out the last one while Zenigata’s involved in guarding the traveling museum show of the entire collection.

One of the best episodes to date though is the Zenigatacon one here, where Lupin takes another party invite only to find himself and Fujiko caught up in a trap. The suave male villain this time around wants Lupin to break into Scotland Yard to steal a file and then return it. To ensure his cooperation, he keeps Fujiko with him and then puts a bomb around Lupin’s waist that he can control remotely. The setup takes a bit to get going, but once Lupin is on his own and trying to save both his skin and Fujiko’s, it picks up nicely. Especially when he gets into Scotland Yard dressed like Zenigata, only to have multiple Zenigata’s show up, bringing the confusion level up several notches.

On a side note, and a real huge positive change, the subtitles used for this volume are what Pioneer uses as a standard and not those huge awful ones we saw in the first volume. It's amazing what a different normal sized subtitles can make.

Though the wait between volumes is taking some time, the show itself is definitely worthwhile in my opinion. I love the classic simple feel of the show and the general level of energy and fun that it exudes. This is good stuff that I know I can easily watch many times over the years to come.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery,Original Opening

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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